About Me

My photo
I currently serve as the mayor of the City of Milan. I feel transparency and open government are important to a thriving democracy. I invite you to post questions or comments ---if you have any ideas about things you'd like me to discuss, relating to the City of Milan, this blog is a great place to exchange ideas. You must include your name, (first and last) and town to have your comments posted here.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Pictures from left to right: Milan grad, Kaitlin Hill with Beatrice Gbanga.

Marble Memorial United Methodist Church members Jim and Nancy Nagle with Beatrice. Beatrice with Nancy Nagle and Rev. Dr. Patricia Green of the Marble Memorial Methodist Church. Beatrice presented Rev. Green with the beautiful woven sash she is wearing.

Welcoming visitors of distinction to our city is one of the honors I get to fulfill as mayor of the City of Milan.

On Sunday, May 17, I was invited by Rev. Dr. Patricia Green of Milan Marble Methodist Church to officially welcome medical missionary Beatrice Gbanga (pronounced Bang-ah) to Milan.

I have to say, that over the years as a news reporter and now as a mayor, I have never met anyone like Beatrice—she is truly someone I will always remember.

Her story is amazing.

Before becoming a missionary she escaped her own war torn country of Sierra Leone and came to America where she settled in Atlanta, Georgia with her three children.

Once she was settled in an apartment in Atlanta, the Methodist Church mission board began a recruitment campaign to urge her to become a missionary to Africa—the very country she escaped to begin her new life in America.

Beatrice informed them that she was a refugee from Sierra Leone.

The mission board said, “We know, we will send you the application.”

She insisted that she was not a minister, and expressed apprehension about returning to the very country she was lucky enough to escape.

The mission board explained they wanted her to be a medical missionary to Liberia. “We will send you an application,” they told her.

Within a week Beatrice received the mission board application.

Beatrice filled it out then duly placed the application in a bedroom drawer.

A month passed.

Then a mission board representative found someone in Atlanta to contact Beatrice to ask her if she ever received the application.

Her answer was the same with every question from the mission board:

“I cannot do this! I must take care of my children,” she’d say. “Surely God does not want me to go back there at this time.”

The Mission board representative said, “Yes we understand---just send in the application and see what happens.”

Beatrice sent the application back and within a week they called her and asked her to come to New York City for an interview. She went to the interview and they were impressed with her. They wanted her to go to the Ivory Coast for three months of training before her missionary assignment to Liberia as the Medical Coordinator for all of the United Methodist hospitals and clinics in the country.

Throughout the application, interview and training process, Beatrice told anyone who would listen to her the same mantra:

“I cannot do this,” she’d insist. “I have other obligations—I have to take care of my children.”

The mission board people would smile and nod their heads at this, and just say, “We know—but just do this step anyway, and we’ll see what happens.”

So that’s what she did.

After going to the Ivory Coast her children opted to stay in Atlanta without her, where they finished school on their own.

Terribly worried about her children, she had a family meeting with them.

“They wanted me to do it,” she said. “They told me that I must do it---that they would be okay, and I made the decision to trust them. And I did. I trusted them to take care of themselves and to finish school. I sent them money every time I got paid.”

Her daughter is now a nurse practicing in Atlanta and considering grad school. Her son just graduated from college and is about to start graduate school and Beatrice now serves as the Medical Coordinator of Sierra Leone as well as the Coordinator overseeing the Medical Coordinators of Liberia, Nigeria and The Ivory Coast for the United Methodist Global Board of Missions headquartered in New York City.

Even more amazing than her journey to becoming a medical missionary, is the tireless work and hours Beatrice devotes to her ministry.

“I run into problems, but God always finds a way,” she smiled.

The work Beatrice does in the war torn countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia includes helping to rebuild a medical infrastructure. In those countries finding simple over the counter medicine such as Tylenol or Advil is almost impossible.

Beatrice has also been working hard to obtain mosquito nets to help protect families from malaria.

For more information on Beatrice Gbanga, or to help support her missionary work please visit

Marble Memorial United Methodist Church


8 Park Street, Milan, MI 48160

Global Ministries

United Methodist Church


No comments:

Post a Comment