Let Them LOL
Let Them LOL (Laugh Out Loud) exists to empower communities through holistic sustainable development meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in Buffalo, NY and Sierra Leone, West Africa. The following story was written by Katie Arcara, with Let Them LOL.
"We can probably all form mental images of ruins and decay. Walking around most villages in Sierra Leone, West Africa, you’ll see it: echoes of a brutal 11-year civil war in burned out buildings, crumbling concrete shadows of another time; silent overgrown reminders of what can no longer provide shelter or shield.
But what does it look like for brokenness and disrepair to begin to be restored? (See Jeremiah 33:10-11 ESV.)
When Let Them LOL first met Jane, we were hoping for a caregiver in our children's homes. We saw a humble frame, a gentle smile, and an eager heart. Indeed, she embodies all of these admirable traits, but God had hidden even more. God meant to use Jane as a fierce restorer of hearts. As generosity allowed construction of a school, Hope Rising Academy (HRA), her voracious love of Christ and His Word was spreading farther. Alongside fellow house mom, Jeneba, overflowing doctrinal truth and praise soon became apparent. LTLOL saw a community forming. Soon a new church fully dependent on God's Word was born on our Hope Campus!
This LTLOL church is joyful, heartfelt, and pure. High school boys lead percussion, Jeneba begins a song, and Jane teaches powerfully, articulating every word, feeling it to her bones! Staff encourage the children, whom they daily disciple, to join into all aspects of the service including worship, prayer, dance, and Scripture reading. Children from our homes sing with their whole hearts, knowing first-hand the meaning of restoration after facing difficult pasts. Many now even hope to become pastors! Families of HRA and community members join in, drawn to the love which radiates. This is hard, slow work, begun in the hearts and prayers of two communities, longing to see God’s restoration.
There is also another miracle here (several, actually). Thanks to our donors, we have a dormitory for vulnerable girls needing a safe place. These young ladies now form a moving praise team! Some struggle with terminal illness, watching as their peers prepare hopefully for college, knowing they may not share the same future. Some flee here for refuge from physical abuse, then in fear attempt to return to abusers. One young woman recently prayed with Jane and other staff to accept Jesus as her Savior! While gradually healing and accepting grace in God's perfect timing, these girls still sing His truth over their hearts and the community.
These are snapshots of discipleship and redemption over 10 years of LTLOL. Slow, gritty, and wild. Untamed, and not nearly in a straight line, but moving forward.
This is God’s Kingdom, coming.
Our communities – in Buffalo and Sierra Leone - show up with hearts burning and we see the ruins slowly rising to life. One life changes over several years, sometimes several in a week, and sometimes a whole village receives clean water in a day! We gratefully celebrate as God redeems people to Himself, teaching us all to lay our lives down like Christ. Here’s to 10 hard and incredible years together, and many more to come!"