The Blog

A Whole New World


We drove 6 hours to the place that would be my home for the next two years. We waited on the outskirts for the rest of the team to pull in.  Everyone standing around was staring at our white skin and trying to see the people who have brought them so much hope over the past few years.  I was with the LOL director Kate and her old friends were coming to say hi.  Once everyone was there, we were able to go into Mokanji.  Wow what a beautiful place. We were greeted by many unfamiliar faces, al eager to help with the luggage.  We walked up the hill to where Hope Rising Children’s home is.  One of the kids saw us coming, screamed something to all of his friends, and ran dow the hill to greet us.  People from the team were crying because of how beautiful it was from the last time they had left it a year ago.  The house mom Aisha came to greet us all. She was beautiful!  The kids put a program on of singing, dancing and prayer.  They are all precious, they all have stories, and because of Hope Rising, they now all have dreams.  I will get into their story more later, but I want in this post to  focus on Mokanji.

The year is 1991.  There has been some talk that a war is going to start.  All of the people in Sierra Leone are scared.  They are worried.  They hear about the Rebels and that they are coming, but in Mokanji, life is thriving.  It is where the government officials live.  The people are well protected, well taken care of.  Finally the war starts, but for now Mokanji is safe.  There is a hospital that is the best in all of Sierra Leone.  It is the one that the president goes to when he needs medical care.  There are houses that have all the riches.  The people are thriving and may even go to the country club to play tennis or go for a swim.  Fast forward a few years to January 1st 1995.  The people have heard that the rebels are near.  They are starting to go into hiding.  They hide in the bush hoping that if the rebels attack, they will not be killed, taken for slaves or used in their war.  On the 18th of January all of the nightmares come true.  The rebels had come into Mokanji.  People ran, and hid.  They were scared and had no idea what to do.  Fortunately, the rebels did not see anything they wanted, they just passed through.  The worst was still to come.  People were getting paranoid. The ones who said they were fighting against the rebels started to turn on their own people and in 1997, they attacked and burnt down what was once a beautiful place.  Mokanji would be forever changed.

Now in Mokanji, there are still people who stayed for the whole time, some who went away for a time, and came back, and some who went away and stayed gone.  As you walk down what used to be a lit street, you know find deserted concrete silhouettes of buildings and no sign of life.  When you first walk into the complex, there are 3 buildings that have been restored by the people who work with Global Outreach Mission. If you ever get here and have the time, you should keep walking up the hill because what once was all overgrown brush and something that looked like it could never be anything again is now the home to 26 orphaned children who are now able to go to school and learn and be empowered to do something themselves for their own country.  That building was able to be put up by the supporters of a really cool organization called Let Them Laugh Out Loud!

I hope you have enjoyed the history of Mokanji and that you are changed by this.  Hopefully you are moved to make something out of nothing in your own home, or now have a new found appreciation for what you already have.

I also could really use your help!  I am honored to stay in this beautiful place for 2 years and give some leadership training and some knitting classes, along with hearing and telling peoples stories, but my trip is not yet fully funded.   If you would like to help with this you can go to


On the Ground Coordinator
Let them LOL


Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Korey K says:

    Jen! SO cool you are there! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading! God is awesome, therefore you are awesome.
    See you in a while!

  2. Mom says:

    Jen, what a moving story. Can’t wait to hear more, and actually see it for myself in April. Keep up the good work. Love you, Mom

  3. The Mayor of Movi says:


    I am praying for you daily as you have stepped out if comfort and into a land that God has asked you to help out. Great post and keep up the amazing work.

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