Monday, April 4, 2011


If I was asked to describe what living in Liberia is like, to be very honest, it is a struggle at times.  I would also describe it as an adventure, extreme joys, and many other good things-but struggle would be one of the first words to come to my mind.  I don't say this to describe my life, no, I say this to describe the life for the many Liberians I have met through our projects.

The month of March is over, and it was a crazy month!  As I reflect back on it I had many encounters with people who by our standards are 'struggling'.  But instead of seeing sad faces, distraught with the reality of their own struggles-(none which were brought on by their own doing either) I saw something different.  I saw joy.  A joy that I am pretty sure I would have a hard time showing if I was in their situation.  Here are some of the beautiful people who are struggling, but reflect a joy that radiates...(pictures taken by Joni).

There is Anita (holding the stick) with her amazing mother.  Anita is going blind from HIV/AIDS and her mother takes care of her and her children-both of them are true reflections of joy in the midst of struggles.

We had an opportunity to pray with this young girl from Sorlumba (where we visited the CLP program) who is also struggling with sickness.  When we arrived she was so happy to see visitors and asked us to pray for her.

Ma Jenna who we were able to interview-struggled as the only Christian in her village-being beaten and mocked-but stayed steady and true to "the one true God" as she stated with great joy...

Many of the stories I have posted on this blog have talked about the everyday struggles that many women in rural Liberia face-not being able to read or write, no access to clean water, sickness, and the list goes on.  And then there are women like these three who not only struggle through these but have experienced the struggles of life on a deeper, intense level that you and I may never understand or experience.  All of them express a joy doesn't make sense to many of us. 

There is a verse that I found to help me understand this-found in 1Thes. 5:16-18 (NLT) "Always be joyful. Keep on praying.  No  matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus". These ladies despite what struggles life has thrown at them, belong to Jesus-they are doing exactly what God's will for them is-being joyful, praying and being thankful no matter what has happened.  

Training...Sigh...I was not joyful as I struggled through my run on Sunday.  Seriously, I hit a brick wall physically that made me feel like I had been hit by a truck-here are the pictures to prove it...(Joni took the pictures and also brought me my 'fuel' of water, Gatorade and Gu)
This pretty much sums up how I felt...

It was muggy and hot-at the half way mark I had to change my shirt as it was soaked with sweat...I took it off and wrung it out-and watched a good full cup of Bev sweat hit the ground (at this point Joni literally gagged).


I quit at ten miles-yes, I quit.  It's not something I am proud of-not something I usually do-but dehydration and heat won out.  Today I was going to write about something else on my blog-but yesterday's experience made me change my mind-at one point of my run I passed a young man on crutches, his left leg amputated from the mid-thigh down.  He had his soccer cleats on-he was heading to go play soccer-soccer with one leg-and I struggled?  Good grief...Once again, I was humbled, everywhere around me this past month I have met people who have struggled-like Anita and Ma Jenna-and their response was very different than mine. 

I don't know what will happen during the marathon-I won't lie to you I am a little scared.  But no matter what happens I will be joyful, praying, and thankful that I belong to the same Jesus as Anita, her beautiful mom and the many more women I have had the honour to meet here in Liberia. They have all taught me what true joy is -despite the struggles-they are why I run.


  1. Thanks for sharing Bev. I prayed for your friends in Liberia tonight.


    PS: Stay hydrated on your long runs!!!

  2. The training is the hardest. No joke. Running in the heat and humidity of Liberia would make the strongest of us melt. Race day is going to be great! The energy, the crowds, the food and drinks they hand off to you (what service!)- it's going to be great. And then dig deep, passionately deep, for the inspiration that puts one foot in front of the other for 26.2. "The pain won't last forever, but the memory will," is one of my favorite quotes about distance events.
    And you will be an inspiration to many, more than words can say. To your friends in Liberia, your family, maybe even yourself- to say from race day on, "If I could get thru that, then..."
    God bless, you, Bev.