Happy Thanksgiving!  We are truly thankful for all of you!  We decided to send a special letter out to you all this holiday about a family in Liberia we are very thankful for.  This letter will allow you to meet people who are so thankful to God in their many trials.
Maude's Story

Dear friends and family,
Kim and Maude

The picture is of my good friend Maude Kellen.  I met Maude on my first trip to Liberia in March 2005 as a translator in the eye room.  As I got to know her those 3 short weeks, we became fast friends.  Maude is near my age and at that time she had 4 children and her 2 older boys were the same ages as my own boys .  Also, Maude had married young like I did.  We had a lot in common! 
Here is Maude's story:
In 1990, Maude and her husband had 2 boys, ages 10 and 13. She was a nurses aid and he was a businessman.  They really had a nice life. 
Then war came to Liberia.
Drug-induced rebels killed, raped and mamed without provocation. They broke down and burned people's houses and belongings.  War here was brutal.  Many, including Maude, escaped by running and hiding in the 'bush".  They would eat anything they could find.  Maude ran with her two boys with a group of women that banded together.  Her husband stayed behind to protect the little they had left.  Maude stayed on the move for one year until they reached the border of Guinea where she knew there was a refugee camp.  She thought they would be safe at last.
But the Guinea people hated the Liberians.
The refugee camp was hard.  She had to sneak a bowl of rice just to feed her sons. They beat them and nearly starved them, but the Liberians were now trapped there.  After 6 months, Maude was able to escape with her boys.  They returned to Liberia only to find one of her neighbor's daughters wondering alone in the street very frightened.  The rebels had murdered her parents. She couldn't find her younger sister. Maude immediately took Evelyn in to be her own.  She went to look for her husband and found her husband with another woman.  Now hurt, tired, and grieving with an extra mouth to feed, she entered the church. There she came to know Christ.  Her faith grew!!  And the war continued--- for 12 more years! She devoted her life to serving in the church and stayed there.
At the church, she met a man named Morris.  They became friends they talked about the horrors of the war and how God had kept them safe. They fell in love and soon married.  When they thought the war had ended in 2000, they decided to have a child.  They named him Robert.  The older boys were now old enough to be on their own.  Morris and Maude now had Evelyn and Robert.  They worked in the church teaching and training others.  No paying jobs were available.  They lived hand to mouth for years.  The war started up again --- and came to their city! They had to hide once more.  The war finally ended in 2005.  Everything was destroyed.  Every animal was eaten (including elephants!).  There was no more running water.  There was no more lights. But, they thanked God for all He had done and was going to do.
Maude and Morris
Now the rest of the story.
Morris is now in school on a scholarship to be a teacher (but he has to pay teachers for each of his grades due to corruption.)   Maude began work for Mercy Ships and has worked for us for 4 years. Our translators are only paid transportation money....Maude was grateful for the $5 a day.  They were living in a rented mud house that leaked badly in a very dangerous part of Liberia for 4 years, but recently they were very excited to move into a clean room that did not leak. The room is in a house they share with 3 families.  The house used to have electricity before the war as well as running water. ( That was now 20 years ago. ) The wheel barrow was used for transporting their sick people to the nearest road so they could catch a car that took them to a clinic. Now it is missing its wheel. Cooking is actually done outside over coals for the one meal a day that they eat.


 Then, a surprise! They finally found Evelyn's sister this year and took Pinky in.  The sisters were so excited to be together again after 7 years!   Soon 2 other small children, Jerilyn and Grace who were abandoned by her parents became part of the family.  Now they are seven!!  They are such a happy family and have a lot of fun together.


Maude and Morris love the Lord and love their children. Last year we heard about their schooling probems. They cannot afford good schools, but pay to send them to the small church school. But, learning is slow there. Glenn and I taught them about home schooling and this really interested them so they decided to try it.  Well, the two older kids learned SO fast that they are now going to be able to skip a grade in school!! They are completely sold!
Maude has always been a strong prayer partner for me and diligently prays for Glenn and I and our family (particularly our children).  On more than one occasion she and her husband. Morris, have taken it on themselves to fast and pray for us and our children.  She has taught me a lot about faith and holding onto the Lord when things are hard.  I hope I will never know the horrors she has seen, but I am thankful she has shown me the faith she has gained through it.  I know that my faith is much stronger now because of Maude. They have committed to continue to be on our prayer team.  We are so blessed that God has brought such devoted prayers to our team!
I just wanted you all to know about this sister in faith and her family .  As Liberia is improving, there is now the possibility of being able to move from their one room rental.  After the war, they had the forethought to buy the cheap property that was for the picking.  They borrowed and bought a piece of land. It is now paid for so they took Glenn and I to see it.  We traveled down dirt roads that turned into dirt pathways through the brush until we finally had to stop (after almost getting ourselves good and stuck in the mud).  We walked another mile through the brush, past snake skins, while being eaten by fire ants ( yes...they have fire ants in Liberia!)  I DID ask what kind of snakes I needed to watch out for!!  Maude and Morris just laughed! (not too comforting! Obviously my faith was the weaker one! Ha!)

These pictures are of buildings in process in the area.  One church was washed out by the rains because it was built from mud. There is a mission nearby for the children to attend school.  It is also not far from their church and there is enough land to have a large garden, too. ( Maude loves to 'farm'!  Another thing we have in common!)  The best part is that the area is quiet...and safe!! 
Pray that they will be able to raise the funds needed to build a home here.  They will need to raise $4000 for a 2 room house (with no electricity).  $8000 for one with a kitchen and bath (without running water).  Building a solid foundation in Liberia is where most of the cost is.  It rains a lot here!!  We are praying with them that God will bring this about and they will find others to help "carry their load" (as they say in Liberia.)

If you would like to support this project please contact us by email.  Funds will be processed through our Mercy Ships account and forwarded to them but we must know if you have designated funds for this use.


Glenn and Kim
Mercy Ships

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