Isaiah 58:12 “And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations.” (ESV)
In one verse, this is our purpose for going to Liberia. During the late 1900s and early 2000s, Liberia was ravaged by civil war. Their buildings were destroyed, their people killed, their families torn apart. Our focus is to help establish a generational vision for godly family. During the day, we will be leading an all-day kids conference that focuses on identity in Christ. Many of the children do not know who their father is, so we will particularly be emphasizing God as our Father and talking about our value as God’s princesses and princes. In the evenings, the adults on our team will be leading a pastors’ and parents’ conference about establishing a godly family.
I first heard about this mission last September (2012) on a dance retreat. Our speaker, Pastor Steve, had been to Liberia five times and was planning his sixth trip. He wanted to extend the invitation for our group to join him in Liberia to minister through dance. I was instantly captivated. On my way out the door, I thanked him sincerely for his relevant messages that he had shared over the weekend. He looked at me and said, “You’re going to Liberia with us next fall, aren’t you? I can see it in your eyes.” From that point, I knew I had been called.
Fast forward a few months, and I am attending an informational meeting about the missions trip to Liberia. Joining us is a pastor from Liberia, Owen, who shares with us his heart for Liberia. We learn about the history of Liberia, its culture, and our mission. With each new insight, I find myself getting more and more excited. The apprehensions disappear when I am talking to Pastor Steve and Owen. I can tell my mom is excited too. After the meeting, I talk with some of the other girls and parents who attended the meeting. Their fears and concerns are evident. I wonder why I don’t feel that way.
As the weeks pass, I pray more and more about this missions trip. As the weeks pass, I find out that each girl who went to the meeting is no longer able to go, for one reason or another. I am left.
Fast forward again. After much prayer and discussion, my dad also feels called to go to Liberia. The trip provides the perfect way to serve God together and to spend time with each other before I leave for college. His presence also alleviates that last concern of male protection in Liberia. What an answer to prayer!
Fast forwarding yet again, the trip is now only two weeks away! Only fourteen more days until I board a plane to the “sweet land of Liberty”. Our team consists of about twenty teens and adults from churches in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The team is split up into a building team and a family team. My dad and I will be ministering with the family team – a group of five teen girls and two fathers. Over the past months, I have had the opportunity to connect with the team. I know that by the end of our journey, we will be as close as family members. One of my favorite things about this whole process is seeing how each Christian is part of a larger body. Sometimes I feel secluded in my Northern Virginia Christian bubble. But the family of God is so much bigger than that! Getting to minister with other believers in a different state has shown me that truth first hand. A glimpse of God’s kingdom on earth: the body of Christ yoked together in a common purpose to do His will.
– – Phebe