Thursday, August 07, 2008

Liberia at Wake Crossroads

Last Sunday we went to a new church, a fairly large and influential church in north Raleigh, Wake Crossroads Baptist Church. I was feeling a little down about church in general and sorry for myself in particular. On our way out , we passed a board for ministry opportunities, and I was instantly struck by the picture of a little girl on a brochure hanging on the board.

I recognized her. I called Amanda over, and her mouth dropped open. She recognized her, too. She is a Liberian girl at Mama Feeta's orphanage, Rainbow Town.

It was a brochure for Touch the World Ministries in Morganton, NC, led by Pastor Homer Murdock, and the picture was indeed of the Liberian orphans he came to see in 2004.

The organization I was working for, Samaritan's Purse, had decided against doing very much at the time for this group of orphans, but my supervisor, John Freyler, contacted another ministry which might invest in them. I met with part of TTW's board in May of 2004, and pleaded with them to come, telling them stories of these incredible women and children who had survived torture, near murder numerous times, and starvation, deprivation, and homelessness.

In June 2004, Homer came to Liberia to look into helping Mama Feeta's orphanage, and we took them to Barclayville to meet Mama Feeta, Jackson, and the children, then on to Gbarnga to see the 50 acres of orphan land that might be useful as a home and farm for them.

The rest is history. Rainbow Town is the site of Touch the World's two-year commitment to Mama Feeta's orphans. TTW built two dormitories based off an initial design I drew up in 2004. (I'm not an architect, but I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night.)

In partnership with TTW, Samaritan's Purse invested thousands of US dollars there as well as Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church in Laurens, SC, our family's home church. Others have also joined the vision to provide for these 100 children, such as a family in Oklahoma whose daughter, Lauren Selmon, interned with us in Liberia in 2004.

There we were, standing in north Raleigh in Wake Crossroads Baptist Church in 2008, looking at the effects of the small connecting work the Lord did through us in 2004 and 5.

Amanda said, "Do you see? That's God's encouragement for us."

While scores milled around us in the church foyer, we stood there about to shout in gratitude for how the Lord honors our small, pitiful offerings of life and heart.

Below are pictures from that June 2004 trip in which Homer met Mama Feeta and her kids, and we saw the orphan land that would become Rainbow Town.

June 2004: Loading the truck at ELWA to head to upcountry. You can see Homer in the cap in the middle. Others waiting are Samaritan's Purse interns and friends from the Beechee Mennonite orphan ministry along with Terry Harmon from Samaritan's Purse. Dennis Aggrey is securing the tarp on top.
Homer Murdock (center) discusses orphans with Jackson Quinesear (R) and Dennis Aggrey (L).

Homer presents Mama Feeta a ground hog he bought just down the road for her and the children. Mama Feeta said, "Sweet meat!"
Behind them stands one of the older orphans named Genesis.

Home talks to the children and gets footage for his church. John Freyler and I look on.

A shower of rain comes, but Homer keeps enjoying the kids along with Lauren Selmon, a Samaritan's Purse summer intern.

Homer shows the children digital images of themselves.

The "Orphan Land," 50 acres for sale for US$25 an acre. This soccer field you see is the front field area of Rainbow Town. John Freyler and Dennis Aggrey talk while I point up the hill to where the orphanage and school are located today.

This is the approximate location of the Rainbow Town fish ponds and the rice mill barn that Chestnut Ridge built and Hopewell Baptist Church finished with metal siding.

This is the path we took through the bush to get to the soccer field. The path now comes out at the corner of the metal rice mill barn.