Jason and I are involved with Liberia for good now. We knew that a long time ago, but spending a month there this winter just solidified it. God has our hearts turned that direction, and we are way OK with that. :)
The following are 3 posts from our friend, Angel. It is all about a way for you to be involved in something cool called Project Hope. We are excited to be a part, and so we wanted to share the opportunity with you too! We can assure you from our time in Liberia that these needs are real... and that any funds collected will be used with integrity and as they should be. Thank you ahead of time to anyone who decides to be a part! You are supporting our friends and loved ones in Liberia... and we know you'll be blessed by it! By the way, the story you'll read about Georgia is about "our" Georgia... the kids' foster mother in Liberia, and our incredible friend.
Project Hope: Watching Hope GrowThe significance of the name Project Hope runs even deeper than what I've already mentioned...
This is a photo of my dear friend, Georgia, and her little girl. Before Liberia's civil wars started in 1989, Georgia had a hopeful future. She had a home and a family, a mom and a dad and siblings. She worked hard in school and earned a medical scholarship, which she used to go to college to become a nurse's assistant.
Then, came the war, forcing her to flee. In the chaos that descended on her village, she was separated from her family and caught in the crossfires of a battle. She was shot in the hand and leg and left along the road with many others for dead. After a couple of days, her brother, who had been searching for her, came upon her and got her to a refugee camp to heal. For the next couple of years, Georgia would move from one displaced person's camp to another as rebels took over. She would lose her father who was beaten to death and later her mother.
But still, through all of the loss, God's grace would find her. In the camps, Georgia heard the gospel and accepted Christ. She began to work with children as a nurse's aid and then received training from African Christians Fellowship International (ACFI) to teach. When the fighting again approached their camp, Georgia worked with ACFI to rescue the orphaned children in the camp and brought them to Monrovia where ACFI began their first orphanage. She has faithfully served the ministry since the early 90's to care for orphaned and indigent children.
Today Georgia is a foster mom and the Children’s Ministry Director for ACFI. She creates beautiful handmade African quilts, which she sells to Americans to supplement her limited income and help other women in her community start small businesses to send their children to school.
Nine months ago, Georgia asked our last missions team to name her newborn baby. We prayed and chose the name Hope because we want to watch Hope grow in Liberia.
Project Hope is about equipping more men and women in Liberia who love the Lord to use their gifts for His glory. We want to see Hope grow in Liberia. We want to see other children like Hope grow up strong in Jesus.
Project Hope Begins
Over the past few years, we’ve been able to watch God impact many lives in Liberia. So many of you have been part of it. Thank you! Because of your prayers and sacrificial gifts, we’ve had the opportunity to serve alongside African Christians Fellowship International (ACFI) as they live out the gospel among their people.
Some of the highlights of these past three years have been leading missions teams to serve at ACFI’s two homes for children, overseeing a sponsorship program in which 55 children are now supported, and building relationships with some of our very dearest friends.
From a micro-loan program with a 100% repayment rate to an agricultural initiative that’s struggled to take root, we’ve partnered with ACFI to discover the best ways to help the ministry thrive. And thrive it has! At their annual conference in February, ACFI commissioned 180 indigenous missionaries to go out into the fifteen counties surrounding the capital of Monrovia and preach the gospel. God is good!
This year, we began preparing for our third annual missions trip when we sensed God had another plan. It's always been really important to me to be a good steward of the resources that God provides, so when it looked like our team this year might only be 7-8 people, I went back to review our objectives for the trip. No matter how much I wanted to go, it was obvious that in order to have a significant impact and justify the cost of the trip, our team needed to be larger. In the end, our team leaders prayed and were led to delay the trip until the spring of 2012.
In that amazing way that God has of turning discouragements into opportunities, we soon realized that not only would we have a lot of people available for a spring 2012 trip, but we would also have the opportunity to strengthen ACFI’s ministry in an even greater way in the interim. And so, the vision for Project Hope was born.
Since partnering with ACFI, we’ve learned that one of the greatest struggles for an indigenous ministry is retaining its valuable leaders. Without a consistent way to compensate its fulltime staff, the ministry runs into the challenge of training people up into positions of leadership and then losing them to other jobs or ministries that have more resources.
The goals of Project Hope are twofold:
1. To provide ACFI with the financial resources to retain godly leaders who are qualified and equipped to lead their outreach and children’s ministries for a minimum of one year.
2.To project a renewed hope into ACFI churches over God’s ability to transform lives through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ.
The vision for Project Hope is a lofty one…to raise $35,000 by May 29, 2011.
While the amount seems great, we know we serve an even greater God who is able to take our individual loaves and fishes and multiply them exponentially. So instead of raising the same amount to send a team of 10 Americans on a weeklong missions trip, our little group is committed to raising the funds needed for one year in key areas.
Here is how the money will be used:
1. Two rounds of Micro–loans: These loans will be used by ACFI members to start small businesses. Loan members commit to meeting weekly for a business lesson, worship and repayment of the loan over a 20 week period.
20 loans at $200 are already funded
20 loans at $400 are partially funded
The need: $6800
(Remember that we already ran one round of loans and saw a 100% repayment rate! That means we already have one of the next rounds funded with the repaid loans from round one, and 20 people were able to start small businesses that are still bringing in income for their families.)
2. ACFI Missionary Staff Salaries: Funds will be pooled to provide partial monthly stipends to ACFI mission home staff, administrators, pastors and missionaries. Each sponsor will be paired with one of these Liberians and will receive a photo and letter from the supported staff member.
10 sponsors at $30 a month for one year
10 sponsors at $50 a month for one year
5 sponsors at $75 a month for one year
The need: $14,100
3. One Time Needs at the Children’s Homes
Maintenance (i.e. emptying septic tanks, roof repairs, vehicle maintenance)
Vocational school at the Deaf Mission (to equip deaf students with career skills)
Technology (an ongoing internet connection and maintenance of computers)
The need: $14,100
The great thing about Project Hope is that God is already doing amazing things to transform lives in Liberia. It’s our privilege to come and walk alongside as He continues.
Would you join us?
To give you can go to the sponsorship site at www.africanchildsponsorship.com and sponsor via Paypal, or you can send your donation directly to Christian Adoption Services with "Project Hope" in the memo line of your check (624 Matthews Mint Hill Rd, Ste 134, Matthews, NC 28105). You will receive a tax receipt for all donations.
Great ideas are coming in already for Project Hope! Here are a few:
1. Ami is selling beautiful handmade necklaces at great prices and donating the proceeds to Project Hope. She has a few up now on this site and will have more photos soon: (I already bought four of them for my daughters and their friends. So great for birthday party gifts!)
2. Matt and Tori are hosting a beach volleyball tournament and cook-out at a park near their house for their small-group and friends with a Project Hope entry fee.
3. Bob is donating what he would have spent on traveling to Liberia this year towards the micro-loan portion of Project Hope!
4. Our family is sponsoring at least one of the ACFI staff members, and we're raising support as if we were going to Liberia this year. I'm going to go through my jewelry and see what I can sell, too. We're still praying about what else God might have us do.
What relationships, talents, resources has God given you that can be used to bring Him glory through Project Hope?
I told Dan the other day that I love raising funds for Liberia. He looked at me like I might have forgotten for a moment how hard it is. "I know, I know," I said. "But overall, it's really fun to watch all the ways that God provides that I never would have imagined."
It's a fresh reminder to me that He is Yahweh Yireh "The Lord Provides." It's so interesting because there are several ways to translate Yahweh Yireh to fully understand what this name means. It means, "The Lord will see to it" or "In the mountain the Lord is seen." It was the name Abraham gave the mountain where God provided the ram instead of Isaac to be sacrificed. We have a God who sees all that we need ahead of time and provides.
So, yes, it's uncomfortable to be needy. It's uncomfortable to have to climb a tall mountain and see how tall it is without seeing God's provision until we're at the top. But what fun to stand on the summit and finally see how God has provided!
This is not a spectator sport! Won't you join us for the climb?