3.31.2009

Visit to Full Gospel Church and Childrens Home, Hope Village Community, Ganta City, Nimba County, Liberia

Pastor Valentine and his sweet wife (with me in the middle, obviously!)
The sweet woman who prepared the food for us! Sorry, I don't have her name!



Everyone enjoying the meal! They are eating in true African style, all from the same pot!

This is me eating "Palava Source" for the first time. This is a type of greens and was actually grown on the farm project that we have helped sponsor for them. This was one of the first harvests from this season! It was delicious! The name has an interesting meaning! Palava means dispute or disagreement, so the name "Palava Source" was given to this meal because they said that the kids love it so much that they fight over what is left in the pot! So, it is the source of fighting!

These are some kids from the orphange home. You will see the bigger girl looking at my head. She was petting my hair, and they were laughing! I think she just wanted to see what that "white person" hair felt like!


This is the list of rules for the orphanage. I though it was quite funny and interesting! They also had a daily schedule and menu posted, with everything signed, the management :-)
Meet Darsie Mooney! He is my new Liberian man :-) What a face!
Darsie would NOT smile if the camera was pointed at him! When they noticed that he was having pictures taken, they went and changed him into more presentable clothes :-) I think the little romper was just as cute!

We even tried to bribe a smile for the camera out of him with a coke! If the camera was put down, he had no problem smiling!
I was so happy to be able to make the trip out to visit the churches we are working with, in the interior on this last visit. I knew that it would be a while before I would be able to go out there again, so I wanted to make sure to include this in my visit. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will remember Full Gospel Apostolic Church. The main church location is in Ganta, and they have another branch in Kpoapa, which is a small community outside of Ganta. We had the pleasure of helping with some teaching at their convention in December/January. Pastor Valentine and his wife are amazing people! I dearly love them and whenever I am able to go and spend some time with them it is always a blessing for me. They run 2 churches, one in Ganta and one in Kpoapa town. They also run an orphanage out of their home in Ganta. They have about 30 children there. The kids are so precious! I was able to spend some time with them at their home this time and with the kids there. It was so much fun! We had a wonderful time talking and fellowshipping together. I am anxious to go back! I had the best Liberian food while I was at their house. It was delicious!
There was one little boy in particular that I just fell in love with. His name is Darsie Mooney and he is 7 years old but he is the size of a 3- 4 year old. He will always have a special place in my heart. I don’t know his story or how he ended up in the orphanage, but I am sure someday I will have those answers. For now, all I know is that he is a precious little man and is blessed to be in this orphanage home with such wonderful people who love him. God has a plan for this little guy and I can’t wait to see what his future holds!








3.26.2009

Prisoner Set Free!

Mark and Rueben
Pastor Richards, Rueben, Bestman and Mark

Paye, Pastor Richards, Rueben, Bestman and Mark


This story about what has happened during the prison ministry should be pretty interesting to most of you. I know it was a little shocking to me at first! While I was in Liberia a couple of weeks ago, we took a trip out to the Kakata Central Prison for the weekly ministry. I had been given strict orders by my husband that I was not to go into the prisoner's area and that was just fine with me! So, we drove out to the prison and I waited in the prison yard with Paye, our driver. The previous day Mark had been discussing with me a situation with one of the prisoners. He said there was a young kid, I would guess he is not more than 20, who needed our help. He said that he had been talking with this boy at the weekly discipleship visits and had become aware of his situation. Mark is very compassionate and is always helping people. I listened to the story and was actually a little shocked by the request! Mark said that Rueben (the prisoner), needed our help to be released from prison. Can you understand my shock?? The story was very interesting and makes sense to me now, but at first it was strange! Rueben had been a driver of a motorbike. This is a very common mode of transportation in Liberia, much cheaper and easier than getting a taxi. He was driving out near the airport and was in an accident with a vehicle and broke the windshield of the car. The accident was probably his fault but he did not have the money to pay to replace it (most Liberians would not have that kind of money on hand). The driver of the car pressed charges and had Rueben arrested. Rueben has no living family that were able to be there to help him. This was one year ago! There have been 4 different court dates to have a hearing and press formal charges but the owner of the car has never shown up for the court dates. This kid has been in jail for a year of his life, for a minor traffic accident in which the car owner doesn't even care enough to formally press charges.

While at the prison I had the opportunity to talk with Rueben, as well as the prison staff and verify that this story was indeed true. Everything checked out and it was clear that Rueben was a good kid, and did not belong in prison. The process began. We had to go to the court in Margibi County and file with the county attorney. We paid a small fee and within a week Rueben had been released! We were able to provide some basic needs for him and also some biblical counseling. Things are going very well for him now! The senator in his county has paid for a room for him to rent for the next 6 months and has also paid for him to start night school. This boy's life has taken a drastic change, all because someone felt compassion on him and showed him the love of Christ.

There is not a system in the prisons there for situations like this. We have been talking to a lot of people about this and it appears to be a chronic problem. People can be in prison for no good reason and unless they have someone to come and advocate for them they can stay there indefinitely. Please pray with us as we know that more situations like this will present themselves. Word has traveled quickly and prisoners think we are now in the business of helping them get out of prison! Pretty funny :-)

Finally, I don't want to give the impression that all or most of the prisoners are innocent or are in prison unecessarily. There are many hardcore criminals in there. We take some basic hygiene items to each prison we visit one time monthly and they have been known to reach through the bars and steal soap from us during prayer time before passing it out!

3.22.2009

Spirit Liberia Announces Shipment to Liberia, West Africa



Humanitarian Aid Shipment to Liberia
Phoenix, AZ - March 20, 2009 - In May 2009, Spirit Liberia will be making their first shipment of humanitarian aid and ministry equipment to Liberia. In an arrangement with Firestone Natural Rubber Company, Spirit Liberia will be able to ship a 20' container on the Harbel Cutlass vessel.

Spirit Liberia is very excited about this opportunity. It is an opportunity to bring much needed help to the people of Liberia. It is such a blessing to have Firestone supply the means of shipping - which they have agreed to do as part of their donation cargo program making it free of charge (minus port charges) to Spirit Liberia. This is an incredible savings and wonderful opportunity for us.

The container needs to be delivered to the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana no later than May 1, 2009. Spirit Liberia is on a tight schedule to complete all of the necessary paperwork, purchase a container, load the container, find a shipping company to get the container to Louisiana, and complete all of the necessary steps to see the shipment to port.

This is such a wonderful opportunity to see the poor and deprived in Liberia receive aid that is so desperately needed. There are several ways you can take part in this project:
1. Financial Support
2. Donation Items
3. Prayer Support

Financial Support -
We need your support to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that is before us. We only have about one week to find and purchase a container. This container will cost approximately $2,500 delivered. We need everyone that is willing to do something! Gifts of $25, $50, or more are so desperately needed to see us get to our goal on this project.
The total cost to get the container to port is approximately $4,000 and the entire amount must be raised no later than April 10, 2009. We ask you to please forward this e-mail to your friends, family, and anyone you feel would be willing to help.
Donation Items -
We need to pack this container as full as possible. For those of you who do not know how big a 20' container is, it is 20'x8'x8'. This is huge! We need to fill every square inch with aid and supplies. For a complete list of items we need,
click here.
Prayer Support -
We also ask for your prayers that we would be able to see this project through to completion. So many times we run into great difficulty getting all of the pieces together to see things achieved. We ask for your prayers and commitment to this project in any way you can. Your efforts will not be in vain!
HOW TO GIVE
There are two ways to give. You can give by check, payable to
Spirit Liberia and sent to:
Spirit Liberia
2219 W. Melinda Lane, Suite B
Phoenix, AZ 85027
Or, you can pay online with Paypal
CLICK HERE

WHY GIVE?
Your gift will be used to help bring much needed ministry materials, equipment, and humanitarian supplies to our team in Liberia.
Liberia is a country in desperate need of help, hope, and love. Spirit Liberia's mission is to revive the heart and soul of Liberia. With your gift today, you will be showing the love of Christ to these special people and bringing hope for the future.
Spirit Liberia is a 501c3 Christian Humanitarian organization. All gifts are tax deductible as approved by law
.

3.20.2009

Rock Hill Well

I want to give a quick update on the Rock Hill well project. For those of you who are new to this blog, I will give you a little background info.! Rock Hill is a very desperate community in Liberia. It is referred to as the Rock Hole. Basically it is a rocky area where they are harvesting rock by hand. Many who live there “crush rock” by hand for a living, including young children. This community has not had access to clean fresh water locally for a very long time. This has been a huge problem as many people have had to walk very long distances to get drinking water. Spirit Liberia has been working for many months to get a well drilled in Rock Hill. As you can imagine with such a rocky area drilling for water is a difficult task. This well is proving to be much more expensive and difficult than we had anticipated! About a month ago, we were able to get the well drilled and the water was flowing! The community was so happy and full of joy. As time has progressed, we noticed that the water was coming out clear, but after sitting for some time turned very orange. People were also complaining about the taste and smell of the water. We have had the water company come out to assess the problem a few times and have tried treating the well with chlorine tablets to help clear up the rust. This has not been working and while I was there we took some water for testing. Unfortunately the water has such a high Iron content that the Ministry of Health has declared it “unfit for human consumption”. So, we press on! We are working with the well driller to come up with a solution. It looks as if we will have to purchase a new lot and re-drill at least 500 feet from where this first pump was installed. This Iron is coming from deep in the ground and there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid it if we re-drill in this same area. As you can imagine, this has been a huge disappointment for us and the community there in Rock Hill. This project is now costing us much more than what was originally raised. Please pray with us as we press on to bring the water of life to this desperate community!

Previous water sources in the community
Drilling Day!Hitting water!Installation of the pumpHappy children :)
My first inspection of the water (not happy!) Discussing the problemYou can see all of the rust covering the cement and pump!

3.17.2009

A new blogger!

I want to invite you all to check out a special new blog! Mark Koffa, who does all of our photography, technical work, etc. in Liberia has become a blogger! I helped him set up an account when I was in Liberia and he would love for you all to stop by and visit his blog! You will find it at www.markthemusicman.blogspot.com . Thanks! I hope you all enjoy getting to know this wonderful guy!

End Time Pillar of Fire Youth Choir


video



This video is from a special service at Pillar of Fire on Sunday. This video is of the choir and also of a sermon from Pastor Prince. Be prepared! It is 16 and a half minutes long!

3.16.2009

Pastor Prince Zeaway and Family

I had the privilege of visiting with Pastor Prince Zeaway and his family during my visit in Liberia. They just had a baby 2 months ago and honored me by naming her after me! She is precious. They have 4 beautiful daughters. Pastor Prince is the Pastor of the End Time Pillar of Fire Apostolic Church in Peace Island, Jacob Town, Paynesville City, Monrovia, Liberia. This is also the home of the Mother Vanessa Bogdan Foundation School of Prime System. Spirit Liberia is sponsoring this church in agriculture and possibly in a micro-loan in the near future. Below are pictures of Pastor Prince and his family. Enjoy!


Vanessa holding baby Vanessa with Mom Zeaway holding some small gifts that I brought for the kids.


The Zeaway family: Pastor Prince, Wife Celelia, daughters, Faith (9), Blessing (6), Gift (2), Vanessa (2 months)

3.15.2009

Home!



Kylee painted the boys up to look like African warriors while I was in Liberia!



I finally made it home after a LONG day and a half of traveling! That really is a long and miserable trip. The trip was wonderful and I will be posting everything soon. I am totally exhausted and have 10 little people and 1 big person that need my attention, so I probably won't get a post up until tomorrow! Thank you all for your prayers for my safe travels. The trip was smooth and uneventful!

Blessings,
Vanessa

3.14.2009

Pictures from visit with Orphan Relief and Rescue








I am here in Brussels on my way home and have been able to get internet access! So, here are some pictures from my visit with Andrew Tyler. The picture of the big hole in the ground is a well that they are digging by hand. I can't even imagine how hard that would be! The guy that was down in the hole was chiseling away at the hard clay that was like rock. Amazing!

3.10.2009

Visit with Andrew

One of the privileges that I have had while I am here in Liberia was meeting Andrew Tyler, with Orphan Relief and Rescue. We have heard many wonderful things about him and have been excited about meeting him and seeing what they are doing here in Liberia. They work with orphanages that are generally unlicensed and locally run without help from larger organizations. In talking with him it seems that we are almost like twin organizations only we are working with local grassroots churches and Orphan Relief is working with orphanages. It was awesome to talk with him about what they are doing and have experienced here in Liberia and to be able to compare notes/observations etc. I was able to go and visit 2 of the orphanages that they are working with. It was wonderful! This was a very encouraging day. We really look forward to building a relationship with Andrew and Orphan Relief and Rescue and supporting and encouraging one another as we follow God’s call here in Liberia. Thanks Andrew and Denise for taking the time to show me some of your work! Please remember Orphan Relief and Rescue in your prayers and if possible in financial support. They are doing a wonderful work with a most desperate population here in Liberia. Their hearts truly are for God and the children!

I will post pictures next week when I am back home. The internet service is too slow to put them up now!

~Vanessa

3.08.2009

Back in Liberia



I know that it has been too long since I posted! Sorry! I have not been to the internet much. I have safely landed in Liberia and it has been an amazing and wonderful trip so far. The house is GREAT! I don’t think I could be happier with it. It is very “African” but it is in wonderful condition and much bigger than I expected. I have seen a giant flying cockroach and had multiple encounters with a little mouse so far. That is not to even mention the various gigantic spiders and the lizards running all around! There is so much to still fit into my schedule. I am sure I will not accomplish everything I need to, but that’s okay. Life will go on either way J I have been able to meet with 2 churches that we are working with and it was wonderful! I will post on each of those visits individually with pictures.

I miss all my babies and Greg. This trip is bittersweet in many ways. We want to be here full time so much, and I am incredibly grateful to be back. On the other hand we are not exactly sure when we will all be over here full time. Please keep this transition in your prayers with us. We have had a lot of changes happen lately with our finances (due to the economy of course!) so we sort of feel like things have turned upside down. We know God is in control, we are ready and now wait on His timing in filling in the missing pieces.

It has been so awesome being back with our sweet staff again. We are really like a family. We have a great time together and all just want to fulfill God’s purpose here. We are truly blessed!

3.01.2009

My Turn!

So I was told that I MUST do a blog this weekend. As you all know if you read the last blog, Vanessa headed to Liberia Saturday morning. I spoke with her today and she made it fine. So it is MY TURN to do a quick update. I am not used to doing these blogs so please forgive me if I am not following correct "blogging" protocol!

I will tell you that most people must think I am crazy keeping our ten children at home while Vanessa goes to Liberia. But I really enjoy it. My kids are so wonderful and I am so proud of each of them.

Of course I can say without a doubt that the house runs more smoothly when Vanessa is here, but we are all so happy that she can spend some time in Liberia, especially after seeing the last picture of the office. She really sees our guys in Liberia as part of our family and she has missed them so much since she was out there a few months ago.

I was so excited when I saw this picture. The new office sign is so beautiful and really looks great. I still have not been there to see it and am quite jealous that she gets to spend a few weeks in the house before I even get to see it. Vanessa will be working to get the office/missionary home set-up and "livable". We will be having our first missionary group stay there right when Vanessa is leaving and it is such a blessing to be able to have it available for them.

The Lord is good! God has really been working in our families lives the last few weeks teaching us to trust completely in Him. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When life is perfect, easy, and pleasurable, it is so easy to believe you are following God and in His will. But sometimes this is not the case. Sometimes God is waiting to groom us, and He needs us in a place He can mold us from. These trials are not easy. These trials sometimes can make us feel as though God has left us, when in reality He is right next to us watching after us, protecting us, and teaching us.
One thing spending time in Liberia has taught us is the joy that God can give His people as they go through trials. It is amazing to see their joy of these people as they struggle in ways we could barely comprehend. There is something so precious to understanding that as we hurt, God hurts. But God does not stress the way we stress. He does not get anxious about anything and He calls us to do the same. I am working to understand that at a deeper level than I ever have in my life. And even though I would never choose to go through some of the trials God is taking us through right now, I can say that I know He is in control and loves us the same today as he did yesterday, and the same as he will tomorrow!
Please keep Vanessa in your prayers as she is in Liberia the next few weeks!
In Christ,
Greg