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Posted by: Pulelehua on Thu, Jul 5, 2018

From the CBTS Missions Team

July, 2018

Our Adopted Ex-Engineer, Brian Palmer has some characteristically wry comments on his paranoia about ATM machines in Liberia.

He includes a spectacular photo of a girls’ traditional dance group in different-different costumes celebrating high school graduation, Gala day.

You may remember he had very mixed feelings about being evacuated from Liberia during the Ebola virus scare for his safety, and he sent us a striking photo of a malnourished infant in a metal bucket, surviving because of medical and nutritional activities by Doctors without Borders.

Please pray for his unique contributions to instill Christian concepts and spirituality into local cultures.

CBTS Global Mission Team /


Brian Palmer – ELCA Pastor/Missionary serving in Totota, Liberia

ATM Madness

Getting cash in Liberia isn’t always easy. This past few years ATMs have been cropping up and have greatly improved the situation. I have a few favorite ATMs; you have to have a few because each one only works about 60% of the time.

About a year ago I had a strange ATM encounter. It was at the GT Bank in Sinkor just about three blocks from the Lutheran Church in Liberia Central Office. This is my favorite ATM in all of Liberia for two reasons: 1) It’s orange and I really like orange, and 2) It doesn’t appear to have a withdrawal limit beyond the ability to issue a maximum of 40 bills (if it only has 10s then you can take out $400 – yuck! But if it has 20s, 50s, or even 100s then – wowser!). Anyway, this time it had 20s, I knew this because it wouldn’t allow me to request more than $800. I felt a grim sense of satisfaction as I progressed through the menus on my way to the Promised Land of Money-In-My-Pocket. My heart quickened as I heard the ATM counting out my money – oh, yes – I was so ready. And then, just at the moment my money was supposed to come shooting out that little armored door, the power went off, the ATM turned blank, and my debit card was spewed forth back in my general direction. I know I’m a pastor, but I said it anyway, “What the hell is this?” A few moments later I thought to myself, “I’ll bet that money was deducted from my account!?” I immediately called Charles Schwab and sure enough it was. I explained the situation to Lewis in Miami and he invited me to file a dispute, which I did, and a coupla weeks later the money was credited to my account as righteousness.

Now here’s the thing, just last month, at the UBA Bank on the Cuttington University campus the exact same thing happened to me again. Lightning can and does strike the same place twice! I don’t know what all this means. Again, Schwab was quick to make me whole, although I have to wonder what they think of a guy who claims to have had this happen to them two times.
Obviously, I suspect foul play. I imagine somebody in the bank watching my transaction take place on a computer screen making frantic hand signals to a fella who has his finger on the breaker – I don’t know. What I do know is if I were as poor as most Liberians I would probably do the same thing.

*Liberian English

carry : take, bring
tote: carry
vexed: angry, mad
mad: crazy, insane
not sound: crazy, insane sweet: delicious sugared: sweet

butter pear: avocado plum: mango