As many of you know we recently returned from two weeks in Liberia Africa. Set on the southwestern panhandle of Africa and right up against the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia has seen it's share of hardships over the past 20 years. I wrote a blog in the airporton the return trip that emphasized some of my emotions at the time. After being delayed 24 hours on the way home, all I wanted to do was crash in my own bed which was a welcome feeling after being in the hot sun and not too sanitary conditions of the African outback for days.
HOVER OVER THE PICTURES TO GET A DESCRIPTION OF EACH.
It started last October when my husband Tim was repairing and fixing computers to be shipped to the schools in Liberia. Since he works here in Missouri with the African Dept of our churches headquarters, he is shuffled around to a lot of departments fixing, shipping and loading certain crates and containers destined for schools, missionaries and churches overseas. Little did he know that the crate he was packing here would be the same one he unloaded in Liberia. God has a way of bringing things full circle.
In December we were asked to join the team headed to Liberia in March to rebuild some of the schools and churches that were destroyed in the 14 year civil war. We prayed about it and agreed and headed off on March 10th for an experience I will never forget.
We stayed with the host Missionaries which were from North Carolina and they did a perfect job of making us feel comfortable and at home. We even got to enjoy American meals for most dinners. During the day we worked from 7am to 6pm rebuilding, lifting, unloading and constructing building after building in the hot African sun. I kept water flowing to our 6 team members and did the best I could at offering "woman power" when needed.
Sunday was our only day of rest and I was thankful for it as we got to sleep in just a bit and relax that afternoon. Tim preached at one of the local churches and we were greeted with hospitality, grace and smiles. That afternoon we were able to dip our toes in the ocean water on the beach although space was limited because most beaches were used for bathrooms and hauling sand away from. This was the only beach where we could safely play in the sand.
The people are resilient and everyone has a story. From pastors that have lost their children to rebel sacrifice to refugees loosing their parents to poisoning or being chopped up by machete's for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's amazing to see the smiles, the peace, the relief and the joy that is now all over their faces and their country. Since the new president brought in peace (and the UN) six years ago, there has been a rebuilding in Liberia like no other. Construction is happening, locals are returning after years in hiding and families are beginning to rebuild.
During the week at the school I got connected with so many Africans. The children, locals, nationals and those helping were beyond gracious and I just enjoyed being in their presence. The day we left, I cried and hung onto to the small fingers of those that left such an impression on me. We hugged, wept and looked deep into each other's eyes of that security we both hold of seeing one another again, either here or there.
The next week we built two churches on new sites and were rejoicing with the congregation under their new roof by the end of each day. We had such an amazing adventure and wonderful time with the loving people of Liberia. I hope to return one day to see the fruits of our labor and how God has grown the church in Liberia.
These are just a very small glimpse into our trip. Visit my facebook page to see more if you want.