Victor Doe, MACEF ’18, knows the value of education. He attended a Christian boarding school as a child in Liberia, but when his mother passed away, he could no longer afford the tuition. So, he enrolled in public school, where he says the quality of education was much lower. Thanks to scholarships, he was able to attend seminary in Liberia and then at Princeton Theological Seminary. He knows he was blessed with opportunity. And he wants to give back by building a quality school in his new hometown of Jacob's Town in Montserrado County, about 50 miles east of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia.
But how would he raise the funds to build and equip a school? While at Princeton Seminary Doe set his sights on an internship at an 8,000-member megachurch in Memphis, Tennessee. He figured the church would be a great opportunity for him to stretch his ministry as an intern, but would also be a rich source of potential donors. “I went to three interviews there and, at the 11th hour, they said they couldn’t take an intern,” Doe says. “I was so disappointed.”
Opportunity came when a small church in upstate New York, Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church, was looking for an intern. He wondered how he could possibly raise the money he needed in a small town.
“The Bible says that to whom much is given much is expected,” Doe says, “but the people of Mayfield give from the heart.”
Thanks to small donations from parishioners, in addition to generosity from other partners including the Christina Seix Academy where Doe did his second internship, he’s been able to raise over $20,000 toward his project, acquire 18 computers for the school, and gather truckloads of school supplies.
Within five years, Doe plans to open his school and serve 225 students from the age of four. Eventually, he wants to acquire 40 acres of land. Ten of that will be dedicated to the school, dormitories, and chapel, while the remainder will become a commercial farm to support programming and provide food for the children. And he couldn't have done it without the community of Mayfield.
“I can’t believe that I started in this small town, and these people have taken over my vision,” Doe says. “I thought the megachurch was how I would get where I needed to go, but I realize now that I needed to start from humble beginnings. And we can already see the progress.”