Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Power of Forgiveness...

This past week I had a chance to take our new intern Ashley and our SPUS guest Cathy to Bopolu to see some of our projects.  We saw CLP and WASH projects-how encouraging!  I want to start with a WASH story and my next blog entry will be about CLP-hope that is ok with everyone ;)

Small Bong Mines is a village that we have worked in for over 5 years...It is one of the most enjoyable communities to work with.  Our very first project there was BioSand water filters and then we followed up with latrines.  We have had filters there for a looooonnnggg time and every time I return-they are still working providing clean water for families.  I would like to thank at this time, Leigh-Anna Pitts (WASH intern 2006) and Sarah Singer (WASH trainee 2006) for being the main WASH peeps to establishing not only a great project in this community, but also lasting relationships that are still remembered. 

One of the many filters in Small Bong Mines...

Pastor Mark and his community, from day 1 caught the vision of partnering with SP to help re-build their community-that was destroyed by the war.  As a result, they have worked with us to improve their water and sanitation issues, implement a sheep and goat project and helped re-build their church.  All of this was done with the community taking the lead and being a joy to work with.  

On our visit-pastor Mark told us an incredible story that once I heard it, I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.  During the civil war in Liberia, Small Bong Mines was pillaged and destroyed.  Everyone fled. Rebels came through and burnt the church and homes.  When pastor Mark returned there were only 2 houses left standing-everything else was a pile of burnt rubble.

Pastor Mark went on to say that a little while ago a truck broke down on the road that passes by Small Bong Mines.  It was late at night and a man from the truck came to the village asking if there was somewhere he could spend the night.  The elders of the village met and decided that they would let the man stay at the church, feed him and give him some clean water (from a BSF) to drink.  That night as the men sat and talked to the stranger-the man went on to explain that he was a rebel during the war.  He was one of the rebels who came through and burnt Small Bong Mines.  He told the community in detail how they burnt the church-and left only two houses up-he pointed to them-and they were the same houses that pastor Mark had indicated.  The village still let him sleep there.

Would you give your valuable clean water to your enemy?

The next morning when the man was to leave he said to Pastor Mark "please forgive me yah?"  Pastor Mark replied, "My man, GOD has forgiven you and so have we".  Whoever is reading this I want you to really let this sink in. 

Imagine your town, your house burnt by rebels looking to kill, rape and destroy-you flee and for 14 years never are able to return.  Peace comes and you go back to find your town and home are poor-you have to rebuild slowly, whenever you have enough money.  Then one day-years later- the very man who carried out the terrible acts on your village is in your town asking for shelter, food and water.  What would you do? 

"...Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others"- Colossians 3:13

Recently, we have seen the power and even celebration of revenge.  When I heard this story I was almost moved to tears-honestly I was- a village forgives the very man who destroyed all that they had.  I don't think that we, fully understand the power of forgiveness.  For those of us who have been forgiven by an amazing Savior, we get a taste of it-and man, how powerful it is...

Please understand-I have no idea what I would do-would I forgive someone who had destoryed my home?  I don't know-so please don't think I am judging-but what if the world forgave like the people of Small Bong Mines did?  I am pretty sure it would be a very different place...

I leave you with this powerful piece of Scripture found in Romans 12:17-21(NLT).

"Never pay back evil for evil to ANYONE.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.  Dear friends, never avenge yourselves.  Leave that to God.  For it is written,

"I will take vengeance;I will repay those who deserve it"-says the Lord. 

"Instead, do what Scriptures say:  "If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you."

"Do not let evil get the best of you, but CONQUER evil by doing good!"

I will update on my post-marathon running and possible races in my next blog...


  1. I find this an extremely timely piece with the recent news of the death of Osama Bin Laden. Makes me continue to reflect and wonder what our response should be in situations such as these. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the shout out...I am happy that there is such progress with the work. The story that you shared is very powerful. The connection to scripture is a great reminder. I think that if we even grasped and applied even a small piece of this, we would see a huge impact.

    P.S. I haven't had anybody refer to me as Leigh-Anna Pitts in a long time - too funny.