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Child of war finds peace and healing


Today, Lisa is a registered nurse, a dream she could barely imagine as a child living in a refugee camp.

Born into the chaos of the civil war in Liberia, Lisa’s early years were marked by pain and loss.

 

Her father, mother, grandfather and other family members were lost in the conflict. The remaining family fled for their lives to overcrowded refugee camps in the Ivory Coast, and then for a second time, after war broke out there, to Guinea.

 

“Life in a refugee camp was very, very challenging,” Lisa says. “There were 18 of us. We had to live in a tent.”

 

The scarcity of food and the prevalence of diseases like malaria and diarrhea added layers of hardship.

 

During desperate violence, lawlessness, overcrowding, hunger, uncertainty and fear, Lisa’s grandmother, Ruth, faced the overwhelming task of caring for her grandchildren in terrible conditions. However, she was unwavering in prayer and believed God would care for them.

 

“It was so hard to know hope existed,” Lisa says. “What we knew was suffering, what we got used to was suffering, what we lived, every part of our life, was suffering. But she told us, ‘God can change this.’ Grandma had that hope year after year and taught us that.”

 

Australia an answer to prayer

Over 15 years ago, Lisa, her cousins, and Ruth had their prayers answered. They came to Australia after Lisa’s aunt, who had come to Australia earlier, tracked the family down in the refugee camp. That aunt was connected with the Salvos at Auburn, NSW, and they supported her in reuniting her family.

 

Despite many struggles, Lisa learned English, finished high school and university, and works as a registered nurse today.

 

“I know that God does miracles ...”

Working a second casual job until the birth of her first child a year ago, Lisa has also managed, with what she says is “the grace of God”, to construct a building for a future health facility in Liberia.

 

Lisa is now praying and raising funds for the necessary human resources and equipment to fill the building and bring desperately needed healthcare to a remote Liberian community.


Lisa received a lot of help and support from Auburn Corps.

“I know that God does miracles, and I’m buying some equipment little by little to see if we can open it … by faith, really.”

 

She has always loved to help others, and even as a child helped the local midwives in Africa.


“There were some people we couldn’t help because of a lack of resources, [and] it just broke my heart,” Lisa says. “We also lost one of my sisters in childbirth, and I saw that. God put this dream for a clinic in my heart. I’ve always wanted to help people because you [shouldn’t] have to die because you don’t have money.”

 

Easter peace and hope

Despite having nothing materially in the refugee camps in Africa, Lisa says Easter was still a very special time of hope, worship and celebration. Every year, there were three days of re-enactments of Jesus’s betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection.

 

“I was reminded that someone really did this for me to set me free. It was just amazing for us kids to see,” she says.

 

For Lisa, Easter still represents “beautiful new life”.

 

“I think Easter is the centre of that freedom. I know that when I pray to him, he hears me, because I don’t have to do anything to earn or get his love.”

 

“There is a [Bible] verse I love,” she says. Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11, “’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to bless you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”

 

 

 

 

 

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