By Seren Frost
This week Wrecked had the privilege of interviewing Seren Frost about the organization she is starting called LACES. Seren returned to the United States in August of 2006 from volunteering and participating in a discipleship training program for six months with Mercy Ships, and since returning her heart has continued to long for West Africa once again.
Let’s start by getting a picture of LACES. What is your vision for the organization?
LACES stands for Life And Change Experienced thru Sports. Basically what were doing is creating a soccer based organization to teach the gospel. All the teachings are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We want to teach these basic principles to the children through soccer. What my role isI believe in life sustainability and so all Im doing is teaching the coaches. Im not going in there and telling them they need to change their culture or do all this to be better. I just want to teach them to respect each other, to be honest, and so on. Theyll go through a six week teaching program. Essentially what I’ll do is go to the coaches and say, You guys have a sport that you know and here are some ways that you can interact with the kids to teach them these principles.
They practice twice a week and have games once a week. Kids come from within the community, and coaches from within the churches in the community. So were trying to identify these coaches. Then these kids can continue that relationship with the coach in church in the future. We arent going to be memorizing scripture, but we lead by example. We want the kids to ask, Why should I be respectful? And then that will give us the opportunity to share the gospel with them.
Why Liberia? Tell us a bit about the culture and activities in the country.
I lived in Liberia for three months in 2006 working with Mercy Ships. While I was there I was recruited to play professional soccer. While I was there, I realized that I could cross boundaries. They didnt treat me like some foreign American, they treated me as their equal. I saw how much they responded to soccer. There was a fourteen year civil war in Liberia in which many of the children were soldiers. And there are organizations that are giving them food and meeting these daily needs, but we want to go beyond that into restoration. We want to take these children who have seen rape, murder, all kinds of destruction, and teach them how to be children again. There is a huge need for restoration.
When is this going to commence?
It will commence, God willing. Our goal is to begin training the coaches in September and then start with the kids in middle October. We have to avoid the raining season, which is June through the beginning of September. Not a whole lot gets done during this time.
LACES is doing a lot of fund raising right now right? How is that going?
Yes. We started fund raising in the beginning of Febuary, 2007 and as of today we have $40,000 raised. Well need anywhere from $65,000 to $75,000. $75,000 is our goal by December. We could go at $40,000 through our first season, but we want to have more when we go into Liberia.
Whats going on in Liberia right now?
In Liberia, there are about 16,000 UN troops. The war has been over for four years and the people are hopeful. They want to see change. They are tired and warn out from the war. When you see their eyes, theyre happy with what they have, yet they have nothing. As far as the governmentthe infrastructure is developing. There is no running water in the capital city, but theyre fixing it. Roads and buildings are being constructed. I was there in March and it is a much different place from when I was there last year. Businesses are beginning to go up. Kids work. You dont see kids out playing. They have to work, or maybe theyre taking care of their siblings.
How can people help?
There are several ways. We are really asking for prayer. Prayer for Liberia and for resources so LACES can continue. We need funds, obviously, to get this thing running. People can give directly on our website through PayPal. There is another option we are calling becoming a teammatesomeone who wants to essentially sponsor a child through this program. The cost is $100 per child per year.
There is a Donate option at the LACES site with information about online donations, checks, or child sponsorships. You may read more about LACES by visiting their site or their blog.