I recently returned from a visit to see the CRF programs in Liberia. People have been asking me how it was. I have mixed feelings about the country. Historically, Liberia should have all the amenities, government, economy and services like the US. It was founded by freed slaves after our Civil War. But it doesn’t. After years of corruption, abuse, their own Civil War, dictators, coups, and neglect, Liberia is a country that has so many needs. If I had to sum it up, it is as if a developed country slipped back into becoming a developing country again. But the people have tremendous hope; they see a better Liberia on the immediate horizon. I feel it too. I met enough people and heard their stories that it provides a beautiful vision over the next few years.
I spent time with each of our programs while I was there. The children’s faces are etched in my memories and prayers. Our Crozierville program is one that could use your prayers and donations. Over 30 children live in very cramped quarters in a small 3 room home. Their school is on the grounds, but doesn’t have a physical structure. The children have classes on the front porch, back porch, kitchen, storeroom, and under the big Mango tree in front. Besides the children at the home, another 150 or so children come from the local community to attend school on the grounds. Many local parents know the home to be a safe site and do not want their children going off very far to go to the other public school. It isn’t safe.
There are bad men out there to take their children. They know it, they fear it, and so they choose to send their children to our small home to get an education. It is a school without classrooms, blackboards, books, desks, or a library. It has teachers willing to teach for almost zero pay, and yet this is a better choice for their peace of mind.
The girl in the center of the picture (dressed in pink) is one of the sponsored children. Her name is Martha and she is about 9 years old. She has been at the home for almost a year. When I asked her how she came to the school, she withdrew, put her fingers to her mouth, and said, “They saved me.” I had to find out more, so I asked our coordinator, MacAnthony to tell me her story.
One day last year, the villagers found the body of a young girl nearby. The alarm went out and soon word came in that another girl that had been taken might still be in the area. A call came into MacAnthony who started his search for this girl, Martha.
Martha was found in the possession of a group of evil men that the locals call “Heart Men.” These men are ritualists and had purchased Martha and the other girl from their families from a far away village. It was unclear, but I believe the price was $700.00 for each of them. The men had a client in South Africa that had requested the sacrifice of two young virgins for him, and he paid them to find the girls and ritualistically sacrifice them. It turns out that he had a big business deal looming and he believed this sacrifice would help him have a good outcome. He is well educated, and you would never be able to tell that he is anything other than a successful businessman from South Africa. The Heart Men say that they use the body parts to make “Ju-Ju” or black medicine. This is supposed to give their client power in business, politics, or personal health.
Martha has terrible memories. Being sold by her family, taken by strangers far from her home, watching the other girl be sacrificed, and dreading her fate. But she was rescued. But she now has the chance to grow up in the safety of our children’s home and be educated. She is learning about Christ and the ultimate sacrifice that He paid for mankind. Martha of all people can understand that. She told me that she is happy in the Crozierville home despite all the hardship because she was found and rescued. She now has a new life with a new family of sisters and brothers. She has hope for her future. We pray that the only sacrifice Martha makes in the future is when she gives her heart and her life to Jesus.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we usually think about those we love and remember them with a gift. Will you give to help our Crozierville Children’s Home in Liberia? They need a school building, school supplies, another dormitory for boys, and a kitchen to cook in. They need to pay their teachers and to be able to eat more than one meal per day. Will you help keep these children safe?
Some of our children in Liberia do not yet have sponsors. You could be the one to step in and help to rescue children like Martha from lives of hunger, poverty, and abandonment. Your sponsorship will bring hope.