What an incredible treasure our team received from our new friends at Mission of Hope for the Disabled in Monrovia, Liberia! We are so thankful for the many lessons they have taught us and our lives will never be the same! There are about 80 residents at the Mission, with ages ranging from 1-69. Most are disabled. To be disabled in Liberia is to be considered cursed and therefore neglected, abandoned and forgotten. This vulnerable community has been through a decade of struggle: food and water insecurity, lack of medical care, no outside support or partnerships, having to defend against other organizations trying to take their land from them, not to mention surviving two civil wars in the 90’s and the ebola crisis which ended in 2014. The Mission’s only source of income is from a small amount of school fees they receive for running a school for residents and students from the surrounding community. There are HUGE challenges everywhere, but there is also beauty, potential, talent, dreams, community, faith and HOPE! Each member of this community is of great worth and value because they are made in the image of God and are “created 2 create!” We need each other more than words can articulate!
Our main goal for this first trip was simply to be present: to see, hear, encourage and affirm the humanity and dignity of our friends at the Mission. During our 10 days at the Mission we led an Art Camp with classes in video, photography and visual art where 100 students (residents and school students) could share their stories and creatively answer three questions: Who am I? Where am I? and What are my dreams for the future? Below are some of the videos, photos and visual art pieces they have created. Thanks to generous donations from members at Church of the Open Door, we were also able to hire local construction crews to replace old and leaky roofs on the girls and boys dorms!
There were seven Minnesotans on our team: Rose Larson, Agnes Cole, Bri Bulman, Lisa Nygard, Larry Berger, Paul Krussow and Mark Collier, and the trip was a four-way partnership between Inverted Arts, Disability Motivational Network, Open Door and Mission of Hope. Team member Agnes Cole lived at the Mission for 10 years, now lives in Minnesota with her husband Prince. They founded Disability Motivational Network to serve the disabled around the world; starting in Liberia at the Mission of Hope. Prince and Agnes are the heart and soul behind this trip and we owe a huge thanks to them for introducing us to our new friends! If you would like to donate to the physical needs of food, water and shelter for our friends at the Mission, you can do that at this link https://www.disabilitymotivationalnetwork.org/get-involved/.
So what are the next steps? We are looking at sending a second team made up of medical and education professionals and trauma counselors this coming fall, raising regular and ongoing financial support for food/water/shelter/medical security, providing scholarships for high school graduates, and developing short and long-term plans to support the launch of several of the Mission’s income-producing small businesses. Stay tuned and keep everyone at the Mission of Hope in your prayers!
Art Camp Videos
“Mission of Hope Story”