SHE SHALL STAND
Author: Hortense Duarma Grimes

SYNOPSIS

An ordinary woman answers a Divine calling and embarks on a significant mission for Jesus Christ. That journey would become Do It For Christ Ministry. The ministry is an outreach for Spiritual Rehabilitation and Self-Renewal.  Follow the divine hand of God in the life of author Hortense Duarma Grimes as she gives testimony of the unending capacity of God’s grace and love. In a unique storytelling format of her memoirs, the author makes a powerful case for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and delivers an inspirational message of hope and encouragement for everyday living.

Become acquainted with memories of growing up in a beautiful place called Liberia. The author brings a pre-war, Liberian lifestyle into print with vivid memories of walking Down Waterside (a popular trading borough) holding tight onto the hands of her Grandmother, Bigma and clutching tightly Bigma’s handbag. In her reflections of her childhood home of Cape Palmas, Hortense takes your mind back to a picturesque life in a faraway place, remembering lively parades and Christmas season entertainment, including theatrical plays, dramas and talent shows. Memories of Elementary school life are contagious, as one can feel the air of playfulness and the sweet innocence of an African childhood. Cape Palmas was an oceanfront paradise with beautiful sceneries and stately architecture adorning the streets. Hortense childhood home was across the street from the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and gorgeous Lake Shepherd in southeastern Liberia.

During vacations the family traveled to Monrovia (the Liberian Capital city) and spent an idyllic three-month period with Bigma. The author recalls through a child’s eyes sheer wonders of a joyful time, no more seen in that part of West Africa. One wonders if that kind of childhood, and innocence, is ever seen any more on that continent or anywhere for that matter. Eating ice cream at the famous Sophie’s Ice Cream and juicy fried chicken from the Rooster Restaurant, along with special treats of club sandwiches was part of spending time with parents visiting the Big City. One cannot help but recall with awe the days when school-aged children spent their leisure playing fun games like, “Blind Man Can’t See Can’t See; Fire on the Mountain, Run Rum Run; Children Children I Call Your Mama Mama I Don’t Care!” Recess period was a much anticipated break in the school day and students wandered to the school gates to purchase treats like milk candy, coconut candy, ground pea candy and cayenne, from the market women (petty traders) at the school gate. The purity of such a time leaves one with nostalgia. Liberian children had a chance to be children; quiet, rowdy, shy, frisky, easy, loud, noisy, subdued, hard-headed, but just innocent happy-go-lucky children. Children had not a serious care on their minds. Hortense brings Liberian lifestyle in print in a way Liberian culture has not been written about before.

Life in the settlements where the returned slaves to this West African nation, had first dwelled is depicted so well, one could almost feel they too were living in Careysburg and Bensonville. Sitting around the lanterns to tell tales and sitting outside on Reed benches under the moonlight, making up stories of the image of the moon (the man in the moon with his dog by him) is picturesque. The nights at revival left indelible minds as children were pointed in the direction of knowing Jesus. Her initial encounter with an old Baptist doctrinal practice, the Mourner’s Bench” is narrated with humor and childlike understanding. Hortense would “get religion”, be baptized by immersion followed by a declaration of faith in the Lord by repeating the sinner’s prayer and receiving Christ as Lord and savior of her life.

The thrill of high school life in Liberia is typical of any western culture. Hortense takes the reader’s mind back to high school entertainment back in the day! Ricks Mini Olympics (Sports Day). Sporting events highlighted in Mini Olympics and Basketball tournaments. Her high school basketball team, the Dragons, was a blend of competitive players with champion mentality. The Liberian teenage living was as typical as anywhere during that period.

In a spell binding description of a terrible time in Liberia’s history, the author summarizes her feelings about the day the trees bent and the sky turned gray. Questions lingered in her youthful mind would her country ever return to normal. What would the future become? The day time started to stand still and the once Beacon of West Africa began to lose its appeal. In her typical testimonial voice, that time is narrated with awe and respect for the miraculous power of Jesus. The power that kept two dormitories of young girls safe despite that rapists and thugs had overtaken the country and roamed around uncontrollably. As a high school junior she wondered would her country survive that period. Choosing to reflect on God’s deliverance the author reflects on the glorious parts of that time – God’s magnificent grace. God kept the dormitories and the boarding school campus where she attended, safe. On the mission children had raised their voices in praise, every day morning and evening, and the Lord had kept them secured. They had believed and dwelled in the secret place of the most High and He, Jesus, had kept the campus safe. Not a single student was harmed. Believing that God and time heals all wound, Hortense urges that Christians must press on.

For this brilliant, studious achiever, college brings a major disappointment when a mysterious illness puts a damper on her education. Navigating through these times, the author weaves a period when faith would become the bedrock of her existence. She typifies a common occurrence in Liberia; job hunting; searching for job until the bottom of one’s shoe had worn out. When all else fails she dreams of finding refuge in the United States. After much perseverance, she gets her chance and arrives at JFK airport determined to begin a new phase in a land, “Where dreams come true.” Hilarious stories tell of her adjustment as a new immigrant. Hortense sums up her appreciation of the United States by paying highest compliments to that great nation.

For an African youngster, responsibilities of being an adult are delayed compared to western counterparts. The complications of being grown up sink in and she finds herself in a big, strange country having to adjust to being a full grown adult living in the western world. She shares the blow, one blow after another. This testimony affirms the author’s purpose for writing the book: As tough as life can be God is forever faithful. As beautiful as living can be ugly things happen in between, here and there; stay with Jesus. Such profound declarations of faith and acknowledgment of the power of Jesus Christ resonates throughout this book. Punctuated by humorous anecdotes, Hortense narrates trials in her life and life lessons learned from it. Her blend of motivation-inspiration-encouragement is replicated in every chapter. Laughter and pain is interspersed with strength, courage and triumph. Admonishing that when ugly stuff happens, it is easy to forget yourself. Hortense cautions to not treat oneself poorly. The secret is to find Jesus and get to know Him before trouble day come.

Hortense believes in the remarkable dynamic power of prayer to change situations and renew one’s mindset. She bears witness to the power of talking to Jesus and listening for His voice. She tells the story of what happens when she did not listen to the voice of Jesus. She makes a strong case for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The author brings the power of prayer and fasting to life.

In a blend of inspiration and wisdom, motivational messages are interspersed throughout the writing giving formulas for living a meaningful, content, functional existence. Reiterating the belief that one should dare to rise above whatever unpleasant situations you find yourself in, and by the grace of God, one would overcome. The simpler message is to rely on Jesus Christ; Jesus walked in human flesh; Jesus knows the trials of life; Jesus has made a way.

Hortense gives life to the message of turning trials into triumphs, and that God has a plan and a purpose for every life. The author teaches the concept of self-rehabilitation through the power of Jesus Christ, as a means of encouraging others to live a full, meaningful and content existence. Hortense shares the blueprint of the vision of her ministry: To construct spiritual rehabilitation centers in the four corners of Africa; consistent with her motto of “helping hurting people help themselves.” The author believes, “You have got one chance to sojourn on earth; make it a memorable journey. Make the journey for Christ. Let your living be a good work for Jesus.”

Going through trials, disappointments and uncertainties is a fact of life. Hortense tells the message that having a mindset of overcoming and turning trials into triumphs should become another fact of life. With her usual blend of humor, defiance and determination, she talks about challenges and being proactive in preserving life, health and happiness. There is a message for every woman, man, boy or girl. The author states her purpose for writing the book is to gently nudge others to release all of that pent-up faith and thrust you into living abundantly. The author dispenses spiritual insight gained from a lifetime of trusting God by asserting: “God can take you from what you cannot see as a beginning place and propel you to a place of rest in Him that no earthly effort can achieve. While you struggle in your life with whatever it is, let God be Lord of everything you do. From where you stand to look you are limited. You cannot see the pattern of the Hand of God right now. God’s grace is matchless. Be assured God is not finished with you yet. God sees beyond where you are today."