Cared for and Fed
We cleared customs in early December, and there in a sea of greeters were our tour guide and several women from the National Lutheran Church Women Fellowship in Liberia (NLCWFL). We exchanged hugs that felt like we returned home to love ones who missed us. But really we were receiving greetings from strangers.
In the warm night air above the chatter of the group we heard “Welcome to Liberia!” We were impressed that four women would wait for our flight—delayed four hours—and greet us with such warmth. We were surprised when many more women were waiting for us outside, singing in the humid night to welcome us in the Liberian way—drums and shakers, voices, and more hugs.
Fifteen women joined two Women of the ELCA staffers, Valora Starr and Eva James Yeo, on a 25th anniversary trip to Liberia, Nov. 29–Dec. 8, 2012. They celebrated our partnership with the National Lutheran Church Women Fellowship of Liberia (NLCWFL) and met with Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, and the Rev. Dr. D. Jensen Seyenkulo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (and co-author of the 2010–11 Gather Bible study, “Unity in the Midst of Diversity”). On the trip, Women of the ELCA presented the NLCWFL with a $10,000 gift to purchase a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a $3,000 seed grant to assist parish work among women and girls. They also presented a $2,000 grant to Leymah Gbowee for peace work.
Valora K Starr is director of discipleship for Women of the ELCA. Eva James Yeo, who took the photos on these pages, is director of membership.