Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pray for Liberia!

Seeing as how this is little corner of the world wide web is called Love in Liberia, and I keep thinking about how the month of February is centered around love, I tried to think of some catchy little love activity for the month. 

I've learned that sometimes, prayer is the best way that you can love someone.

I have wanted to somehow coordinate an organized prayer time for Liberia for a very long time! You might remember in 2012 when we did the 46 Days of Prayer, leading up to Lent. It was a time to pray for children by name, and people shared stories and emails about how much God was teaching them and challenging them during that prayer time.

Fast forward to 2014. 

I have this sense that God is just getting started. I am hoping to be able to travel to Liberia in March, once the remainder of the funds are donated to pay for the lease on the house (right around $1,500 to go!). Because February is about love, I thought we could come together as an online community, who loves Liberia, and just lift Liberia up to the throne. I feel like this month of prayer will pave the path before me to Liberia and will prepare the way for Red Meets Green's ministry in Liberia.

Every morning, I will be posting a specific prayer point on Red Meets Green's Facebook Page and Twitter Account. If you haven't already liked/followed us, go and do that, and then settle in for ways that you can pray daily for Liberia, the Cooper Beach community and Red Meets Green. 

 And so, for the month of February, I look forward to loving Liberia together as the Body of Christ. I hope that you will join us!

Friday, January 10, 2014


I'm sure we can all remember our childhood dreams. As a young child, I had dreams of becoming an Olympic gymnast. I realized that dream wouldn't come true when I quit my gymnastic career the summer after 7th grade. Then I moved on to my next dream. Being alittle more realistic this time, my new dream was to be a teacher. I found myself in the basement playing school with my sister for hours on end. Somewhere along the way, that dream morphed. I wanted to grow up, move to Nashville and work for a record label. I was on that track--majoring in marketing, working at a radio station, heavily involved with local bands--until Liberia happened. As soon as I stepped foot in my beloved red-meets-green-meets-blue country, that dream went away too. Now my dreams are bigger, better...God-given. Dreams grow and stretch us and allow us to dream the impossible. Maybe being an Olympic gymnast was impossible, but I still held onto a sliver of hope.

When I first got to Liberia, I'd ask children what their dreams were, and I would usually get a blank stare. The children didn't even know how to dream. And it broke my heart. It was so foreign to me that these children didn't even dream of being a policeman or doctor or singer. The children simply lacked the ability to dream. The great thing was that after spending quality time with them, they were beginning to dream! Kids dreamed of being the President of Liberia. George dreamed of being a pastor, while Rose dreamed of being a mother. Even my shy, quiet girl, Lucky [smiling at you at the top of this blog], dreamed of being a garbage collector. The kids were full of dreams!

One young woman who can dream with the best of them is Jogma. If you've been around here for any length of time, you know her story. In 11th grade, she found herself pregnant and kicked out of school. But Jogma dreamed of going to college. She dreamed of being a nurse so that she could help her own people. She was so bound and determined that she gave birth to her son Joshua [after 4 excruciating days of active labor] and started 12th grade a few weeks later. She was a young mother, living in an orphanage in Liberia, who gave all of herself, so that her dream could come true! Jogma also spent hours with me, asking me, "Auntie Ashley, what are your dreams?" And since that conversation, she has been helping me make my dreams come true in Liberia! Jogma will join me at the community center--she loves to teach others how to sew!

Jogma's first dream came true this past summer when she graduated from high school. Jogma took it upon herself to research her college options. In faith, she got herself to entrance exams, gathered admissions information and kept pursuing her dream. Jogma passed the entrance exam for the College of Health Sciences at Monrovia Bible College and her nursing school career will begin in February!

Jogma did all of this with the faith that God would provide the finances for her to go to college. Her first semester fees are $400. Jogma will receive $200 next week so that she can go and register for classes, and the remaining $200 will be due mid-semster.

Here is where all of you beautiful people come in! Each credit hour is $15, and each semester is 19 hours. That means each semester, her hours will cost $285. A very gracious friend has already committed to give $100 every semester until Jogma graduates! So that means we need to provide $185 each semester, plus miscellaneous fees.

I am inviting you into Jogma's story. Would you give $15, $30 or another amount to cover her credit hours? This is really about a group of people who give generously to tell a young Liberian woman that we believe in her and we want to help her make her dreams come true!

You can donate by clicking on the DONATE button the right hand side of the blog. You can also contact me if you'd like to put a check in the mail. And if you can't give now, you can be praying for Jogma as she begins this new journey!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking Ahead

God is so good! He has blessed me so much over the past few weeks! I traveled to Kansas City, MO to attend the Onething Conference through the International House of Prayer (IHOP). It was four days of renewal. I really felt like it was a time of celebration and thanksgiving for all that God has done this last year. I sang my heart out and poured out my praises. There was such freedom in the worship. The speakers were challenging. Creating real conversations within minutes of meeting people was something that reminded me how crucial community is, and also how much I miss it! The sights and sounds of 25,000 people exalting the King was breathtaking and encouraging. It filled me up! Those four days is what life should be like! Prayer, worship, thanking strangers, being renewed and challenged, wrestling through things, being real and letting others in, meeting new people, praying for strangers, having strangers pray over me, worshipping with total abandon...all of it! That's what I long for!

So now I'm home. Long and quiet days by myself. How do I incorporate the two? How do I worship wholly in daily life? How do I live in awe through the simple and normal? Where do I find community when I feel like it doesn't exist? It's all found in the four hour conversation at Starbucks. Sharing life, dreaming of the future and giving all of the glory to God over a cup of chai. It's in the quiet moments of the morning, before you feet hit the floor, when you quietly talk with Him. It's also found when you're driving down the road singing your heart out and you just can't help but take your hand off the wheel and raise it in the air. Worship is found in the normal. Community can be found over a cup of coffee. And Christ can be found anywhere that you are willing to look.

God is good. God is faithful.

He is worth the sacrifice; the hard, long and in the waiting. He is worthy of everything, if only I wouldn't forget sometimes.

But this journey isn't meant to be done alone. We need each other! Did you hear that? Independence is good in some situations, but when it comes to the things of God, it can kill you. It is killing us. It's killing me.

I learned a few years ago in Liberia during my "month of darkness" that solitude is one of the best weapons of the enemy. I was constantly surrounded by people, but yet I felt utterly alone. After days and weeks, I was dead. Paralyzed. Thankfully, my community rallied around me. But not until after I was open and honest and asked for help. I let them in. Isolation is constantly being used to tear down, divide and destroy. Why? Because it's something unseen and goes unnoticed, and then it's too late. How can you fight against something that you can't see? And it creates a bigger divide among the Body by the second.

Friends, in this new year, let's make an effort to join hands and fight for one another. Let's fight for relationships, friendships, marriages and community. We must be willing to fight. We must look at the situation as an urgent, nonnegotiable necessity! This fight, and joining of hearts, is where we will find true joy, life and purpose. Isn't that what we all desire?

I'm begging you (and myself) to fight for the people and things that matter. Slow down and stop for the person in front of you. Listen to them. Look them in the eye. Let our lips overflow with encouragement and our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and praise.

It's a new year. We only get one 2014. Let's make the most of it and live it well. Be faithful. Seek joy. Celebrate beauty. Just be honest. Make 2014 a year of wholeheartedness. In everything. And don't forget to tell His stories!

Happy new year! I am so expectant for all that God has in store for 2014!

Join me the the fight!