Saturday, October 11, 2014

Heart in the Hot Zone

I haven’t seen this place in six months. A lot has happened during my silence. I have two new[ish] nephews! Red Meets Green is officially a 501(c)3 charity! And there’s an Ebola crisis in West Africa.

I have tried too many times to put things into words for you to read, but I have been unsuccessful. That is why I have been quiet. My head, heart and body have felt very heavy over the last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, there has also been a lot of good mixed in. But lately I’ve found myself in a place where my brain will not turn off, and it is exhausting. Some nights I have just tossed and turned.

Last night I had a dream. In my dream, there was a woman wrapped in a dusty, maroon and beige lappa. Her lips were cracked and dry. Her eyes were empty. Her feet were caked in the red dirt of Mama Liberia. She was laying helpless in the middle of the road, just over the crest of a hill. Upon reaching her, I made note of the evidence of help strewn around her—wrappers of medical supplies, empty water satchels. I couldn’t help but question why so many people had tried to help her, but they tried without ever moving her from out of the middle of the road. Traffic was whizzing by and whoever it was that was with me was standing at the top of the hill trying to send cars around to the sides. I was kneeling down beside her, with little help to offer. I was crying and she was doing her best to let a whimper escape. I looked up at the cars passing by and then I continued my gaze upward to the big, beautiful blue sky. I asked God why. My eyes settled on a group of all-black chickens walking in the tall weeds along the side of the road. I had never seen such a thing—crow-like, evil-looking chickens. And all of a sudden the black chickens flew straight towards my face; turning white once airborne. I woke up from my dream with my body physically trying to dodge the white birds. I laid in bed, thinking and praying for Liberia, until sleep came. [i'm not sure what any of that means...but I can find some metaphors, for sure. maybe those are the kinds of dreams you have when you watch The Good Lie?]

I feel like my heart is in a tug-of-war. My heart has been divided between Atlanta and Monrovia for the last seven years. It’s nothing new for me. When Ebola really started to spiral out of control, my heart longed for Liberia. It took awhile, but I was finally able to reach a place where I am ok with being here. I know the best thing I can do is pray, and that’s something I can do from this side of the ocean. 

The problem is that half of my heart, my family and my other home are an ocean away. The problem is that I begin and end my day by looking at news articles, thinking about and praying for Liberia. The problem is that whenever I see pictures or watch news reels, I am constantly scanning faces and landscapes—looking for people I know and love, and praying that a familiar face won’t appear in a photo of a dead body laying in the street or waiting in agony outside of an ebola treatment center. The problem is that I think about how far Liberia has come since civil war, and how many steps back she’s taking every day. The problem is that many times I feel so helpless and I grieve for the people of Liberia. The problem is that Liberia has been called hell on earth.

I don’t know why Ebola is happening to Liberia. There are days when it seems overwhelming, and it’s more difficult for me to find hope. There is not an easy answer. Things are not in black and white. Economies and healthcare systems are breaking under the insurmountable weight. Mothers and fathers are dying and leaving children behind. Fear has gripped our own country and created ugly hearts. It has become an issue of black and white, wealthy and poor, privileged and not.

Countless times a day, I wonder what in the heck I’m doing, and I try to better understand even a portion of God and His perfect timing. I cannot see His bigger picture, but I am trying my best to trust in the unknown masterpiece. I truly believe that God is in Liberia and that He is moving and working. I know that Ebola in Liberia is God’s story, and that His name will be known throughout the world because of a terribly ugly virus that divides countries, communities and families. 

Please, I’m asking you to pray for the people of West Africa. Pray that help would come swiftly and that supplies would be in abundance. Pray for miracles—in ebola treatment centers, in provision and in the lives of those who are living in fear. Pray for those who are grieving and are unable to find a glimmer of hope to cling to. Pray for me and for Red Meets Green and The Green House and the people of Cooper Beach. 

I really don’t know where to go from here, and I have no idea when I will be able to return to Liberia. But, I know that there’s a house in Liberia that’s waiting on me, or that could potentially be used by someone who is already on the ground. I know that there is an army of people who love Liberia, and who support the dreams that God has given me. I know that I am supposed to be here, now and for this. I truly believe that God already has, and will continue to, work Ebola for Liberia’s good.

The question is, will you join me? Although so many things seem like big question marks, the truth is that I also believe that when the time comes to safely return to Liberia, I have to be ready. Part of being ready is having enough finances to go back and get The Green House open! Things are going to look a little different than I had originally planned, but that is ok. I know that there will be different needs, and that the people of Cooper Beach are going to need things that God has been putting on my heart over the last few months. I am simply making myself available to return to Liberia with the hope of Christ on the tip of my tongue and an overflow from my heart and hands. I need all of you to join me on the journey!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Birds, Barbed Wire & God

I woke up sometime before 6am this morning. It was still dark outside, and it was quiet. I pulled my blanket up over me and tried to go back to sleep. My mind started running away from me, and sleep wouldn’t come. I finally checked my clock at 5:58am. At some point I fell back asleep, and woke up around 7:30am when the fan went off and the singing outside my window began.

This morning, I filled a page of my gratitude journal. It’s easy to do that in Liberia—there is so much to be thankful for. I’ve jotted down hundreds of things in my journal over the past 17 days. I stopped writing this morning at #655.

#655: beauty in the pain, ugliness, poverty, hardships, darkness, hopelessness…He is here!

And that’s when it dawned on me.

That one statement is the essence of Liberia.

When you look around, if you’re blinded, all that you see is dirt, garbage, heat, poverty, disease, injustice and corruption. Darkness and oppression are heavy, evident and tangible. How can there be any hope in that?

Somehow, some way—if you’re able—when you can see past those things, God allows you glimpses of Him. 

As my feet walk over a garbage-littered, red dirt road, I am able to see beauty and life. As my eyes survey a tiny community of poor fishermen and their families living in utter poverty and filth, I see simplicity and unbreakable bonds. As I walk through the community, I sense an immense amount of pain, even though women are plaiting hair and laughing and children run up to say hello and shake my hand. As I sit in the yard at a friend’s house—a yard I haven’t stepped foot in since the night her baby died—I talk and laugh with her and her three young sons. Her oldest son Moses writes his name for me in the sand, and I wonder how often she thinks about her fourth son. There is a group of children in the yard next door—a “crazy man” with hundreds of pieces of rope and string draped over his head is interacting with them. He looks like a Raggedy-Anne doll, and he has them all laughing. The children lead him over to the white woman, and he asks what state I’m from. He lights up when I say Georgia, and immediately references Atlanta. He meekly smiles, puts his hands together and tells me that he’s from Maryland Georgia too. He tells me to have a nice day, and continues walking. I wish I had a photo of that man because he was beautiful. I saw Jesus right then and there.

And then I woke up this morning to birds singing loud and beautiful songs while sitting on the barbed wire outside of my window. The sun rises and the heat of the day begins. I breathe in deep when a cool breeze blows through the open window. I am a little sticky, but another cool breeze comes. 

That is Liberia. 

Singing amongst the barbed wire; sticky but a cool breeze will always come.

And through it all, God is here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Love Blooms

There is another story unfolding in Liberia; a story that I can’t not share with you. This is a story about calling and obedience, deep love and sacrifice. It’s about a yellow and burgundy house nestled down a sandy road, surrounded by a tall wall with barbed wire. It’s about a house of love and grace. Laughter arises above the tall walls. Love blooms in the yard and in the living room. Fierce love—the love of a mother, fueled by the love of her Father—is the heartbeat.

God has given me the privilege to sit back and watch, but also to participate. And the things I have seen and heard and felt are just too beautiful not to share. One thing that has resonated is that God can use anyone to do anything, and when we are obedient, our lives and testimony serve as incense of praise rising to the heavens.

When I was planning my trip back to Liberia, I wasn’t sure where I would be staying. My plan was to email the family I stayed with last year and see if I could crash with them for a few weeks, and then perhaps share the mooching love with someone else. But let’s go back to a few years ago. Somehow, a random pastor [hi Jeff!] in New Jersey came across my blog. His church was doing ministry in Liberia, so I guess that’s how we got linked together. I would get random donations and emails of encouragement from “some pastor in New Jersey”. When I came to Liberia last year, I got an email letting me know that his church in New Jersey has just sent three people to live in Liberia long-term, and that we should get connected. That’s how God connected Sue and I. We were able to meet up a few times during my three week stay, and we talked a lot about our hearts for Liberia. I was excited to meet a new friend who had such a deep love for Liberia and a desire to help the people here. I was even more excited that she didn’t live too far from my new home.

A few months ago, I kept thinking about Sue and praying for her. Finally, I sent her an email to let her know that I had been thinking about her, and asked if there were specific things I could pray for. In her response, she told me that she had been back in the States for months, but was making plans to return to Liberia in January. We continued to exchange emails—catching up and hearing about the new directions God was leading both of us in. Sue was returning to Liberia to open a home for girls…and she was going to be their mother. Once I started to make plans for my own trip, Sue extended a gracious offer to stay with her and her girls in their home. I said yes—I knew I would love spending time with the girls, and I would also enjoy the fellowship with Sue!

I knew it was going to be a fun time when I gave them frisbees, coloring books and jump ropes on my first night here, and we were throwing frisbees and jumping rope in the middle of the living room. So, I have been living in a girls home…and it has been incredible! Right now, there are six beautiful, hilarious girls that call Sue their mom. Sometimes I find myself just sitting back and watching this unique family operate, while other times, I jump right in and join the craziness!

About four nights into my stay, Sue and I were sitting at the dining table at about 10:30pm. The three younger girls were already in bed, but the three older girl were still awake. We were talking about our days, while helping with homework. I will admit, I was tired and more than ready for bed. One of the girls brought her school uniform out for Sue to mend. She admitted that she didn’t really know what she was doing, but that she would do her best. Princess was protesting that she couldn’t draw for her homework assignment, and Sue immediately said, “I’m not a tailor, and maybe you’re not an artist, but we can both try.” After some creative stitching, another skirt arrived to be taken in. And so Sue picked up her needled and thread and tried again. By this time it was after 11pm…and these girls wake up between 4-5am, depending on their morning chores.

Princess continued to struggle through her assignment to draw and label the parts of a computer, and Sue kept sewing. I finally spoke up and began to tell Sue how she was a great mother, and how she was doing such a good job with the girls. I also told her that I don’t know how she does it—she just keeps giving and loving, even when she’s tired and sweating and perhaps sometimes wondering why she’s even here.

But the love is evident.

They snuggle up on the couch and sing along to “Annie” and laugh until their bellies ache. Sue wraps her arms around a little one with a tough exterior, but soft interior, and kisses her over and over again until a smile breaks through. They are still trying to figure out exactly how this little family should operate, and there is a steep learning curve, but the home and the hearts are full of love. There are tears and discipline and consequences and broken hearts, and there are also late night or early morning prayers of a mother who loves the children that God has entrusted to her.

Again, I don’t know how she does it.

But it is a beautiful thing to watch.

And it’s humbling and encouraging and challenging. It’s something that I know God is using to stir and stretch my own heart. It’s also a rich opportunity to give and love and learn and grow. And that’s what I want—to be changed from the inside out because I’m alive and present and here.

Would you pray for Sue and the girls? Pray for strength, energy and wisdom for Sue. Pray that her deep love would continue to break down the walls around the hearts of the girls. Pray for unity, cooperation, grace and flexibility for the family. Pray that God would continue to renew Sue’s heart, and that the Holy Spirit would be her help. Pray for the girls—Grace, Beatrice, Naomi, Monica, Princess and Kona—that they would receive the love of Sue, but more importantly, the love of their heavenly Father. Pray that their lives would be radically changed, and that they would become strong, Godly women who will change their country. Pray that praise and prayer would continue to rise from the home. Pray against the work of the enemy—he has no place here! Pray for provision—financially, but also through other resources and opportunities. 

[Update: You can really be lifting Sue up to the throne! She has been struggling with her health over the last few weeks and has decided to get away to a friend’s apartment for the weekend. Pray that the sleep, air-conditioning, rest, uninterrupted time in prayer and modern comforts would restore her]

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Today's Construction Update

Things continue to move forward on The Green House! Two nights ago, we had an all-out Liberians thunderstorm. I laid in bed praying at 2am that it would stop, because half of the house didn’t have zinc on it. I was scared to arrive yesterday, as I didn’t want to see the damage. The guys had poked holes in the soggy wood ceiling tiles to let the water drain out into buckets and there were puddles everywhere. The carpenter roofed that half of the house yesterday, just in case there were any more surprise showers. He also completed the clear, plastic zinc that goes above the outdoor kitchen on the back of the house.
Today's progress!
Things on the fence are progressing nicely. All trenches are dug, and they did the foundation and began laying cement block on the front portion. There are about five guys doing all of the work…plus a woman named Remember. When I saw her yesterday, she was drawing water from the well, so I thought that was her job (it’s common for women to draw water for mixing the cement). Then last night, I was informed that she was a mason, and she was laying block. She told me that, “woman can do anything man can do.” All that I could say was, “You go girl!”

Today, the carpenter is working on the other half of the roof, while the rest of the guys and Remember are working on the fence. Once the carpenter is finished with the roof, he will move on to the roof on the palava hut. The guys will continue to work on the fence until it is complete, which should hopefully be sometime late this week or early next week. Then it will be time to paint the exterior, and move inside to do the paint, floors, window screens, light fixtures, etc.
Old zinc in foreground, new zinc in background.
Like I mentioned before, a huge blessing is that electricity poles are one block from the house! This means I will be able to have 24/7 electricity, and for a fraction of the price of buying, fueling and maintaining a generator for only very limited electricity. Uncle Sam and I sat down this morning to fill out the application form, so we will see how long it takes for them to get back to me. Apparently, they will come out to do an assessment, I will go buy a breaker, they will install a meter and then poles and wires will be run. This is such a HUGE answer to prayer!
Trokon laying block.
Foundation and casting of steel rods.
I still have to pinch myself when I step back and look at how quickly things are progressing! We are not on African time! The ease and quickness are both an answer many prayers! Working with Uncle Sam has been great, and the construction guys are starting to warm up to me. Whenever I go there now, they each want their photo taken while they’re working. They also think it’s pretty funny when I climb up on the roof in a skirt. 
Community children drawing their evening water.

One thing you can pray about is how to best capture the stories of the people in Cooper Beach. My plan was to walk around the community and talk to people, and then document their stories. Because I have to walk back to where I’m staying before dark, really the only time to do this is in the heat of the day. Thankfully there has been a cool breeze every day, but I don’t want to look like a lobster and be miserable either. I’ve also continued to pray for divine appointments with people in the community, as well as with potential partners or people who can contribute their time or skills at the community center.

Monday, March 31, 2014


The internet has been down yesterday and today, but I have been so excited to share the progress on The Green House with you! I’m writing this Monday afternoon, however, I’m not sure when I will have internet and be able to post the update.
It has been a very busy weekend around The Green House! The yard and the house are transforming before my eyes! This weekend, the landlord (Uncle Sam), really rallied his guys to get things moving. He had two dump truck loads of sand, along with one dump truck load of crushed rock, delivered for the foundation for the fence. Building a fence is back-breaking work here in Liberia! They had to cut down all of the bamboo that fenced in the property, dig up the roots and then dig the 3-4 foot deep trenches that will be the foundation for the fence. Uncle Sam also had the cement blocks, steel rod and bundles of zinc delivered.

On Sunday, the guys dug the trench for the front fence, and they’ve been working hard today on digging the trench on the side of the house. Let me tell you, the sun is hot today…and they’re moving hundreds of pounds of sand one shovel full at a time. The carpenter also came today and has already removed the old zinc off of half of the house. He is fixing beams, setting lines and getting things ready to put the new zinc on over the next few days.

The plan is to work simultaneously on the roof and the fence. After all of the cement dust settles, they will move inside and start the painting, laying tile and all of the other small tasks. The roof should be finished by the end of the week, and the fence will probably take 1-2 weeks. The welder is also working on the steel gate for the fence so that it will be ready to hang once the fence is finished.

A very exciting discovery is that LEC (Liberian electricity) has poles along the main highway, so I will be able to have electricity at the house! This is HUGE! I have been debating about what to do for electricity, and this is the best, easiest and most cost efficient option. We haven’t had electricity in this area the entire time I’ve been in Liberia, so the timing is absolutely perfect! Once I have internet again, I will fill out a hook-up request form online and submit it to start the process of getting electricity!

I have been surprised at how fast things are moving—talk about an answer to prayer! All of my dealings with Uncle Sam have been easy, and we’ve sat around the palava hut in the heat of the day just talking. One of my prayers has been that he would really catch the vision and get behind the dream, and I hope that in sharing my story with him, he has been able to see how God has been moving, working, answering prayers and providing to make this a reality.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Roller-Coaster

The last 48 hours have been a roller-coaster.

I thought I was going to Liberia on Tuesday, but instead, I took an overnight trip to New York.

I was mentally and emotionally prepared--my life here was in shutdown mode, and my life in Liberia was booting up. I was ready, excited and was filled with peace.

After a late night and early morning, I returned back to Atlanta on Wednesday morning. I was reunited with family and friends. I got pizza for lunch--something that I had wanted to eat before I left, but didn't. I spent the afternoon with my sister and mom, helping my sister get her nursery ready. I slept in my own bed last night, with a ceiling fan and fluffy warm covers. I was happy to have an extra day at home.

Last night, I prayed that when I checked the flights this morning, that it would be very clear whether or not I should try again today or wait until next week. I wanted big, obvious results...which didn't happen. Right now, the computer says I should make it to New York, and then to Accra and Monrovia. The problem is that things can easily and quickly change, and there's no way to know.

My sister called me, and she pretty much kicked my butt. It wasn't fun. It was emotional. I told her I needed to finish reading my Bible and praying and then I'd make a decision. I read 2 Thessalonians today.

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one...And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good...Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way."
2 Thessalonians 3: 3, 13, 16

[well, first excuse to my sister this morning was that i was exhausted, and the thought of traveling for two days just makes me even more tired.]

And, let's be honest: I really wanted to be in Liberia for Small Ashley's birthday (which is today). I had promised Momo that I would be there for her birthday. And that's clearly not possible. So then I started thinking that since it's so close to a few things happening here, that I was bummed about missing out on, that it's ok to stick around here until next week. 

I think some of the emotions came from realizing that, before it felt like either/or...and today I have realized that it's a neither.

So, I'm leaving for Liberia today. I don't know what will happen in New York, but I know that I can't not try. If the numbers were obvious, and trying was foolish, of course I wouldn't do it. But right now, I should make it on all flights. I wish I just knew the outcome, and knew I'd for sure be on my way to Liberia tonight. But the reality is, I don't know what's going to happen. I do know, that I'm going to put one foot in front of the other, and go to the airport at 3:30 for a repeat performance. 

I would appreciate your prayers! I'm praying that God wouldn't even let me leave Atlanta if Liberia isn't a possibility today. I'm praying for a seat out of JFK, so that I will wake up in Africa tomorrow. I am continuing to trust in God's good plans and perfect timing. 

I will already have a friend waiting for me at the gate in New York...a Liberian who didn't make it on Tuesday either. So, at least if I don't make it, I won't be stuck alone. I will keep you all updated on where today takes me. Love you all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Return to Liberia

So here is my usual night-before post. It's 2am, but I've been packed for hours. I spent my day running errands and space-saving and weighing bags over and over again. I had the traditional "Last Supper" with my family and friends. Tonight's menu: homemade meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, salad and ice cream. All the comforts of home.

I have said almost all of my goodbyes. Things are getting real.

But let's be honest....I've felt like I was going to throw up since about 4pm. So many mixed emotions. I have been away from Liberia for almost one full year...the longest amount of time for the last 7 years. But my heart and mind have been so close to Liberia this whole time. I am so ready to be back there--sweating, the ocean breeze, Liberian-English, laughter, my children and my family!

But this is also the first time that I've left for Liberia and I'm already looking forward to coming home. Strange. This will be a very short trip, compared to my usual 7+ months. I will be in Liberia for 5 weeks. But when I come home, I will become the proud aunt of two more nephews!

I know things have been quiet around here, but let me just tell you that God has done so much in my heart and life just over the past few weeks! He continues to answer prayers. He continues to provide. He continues to expand my heart. He continues to guide my steps. He is here, He has gone before me, and He will follow behind me.

God has also done so much healing in my own heart since I was last in Liberia, and I am so excited to go back to Liberia with a new heart and new eyes. A huge part of that healing was me forgiving Liberia. It was a long and painful process, but it brought so much freedom and joy! It was also necessary, in order for me to take the next step of faith, and actually finally agree [aka be obedient] to return to Liberia.

I can see how God has heard my cries, answered my prayers and filled me with joy. He has torn down walls, given me purpose and made my heart full.

Tonight, just before my sister said her goodbyes, she asked what she could pray for. I started off by telling her to pray that I wouldn't get Ebola and die. And that there wouldn't be too much drama with my landlord. And then she said, " no seriously..." and I said, "seriously....ok, pray against the enemy. God has been doing so much, that I know he is ready to fight." And it's true...for the past few weeks, I've felt like I need to arrive with my dukes up.

She then asked if there had been a verse or a theme or anything that I'd been thinking about. And the answer to that is YES! I just keep thinking, "the old has gone and the new has come." I have also been praying, "Jesus, make your joy the anchor of my heart."

I am so. ready. to get to Liberia. Yes, I'm dreading things--like sweating, stifling heat, landlord and money drama, Liberia drama, etc--but I am also looking forward to sweet reunions, celebrating Small Ashley's first birthday, the laughter of children, watching The Green House transform before my eyes, the ocean=my sanity, prayer walking in Cooper Beach, claiming scripture in my yard and in the house, sharing life with my neighbors, and sharing the stories with all of you!

You can be praying that I make it on all of my flights tomorrow (I'm flying standby the whole way) and that all of my bags would make it. Pray for divine appointments in airports and on airplanes. Pray for protection, good health (p.s. there is an Ebola outbreak in Guinea on the Liberian border) and rest. Pray that I would be able to collect the photos, videos and interviews that are needed for this next round of fundraising. And most of all, pray that everything would be done for His glory!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support. I truly could not do any of this without you!


Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28

We did it--today is the last day of February! Thank you for joining us on this prayer journey! We are so grateful for all of our fellow prayer warriors who have spent the past month lifting Liberia and Red Meets Green up to the throne! Today we are praying for the most important thing--that everything that we do would be for His glory and that we would make ourselves available to be used for His purposes!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 27

Today’s prayer request is something that’s been heavy on our hearts. Join us in praying against evil in Cooper Beach and Liberia. Everything from secret societies and witch doctors to the effects of the war that people are still dealing with today--Liberia is full of darkness. Praise God that His light has already overcome the darkness! Pray that people would turn to the Light.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26

Join us today in praying for God’s perfect timing. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the big picture, or we find ourselves becoming impatient. Pray for peace and that we would have a total release of our own plans, and trust in His good and perfect ways.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25

A huge part of our ministry will focus on education. Join us today in praying for the schools, teachers and students in Cooper Beach. Also pray for the educational aspect of The Green House, as this will be our starting point once we are in Liberia full-time.


Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24

Today’s prayer request is huge...something that only God can do! We are praying for freedom and forgiveness for the people of Cooper Beach. 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23

God has been ‘connecting the dots’ for us over the past few weeks. A way for us to minister to the people of Cooper Beach is through a wonderful ministry called Restoring Your Heart (RYH). Pray for wisdom and direction for how this will work. Pray, even now, for the lives that will be forever changed from participating in a Restoring Your Heart group. You can also pray for Ashley, as she begins the process of being trained to lead a group. RYH is something that God put in our path, and now we really believe that it will be a crucial component of our ministry to the people of Cooper Beach.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22

Saturday, February 22: Today’s prayer request goes along with yesterday’s. One of our greatest needs right now is more finances. We reached our goal to pay for the remainder of the rent and for the repairs of The Green House! We now need finances to cover trip costs, and to furnish the house and get necessary supplies for the community center!

Pray for creativity and discernment when it comes to planning fundraising opportunities. Pray that people would be led to give. Also say a prayer of thanksgiving for all our faithful donors! Red Meets Green would not be possible without you!

We would love to share about Red Meets Green, if you have a group of people who would listen. Just let us know!

[This is an ariel photo of Cooper Beach. The small red pin just south of Robertsfield Highway is The Green House!]


Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21

Would you join us today in praying for potential new partnerships? Whether it’s new donors, churches or other organizations working in Liberia, we need to connect with others! Pray for divine appointments and that God would put people in our path who have a heart for Liberia.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20

Join us today in praying for Red Meets Green’s personnel needs. We need people with certain skill sets--administration, graphic design, video/photo, CPA, non-profit lawyer, fundraisers--in the United States. Also pray for our personnel needs in Liberia, and potential employees at the community center.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19

Getting a non-profit up and running requires a lot of paperwork. Today you can pray for our 501(c)3 paperwork process with the IRS. They are incredibly far behind in assigning tax-exempt status, and we need this before we can begin the paperwork process in Liberia. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18

It’s always exciting when people want to travel to Liberia! We have over 10 people who have inquired about coming to Liberia this summer! Pray for the logistics. Pray for clarity for those who are seeking out if this is how they’re supposed to spend their summer. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17

Join us today in praying for God’s provision for Red Meets Green’s ministry. Pray that we would be filled up to overflowing, so that we can overflow into the lives of those we serve in Liberia.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16

This week, we are going to be praying for things that specifically relate to Red Meets Green and our work in Liberia. Today we are praying for wisdom, guidance and clarity, as we plan for the upcoming year. Pray that we would totally surrender our plans to His will.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15

Today’s prayer request is for all of those in Liberia who are victims of domestic violence and rape. Pray for protection, justice, courage and strength. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate today, we are praying for marriages in Cooper Beach--for restoration, healing, protection, true love, respect and commitment.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13

Today you can be praying for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (“Ma Ellen”), the President of Liberia, and other leaders. Pray for guidance and wisdom. Let’s also pray for the future leaders of Liberia.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12

Join us in praying for churches, pastors and missionaries in Liberia. Pray that the Good News would spread, and that because of Him, the hearts of Liberia’s people would shift.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11

Happy Liberian Armed Forces Day! In celebration, we are praying for continued peace in Liberia. We are praying for safety in Cooper Beach and are thankful for all of those who serve and protect Liberia.


Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10

Today we are praying against corruption in Liberia. From the leaders to the citizens, that Liberia would break free from something that is holding the country and its people hostage. Pray that honesty and truth would be valued, and that leaders would serve as the example.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9

Because it’s Sunday we thought it would be easy to remember to pray for Christians in Liberia. As you go to church today, thank God for your religious freedom. Pray that Liberians would experience Christ in real ways and that their faith would be strengthened.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Oh, The Privilege!

Can I just be real with you for a minute?

This is something that's been burning in my heart and mind over the last week or so.

It's not the most pleasant topic. Something I hate to talk about, actually. 

I'm talking about money.

But I'm also talking about me, you, Liberia and Jesus.

Ok, here we go.

Raising money isn’t about ‘getting me to Liberia’ or ‘making this thing happen’. Raising money is about meeting needs and changing lives. It’s about offering hope, and Jesus setting captives free. It’s about love, generosity and selflessness. It’s about healing, forgiveness and restoration. It’s about obedience and having a front row seat to miracles. 

Raising money is also about the practical. It’s about a new roof that needs to be replaced within the next few months before rainy season comes. It’s about creating a home where guests can come and serve alongside. It’s about a community center opening its doors to the people around it and spreading His hope and love. It’s about creating jobs, empowering families and taking care of those who serve them.

But the honest truth is that money is needed for all of this to happen.

So today, I am inviting you to join me on the front row! I’m providing you an opportunity to take a step forward, out of obedience, to sow seeds and plough the fields as a partner in this thing we call The Great Commission. I cherish your prayers and encouragement, but something even more incredible is that God delights in your generous gifts. He delights because we are opening ourselves up to trust in the God of the impossible. He delights because we are obedient—in the big and the small. He delights because we sacrifice and think about someone besides ourselves. He delights because we use our time, gifts and talents—things that are from Him, by Him and because of Him—to invest in the Kingdom of God.

I can’t say it enough: this God-size dream isn’t about me or Red Meets Green. It’s about a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ, being stitched together, to bring His hope and healing to an obscure country on the other side of the world. It's about a group of people giving sacrificially for people they’ll never shake hands with or chat with over a cup of coffee. It’s about being a part of something bigger than ourselves—oh, the privilege! 

The question is, will you join me?

To make a donation to Red Meets Green's ministry in Liberia, visit our website and click the 'Donate Now' button.

February 8

Today’s prayer request is for people in Cooper Beach who need the hope of Christ. Also pray that Red Meets Green would be a vessel for His hope.


Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7

Join us today in praying for people who are hungry (physically and spiritually) in Cooper Beach. Pray that God would meet their needs.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Dusty Road

[It’s after 1am and as lay under my warm covers, attempting to go to sleep, my mind begins to wander. This is nothing new. However, tonight my mind wanders to the dirt road that I live on in Liberia. I begin to think about that road, and I can’t stop thinking about it, so I grab my computer and begin to type.]
I’ve never lived on a dirt road before, not until I moved to Africa. The exact color of the red dirt is vivid in my mind. I can feel the dirt caked on my feet--a reminder of where I’ve gone. When I’m in Liberia, no matter how many times I scrub and no matter how much soap and water I use, the dirt of Liberia does not come off. My feet are permanently caked with the red dirt of that beloved country. It is inescapable, intrusive and persistent. Strong, for a road that doesn’t even have a name.

I begin to think about what that road has seen. In dry season, the road is so dry that it’s almost a constant dust storm--blowing into my house and covering everything inside. And during rainy season, it eventually becomes a well-worn rushing river. As the water flows, it tries to erase the road, but the road never gives in. Somehow, some way, she survives. She is determined.

I also think about all of the feet that have traveled on that road. Tired and weary feet that have kicked up her dust. Feet that know the road well--like the man who calls, “empty bah-tle” almost every morning--or feet that are on the road for the first time. The things the road has seen. I begin to recount.

My neighbors. 

To my left is the Passawe family--an ever-growing family with ever-growing responsibilities and struggles. Parents who would do anything to provide for their children. But it’s difficult when you can’t read or write. Again, to my left...Menitama. A gas station, small convenience shop and cement depot by day, and a music blaring night club at night. Mr. Menitama was shot on that dusty road a few years ago. He died, leaving his wife to run the family business. Moving across the street. One neighbor who woke me up screaming in the middle of the night because their house was broken into and everything of value was now gone. 
Next to them, a house full of children. Children who make me laugh when they dance in the rain in only their flip-flops, or want to come closer but are terrified of my harmless dog. I’ve also heard their screams many times as their parents beat them for punishment. To the other side, neighbors who are dear friends, and have also had their struggles. Armed robbers, again. And then you move behind my house. 
I can’t see those neighbors because of my cement wall with barbed wire on top, but we are all somehow still connected. Every morning, I hear children laughing and singing. It’s an orphanage. Another neighbor, who came knocking on my gate late one night because something was wrong with their newborn baby. We walked as fast as we could in the dark and through the garbage, only to find the baby laying on the bed, not breathing and blood drops under his nose. The mother weeping in the front yard, while neighbors gathered to bury the tiny baby in the ground. And then there’s “the praying woman”. Her gut-wrenching cries and prayers frequently wake me up around 4am. I’m never sure if she’s angry or desperate because I can never understand her, but she is crying out to God for something.
I think about every person who has ever come to my home. They have walked on this dirt road. And myself, I have strolled down the road, leaving dust in my wake, hundreds of times. I walk to visit neighbors. I go to the road to meet friends. And my favorite route is straight towards the ocean. It is my escape. After a long day and a big bowl of rice, I put on my “beach shoes” and duck out of my red gate and start walking down the dirt road. The children across the street call out to me and wave. I pass the woman selling roasted corn and snacks.
The music of Menitama is my soundtrack. I wait to cross the highway, a constant parade of traffic heading into town from the airport. I run across the busy highway, and I breathe alittle easier because it means I’m almost to my happy place. The cool breeze has a calming effect, as I get closer. I pass more children--”the jumper” and the small girl who swears her name is Snow White. Willie and his friends are playing marbles, or have carefully drawn out a game of hop-scotch in the red dirt. I say hello and shake hands, and try to get to the beach without a following of children. I just want to be alone, to think, make up songs, or pray. I enjoy singing my favorite songs as loud as I want. Nobody can hear me above the roar of the waves.
I get the end of the road and walk across the football field made of sand, filled with pieces of glass and lined with garbage. I pass through the grassy area, watching where I step, and ignoring the people using the restroom behind the bushes. I can see the water now. I get to where the grass meets the sand, stop, take a deep breath, scan the horizon, kick off my flip-flops and jump down onto the sand. Some days I’m more tired, and just sit down in the grass, and close my eyes and breathe in deep. But most days, I walk south towards the hotel. After four years, I’ve got the sunset all figured out, so I know that I have enough time to turn my back and walk for awhile, and when I turn around to walk back, I can enjoy the best part of the sunset. I look for shells, sing worship songs and feel the breeze on my face. I manage to escape from my day and from this country, if only for a moment.

But back to the road.

My dusty road is like my own journey. Rainy season comes and tries to carve out it’s trail. Holes form and people try to repair them, but it’s never quite the same. In the driest of dry season, the dusty road is desperate for water...even if it’s just enough to make the dust go away for a moment. The red dirt welcomes people, and sends people on their way. It ushers in new life, and death. It makes a mark on every person who journeys on it. And for some, it leaves its mark and doesn’t want to come off. 

The red dust is caked on my feet. I carry that red dust with me, even now; even though my feet are clean. The thing is that every person who’s walked that road and gathered dust on their feet has walked across my heart. There are dusty, rust colored foot prints all over my heart. The road is just dirt. But so much has happened on that road. The road has changed over time. It has been the gateway to my heart, for all of the Liberians that have walked on that road and knocked on my red gate. As soon as the red steel gate opens, that person is part of my life. They are friends or family. They change my life, and maybe I change theirs. We laugh together, and sometimes cry together. They take me in, as if I’m their daughter, mother or sister.

The best part is that when I get back to Liberia, that will still be my dusty road. I won’t have to run across the highway anymore on my way to the beach, because I will live alittle closer to the salty breeze. The red gate will be gone, and my neighbors will change. But we’re all still on the dusty road. I will still say hello to the woman selling corn. I will still hear the sounds of Menitama, but from alittle father away! I hope to still be able to hear the children at the orphanage singing “All Hail, Liberia Hail” every morning before school, as they raise the Liberian flag over the school yard. So many of my friends will walk down the road to come to my new home. And so many new friends will step foot on that dust for, perhaps, the first time.

There will still be needs and hurting people. One of my new neighbors told me his stories from during the war. How rebel soldiers would walk up from the beach when the family would be cooking and order them to hand over all of their food. They feared for their lives, so every day, they handed over what little food they managed to scrounge together. They eventually walled in their small kitchen and added a steel door just to be able to feed their family.

My dusty road. If only that road could talk. To share the stories of the people of Cooper Beach. To celebrate the life, and mourn the death. To smile and look expectantly towards the future. Seeking change. Sensing hope.

And the soundtrack of Menitama continues, I’m sure.

[I don’t have any great ending in mind for this reflection. I just knew that I had to write about my dusty road and all of the memories that are there. Otherwise I’d be rolling around for hours, playing with all of the words in my head, hoping to remember in the morning. We all know how that goes...I wouldn’t remember a thing! Maybe this story is headed somewhere else entirely, but for now, I wanted to get it down on paper.]

February 6

Today we are praying for those who are suffering from poverty and disease. Pray for provision and healing. Pray for solutions and freedom. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February 5

Today we are praying for the marginalized people of Cooper Beach--the elderly, widowed, disabled, one parent households, child-led households and the orphaned.