Rev. Dr. Francis Tabla of Ebenezer Community Church signs a copy of his new book for a reader during the book's launch in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Mshale Staff Photo by Panashe Matemba-Mutasa
Rev. Dr. Francis Tabla of Ebenezer Community Church signs a copy of his new book for a reader during the book's launch in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Mshale Staff Photo by Panashe Matemba-Mutasa

If you think it’s too late to start making a New Year’s resolution, Rev. Dr. Francis Tabla wants you to think again.

Tabla, a local pastor, has a book that teaches how to set goals and encourages readers to start planning better today. He celebrated the launch of his new book, Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan, with a signing event on Sunday at Ebenezer Community Church.

“As a pastor I wrote this book to give the church what they need to be successful,” Tabla said.

Tabla, originally from the small town of Kingsville in Liberia, has been the pastor at Ebenezer Community Church since 2000. He was a pastor at a handful of churches in Liberia before immigrating to the United States, where he founded an eight-member church that has grown  into the 700-member Ebenezer Community Church, which is based in Brooklyn Park today.

Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan is a 61-page guide to plan formation and execution. According to Tabla, the book walks readers through effective planning techniques to help them achieve their goals. Tabla said that January was the perfect month for his book launch due to the popularity of New Year’s resolutions.

Unfortunately, the statistics for people who follow through on their resolutions are dismal. About 43% of all people can expect to fail come February, most quit before the end of January, and a mere 9% report sticking through with their plans through the end of the year. One of Tabla’s main motivation for writing the book, he said, was his desire to help people form sustainable plans for the achievements they wish to have in their lives.

“I am so happy because I believe this book is going to help our community and beyond,” Tabla said.

Tabla referenced a glowing review he received from a non-African reader outside of the country, which he said was an indication that the book had potential to resonate with various communities outside of just his church. The goal, he said, was to create a book with a plan that everyone could implement in their lives to start planning more effectively.

“This book transcends borders, ethnicities, races, and disciplines,” Tabla said. “You can be in the church, a businessperson, an athlete, or a politician. You can find meaning in this book no matter your walk of life.”

Tabla dedicated the book to Marie Yarsiah Hayes, the director of international student and scholar affairs at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, who he said he is forever grateful to for the services she granted him, his family, and the local Liberian Community at large. Hayes helped Tabla obtain a scholarship for his doctoral studies at Luther Seminary. Hayes, who is retiring, said that the book dedication helped her to finally see her purpose in life.

“My purpose in life is to help educate leaders for Christian communities who are called and sent by the Holy Spirit to administer God’s Word,” Hayes said.

Liberian American Tuakah Whiangaro was among those in the congregation who expressed enthusiastic support for the book. Prior to reading it, he said he lacked knowledge on how to plan effectively. Whiangaro said he wished to see the book become popular among the youth.

“The principles of this book should be taught in high school,” Whiangaro said. “I plan to get copies for my sons and young relatives in Liberia.”

Nancy Omondi, a Kenyan American who serves on the budget advisory commission for the City of Brooklyn Park, sang the book’s praises as well. Omondi said the book set an example of how to plan, a skill she said many people need to master. She said that the book teaches the reader how to lay out clearly what they want to accomplish financially, professionally, and even in the house.

“This is 2023, and if the month ends without a plan, then I do not know where you are going,” Omondi said.

Tabla shared his inspiration behind the book, saying that he became heartbroken upon seeing hungry children on his last trip to Liberia. His goal, he said, is to use the proceeds of the book to aid struggling youth in Liberia.

“I want this book to help the next generation thrive,” Tabla said.


About Panashe Matemba-Mutasa, Mshale Reporter

Panashe is a general assignments reporter. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2025.

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