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Miracle Meadows Principal Shares Journey to Forgiveness

Story by Patrick Johnson
Published 01/14/2014


Patrick Johnson formerly served in the West African Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists and today serves as principal of the Miracle Meadows School in Salem, W.Va.

When the West African state of Liberia degenerated into chaos, occasioned by a long-running civil conflict from 1989 to 2003, I, together with all other Liberians, was awakened to a rude and shocking reality.  I grew up knowing a Liberia that was stable, peaceful and loving but the mask fell off when my country ignited into the devilish inferno for more than a decade. The loving and caring character of the people suddenly evaporated.

On more than one occasion, I came close to being killed by rebel fighters, however, no other incident throughout Liberia’s nightmare shook me as much as the day a rebel combatant of about 14 years old held me at gunpoint. In full view of my terrified family, including my young son, he threatened to shoot me if I as much as took a single step or moved any part of my body. With his submachine gun cocked and finger ready to pull the trigger, he bellowed at me, “Open your mouth!” When I complied, he shoved the nozzle down my throat and threatened to blow off my head! As he became increasingly erratic, I heard a commanding voice shout, “Soldier, as you were!”

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