Forgiveness did not come easily to Marcus Doe, a Liberian native who left his home country in 1990 during a violent civil war and eventually settled in the United States.

Doe’s father worked in the Liberian secret service and was killed in that war. A few years earlier, his mother had died of illness.

So for many years, Doe said during a recent interview, he was filled with hate and wanted to return to Liberia to exact his revenge.

“I learned I was an orphan, and I lost my faith,” he said. “Not totally, but I lost my faith in human beings. My zest for life was severely dimmed. I was a very good student up to that point, but I started doing badly in class. I didn’t have much to live for. I lost a lot of hope. I became angry, and my goal in life was to go back and find whoever killed my father and kill them.”

Doe, who is now 37, did eventually return to Liberia, but it was for markedly different purposes.

His attitude started changing in the mid-2000s, when one of his brothers nearly died of a heart attack, he said. He started letting go of his hate.


“I didn’t completely change and become this fabulous Christian overnight,” he said. “It took several years, and around 2008, I made a decision to go back to Liberia to try to find the man who killed my dad and tell him I forgive him.”

Doe would not say whether he found the man.

The shift from night to day, from vengeance-seeking to forgiving, from disillusioned Christian to spiritually renewed, is the subject of Doe’s memoir, “Catching Ricebirds,” which came out in May.

Doe will be recounting that shift this Sunday during a 10 a.m. service at Penney Memorial United Baptist Church in Augusta. Next week, he will have two other speaking engagements in Maine. At 6 p.m. Thursday evening, he will talk at The Mustard Seed Bookstore in Bath. At 5 p.m. Friday evening (RSVP required), he will speak at a refugee relief dinner held at the Richmond Church of the Nazarene.

In addition to talking about forgiveness, Doe said, he also uses his life experience to discuss the refugee crisis currently ongoing in different parts of the world.

“It sheds a lot of light to be a refugee when you get to this country, and how difficult it is to get through this country,” he said.


Doe now lives in Massachusetts and is planning to move to Denver with his wife, Annie Doe, where he wants to work with refugees as part of a church program. He also hopes to return to Liberia to start a library for children, a resource he believes is sorely lacking in his home country.

Maine has particular significance for him, he said, because he worked as a summer camp counselor for almost a decade in Naples, and it was there that he first publicly discussed his past in 2008.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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