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!

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