First Day at The Green House!
Yesterday was an incredibly exciting day here in Liberia! After years of praying, dreaming, planning and waiting, the gate was rolled open for children in the community to come inside for drop-in activities! I had no idea what to expect, as it was only advertised by word-of-mouth. And really, there were only two mouths advertising to not very many people. I didn’t really have any expectations—I thought it five kids came then it would be good. I rolled the gate open just after 1pm and sat in the palava hut and waited. After about ten minutes, I made a comment about how it might be a slow afternoon. Just about that time, a group of children holding hands came around the corner. And after another minute or two, another group of children were coming inside. Groups of children just kept coming!
After about 15 minutes, the palava hut was full of children anxiously awaiting the afternoon’s activities. I did a quick headcount and there were 43 children. I welcomed everyone inside and explained to them that we were going to do different activities and have fun. We began by passing out coloring book pages. After coloring, Beneetta read the creation story from The Beginner’s Bible. Beneetta was fantastic and the kids paid careful attention to her every word. She turned a two paragraph Bible story into 30 minutes of fun! After that, we took a vote—dancing or playing games. Dancing won, but once the music started the kids weren’t dancing very much. And then the speaker battery died. So, we moved on to playing parachute games and playing football (soccer). In all, we spent over three hours having fun, and I told the kids that they could come back again on Friday afternoon for other activities.
On our evening walk to the beach, me and my young adult team of Liberians debriefed on the afternoon and brainstormed for how we could improve. We all decided that right now, it’s ok to do fun activities while we are getting to know the children. However, once we have a better idea of the needs and abilities, we will probably have groups that break off for tutoring, reading help and other learning experiences.
I was exhausted last night—I laid in front of the fan and ate cookies slathered in peanut butter and chocolate spread—but I couldn’t help but reflect. Yesterday really was a dream coming true! It was the first of many fun afternoons. Yesterday was a milestone; an accomplishment, an answer to so many prayers and a testimony to our faithful God! Just thinking about the future gets me excited! I can see the yard full of children—laughing and learning. I can see women sharing their hearts with each other around a table in the palava hut. I can see teenagers finding a comfy spot and getting lost in a book. I can see families gathering for a movie night or football tournament. I can see hearts and lives, and in turn, a community, being changed. I can see God moving and working, forgiving and healing.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love, support and prayers! You are a part of this story, the dream and answered prayers. You each hold a piece of The Green House. More importantly, because of you, the people of Cooper Beach will experience and know the love of Christ. My continued prayer is that this house will be a light shining in the darkness. The the four walls of the fence would be filled with protection, but also with grace overflowing. I cannot wait to share more with you over the coming weeks, and I hope and pray that you will continue on this journey with me and the people of Cooper Beach!