Welcome to Frances Blog page.
Here you will find updates and progress report posts related to Frances Swaray mission in Liberia.
Newsletter May 2020
“For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you under His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
When I think of the promises of God for our protection and safety, I gladly rest under His wings
Reflections from Momo
Greetings from the west coast of Liberia a small country that has been in the midst of one crisis after the other. When I look at the many obstacles during the month under review, I am thankful to God for His grace and love. The love of God has been tangible in all we were doing, what a loving Father we have.
Frances left Liberia to go home for Ezekiel’s birth and Anna’s wedding before the COVID 19 spread into Liberia. It was a total relief for the team here that she had got home on one of the last scheduled flights that had left.
A BIG thank you
We say a big thank you to all our Board members, financial supporters and prayer warriors who have been praying for us. Special thanks to Rev Stephen and the Donegal Presbyterian Church for their support.
Reflections from Frances
I have to believe that in any chaos, any transition or upheaval in our life’s there is also the opportunity for change, for transformation if we can harness and navigate it. We are all in the middle of a global pandemic Covid 19 and let us be united in praying that Gods people will seek His face, repenting and asking God to heal our nations, 2 Chronicles 7:14. Let us pray that many will look to Him for the answers to the questions they have, for the peace He can give instead of fear and the comfort He can bring in the midst of suffering and grief.
I returned to Ireland just before the restrictions on travel, in time for the arrival of my beautiful grandson Ezekiel Mateo Magee born in the midst of our self-isolation. I praise God for His timing is always perfect.
It was a blessing to witness the impact The Koinonia Trust is having on our community in Monrovia. The spiritual growth I have witnessed in individuals, the improvement in the children’s school grades and the innovativeness of our team. I want to say thank you to Momo and the team as they fulfill the vision God has given to us. A big thank you goes to those who have supported the ministry through prayer, emotional, practical and financial support.
My journey this time was different and the best verse to sum it up is from John’s gospel, John 3:33 He must increase, but I must decrease. John knew that he was a steward and the time would come when he would slip off to the sidelines. This in itself is a challenging principle a reminder of the difference between a calling and a post or indeed being driven. For when we are called it is not too a post but to a person, the person of Jesus. Therefore when we have to let go, loose or give up some thing’s nothing changes. I am fulfilling a different role now one that is more focused on training and mentoring as I support Momo and the team. They have done extremely well and I am so thankful for them. God never ceases to stretch me. To challenge and teach me often peeling away another layer like an onion, humbling me in ways I could not imagine, too teach me His ways. Indeed it is not about our calling but about who we are becoming in the process.
A few years ago I read the following: What is success as God counts success, it is when others hear you but follow Jesus. It is when others see a quality in you that causes them to fall more in love with Him. Only when that happens and you feel like you’ve lost nothing in the process can you say Father I have done what you called me to do.
In these challenging days wherever we find ourselves in the world may we demonstrate our faith in action by acts of kindness and letting our light shine.
Update from Liberia
It was with a heavy heart the project has had to close its doors to the children and young people in March because of the Covid 19 virus. We had begun to make great strides in the community.
- Liberia is battling with the corona virus with confirmed cases. It continues to be under a state of emergency since March. In April they have been under curfew from 3pm.
- We have closed the study class due to the pandemic since March, at the point of closing we had over 90 children in attendance to our educational program.
- We were in the middle of forming The Koinonia Trust Football Club and had 30 teenagers coming for soccer practice three times a week. Before each coaching session they had a time of devotions led by our two class supervisors Reuben and Morris.
- 200 children attended a day were the gospel was presented and gifts were given out sponsored by Operation Christmas Child (Samaritans Purse) there will be a 12 week follow up of bible lessons once Liberia is clear of Covid 19
- We had the privilege of facilitating a training workshop for a community youth organization based in our community who volunteer. There was 30 in attendance and this training will continue once the restrictions are lifted.
- We have been working along with the community to establish a local leadership. We praise God in May there is now interim leaders. Momo is chairing a committee that is writing the constitution and Morris one of our class supervisors is acting secretary for the leaders.
- Prayer that God continues to protect the team on the ground
- Pray for all health workers engaged in the fight against COVID-19
- Pray that we be able to engage and conduct workshops with local people once the restrictions are lifted
- Pray for the provision of buckets and sanitation material for all those in the community
- Pray for financial support as several of our fundraising activities were put on hold due to the Covid 19 pandemic. It is going to be a crucial year for The Koinonia Trust in regards to funding
- Pray too for Frances in the uncertainty of her returning in September due to restrictions. That whatever the outcome, she will have peace and be content. If she is unable to return that Momo and the team have the grace and strength to continue with the work.
Good morning from Liberia, I am so blessed to know that you all are praying for me. By the special grace of God I am recovering gradually, thanks all of you for your care and love for Liberia and me. My family and I have been praying for all of you doing this Pandemic, I am aware of the number of people who have died and the grief families are going through due to lost of their love one, I want to encourage you that this too will pass, let us hold unto the hand that was nailed on Calvary. Please continue praying along with me for my full health and please pray for Liberia because we are also facing battle against the coronavirus, our health care system cannot cope with large out break. Again thank for your love and careRead More
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” – Psalm 33:11
Reflection from Momo
I send greetings from the sunshine of Monrovia. As I reflect on these verses I am reminded that God has a plan and purpose for everyone. At The Koinonia Trust we are happy to be part of His plan and purpose. Liberia has been a country at unrest as demonstrations against the government continue. The journey toward healing from the trauma of war, abuse, and social injustice made so much more difficult in the midst of poverty passed down from one generation to another. We continue with our ministry with the help and support of all our partners in the Lord. We are trusting that God will bring healing to the broken and comfort in times of hardship.
After much hard work over the past year our website is now live thekoinoniatrust.com . A big thank you to Mick Allsop for all the help in developing the website.
Update from Liberia
We were delighted to start this project in September. Momo trained the graduates from 26th to 29th of August 2019 in preparation for the project.
Topics taught were:
- Child Policy
- Classroom management
- Lesson preparation
- Our vision, values and principle in The Koinonia Trust
- Ethics and behavior
- Teaching skills
- Assessment and Evaluation.
We are delighted to have 50 children attend our homework, study and reading classes. We have them for 3 afternoons per week and it is free to attend. Thanks to Irish Aid for sponsoring this project.
We are delighted to congratulate Reuben Kinnie on completion of his vocational training as an electrician. Reuben is a valued member of our team that supervises our homework club and study classes. He hopes to progress his education and has been accepted to do a degree in electrical engineering in 2020. We at The Koinonia Trust are incredibly proud of him and how he has embraced new opportunities. We want to say thank you to all who fund and support us. This is how it is making a difference, it is bringing hope to many!
Personal Development Workshop
These workshops are aimed at building personal capacity and focused on increasing knowledge regarding the aspects of health, how they are interlinked and the impact they have on us; spiritual/emotional/mental/physical and social. We have been developing these workshops based on observations and needs. Transformation in hearts and minds takes time. We were asked to facilitate a group discussion for the inmates at one of the prison compounds. The feedback was encouraging. It is our greatest desire that we will continue to have the opportunity to work within the prison service to bring hope, build capacity and resilience to both inmates and the staff.
Special thanks to Kvinna till Kvinna for the opportunity to facilitate a one-day workshop with their 11 CSO’s, under the program, Supporting Effective Advocacy in Liberia (SEAL). Our workshop focused on personal development and building resilience for leaders while working and living in trauma affected communities. We had 30 leaders of various projects who attended, and the feedback was positive and encouraging.
- Pray that God will make the provision for us, so we can continue to maintain what we are doing.
- Pray for Momo as continues to lead the work in Liberia
- Pray for Frances as she continues to volunteer and returns in early January. God continues to shape her every year.
- Pray as Frances develops the resources to support the team here and as she advocates for The Koinonia Trust both in Liberia and Ireland.
- Pray that the homework, study and reading classes will be a blessing to the community and that they will see Gods love through us.
Newsletter – August 2019
Reflection from Frances
Learning to love how God loves….I am learning to love the person in front of me regardless of my own pre conceived ideas or notions. Despite sometimes the noticeable differences in culture, traditions, values or norms. Regardless of my own fears or insecurities that can rise out of all those differences. And at the same time I am learning to love myself, the way God made me and not resent, despise or dislike those things that God has created on purpose because it is for a purpose. We are all uniquely created.
What is really our notion of mission? Sometimes I think it can be more about our journey rather than those God has called you to serve. Why do I say this? I say this because he continually turns me upside down and inside out. Asking me to take leaps of faith when I can’t see were my feet are going to land. He continually takes away those things I love until I am empty so He can fill me with his treasures.
Perhaps an unexpected treasure from God is the courage. Sometimes it is not always comfortable, or seen. Sometimes it is just the courage to keep persisting, keep pressing on, keep focusing, and sometimes simply placing one foot in front of the other.
God’s Wonderful Treasures
- Love and support in a barren place
- Peace in the midst of an unstable environment
- Contentment with the little
- Deep joy at the innovativeness of others
- Faithfulness from the prayer
A BIG THANK YOU!
We want to say a big thank you to Jim and Margaret Morrow who organized a fundraiser for us this year and those in our Donegal family and community who supported them through giving generously and accompanying him on the mountain climbs.
It was aptly named ‘Climbing the heights and riding the lows’ a real reflection of life. They conquered three mountains on a journey that took them from County Kerry back home to County Donegal. A massive €5,740.45 euro was raised and a real blessing to our work in Liberia.
Update from Liberia
Before I left we had facilitated an all day workshop on wholeness and personal development for Liberian leaders who are the partner organisations of ‘Kvinna till Kvinna’ an organization that work with vulnerable and disadvantaged women.
We had also started facilitating workshops for our local clinic staff on spiritual, physical and emotional health. When I return I will focus on mental health with them and in the meantime Momo is going to do a Trauma Healing Group with them. Momo has been leading the work of The Koinonia Trust since January as President and he has not just embraced the vision but continues to embrace new ideas and has been a huge support to me.
He is working hard developing the education project for young people and the study and reading classes will be commencing in September. At the moment he is preparing the training week for the four graduates who will be supervising the classes. We are grateful to The Irish Embassy/Irish Aid who is supporting this project.
Frances Prayer Points
- Pray for those who we engage with, that we love them as God loves them and that they would be strengthened in their spiritual walk with God. For those who do not have a relationship with God that they would come to know Him in a personal way. Pray that we will be givers of grace and that we will look for the beauty in the ashes.
- Continue to pray for Momo as he leads the work that God would strengthen him, guide him and give him wisdom.
- Pray for Liberia it is unsettled and unstable in some areas that is causing additional suffering to an already hurting nation. Pray that a righteous army of God would rise up and stand in the gap for the nation. That there would be Godly heart and mind transformations from the community right up to the government.
- Pray for me as I advocate for The Koinonia Trust and the work that it is doing. Pray God will open doors and I find favor with God and man.
- Pray for the students that will come for the study classes that we will be able to share the love of Christ with them.