By Deb Dezutter
Two small groups of children gather around open Bibles, their hands are up and ready to go when the next scripture is called. Crowded around them, their friends are cheering them on. The girls are winning and this is the last round. As the next verse is called chaos ensues—paper shuffling, giggling, dust flying. A boy jumps up, he’s got it!
This particular Bible drill (also known as a “Sword Drill” here in the states) ended in a tie, a rematch would happen soon. As the children snack on sandwiches and promise their team is going to win next time the leaders guide them in a discussion about the verses they looked up, lead them in prayer for the week ahead, and offer encouragement. This is a typical afternoon with our Child Development team in Liberia.
Shortly after Orphan Relief and Rescue started working in Liberia we identified that the children in the orphanages we were working in needed more than physical care. We fed them, built roofs over their heads and provided health care, but they needed more. Their minds and spirits needed support as well, and thus, the Child Development Program was started.
Currently, two amazing leaders run our Child Development Program from the Liberian team. Together Teah and Rosetta share the duties in leading this important program. Many of the activities are done together, but there are also small groups when the boys and girls meet separately to talk about life’s challenges. These two leaders plan a variety of activities for the children in multiple orphanages that we are partnering with in Liberia. Bible drills and studies are just the beginning; other activities include mentoring, physical education (like soccer and kickball), life skills, games, after school tutoring, music, computer classes, movie nights, crafts, meeting with teachers, spending time talking and listening to the kids while drinking a coke and much more. It comes as no surprise that we have seen great improvements in the children’s countenance and behavior when they are able to engage with our Development staff in intentional ways.
Teah joined the Child Development team in the fall of 2015; Rosetta has worked with Orphan Relief and Rescue as a caretaker since the spring of 2014 and transitioned to Child Development in January this year. They both have a wonderful connection with the children who get so excited when they arrive. With her kind heart, beautiful singing voice and a way of always speaking truth, Rosetta had won all the girls over after only meeting them once. Teah meets the boys where they are, has deep and meaningful conversations and isn’t afraid to join in their soccer game. The children trust them and looking forward to seeing them each week. It is a beautiful thing to behold, the smiles on all of their faces, when Teah and Rosetta arrive!