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.