As director and co-founder of Containers of Hope, my husband and I would like to thank all the out pouring of love, support and prayers for our teams safety on this years Team Liberia. We felt every caring word posted on social media. It gave us the strength we needed to push on. Our team this year was made up of 12 of the most incredible loving people who put the children of Liberia above themselves. When the Brussels attack occurred, they remained strong and focused. Not one of them asked to go home. All team members were positive, not focusing on their own comforts but supportive of decisions I had to make as their team leader. We started our journey on Monday, March 21st and didn't arrive until Friday, March 25th. We landed in 5 countries and took 5 planes and one train to reach Liberia. Thank you to all of my team members for your trust and commitment in this ministry my husband and I were given 10 years ago. We strive to take the focus off of any one team member and remain strong in bringing the attention to the One who has sent us and the children in whom this ministry is for. Well done Team Liberia 2016! You "all" are amazing.
Our second 40 foot container has just left the warehouse and is on it's way to Liberia, West Africa. The first 40' container carrying 270,000 meals is well on it's way and will arrive in Liberia next month. It will bring much needed nourishment to a country reeling from the devastation caused by the Ebola Pandemic. The distribution will be overseen by our in country partner, John Kpewoan of The Lord's Prayer Orphanage. We are sure to hear many wonderful reports and will pass the stories on to all of you. This second container is carrying much needed medical supplies with an emphasis on Ebola eradication. Protective medical gear, goggles, rubber boots, gloves, exam gowns, masks, children's acetaminophen, sanitation supplies, hand sanitizer, etc. These medical supplies will help keep the Ebola virus under control. They cannot let their guard down now as a second onset could very well be a possibility, as was in neighboring Sierra Leone, if they don't remain diligent. In addition, the following items were also shipped in this container: a HP printer to reproduce school books for each student for school (up to this point the students have had to spend most of each class hour copying the work off of the chalkboard. This did not allow for any time being taught) a scanner, backpacks filled with school supplies, sewing machines, clothing lovingly donated by STUSSY, educational flash cards, games, etc. All of this is possible because of the incredible response this season from our donors!! You are making a difference and putting your words and your heart into action. Thank you from all of us at Containers of Hope and from Liberia's children in whom you have placed your passion to help. We are excited to see how God is going to fulfill His purpose with what He has provided. Lives are being changed!!
To My Wonderful Friends and Family,
While this letter comes a bit overdue I promise you that in the months following my trip I have had many moments to simply pause and reflect on all that God revealed to me during those amazing 18 days. Today I not only want to express my sincere gratitude for all who prayed for me and gave so generously but I also want to share with you all that God did while I was in Liberia and what he has done in my heart since Liberia.
The travel to Liberia, Africa with the Containers of Hope team was a bit of a culture shock. Traveling over 20 hours was the easy part it was the immediate picture of poverty that first struck my eyes. Almost all clothing was tattered and ripped and most were filthy dirty. Lots of stares, pushing and loud yelling as we waited for our luggage…it felt very chaotic and unnerving. As we stepped out of the airport we were greeted by a few of the host family members and then escorted to a worn down, old bus which would take us to our new temporary home for the next few weeks. We would be staying at an orphanage called TLP (The Lord’s Prayer). While TLP was our resting place, our real purpose was to go “out” into the remote villages. The villages we would visit had far less than TLP. Upon our arrival to TLP we were welcomed with dancing, singing, and so much excitement. The night was filled with laughter, games, and getting to know many of the kids. After the long day of travel, I took a bucket shower (yes, a bucket shower) and went to bed.
Again, I would like to remind you that our mission first and foremost was to love on as many orphaned children as possible. The tool we used in order to visit these villages were backpacks filled with school supplies, toys and toiletries. This gave us an opportunity to play, hug and share the love of Jesus Christ. Here is a moment of honesty: living and interacting in a totally different culture was very intimating for me. I was uncomfortable and even frightened; the chanting, dancing, and tribal costumes were a bit overwhelming. Many of the villages were Islamic, some practiced witch craft, or other tribal religions. All very different from what this blonde hair blue eyed orange county girl had ever experienced. But in those moments of discomfort, fear and anxiousness I simply prayed. As quickly as I prayed the fear not only subside but the chanting became funny, the dancing elegant, and the costumes creative. I could not help but dance and sing along with my new brothers and sisters in Christ. My passion to serve God’s people outweighed my fear.
Passing out the backpacks…ahhhhh this was the true gift that I received. Many of these children had never received a gift in their lives. Genuine excitement and joy was heard and felt as these children opened their tooth brushes, pencils, toys and shower loofahs. Some children fell to their knees in tears, others danced and many clapped their hands with thankfulness. Countless times I felt the tears of happiness fall from my eyes. Watching these abandoned children receive love and give love was a beautiful sight.
As we visited more and more villages I began to see the world and Gods people very differently. It was in those moments that I knew I wanted to give, to be a servant, to be used by God. There are many broken, poor and frightened people in the world and I believe I have a message of hope to deliver. Liberia will always have a special place in my heart and I hope I will be back again but until then I will continue to love and give generously as He has always given to me.
I have fallen in love with my Lord and Savior. The name “Lord” is translated from the Hebrew word “Kurios”, which means “master or slave holder”. Luke 9:23 says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself…” Therefore, I am a slave to my Lord and it is through my slavery, I have found freedom. I pray daily that my Lord will use me in the darkest, brightest, most uncomfortable and most comfortable places…I just want Him to use me.
Again, thank you my friends and family; your prayers and generosity allowed me to see, feel and do something far beyond myself.
In His Light,
Please pray for the people in Liberia: the deadly Ebola virus has spread and has taken many lives. Our family at TLP is located in Monrovia which is the latest area to be infected.
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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping end Liberia's 14-year civil war, was re-elected as Liberia's president after several rounds of elections and a run-off. The elections provoked peaceful protest, which turned violent when two men were shot. The situation was quickly taken under control, and there are no other signs of unrest. An incredible Christian woman dedicated to "reconciling the people" and rebuilding Liberia, Sirleaf will ensure a continued era of peace in the broken country through practical approaches and prayer. Please pray for President Sirleaf and the Liberian government that they might make wise decisions and keep God and the good of the people at the forefront of their minds. Pray for the people as well that they will gratefully accept Sirleaf as their president for a second term and remain committed to peace.
To read more about Sirleaf and her goals for the government: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5geuXB2DSjGH2mpe3Hbff6WRQozXQ?docId=CNG.8d942c0e2f76e014378a03114add3d07.861
Thank you so much to all who came and helped out today! We sorted and added a Bible to over 2000 backpacks thanks to the help of our amazing volunteers! This will be another amazing year of giving love and hope to orphans! Pictures will be up soon.
Cuts for a Change was a huge success! Well over 100 people showed up, and we raised $3920! Thank you to all who contributed, especially Hampton Salon and its stylists who donated their time! Read the Orange County Register article here and the Daily Pilot article here.
Photos courtesy of Orange County Register staff photographer Armando Brown