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Everland project moves to Liberia

Liberian children

Due to unforseen circumstances, Everland is relocating to Liberia. Please read on to understand why we could no longer work with Pastor Paul Kingori after he renegaded on his agreement to honour Michael's legacy.

Over the last few weeks, as we have battled with all the heartbreak generated by the ongoing trial and its opening of already unhealed wounds, we have been under added pressure and distress after suddenly having received correspondence from Pastor Paul at Voice of Gospel church in Molo which indicates that he no longer wants to honour his commitment to build Everland in Michael’s memory. He would be happy to take the funds for sponsorship and to use money for the building without Michael’s name being mentioned, but of course, we cannot and will not accept this. He entered into an agreement and we have all worked tirelessly for seven months on the website whilst devoted fans from across the world have given in faith and trust – fans who will rightfully settle for nothing less than this building being in Michael’s memory.

We have been in talks with Pastor Paul to try and reach a mutual agreement but he is unwilling to have Michael associated with the project after a recent visit by a church missionary team from Belmont Chapel in the UK, who questioned his motives in having Michael’s name and image associated with the project so intensely that he became afraid even to mention his name to other enquirers of the forthcoming project. Meanwhile, a member of the same missionary team threatened to withdraw his £50 per month donation for their general needs at the end of the year, if they continue to insist that Michael’s name is associated with the project.  Pastor Paul  Kingori subsequently met with church leader Niger Fraser in Uganda who trained him and whom he thus has much respect for.  He said, "I just asked him what he knew about MJ, his music and generally his lifestyle when he was alive. He said plainly and briefly, "His music is demonic. He sometimes dressed like the dead." I said to myself, "This is what I wanted to hear. That is confirmation that I did not make a mistake in making this decision even though I have hurt people."

Needless to say, we cannot work with someone who not only refuses to uphold his original agreement, but who, even if persuaded to continue, would inevitably hide Michael’s name due to his own conscience and fear of judgement. We want a project where the project leader, whilst not necessarily a 'fan', will be happy for the children to know about the man who inspired their building.  With respect to all donors and with respect to Michael himself, we cannot accept anything less than this.

THE GOOD NEWS

The good news is that all monies donated towards Everland are all still safe since the building work could not begin until all monies for the Everland were raised. 

During this desperate time of intense negotiation and heartache due to the trial, we have found a church in Africa whose pastor is extremely enthusiastic to have us build on their land in Michael’s memory. With a project as big as this, we always had a contingency plan, but never expected to have to use it. The new area is located near Monrovia in Liberia and, unlike the previous scenario; we have not had to convince the pastor of Michael’s humanitarian work and character.  Dekontee is the pastor of The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. His church owns two acres of land in a community called Caldwell about ten miles from Monrovia.

The whole church is in complete agreement with our partnership, and indeed excited, since their land has stood empty for five years and is due to be taken under government control (land in Liberia, if owned and not developed after so many years, is claimed by the government).  Thie building is likely to be similar to that which was intended to be built in Molo and therefore, those who have already donated to a particular section of the building are likely to still have donated towards the same stage. We are currently working with the leadership to finalise all the plans and plan a trip to the area to look at the land, to take pictures and videos and to discuss costs with the pastor.  The monies for this trip will be raised by the individuals who visit Liberia and will not come from the MJL account. 

Many of you will feel a connection with Liberia from listening to Michael’s song ‘Liberian Girl.’  But whilst the song is one of love, many of the children in Liberia have little in terms of love or security. Liberia has a turbulent past.  It is a country that was torn apart due to a civil war that lasted for over 15 years and where the heaviest fighting took place in the capital city of Monrovia, close to where Everland is to be built.  The consequences of this war include tens of thousands of refugees coming in from the Ivory Coast (where a humbly embarrassed yet grateful Michael Jackson was crowned ‘King Sani’ by an African tribe).  As a result, thousands of children roam the streets of Liberia in search of food, clothing, love, and care.  Many of these children, who have never seen their parents, have the challenge of growing up, feeding, and clothing themselves without the watchful care and love that children need and should expect.  Some children as young as eight are being raped, and many rapes result in unwanted pregnancies at best, and AIDS at worst. 

Along with rape, children in this area are being taken hostage and forced into fighting in neighboring countries.  Some of these children – named ‘Child Soldiers - are as young as seven years old.  Other children are walking into Liberia alone and barefoot, mainly from the Ivory Coast, in order to find food, protection and some sense of security. Most of the children that will be housed in Everland will come from the streets and taken into a home where they can be saved from the horrors that would otherwise await them.  The church hopes that after the children’s home is built we will be able to build a small adjacent clinic on the two acres as well.

We understand that those of you who have donated have done so because you share our dream of an Everland orphanage, catering for needy children in Michael’s memory.  However, if anyone would like a refund due to the change of location, we will be happy to provide it for up to a month after this announcement is released. We are committed to continuing Michael’s legacy of caring for children and providing them with love and this is a wonderful opportunity to not only build an orphanage for Michael but also a medical clinic.  The location has changed, but the dream remains. We continue to build Everland in memory of Michael Jackson.  We hope that you will continue with us as we forge forward and build Everland unashamedly and resolutely in Michael’s memory, in spite of all obstacles.