It was the spring of 2007 when the Lord laid it on my heart to work for Samaritan’s Purse for the summer. I felt like I’d spent the two previous years living for the needs others in a way that did not allow the Lord to work in my life. I was in desperate need of alone time with Him– no other distractions.
My heart was set on the Sudan. If only I could convince my dad to allow me, his only daughter, to go into an unstable country. That would be a task.
My dad finally gave his permission for me to enter the Sudan (even though I know deep down he didn’t want me to go). But shortly after, I was talking to Samaritan’s Purse’s Vice President of Projects, Ken Isaacs, who told me about our work in Liberia. Liberia? Where is Liberia? I had never heard of Liberia. I was going to the Sudan. Everyone has heard about Sudan.
By the end of our meeting, I knew the Lord had another plan (as He often does), and I was going to Liberia. I was quickly intrigued by the nation’s history. Liberia was a democracy founded by freed American slaves, who proceeded to make slaves of the indigenous people. In 1980, a military-led coup overthrew the president, which led to two civil wars. Hundred of thousands of people were murdered leaving the country with a devastated economy. Liberia is still trying to recover from the affects of the civil wars.
I packed my bags and said good-bye and didn’t look back. I knew Liberia was exactly where the Lord wanted me. I knew this was His plan for me.
As soon as I hit the ground, I felt peace. I fit right in with our staff, and I was having a blast. I started my assignment right away, working in a home for rehabilitation for women after the war. I felt like I had been there for months.
During my second week there, I got an email telling me my grandmother was getting ready to pass away, and my flight home was already booked. I sat in staff devotions that morning in tears. Tears of course for the loss of my grandmother, but also tears of confusion. Why Lord? Why would you bring me all the way here, just to take me back? Why would I feel such a peace here, just to leave? I thought I was going to have the entire summer here! I was finally doing something that I felt right about. I needed this summer for me! I needed to get away. I don’t want to leave. But twenty-four hours later, I was on a plane headed back to the USA.
I didn’t understand at the time why the Lord took me all the way to Liberia to fall in love with the people, only to take me away so fast. To be honest I was upset and angry. But as I write this post, it has finally dawned on me. Almost four years later, I get to go back. I always felt that my time in Liberia was too short. But during that short time I grew a passion for this small African country and its people. And that is a passion that I will now be able to share with you during the next few weeks before my dad’s Festival of Life in Monrovia, Liberia.
While in Liberia, we will be documenting Samaritan’s Purse’s involvement in many projects. Two projects I am looking forward to sharing with you are women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and women who were recovered after the war. And we also will visit with ladies who are currently in our literacy and community health programs.