Happy New Year!

Beautiful Liberia! All of us at Spirit Liberia would like to wish you a "Happy New Year!" It has been an amazing year of incredible growth and change within the organization. God has opened many doors and poured out His blessing on the work He has called us to. We look forward with great anticipation to the coming year. We know that things are difficult right now with all of the economic struggle in the world but be encouraged. God is still in control! With this in mind, we know that you want to make wise decisions concerning your charitable giving especially in these unstable times. Please consider making a year- end tax-deductable gift to Spirit Liberia. Spirit Liberia is working hard to spread the gospel and provide humanitarian relief and sustainability in one of the poorest countries in the world. We are working to create full financial sustainability for the ministry within 3 years time. This means through special Spirit Liberia projects we will be growing the investment you have made in us to provide financial independence for the organization. This is so exciting because it means that we will not be fully dependant on donations in the future (Lord willing!). We want to be good stewards of the finances that God entrusts us with. Just like in Mathew 25:14 through 30, the parable of the Talents we do not want to bury what God has given us, we want to grow and multiply it for His service and reward. We cannot accomplish all of this without your help now. The people of Liberia have suffered much, but are strong, eager to work and ripe for the Harvest. Please join us in reaching out with the love of Christ and helping them back up on their own 2 feet.
We will have a big announcement coming in January! Exciting things are happening, and we would love for you to be a part of it! Please send us an e-mail to
bogdans@spiritliberia.org if you would like to receive our monthly newsletter “Rootsource”. This is a great way to stay informed of what is happening in Liberia. May God bless you in 2009!
~Spirit Liberia


Meet Bestman

Bestman Todawiah- Ministry Coodinator, Spirit Liberia
Bestman with Family: Wife Jestin, sons Christopher, Diamond, and Stephen

Bestman with son Stephen

Bestman preaching on the street

Bestman (in hat) along with Pastor Richards and some local children working at Pillar of Fire Church's agricultural site.

Moving on to the next staff introduction, we are now to Bestman Todawiah. Bestman has been working with Spirit Liberia for only a few months, but he is blending well with the team and we are super excited to have him on staff. Prior to working for Spirit Liberia he was partnering with Dan Gjerstad, an American Evangelist who spent a year in Liberia with his family. Together they did street preaching, prison outreach and various bible studies and other ministry activities. This was not a paid position for Bestman.

Bestman is Ministries coodinator for Spirit Liberia and heads up our evangelistic ministry. He is doing a GREAT job and has a true heart for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Bestman is a meek and gentle man, who is not afraid to step out on the street corner and preach loud enough to be heard over the crowd.

Bestman is married to his wonderful wife Jestina. They have been blessed with 3 boys, Christopher, Diamond and Stephen. They are a wonderful family and we are so very blessed to know them. Thank you Bestman! We love you!



Ministry Update

Handing out tracts in Sanniquellie

Brother Bestman preaching in the market in Sanniquellie

Some of the beautiful fruits of the agricultural projects Spirit Liberia is sponsoring.

The WORMS! This is Shad showing us how to eat them :) Actually he says they are only good fried and if you have them fried you will LOVE them and want to eat them all of the time!

Purchasing the worms, like everything else, you take them in a small plastic baggie.

Prison Yard

Pastor Richards speaking with men in a cell.

These are the 3 men who accepted Jesus while they were there ministering. Praise the Lord!

Brother Bestman preaching in the prison yard at Sanniquellie prison.

Prisoner information board. There are currently 80 prisoners in this prison. Only 6 of them are women.

Our guys on the dusty road to Sanniquellie. Pastor Richards is in the middle demonstrating the large trench in the road. He has one foot on each side, and the car has two tires on each side! Interesting!
This last weekend our staff went to the bush to work in a few different areas. They went to Lofa County to begin the process of hiring laborers for the larger parcel (35 acres) we will be farming there. The purpose of this project will be to aid in providing funding for other Spirit Liberia projects as well as evangelism. We will be providing evangelistic ministry to the laborers and in the community where the farm is located. Please pray for a successful crop! We are very excited about this project. Our goal with Spirit Liberia is to eventually be self-sustained. We hope to purchase a larger parcel that will become a great resource towards reaching this goal. We believe if we are trying to teach self-sustainability to the local people, we should also be able to be self-sustainable as an organization. We are praying and working toward the purchase of a 200 acre parcel in Bong county which will be the first major step toward this goal.
We have applied to and been approved by the government in Liberia (Prison Fellowship Ministry) to visit all of the prisons in the country. Our plan is to visit one of the prisons in Monrovia on a weekly basis and one of the prisons in the bush on a monthly basis. The guys were able to visit a prison in Sanniquelli this weekend during their trip. This time of ministry was a huge blessing and encouragement not only to the prisoners, but also to our staff. They were able to preach in the prison yard and also access individual cells for individualized ministry. During this time of individual ministry, there were 3 men in one cell who all were convicted to repent and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. These men also claim to have come from a Muslim background. Regardless of where they have come from, we are so blessed and honored to be able to be a part of God changing their lives. Their names we will keep private, but please keep these men in your prayers. Pray that God would grow their understanding and faith and that He would make Himself known to them in a very personal way. All of the prisoners were very surprised by the fact that anyone, particularly an organization, would care enough to come out to spend time with them. We were able to bless each prisoner with a bar of soap which was greatly appreciated. Our guys were so blessed by the move of God in the prison that they went from there to the market in Sanniquelli to do some street preaching. This was not even on their agenda for the trip, and we are so happy to see their motivation to follow God’s leading in all areas of ministry. They were able to preach and give tracts out to approximately 150 people and are anxious to go back and do a 3 day evangelistic crusade. They saw a great spiritual need there and are compelled to go back to minster with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On a another note, do you remember the WORMS???? If you missed that post, look back in the November archive and it is labeled “Bamboo Worms”. Anyway, the guys knew those worms totally freaked me out, so this weekend they took some special pictures of themselves buying and actually EATING a raw worm! Thanks Shad for sacrificing your pride and posing with a worm in your mouth for all of us to enjoy!
Blessings Everyone!
~Vanessa for all of us at Spirit Liberia


Is it authentic????

The verdict is out! Yes, the story is authentic!


" Every Man Heart Lay Down"

This is a Liberian Christmas tale. I was sent this story last year, and it is really cute. I have not confirmed how authentic it is, but I will check into it and post the answer! Either way you should enjoy it :)

"Every Man Heart Lay Down"

Long time past - before your father live - before his father live before his father's father live - long time past before them big tree live - before them big tree's father live - that time God live. And God look on the world - that He done make and Him heart no lay down. And He walk about in the town to see the people. And He sit down in the palaver house to know the people. And He sorry too much. And God say "The people no hear My Word.The people no walk My way. Nev mind. All I can do is make a new country - and make new people."And this time God's one small boy - Him small child hear God's Word, and the child grieve for people and for His Pa. So he go for God's face and make talk for His Pa."Pa, I come for beg you," so He say,"I come for beg you; Don't make the new world. Don't lose the people what you done care for. I beg you. Make it I go, I talk to people. I walk with people. Bye-m-bye they savvy the way."And the child go down softly softly and hold God's foot. (i.e.begged Him) So God look on Him small boy. And Him heart be very soft. And God say,Left me now, but hear me good; If you go you must be born like a man You must live like a man - and you must have hurt and have hunger. And hear me good; men will hate you and they will flog you, and Bye-m-bye they will kill you, and I no going put my hand there."(i.e. interfere)And the Child say, "I agree."And bye-m-bye God call Mary to be Ma for the child. Now Mary be new wife for Joseph and Joseph ain't touch Mary self. So first time Joseph vex. But God say, 'Nev min', Joseph; this be God palaver. And Joseph heart lay down. And God see one king who try for do good for all him people."Ahah, now I send my Son for be new king."And God send star to call the king. And in a far country, God hear a wise man call his name. And God say to the wise man, "I send my Son to be new wise man; Go now with the star." And the star call. And the wise men follow. And by the waterside - men lay down to take rest. And they hear fine music in the sky like all the stars make song, And they fear. And all the dark make bright like day. And the water shine like fire. And no man can savvy. And they hearts turn over. But God's angel come, And God's angel say, "Make glad, all people, God's child be born in Bethlehem."And the star come low and stop. But when they go for mansion house The star no be there. And when they go for big man's house,The star no be there. And bye-m-bye when they go for hotel, The star no be there again - "Ahah, the star be by the small house where cattle sleep! " And it was so. And they found Joseph and Mary and the small child fold up in country cloth. And the king bring gold for gift and the wise man bring fine oil and the country people bring new rice. And they look on the God child and every man heart lay down.


Training Update!

Greg has actively been training for the Marathon. He is doing very well and is truly blessed with an amazing ability to run long distances! Last Saturday he ran 14 miles and had no problems! He has been taking the boys along with him on some evening runs, and even I have been joining them. Well, I walk and they lap me, but it is fun! Here are some pictures of the workouts :) Please keep this Marathon in prayer. Pray for Greg and Tod to stay safe and free from injury and also that their efforts will be blessed. Thanks Everyone!

Stretching out before the big run!

Here are my guys! It doesn't get cuter that this! Listed in order: Greg, Jacob (9), Eli (9), Jaden (6), Samuel (5). They love to pass me when I am walking and show off, jumping over bushes and rocks so I can see that they are NOT tired!

Now he has dropped the boys off for a longer run. Here he comes!

There he goes!

Here is proof for my mom that I am actually doing this!!!!



Lease signing and payment!!

We want to say a BIG "Thank You" to all of you who helped us with the rental of the missionary compound! We made the first 6 months rent payment today and the rest will be due in February. We are so thankful that God saved this house for us. Until we made the payment and signed the agreement, someone else could have rented it first. We knew that God had this place for us, so we aren't really surprised that we got it :) Our God is so good! When He calls us to His purposes He will always supply our needs. We still need to raise the rest of the rental money and the money for the razor wire and generator, so if you are still ready to help it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again everyone! You are a blessing!


Another Staff Introduction: Mark Benjamin Koffa

Mark Benjamin Koffa, Field Coordinator, Spirit Liberia Mark showing off his new sunglasses that I bought him in Waterside. He so graciously carried my diaper bag all day :) They carry the backpacks on front so that no-one can steal things out of them. Thanks Mark!

Mark leading a wonderful time of worship at the Gjerstad's house. We had a staff/family dinner.

Mark working hard to retrieve my e-mails for me at a restaurant that has wireless internet.
Mark at the same restaurant getting my computer all set up :)
Mark digging our car out of the mud in Margibi as we traveled to visit his village.

Mark with his mother. This was taken in the village where he grew up, near Peterstown. It was a beautiful area, with a wonderful mountain overlooking the village.
Mark being shy about getting his employee Id photo taken!

Mark taking some video last March when we were visiting Nimba county.
Since mark is always behind the camera, we were concerned that we would not have enough pictures of him. Boy were we WRONG! I think he has more pictures here than the other guys!

The next staff member we would like to introduce you to is Mark Koffa. Mark is a joy to know and a favorite to pretty much everyone who meets him! He is responsible for all technical support and music development. He is helping with music for crusades/evangelism and he will be the star of our next Liberian Worship CD (we can't reveal more details yet, but it will be AWESOME!). We plan to bring Mark here to the US in March to begin recording the new CD. Mark is a VERY talented singer and also plays multiple instruments. He loves electronic equipment of any kind and does all photography and video for Spirit Liberia. Mark has a true heart for God. Just being present when he is worshipping God is a moving experience. Mark also manages and maintains our sound equipment, instruments, cameras, anything electronic. Mark is always there to offer a kind word of encouragment to his co-workers, his friends, his Boss (Greg) and Boss Lady (me). When I noticed how much of an encouragment he was in October, I told him he was appointed to a new position, General Encourager! He said he really tries to always be an encouragement to others and that he doesn't allow himself to get down or "vexed". It is all true. He is very even tempered and a wonderful friend, employee and brother in Christ. Like our other staff, Mark is willing to take on any task that we need help with. He will wash the car, push the car, sing, take care of the baby, and he would NEVER allow me to carry my own bag! We love you Mark, you are a gift to us and we do not take you for granted. Thank you!


Co Watah!

“Co Watah, Co Minah, Co Watah”, the 9 year-old girl intones in a futile effort to rise above the din of the busy marketplace. She looks around expectantly to see if she has any customers. If she can sell six or seven of the small plastic bags filled with cold mineral water for 5 LD (about 8¢) each, she will eat that night. If she can’t sell them, she will not eat and she will have to hope to be more successful tomorrow. Almost everywhere you turn, you see others like her.

Of all the scenes that I see in this economically-ravaged country, this is the one that haunts me the most as I lie in bed. It’s almost as if I am in a surreal world where the boundaries of fairness and justice have been utterly destroyed leaving only the most basic of sense of survival left in their place. No joy, no hope, no expectancy. The normal explanations accompanied by blame and passivity don’t seem to bring a real sense of relief to my questions about this situation.
I can’t change the world and I can’t even change a tiny part of this country, but I can view it with compassion and a desire to help in even a very small way. And yes, I can even look at it with anger knowing that a 9-year old girl will go to bed hungry because she couldn’t sell enough small plastic bags filled with cold mineral water for 8¢ each. And even worse, she faces tomorrow and a long future with much the same fate.
~written by Tod Whitwer

This post was written by a great friend of ours, Tod Whitwer. Tod is partnering with Spirit Liberia in a big way and we are so thankful that God brought us together. Tod will be traveling to Liberia with Greg in January. He does a lot of research and planning of the agricultural projects in Liberia. He will aslo be running with Greg in the Marathon. Actually, Greg decided to tag along with Tod on this Marathon and to do it all in support of Spirit Liberia. Tod has done numerous Marathons. Tod has 2 adopted daughters from Liberia and has a God-given burden of compassion for the Liberian people. Thanks Tod! You are loved and appreciated :)


Video of Mother Vanessa Foundation School Program

Here is our first YouTube video!  We will be posting many videos of Liberia over the next month.  They will be listed on our website or you can just visit our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/GregBogdan



So, we have been anxiously looking for a place that we can rent for our office and missionary housing in Liberia. We have found the PERFECT place! This will save us tons of money on lodging during our trips to Liberia and we desperately need an office space for our guys on ground over there to work from. Our long term plan will be to buy land and build our own facility, but for the next year or so we will need to rent. If any of you can help meet this need, we need to pay for 1 years rent by next week. The total need including rental fee, adding razor wire to the top of the wall (for security), and a generator to meet our electrical needs is $14,500. The urgency of our request is that until we can pay the 1 year rent we could lose the house to someone else. Please lift this need up in prayer and if possible financial assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support!


Mother Vanessa Bogdan Foundation School, Pillar of Fire Apostolic Church, Peace Island

Front of School

Vanessa visiting the school in October 2008

Inside school

School Children

Stacy Gjerstad, Kylee and Vanessa with the school children

Child from the school

School children

I want to introduce you to a school that Spirit Liberia is working with. This church named their school in honor of me. This is a first for me, but I am humbled and honored that they would do this. Spirit Liberia is sponsoring the agricultural project of this church. They are in great need and it is one of the poorest churches/schools we have seen in Liberia. The Pastor, Pastor Prince Zeaway, is a wonderful godly man. We are so happy that the Lord has brought this man and his ministry into our lives, and that God has allowed us to be a blessing and a help to them in their time of need. We would love to be able to send a barrel of school supplies to help the success of the school program they are running. The children have very little in terms of books, supplies, etc. Greg and I both were able to attend a program at this little school and the children have already learned a great deal. There was lengthy scripture memorization along with songs, nursery rhymes etc. We were quite impressed. This school needs help in a big way. If anyone feels led to send supplies we will gladly accept them. We hope to send a barrel of books, crayons, pencils, pencil sharpener, paper, notebooks, rulers, etc. before the end of the year. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Any contributions toward shipping would also be welcomed. Most importantly, please keep these precious people in your prayers as they dedicate their lives and the little they have to helping the children in their community. Pastor Prince is married and has 3 children with a new baby on the way in a few months.


Race 2 Hope!

Greg has decided to run the P.F. Changs Rock N Roll Marathon here in Phoenix in an effort to raise support for Spirit Liberia. Our goal is to raise $100,000! Yes, the goal is BIG, but we know our God is able! He is preparing a team of people who will be running along with him as well as organizing support etc. If you are interested in sponsoring him for the race or helping in another way, please contact us! We are very excited to see what God will do through Greg's efforts. Greg was informed about this Marathon through a friend of ours who is partnering with us in Spirit Liberia, Todd Whitwer. They will be running together with anyone else who decides to run this Marathon. The run will be on January 18. They will run the race, and then they will be leaving for Liberia soon after to oversee some of our agricultural projects. Please keep them in your prayers as they train for this run and as they again prepare for the long journey to Liberia (but hey, at least they aren't running TO Liberia!). I could not imagine EVER running 26 miles all in one stretch! If I added together all of the running I have done in my lifetime, I don't think it would add up to 26 miles! I know, that is pretty sad. Some of us were made for running, and some of us were not! Greg was definitely made for running and has been a runner since childhood. He actually LIKES it, which I totally cannot even relate with :) So, his training has begun, and here are some of the pictures of the 8 mile run he did today. ~Vanessa

Training! 8-Mile Run

The road to Hope can be long!

Oops! Ear phones are falling out!

Quick stop for water, thanks to a supportive wife who personally drove along to photograph and deliver water! As long as I don't have to do the running, I will do ANYTHING!

Still Running!

Okay, so this is not Greg training, but I had to sneak in a picture of my "other man". This is our son Judah, he is 18 months.