Moving to Liberia, West Africa to Serve the Underserved.
“My life changed so that I can change the lives of others”
Hi there, my name is Michelle Clarkson currently living in Ocala Florida. I am an American from the great state of New York. I am 26 years old and I graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism. In September of 2019, I will be moving to Liberia to work alongside an incredible individual called Eric Wowoh, the Founder of Change Agent Network. This is the organization through which I will have the chance to teach, tell stories, and help the struggling people and underserved children of Liberia, Africa. Even though Liberia is the second poorest country in the world, and fewer than 40% of children complete primary education, Eric Wowoh has faithfully listened to the Lord and through his endless labor, has successfully built 14 schools in 6 counties. Change Agent Network (CAN), is a Christ-centered non-profit organization which goal is to transform the entire nation of Liberia through quality Christian education, mentorship, sustainable development, and the hope of the Gospel. Although Liberia has been majorly affected by civil wars (1989-1996), government mismanagement, and the recent Ebola breakout in 2014, I believe in a redemptive God who is mighty to save His children. Through this organization, The Lord is not only bringing education to people who are desperately seeking knowledge, and jobs to local communities, but I believe He is rewriting the story of a country that many people know little about. I am in awe that He would want to use me in this mission.
In order to do this, I need you to partner with me. First and foremost, I need your prayer. While I am confident that the Lord has been preparing me for this, for far longer than I ever suspected, moving across the world by yourself is a daunting task. I ask that you would not only pray for me, but also for the hearts of the people that I will be working alongside, and the children I will have the privilege of serving. I ask that you would pray that they would be reminded of His hope each and every day and that the Lord would continue to use CAN in the beautiful West-African country of Liberia.
The other thing I need is financial help. Unlike my teaching job in Florida, my position in Liberia is not paid and I will need to raise money for my living expenses (everything from travel vaccines, food, gasoline for electricity, medical insurance, security, and travel.) I have seen God provide time and time again and have no doubt that He is working even in the midst of fundraising. My budget to make this transition to Liberia a success is $8,000 United States Dollars. Please help me financially to fulfill this calling upon my life. Your contributions are tax deductible.
Thank you so much in advance for covering me in prayer and for your financial support. I cannot wait to share with you all that He does in this time and how He uses us to bring His Kingdom to Earth as it is in Heaven. Remain blessed!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to say hi. I will really love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (631) 220-1136
CONTINUATION OF MY PERSONAL STORY AND JOURNEY WITH THE LORD
When I walked across the stage in Ben Griffin Stadium in the middle of a thunderstorm and graduated from The University of Florida, I had a plan. I was going to use my degree in journalism by telling stories and helping people. An incredibly generous family took me in as I searched for jobs and no longer had an apartment. Volunteering at a private school was the very last idea on my mind, and yet that was what I suddenly found myself doing. I had no desire to work in education nor stay in Ocala, for my heart was set on moving back to the small kingdom in Africa that I had fallen in love with two years before. Yet nothing in my life has ever gone according to my plan. In August of 2017, I made a life-altering decision to accept a job as a teacher at Ambleside School of Ocala rather than get on my plane to Swaziland (eSwatini.)
When I look at my journal from the months following that decision, all I see is doubt. Over and over again I asked the Lord why He called me to work at a school in the historic district of a city in Florida when all I wanted was to be back in my hut in Africa. It made no sense to me, or anyone else who really knew me for that matter. For me, choosing to listen to the Lord when I felt Him telling me to stay at this school was far harder than getting on a plane and moving across the world. I can’t say the same now. After years of building a life, I understand what it means to truly have to lay it down. And as hard as it is some days, I want every bit of my life to be for His glory and His name, not my comfort or contentment.
I am not going to lie and say that I left work each day feeling like I was flawlessly inspiring my students and or succeeding in my job. In fact, it was only a matter of days before I realized how teaching would bring with it a world of insecurities and challenges. However, in it, I also found meaning, inspiration, and boundless joy. Being a part of Ambleside has been an honor that I feel unworthy of having, for I am surrounded by the most beautifully raw and dedicated community of people I have ever known. Over and over again I have watched each of them go out of their way to ensure that every child who steps onto our campus not only feels inspired and challenged but loved in the midst of every hurdle. I have seen first-hand how the staff will stop at nothing when it comes to aiding one another in moments of need, and celebrating in times of triumph and joy. I’ve witnessed unparalleled generosity in extraordinary ways. Through teaching alongside these individuals, I learned so much more than just the method of a lesson or the words of Charlotte Mason. The Lord has convicted me daily that not only is each and every person worthy of being fully known and fully loved, but that education is only the beginning of a life filled with the pursuit of knowledge, beauty, and truth. Because of this job I believe that children are whole people with minds capable of the greatest undertakings and souls that need to be nourished and cared for.
When I go back and look at my journal and see the months that I questioned God of why He brought me to Ambleside, I am tempted to write in the margins, “because I have plans for you that are bigger than a single school in Ocala.” While I am busy being nearsighted and impatient, the Lord continues to reveal to me how He has been working to prepare me for this next part of my life; the part in which the last eight years of training comes together in a country I never imagined traveling to. I told the Lord years ago that wherever He sent me, I would go. Now once again, I get to go.