In the summer of July 2013, 17 teachers gathered for three weeks of professional development training. The group was affectionately called “The Green Group.” The teachers came from all over Liberia and represented various villages and tribes. They spent their mornings learning about Liberian Professional Teaching Standards and the afternoons learning how to teach writing. It was in the afternoon sessions that God began to work in a very mysterious way. As the teachers learned about the five step writing process and the six traits of writing, they began penning their ideas, fears, and passions. After a week of learning, it became clear that God was up to something in the hearts of the Green Group. Over the course of the three weeks, the teachers wrote from their hearts. They read their work aloud to the group. They talked about how the writing made them feel. They laughed and cried together as the pains of a lifetime of war and pain seeped on to lined notebook paper. What began as professional development, ended in a circle of friends who had experienced the freedom of writing. Two of the teachers accepted Christ as a result of the process of writing about faith journeys. The Green Group existed for three weeks, but their work will last for years to come. Below is a story from Harriet, one of the Green Group members.
My Faith Story
I’m who I am because of the grace of God. That grace has set me apart and enabled me to reach out to many towns and villages with the good news of Jesus Christ. My life before knowing Christ was full of anger, un-forgiveness, and selfishness. It was not easy for me to let go of my ways. I always wanted to “pay people back.” I didn’t come from a Christian home. My dad was an alcoholic and as a result, there was always very little on our table. My family was large with nine children, four boys and five girls.
In the midst of my sin, God’s grace saved me and changed my life forever. It happened that a missionary and his family lived in Yekepa. They worked at helping people who had needs. One day, while the missionary and his son were away visiting, one of the boys the missionary had helped stopped by their home and killed the missionary’s wife and daughter. Upon hearing of the death of his wife and daughter, the missionary said, “I forgive you Benjamin Morris and I love you.” At the wake service, the missionary was still saying that he forgave the murderer. During the service, the missionary gave an invitation for those who wanted to receive Christ to come forward. It was at that moment that I received Christ as my Lord and Savior.
The first lesson I learned about following Christ was to trust him and ask for his help in forgiving others who had hurt me. Though the journey has been rough and rocky at times, God has always been faithful to me. Knowing who I am today, tells me God knew me in the womb before I was born and set me apart. By God’s grace I have been able to travel into a few West African countries to build schools and reach out the less fortunate, abandoned and orphaned in Liberia.