Rick Warren said, “God never wastes a hurt.” Beth Weedor is proof of that statement. When I met Beth I saw a very energetic, elegant, confident Christian lady who loves the Lord and radiates His love to others. As I have come to know her better, my impression of Beth has deepened my respect for her and her desires to minister to hurting women in Liberia and the US.
Beth is a former Muslim born in a country where women are devalued, abused, mutilated, and rejected. This all stems from a culture that considers women property of men—first their father’s property, then their husband’s property. This sense of ownership of females leads to horrible traditions such as young girls being subjected to female genital mutilation (at as young an age as 5 to 14 months), other abuses, and exploitation.
In Liberia there are many orphans because of the country’s 14-year-long civil war and the deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015. Orphan girls are exploited by predators who promise to meet their needs and to provide them with jobs that will change their lives. Instead of being helped, they become victims of sex trafficking. They are ensnared in a terrible lifestyle, and if they get pregnant their children are also caught up in this vicious trap.
What do you do?… If you are Beth Weedor, you trust God.
Beth told me that girls and young ladies engage in trading sexual favors for good grades in school, to better their lives. If they become pregnant, the girls are looked down upon or kicked out to live on the street. The men, however, suffer no consequences for their behavior.
What do you do if you come from such a background? How do you help when society does not see a problem? Where do you start?
If you are Beth Weedor, you trust God and seek to rescue girls from the street. Beth came up with Petals of Hope, a new ministry in Liberia. She wants to build safe houses where girls can be rescued and protected from lives of abuse and violence. She envisions the girls as buds about to bloom. As they are rescued, nurtured and helped, they will blossom into beautiful flowers with hope for a better future. Thus the name Petals of Hope came to be.
Beth also wants to build Petals of Hope Girls Academy to reach girls from nursery school through 12th grade. They will receive a good education plus basic skills such as sewing, cooking, and training in starting a business. She hopes to build dorms so girls from villages and towns will be able to have access to a good education without the burden of finding housing in the city.
The estimated cost for the entire project is $200,000, which would include the safe house, school, library, cafeteria, two dormitory buildings, an assembly hall, and an administrative building. The first phase is to build the safe house and the school.
Beth is thinking big. She wants to quickly rescue from the streets the girls who are being exploited. She has already met some of the girls she hopes to rescue. She needs help. She needs finances, prayers, and encouragement to take on this gigantic task.
How can you help? One way is to use the idea of Change for Change: children, small groups, families, churches, Sunday schools, etc., can collect change to be used to change the lives of girls in Liberia. Or consider this: each brick for the safe house and school costs about a dollar. Whether you buy one brick or many, you will add to the walls of the safe house for girls to live in, or the school where they can learn and prosper. Would you pray about helping Beth rescue girls in her home country?
Sue Morris is an ANM staff member and part of ANM’s International Women’s Ministries team.