I haven’t seen this place in six months. A lot has happened during my silence. I have two new[ish] nephews! Red Meets Green is officially a 501(c)3 charity! And there’s an Ebola crisis in West Africa.
I have tried too many times to put things into words for you to read, but I have been unsuccessful. That is why I have been quiet. My head, heart and body have felt very heavy over the last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, there has also been a lot of good mixed in. But lately I’ve found myself in a place where my brain will not turn off, and it is exhausting. Some nights I have just tossed and turned.
Last night I had a dream. In my dream, there was a woman wrapped in a dusty, maroon and beige lappa. Her lips were cracked and dry. Her eyes were empty. Her feet were caked in the red dirt of Mama Liberia. She was laying helpless in the middle of the road, just over the crest of a hill. Upon reaching her, I made note of the evidence of help strewn around her—wrappers of medical supplies, empty water satchels. I couldn’t help but question why so many people had tried to help her, but they tried without ever moving her from out of the middle of the road. Traffic was whizzing by and whoever it was that was with me was standing at the top of the hill trying to send cars around to the sides. I was kneeling down beside her, with little help to offer. I was crying and she was doing her best to let a whimper escape. I looked up at the cars passing by and then I continued my gaze upward to the big, beautiful blue sky. I asked God why. My eyes settled on a group of all-black chickens walking in the tall weeds along the side of the road. I had never seen such a thing—crow-like, evil-looking chickens. And all of a sudden the black chickens flew straight towards my face; turning white once airborne. I woke up from my dream with my body physically trying to dodge the white birds. I laid in bed, thinking and praying for Liberia, until sleep came. [i'm not sure what any of that means...but I can find some metaphors, for sure. maybe those are the kinds of dreams you have when you watch The Good Lie?]
I feel like my heart is in a tug-of-war. My heart has been divided between Atlanta and Monrovia for the last seven years. It’s nothing new for me. When Ebola really started to spiral out of control, my heart longed for Liberia. It took awhile, but I was finally able to reach a place where I am ok with being here. I know the best thing I can do is pray, and that’s something I can do from this side of the ocean.
The problem is that half of my heart, my family and my other home are an ocean away. The problem is that I begin and end my day by looking at news articles, thinking about and praying for Liberia. The problem is that whenever I see pictures or watch news reels, I am constantly scanning faces and landscapes—looking for people I know and love, and praying that a familiar face won’t appear in a photo of a dead body laying in the street or waiting in agony outside of an ebola treatment center. The problem is that I think about how far Liberia has come since civil war, and how many steps back she’s taking every day. The problem is that many times I feel so helpless and I grieve for the people of Liberia. The problem is that Liberia has been called hell on earth.
I don’t know why Ebola is happening to Liberia. There are days when it seems overwhelming, and it’s more difficult for me to find hope. There is not an easy answer. Things are not in black and white. Economies and healthcare systems are breaking under the insurmountable weight. Mothers and fathers are dying and leaving children behind. Fear has gripped our own country and created ugly hearts. It has become an issue of black and white, wealthy and poor, privileged and not.
Countless times a day, I wonder what in the heck I’m doing, and I try to better understand even a portion of God and His perfect timing. I cannot see His bigger picture, but I am trying my best to trust in the unknown masterpiece. I truly believe that God is in Liberia and that He is moving and working. I know that Ebola in Liberia is God’s story, and that His name will be known throughout the world because of a terribly ugly virus that divides countries, communities and families.
Please, I’m asking you to pray for the people of West Africa. Pray that help would come swiftly and that supplies would be in abundance. Pray for miracles—in ebola treatment centers, in provision and in the lives of those who are living in fear. Pray for those who are grieving and are unable to find a glimmer of hope to cling to. Pray for me and for Red Meets Green and The Green House and the people of Cooper Beach.
I really don’t know where to go from here, and I have no idea when I will be able to return to Liberia. But, I know that there’s a house in Liberia that’s waiting on me, or that could potentially be used by someone who is already on the ground. I know that there is an army of people who love Liberia, and who support the dreams that God has given me. I know that I am supposed to be here, now and for this. I truly believe that God already has, and will continue to, work Ebola for Liberia’s good.
The question is, will you join me? Although so many things seem like big question marks, the truth is that I also believe that when the time comes to safely return to Liberia, I have to be ready. Part of being ready is having enough finances to go back and get The Green House open! Things are going to look a little different than I had originally planned, but that is ok. I know that there will be different needs, and that the people of Cooper Beach are going to need things that God has been putting on my heart over the last few months. I am simply making myself available to return to Liberia with the hope of Christ on the tip of my tongue and an overflow from my heart and hands. I need all of you to join me on the journey!