Here is the story of how we met these kids, and how it brought us together as friends to form Boost Liberia.
In 2006 Whitney Walstra Larson embarked on an adventure to help open a school for orphans in Liberia. However what she discovered there was a calling far beyond teaching. She recognized the importance of consistent, loving relationship with an adult, as being the most significant factor keeping children at risk from becoming another statistic. Therefore, she stepped in to the role of "Mother" and after her 2 year teaching stint was up, she has continued to visit year after year. The children have become family to her, as she has desired to pour Jesus' love, truth and grace in to their lives. Her prayer for them from early on was that, through the way she loved them, they would see Jesus, and become culture changers for the Kingdom in their generation.
In 2013, while on a short term mission trip to Liberia with her church, Julie Johnson felt compelled to return despite having only spent a few hours with the kids. By the end of her third visit, she had taken on the role of "mother" to 3 boys. She felt neither the equity nor resources to step in to such a commitment, but could not shake the conviction, "If not me, then who?" Her continued passion has been to apply the study of how trauma impacts the brain, with the hope of healing when grace, structure and nurture are applied. She desires that every child not only come to believe but also experience they're preciousness in God's eyes.
In college Peter Larson experienced a strong draw toward cross-cultural missions, but didn't know what God had in store for him. It wasn't until he got married 12 years later [to Whitney] summer of 2016, that his eyes were opened to Liberia. In this time, he has embraced the role of Father to the kids. He lovingly builds relationship with them - instructing, communicating, disciplining, discipling, and fighting injustice with an undaunted level head. In addition, his articulation of the truth of God has helped many kids with their understanding and practical application of the bible.
It has also been in a relatively short time , that God has captured Drew Bendell's heart for the plight of the orphan. He has committed himself heart and soul to ensuring the kids have a voice and advocate. He gives tirelessly and around the clock of his time and resources to best love and provide for these kids in a way that promotes growth and independence. His presence has brought vision and fortitude to this grass roots team, capitalizing upon his many gifts. In fact, it took Drew coming along, for God to breathe Julie's dream in to reality, of starting to bring kids to the States for education and the love of a family. Through much prayer and grit over the course of 10 months, one of the boys (JLee) finally received a student visa and arrived in the US on August 6th, 2017.
As a result of these four friends coming together, God is now providing for the children: Daniel, Amos, Jlee, Peter and Nelson to have their basic needs - physical, emotional, educational and spiritual, looked after. These boys [but for Jlee] live in a transitional house, that provides a safe place between orphanage life and independence; preparing them for the world that awaits, discipling them and training them in basic life skills. Yet the hope is to enable many more children to be sponsored! This is where you come in! We invite you to join us!