Liberia Blog

A Rooster’s Goodbye — 7/9/11 (7:58 pm)

Today was a bittersweet day seeing as it was our last day here in Liberia.  We had the opportunity to go to a village in the “bush” this morning called Leyan.  It was a self-sufficient village which means the people did most everything within their own village (food, church, school etc.)  It was the kind of village that someone would typically think of when they think about Africa.

The highlight of the visit to the village was the welcome gift we recieved from the chief and his people.  We got a LIVE rooster!  We named it C.L.T. (Chicken, Lettuce, and Tomatoe) and being in ownership of a rooster made for a very interesting afternoon.  Also, we recieved a second gift, it was called “Kala” (sp?) it is a kind of nut that supposively is known for “Blessing One’s Life”.  We were told that it is used in comparison to our chewing Tobacco in the states.  It gives your heart a little jump start, and can be addictive.  It was a very nice gesture and we were so thankful for each gift!

Back to the rooster…we kept him in the van while we ate lunch and stopped at a carving shop but the best part was when he got out of the van when the door was open.  We were in the middle of a crowded street and he was ready to go BUT thanks to some Liberian friends of ours C.L.T. was captured and later given to the cooks at the hotel for lunch tomorrow.  We went to Dona Maria’s, the “safe restaurant,” for our last time today and ordered pizza!  It was delicious.

The day and trip had a great ending when we finally got to go to the much anticipated African Ball!  The entire team got dressed up in our new African dresses and we went to the YMCA.  We were expecting a somewhat casual event, however, when we arrived we were met with champagne glasses, formal dining, and formal outfits.  We had dinner, as well as a few speakers and ended the night on the dance floor.

Story of the day:  As I mentioned earlier, we had no place to put C.L.T. during lunch so we left him in the van with our awesome driver, Jaku.  During lunch, Dr. Katip a.k.a. DK, went out to check on the rooster, opened the door, and asked Jaku how C.L.T. was doing.  Jaku responded with a hearty but blunt response…”He’s @&*#$&*@ all over my van.”  So thankful for the random gifts from the village people, and the memories they have given us.  We will never forget them!

Blessings from Liberia,

One last sign off from Liberia, well see you all back in the STATES

- the Bolty’s…I mean the Bulty’s…ok girls, seriously, stop fighting over which way it should be spelled!  I’m taking over and finishing this BLOG, GO LANCERS!

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Lady Lancers take on Liberia — 7/8/11 (8:11 pm)

Today was a big day for Liberia!  We played volleyball against the Liberian Women’s All-Star Team which was composed of women from the University of Liberia as well as the Liberian National Team.  This was one of the first competitive games against a foreign team in a very long time.  We were expecting a very competitive game, however, we learned just how far behind their country is developing in sports. It was great to be able to play against their team while setting an example of what their own teams could look like someday.

After playing the women, we played a group of men from the YMCA who were able to compete a little better.  It was fun to interact with that team as well.  Bethany Michalski did a great job in sharing the gospel, the reason we play, as well as our reason for being in Liberia.  It was pretty noisy, but we trust her words found the right person.  The atmosphere was a little different then the OCC, but we managed on the concrete floor.

After we were finished playing for the day we had the opportunity to give away some volleyballls that we brought, along with a ball cart for the team seeing as they do not have many supplies. Some of the girls gave away their kneepads and shoes to the Liberian team.

We also had the opportunity to buy some African dresses for the “ball” that the YMCA is putting on for us tomorrow night. After our games we made our way back to the hotel and enjoyed some time on the beach.

Lesson of the day: When traveling to a 3rd world country, always pack baby wipes and a flashlight.  Although we did OK in the electricity department today, we didn’t have running water to shower after playing volleyball.  Needless to say, baby wipes are a necessity.

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Soccer Camps and Shopping — 7/7/11 (6:09 pm)

We got to go shopping today!  We went to downtown Monrovia to shop, and it was a little crazy.  There are shops and vendors that line the streets to sell, as well as motorcycles and cars that drive through the already crowded streets.  As Americans, we stuck out, and we were bombarded with Liberians trying to sell us EVERYTHING. Believe it or not, the culture, clothing, etc., is very similar to America, so we had to search to find authentic African souvenirs.  Most of us, however, did find dresses to wear to the “ball” Saturday night (stay tuned for more details on that) as well as some other gifts.

After shopping, we went for lunch at Dona Maria, the “safe restaurant”, then headed back to the SOS Children’s Village.  We were a bit out of our element because we ended up running a soccer clinic in the sand and rain alongside Doc Lawson, but all in all it was a fun afternoon!

Quote of the day: Let me preface this by telling you that we were dividing into two teams: colored shirts vs. black & gray shirts… Dr. Katip (a.k.a. “DK”) asks, “I’m wearing a blue shirt; does that mean I’m on the black/gray team?”

So grateful for our provost, Dr. Katip, and the laughter he’s brought to our trip.

Doc Lawson (US Olympian Men's Soccer) running a soccer clinic at the SOS Village using us Grace VB team members as demonstrators. :) How neat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meeting the Vice President — 7/6/11 (6:14 pm)

Today we had the opportunity to meet the Vice President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai.  We met at the newly built Capitol Building because the original building was destroyed in the war.  We weren’t told that shorts or even capris were acceptable for meeting the Vice President so it was an honor that he preceded to meet with us still.  This spoke to the heart of the man.  He was very generous in meeting with us.

After our short visit with the Vice President we had lunch, then headed back to the YMCA where Coach Harshman, Dr. Katip, and Judy Fox led a leadership conference for YMCA youth and staff.  They discussed issues such as starting a program, building global partnerships and gender equity.  These are topics that will hopefully jump-start programs within the YMCA and beyond.

Lesson of the day:  Find a “safe restaurant.”  When you find a restaurant that 1)appeals to the taste buds 2)agrees with your insides and 3)is reasonably priced, GO THERE OFTEN!  We went to Dona Maria for our 3rd time this week and it was delicious.

“Although the leadership conference wasn’t necessarily intended for our team, it was a neat opportunity to be a part of and learn from.  As athletes of Grace College, several of us are interested in coaching and teaching in our future so the conference was applicable to helping us see how programs, both academically and athletically, are built.”        – Dana Johnston  #9

An incredible opportunity to meet Liberia's Vice President!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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T-Shirts and Tums — 7/5/11 (6:05 pm)

Post written by #5 senior captain Rachel Bult

Today was a full day of volleyball clinics at the YMCA.  We did a 2-hour clinic in the morning and another 2-hour clinic in the afternoon.  For both clinics we had about 40 people.  We have a variety of ages of both boys and girls so this has definitely been a unique clinic experience.  We have little girls and boys, grown women, and everyone in between.

With a limited number of balls and only one court in a small gym, we are getting very creative in planning and managing our sessions with that many players. We are learning how blessed we are to have great facilities to run our own Lancer Camps in.

At the end of our second session (the end of the day) we handed out the salvation beaded bracelets that we made and presented the story that goes with them.  The story tells the gospel so it was a great ministry opportunity.  Just as salvation is a gift to us, we gave gifts away as well.  Each person who came to the clinic today received a t-shirt that we brought to give away.  The relationships we are building and the foundation for sports, specifically volleyball, is becoming more and more evident each day we’re here.

Lesson of the day:  If you don’t know what is on your plate (especially if it’s being served in an extremely small portion) you probably shouldn’t eat it all in one bite.  We had a couple girls learn this the hard way today at lunch after diving right in to eat a sauce that was made of HOT peppers.  There was less than a spoonful on each plate because that’s how hot it really was.  Needless to say, the reaction was hilarious.  Good thing we packed Tums.

Blessings from Liberia

– Rachel Bult #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fourth of July in Liberia — 7/4/11 (8:10 pm)

Post written by #16 junior captain Stefanie Bolt

Happy 4th of July from Liberia!!! Before embarking on our adventures of the day we paid tribute to our country by singing the National Anthem on the front porch of our hotel.  We made it over to the YMCA where we conducted a volleyball clinic for about 50 kids. They ranged from both boys and girls from 4th grade to about 30 years of age. We went over very basic things as most of them are usually not around volleyballs. We saw a variety of moves to hit the ball that we are not to used too. The majority of kids try to kick the ball when it’s too low to get, seeing as they play a lot of soccer. I have to admit that the boys were a little harder to control then the girls. They would get their hands on a volleyball and start to play basketball. It was fun having both boys and girls in the gym because we usually do not get that.

Seeing as it is 4th of July, we got the afternoon off. The wifi  at the hotel was finally working (such a blessing on our independence day) so the majority of girls got to use the internet. Also, in the afternoon time we played a pick-up game of volleyball with some guys at the hotel. Judy had been talking up how good we are, so we finally had to show them.  She taught them to say a few American sayings, so when we went to play we asked, “Are you ready” and they responded with “We were born ready!”  HA!

We played on this little net on the beach where it was hard to fit six people on the court. However, despite the conditions, we managed to pull out a win.

The Liberians made sure to make our 4th of July a special day! When we made it down to where we usually eat dinner, we were greeted by some loud music. Therefore, of course we had to dance. Surprisingly we knew most of the songs and could sing along with them. Dr. Katip might have even danced and coach got it all on tape. They made us a wonderful BBQ chicken and rib dinner with mac and cheese on the side. They went out of their way to make our July 4th, 2011 a special day. There were no fireworks, but they were not needed. We had the company of the ocean,  each other, and our new friends.

Fact of the Day: Even across the globe all the way in Liberia, those who dance, know how to Duckie! (editor’s note: it is believed that it should read “how to Dougie”)

Blessings from Liberia

– Stefanie Bolt #16

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Church, Liberia Style — 7/3/11 (6:46 pm)

This morning we had the opportunity to attend one of Doc Lawson’s churches.  What an experience for the girls!  As we walked in, we were greeted by woman of the church that pinned a flower on us.  This means “we are glad you are here, and hope you accept an invitation to return one day.”  The service was powerful and energetic as most of us planned on…but we didn’t know what we were in for.  The choir was dynamic, the congregation was engaged, and the Name of Jesus was lifted high the entire time.  Our team felt that after experiencing church with the Liberians, that it was encouraging in their own eyes to see how we all worship the One true God.  We all know that and can say that when we are together at Grace College, but after today, it has complete relevance in our lives and we are never going to be the same.

A highlight of the service was when they invited the children’s choir to come up and sing a song while they did an offering for them to get more funds for their classroom.  These little boys sang so beautifully and then when they were finished, they brought out about 7 kids to play a singing game.  Basically what they did is they said the word Dosa to a certain beat.  It means “Whats your name?”  They have to keep the beat and spell their name out, if they miss the beat, they are out.  So it goes like this:

Dosa Dosa Dosa, Dosa Dosa Dosa.  I’m a “A”, Im a N, Im a D, Im a R, Im a I, Im a A, Im a Dosa Dosa Dosa, then the next person goes.  It was so cute and adorable, but our team had a good laugh at dinner when we tried it…its really really hard!

After lunch we went to a school called “Christian Evangelistic Pentecostal Church, in Unification Town” that Doc had come to when he was visiting Liberia over a year ago.  When he had visited them, he told them I soon will be coming back and when I return, I will bring people to help your kids learn sports and I will bring several school items for you to put to use.  When he was there, this school had only 1 classroom for 80 kids.  Today they had 7 classrooms for around 162 children.

So we went to this end of the school year celebration they were having, and we had packed 17 bags full of goodies that we had brought with us to present to the school.  Here is the amazing God story with this day.  I was talking with Doc Lawson a couple days prior when I gave him the 12 HUGE bags full of items that we had brought with us.  He then proceeded to tell me that he went to the store a few weeks before leaving and was getting ready to buy a bunch of school supplies.  But the Lord was urging him not to do anything yet — he didn’t know why until we arrived.  When he saw what we had brought, things like:  toothbrushes, clothes, school bags, pens/pencils, coloring books, etc. He knew why the Lord told him not to buy anything.  Isn’t that amazing?! God knew the need and He provided using our team for this small school.

Stefanie Bolt, a junior and middle hitter for Grace said, “After visiting church, it’s amazing to see that we serve the same God and that He is sovereign and cares for all.”

Blessings from Liberia

Church in Liberia was an unforgettable experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture from after one of our workouts on Friday! Not too many days you get to work out on the Atlantic Ocean!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Children’s Village — 7/2/11 (10:35 pm)

Today was an extremely sobering and heartwarming day. We visited the SOS Children’s Village of Monrovia. It started a few decades ago, before the wars, and today is home to around 150 orphans of the civil wars in Liberia.

Although the situation was horrific — nearly everyone here lost all the members of their family except themselves — but the facilites offer hope. There was running water, they had substitute moms and dads living with the orphans to provide guidance. It was soo good to see some smiles start to creep up on their faces.

We attended a church service there that started at 11 am and left at 6:30 pm!! It was such a great time of celebrating and singing together!

We also played basketball, kickball, soccer, and basketball along with a bunch of other games with the kids! We played played their form of musical chairs — the final matchup ended up being incoming freshman Calah Kruse and Dr. Bill Katip! Calah pulled the chair out from under Dr. Katip, who fell down but still managed to win! His technical prowess definitely proved to be the difference, haha!

Enrica Verrett won another game called JesusSays (AKA -SimonSays)!

Tomorrow is another church service! It’s supposed to be another all-day affair, which should be a neat experience!

Junior Bethany Whitcraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doc’s Vision — 7/1/11 (11:10 pm)

We went with Doc Lawson of DonamiSport to his hometown. We got to see his village and even worked out on the same field that he learned to play soccer on! It was cool not only to see where a US Olympian got his start but also to realize that we were a part of his vision. He had told his country that he would bring outside people to help build the nation, so it was humbling to help that come true!

We planned on doing a volleyball clinic there, but there was a team of guys dressed and ready to play us, so we played right there on a cement lot! By the end, there were hundreds of hundreds of kids watching us, so it was definitely the most unique group of fans Grace Volleyball has ever had!

One thing we’ve realized is that none of the girls here play sports…at all, really. They mostly just work in the house. So one thing Liberia wants to do is push for gender equality. We were able to get three of the girls to practice hitting with us on the sidelines after some urging, which was a great first step!

We ended the day by going to the US military base in Liberia. From our understanding, the US is trying to mentor the nationals on how to rebuild a nation, which still has a long ways to go!

Senior Bethany Michalski was not able to play today because of her knee, but she took the opportunity to share the Gospel on the sidelines. She asked the kids if they'd like to hear a story, and when they rushed over, she proceeded to share the story of Jesus and gave each kid a bracelet with the colors that represent the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing a pickup game in Kakata(town)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubbing Shoulders — 6/30/11 (10:04 am)

Today was a very important step in our mission here as we met with many of the high-up dignitaries here in Liberia! We are working closely with Doc Lawson of DonamiSport, helping him make calls to get his ministry where it can make a major impact.

We started by meeting President Mason of the YMCA along with his staff. They run nine YMCA’s in the nation, eight of which are functioning. They were incredible people!

Then we drove to the US Embassy, where we got the privilege to enter the ambassador’s home. She was extremely gracious and offered us fresh water, juice and candy – YUM!! It was neat to sit and talk with her and find out how foreign services work.

After our meeting, we returned to the Monrovia YMCA where we got to play with the kids!! I can tell we are going to get really attached to them!

Our final two persons were President Emmet Dennis of the University of Liberia (who formerly served as a dean at the Rutgers University) and the Minister of Youth Sport.

All in all, it was a really interesting day! I feel like we’re learning so much already. It’s such an honor to be the first outside team back into the country since the war — that honor is really starting to sink in!

We’re very glad to be able to help Doc’s ministry too and help him make calls on the dignitaries, and it’s neat for us to be the faces that the dignitaries see from the United States!

Internet is still very shaky, but the hotel is hopeful to get it fixed soon! Until then, no pictures – sorry!

Thanks for praying!

This is our team at the Ministry of Sport and Youth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Liberia At Last — 6/29/11 (8:34 am)

We have finally arrived in Liberia! From Grace College to where we landed in Monrovia, Liberia (the capital city), it was a 30-hour trip, so we were very tired but excited to finally be here!

The security guards were extremely helpful and seemed genuinely grateful that we were here — it was a definite blessing to experience their helpfulness and excitement for our arrival :)

We are currently staying in a hotel resort right on the ocean!! We have the necessities – food and water and some electricity, but the Internet and electricity is in and out…but it doesn’t matter because we’re finally here. Can’t wait to see what God does on this trip!

Tomorrow we’ll get the chance to meet many of the nation’s dignitaries, an important step in showing respect in this culture. I think we’ll even get to meet the US Ambassador in her own home, which is supposed to be an incredible honor! We’ll also meet officials from Liberia’s YMCA and Ignite International.

More to come when we get the chance! Thanks for praying!

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Grace’s volleyball team to make history in Liberia

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team is set to become the first athletic team outside of Liberia to enter the nation since its Civil War.

The Lady Lancers will embark on a 13-day trip to Liberia, using the platform of sports ministry to help build into the youth of the war-torn nation.

“Our team saw the need in Liberia, and we are excited to partner with them through sports,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “From my understanding, well over half of the nation is considered a youth, so the chance to reach Liberia’s youth and be the first athletic team into the nation is truly an honor.”

The players, along with Harshman and Grace College Provost Bill Katip, will run clinics through Ignite International and the Liberian YMCA, which is the only non-government entity which lasted through a pair of civil wars in Liberia the last two decades.

They will stay in the capital city of Monrovia, and they are scheduled to meet Liberian government officials such as the Vice President, Minister of Sport and the Ambassador of the United States to Liberia.

Harshman and Katip, in cooperation with former U.S. men’s soccer player Doc Lawson of DonamiSport, will speak in workshops to the country’s national sport leadership council regarding how to build sports programs for the development of communities.

“I’ve always had a passion for Africa, so to have this opportunity with my teammates is awesome,” said junior Stefanie Bolt. “I have no idea what to expect, but I know it’s going to be fun with the girls. They are really excited, and we are confident that this will open the doors for other opportunities.”

Through six months of planning for the trip, Harshman and the team have been donated 12 bags full of items such as volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, toothbrushes, T-shirts and dresses for orphans there.

“We’re bringing 12 extra bags but none of those will come back with us,” Harshman explained. “We’ve realized how much we have and how little the people in Liberia have. The opportunity for us to put our mindset on serving should really help bond us for a long time.”

Grace will also have the opportunity to train in Liberia. The Lady Lancers are scheduled to play exhibition matches against the University of Liberia and the Liberia National Team during their trip.

7 Responses to “Liberia Blog”

  1. Kevan Johnston Says:

    Have a great trip ladies as you impact the world for the Lord. We have you in our prayers as you experience this life changing journey. Carolyn, Darcy and Kevan

  2. Rachel Kamper Rynbrandt Says:

    Hey ladies!! Praying that the Lord will use you in more ways than you can imagine! Have an AWESOME time! Can’t wait to hear all about it! -Rachel Rynbrandt

  3. sprice Says:

    Wonderful! God’s blessings to you and pray that He will work through you!

  4. Alicia Gosney Says:

    Hey girls I hope you are having a good time! I wish I could be there with you. I bet it was really cool to get to meet all of those people! I cant wait to hear stories when you get back and see some pictures! I am praying for you all! Love, Alicia Gosney

  5. Janine Zeltwanger Says:

    How exciting!  Praying for continued unity, vision (to see God’s plan even when it differs from what you thought), safety and that you will be able to see & serve with God’s eyes.  May you be encouraged knowing you are making an eternal impact.  Thanks for sharing the updates.  Janine Zeltwanger

  6. Scott Katip Says:

    I am jealous I can’t be there. And since no one else said it yet, I hope the MAN that is on the trip is being blessed as well as the ladies! Love you dad

  7. Scott Katip Says:

    Sorry to double post but after I finished reading I need to say two things. I need to see those videos, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad dance. And now I know where I got my amazing musical chair skills. Praying for you all.