Psalm 82:3 Mission officially began in July 2014; however, God had been preparing the way for more than 4 years. We believe the mission actually began June 5, 2011, on a hotel patio in Liberia. It was there that adoptive father Matt Lee began writing down the needs of the AFAA House Liberia orphanage as he prepared to return to America with his wife, Terah, and their newly adopted children Onah and Marie. They knew that their children would experience many new things while the children at the orphanage lived in a worn down house, with electrical wires tied together with trash bags, and rain pouring in on them as they slept. The physical needs of the orphanage had grown rapidly during the moratorium (adoption ban) that was placed on all healthy children, January 2009. This ban made it virtually impossible to gather funds for the children and without regular funds the house could not be repaired.
Upon their return the Lee family focused their attention on their newly joined family, but God continued to prick their hearts for the children that remained at the orphanage. A year later God assembled the first mission team set to remodel the home in 4 days. The tasks would include replacing the roof (to stop the rain from leaking down on little faces as they slept), redoing all electrical (originally tied together with trash bags), fixing the septic lines (that had left children playing in their own waste), and building a playground. The first people committed to the team included: Matt, a children’s minister; Grant Bolt, a funeral director; Tom Myers, an entomologist; and Jeff Cox, a tennis pro coach. By the time the team prepared to depart God had put together a 15 member team of willing hands. These included: Doug and Ellie, Bill Lee, Tom and Brandon Alstott, Adam Frazier, Joni Zoz, Jonathan and Benjamin Mack, Dennis Blevins, and Gary Scudder. At the end of the trip the team of Americans and paid Liberians had completed all of the projects along with 24 other projects. They also gathered a list of future needs and returned to the US committed to telling the story of what God had done and how amazing the children were.
As the team told the story to churches in the mid-west about the children, God continued to open doors for the next team. With the major projects complete though the newest team would focus solely on relationships with the children. This time the team would travel in the July 2014 in hopes that teachers would join the team to help educate and tutor the children. Grant and Matt joined forces this time as co-leaders and were quickly joined by Brady Vaught and 5 team members from Tates Creek Christian Church including Keith, Deena, and Nathan Wertz, Yvonne Byers, and Marlee Mirre. Next to join the team were two teachers Cathy Cook and Jennifer Polnisch. Finally, through a health concern for Doug Lee, the door opened to allow Heather Brown and Nick Spray to join the team. Excitement grew until news broke that the deadly Ebola virus began taking lives in Liberia. The team prayed, put their trust in God, and continued forward with the mission. During the week in Liberia, God deeply connected the team to the children and staff at the orphanage as they played together, painted (with supplies given by a 6 year old American girl), completed a new library, made plans for therapy for special needs children, installed one water system at the orphanage, and the other at a special needs school. On the return from Liberia, sitting in the Newark Airport, God had used the trip to open the hearts of the team to unite and fully sponsor the orphanage.
Two weeks after the second team had returned a smaller group of them met, prayed together, and Psalm 82:3 Mission was officially born.
Over the course of the next 2 years, God opened many hearts to give financially as sponsors and one time donors. Most of the sponsors had maintained a monthly gift between $20-$300, which had given the ministry a guaranteed income of $2800. Along the way several churches like Tates Creek Christian, New Bethel Church, First Christian Scottsburg, and First Christian had also joined the journey. Though there was a consistent income, God made it clear to the team that these were His children as each month was a month of faith testing! The operating cost for the orphanage was set at $4600! Humbled by His provision, the basic needs and special funds were always met!
After nearly 2 years of supporting the Liberia orphanage the Psalm 82:3 Mission team led a team of people back to the orphanage. This time the focus would be on therapy for the children, a VBS in the community, and powering the orphanage with solar energy. This time the team included some familiar members of Ellie, Keith, Deena, Matt, Jennifer, and Marlee. The team also welcomed new members Laura Collins, Carol Thomas, Jennifer Larson, Isaiah Birchfield, Jenna Hiatt, and Colten Lee. As a special God sized bonus the moratorium on adoptions had opened (June 2015), and our long time AFAA friends Jeff and Mahari would be meeting their future parents, Kevin and Amy Crump. It was an amazing moment witnessing this new union of many prayers answered!
Later in October 2016, Jeff and Mahari came home to Winchester, KY (only 15 minutes from Onah and Marie Lee). Another one of their friends, Faith, also came home to his family as adoptions had finally begun. With adoptions now going again, it became clear over the course of the next few months that it was time for the financial portion of the ministry to be turned over to its founder, Americans for African Adoptions. In May 2017, through lots of prayer and discussion the team agreed to a smooth transition as they completely funded the program through August 2017, and continued paying rent through January 2018. During the summer of 2017, God still had great plans for his kids at the home through several long time partners, Northeast Christian Church and Bluegrass Christian Camp. It was through these donations that a new playground was built in September 2017, and special needs therapy was covered for an extra few months.
Finally, as the time to complete the support of the orphanage came to a close all of the sponsors were contacted. As a tremendous blessing most of the sponsors chose to remain with the ministry open to what God had in store. With this support and a deep desire to be available for where God was leading a vision team was sent to Liberia. The team included Doug Lee, Matt Lee, Marlee Mirre, and Elizabeth Anderson. Funds were quickly raised and the path became clear- Psalm 82:3 Mission was going to be moving in a new, and bigger direction in Buchanan City, Liberia! Through special connections made by our project manager, Morris Freeman, we saw that God had prepared our hearts and other’s hearts. Every meeting on the journey was a clear indicator from God from the city mayor, to a landowner selling 50 acres for $30,000 (just 10 minutes outside of town along the main highway), to a local pastor named Eric Roberts, and an American missionary re-starting a 30 year old dream for a Bible college in Buchanan City. The question along the journey was not… “What can Psalm 82:3 Mission do for Buchanan?” Instead, the question was… “What can God do in Buchanan with 50 acres through Psalm 82:3 Mission?” Simply put- how can God use willing people to draw His children closer to Him!
A clear vison was established. A new dream was born. A self-sustaining community center dedicated to serving the least (healthy and special needs orphan children and widows). This center will be complete with an orphanage village, a church, a school, an old folks home, 25 acres of agriculture and farming potential, therapy clinic, and medical clinic. With this land we will also employ and empower Christian Liberians to invest into the lives of their children. We also plan to partner with a Christian adoption agency to place the orphan children in Christ-centered homes. All of this also means that more lives will be impacted than just children when you consider a country with over 85% unemployment. The most exciting part is that we don’t view this as a forever project. Our goal is that in 7-10 years the entire project will be funded entirely by Liberians, as we continue to partner and help when needed!
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” This dream is well beyond our abilities and our understanding, but we put our trust in the One who is writing the story of Psalm 82:3 Mission!
Now it’s your turn! Will you join us in becoming a monthly sponsor? Will you share this story with your church or business? Will you plan to join us for future trips? Will you allow God to use you and your resources to directly impact the lives of so many . We promise that 100% of all donations will go directly to the ministry in Liberia, Africa. We promise to communicate often with you about the needs and status of each of the children. We promise that if you step out in faith to mix your life with the children of Liberia that you will soon have a story to tell as well. Join us and choose to Defend!