Sunday, June 28, 2009


Today was a new Liberian experience for me. I was an honorable guest of the "graduation and closing exercise of the Living Faith Welfare Institute, Inc." at Frances Gaskins.

Translation: 11 kids graduated from Kindergarten!

We got a late start because the guest speaker was running late, so I think they were trying to stall for as long as possible. The order of the program included 21 items! The most impressive part of the program was the brain teaser. A student from K-1 recalled 60 spelling words, while the K-2 student recalled 110 spelling words! We were on item 7 or 8 of the program when the orphanage director asked me if I would present the graduates with their certificates. I agreed...not knowing really what that entailed, and quickly flipping over the program to make sure I would be able to pronounce all of the names correctly. Thankfully, I later found out that I only had to pass out the certificates, shake hands and say congratulations. Phew! After a 3 hour program, the "painting (pretty sure the program should have said pinning) of the graduates" began. Pinning is an experience--you buy candies, fake flowers and ribbons to pin on your loved ones. By the end, everyone looks like an pinata in reverse. Anyway, the graduation wasn't too bad of an experience and a big congrats to the kiddos for their hard work! And, here are a few pics.

[The children performing a few selections before the program began]

[Presenting certificates to the graduates...with such an important job, it's a good thing I wore my fancy skirt!]

[Andrew and I, along with Emmanuel (the orphanage director) and the FG kids who graduated. This is after the pinning]

Friday, June 26, 2009

A New Perspective: Guest Blogger

The following post was written by my mom. She has just returned home from spending 2 weeks with me here in Liberia. This was her first time to Liberia and her first time to Africa. Here are some of her inital thoughts.
I realize now that I was afraid to go to Liberia. I wanted to visit my daughter and see what her life is like, but sometimes, ignorance is bliss. It’s like the lyrics from the song Please Don’t Send Me to Africa:

Please don't send me to Africa
I don't think I've got what it takes
I'm just a man, I'm not a Tarzan
Don't like lions, gorillas or snakes
I'll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don't send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night

I knew that I would be taken out of my comfort zone and wasn’t looking forward to it; I dreaded the heat, the absence of electricity and running water, and the 2 meals per day eating plan. But then a funny thing happened. Despite the lack of modern conveniences, I fell in love with the people of Liberia. I saw people who should have been sad, mad, depressed, or hopeless; instead, they were joyful, gracious, hospitable, and hopeful. The orphans that I met were beautiful and without the angry attitude that so many western kids have adopted.

God hasn’t called me to live in Africa, but my perspective will never be the same again. Africans are no longer an abstract thought or just pictures in a book. They’re lovely people who have years of hard work ahead of them just to get back to the standard of living they enjoyed before the war destroyed their country.

Yesterday I had breakfast with 2 ladies I met while in Liberia; we laughed together about the ridiculousness and cried together about the impact that trip has had on our lives. We’ll be forever friends because we shared an experience that no one else can relate to. If you ever get the chance to have your perspective changed, take it. It will be scary and it may not be painless, but it will be worth it. It will make you appreciate God’s blessings and forever change how you view the world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Few of My Favorites

After spending 2 weeks with me in Liberia, I put my mom on a plane yesterday to head home. In my mom's words, "the 2 weeks went by really fast, but they were also very slow." It was great to have my mom here--meeting the people she's heard so much about, spending time with the children, experiencing Liberia and seeing the ORR field team hard at work. It's really nice to have a new ambassador for me at home, who can speak first hand about Liberia, the children and ORR's ministry here. I know, I said my mom would be a guest blogger...and she still will be...but she will write once she's home and able to reflect. In the meantime, here are a few (ok, more than a few) pictures from the last 2 weeks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blue Skies at Mother Harley's

The construction project at Mother Harley's is in full swing. We have had a week of rain-free days! This is a huge answer to prayer because right now, half of the building has no roof, while the other half has a badly leaking roof. Thing are moving right along and progress is being made towards making the home safe and dry for the 40 children who live there. Thank you all so much for your prayers--keep praying for blue skies for the next few weeks!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Old Ma is On the Ground

I apologize for the quietness. Things have been busy around here. Why?


My mom has been in Liberia for one week now. It's been great to be able to show her around my home and have her meet the people that I love. She has enjoyed being with the children, laughing at my security guards and observing the ridiculousness of Liberia. She has not enjoyed the past 3 straight days and nights of rain or the attacks from fire ants. But I think she's seen alot, learned alot and laughed alot. It's been great having her here and I'm so glad that she finally got the opportunity to come to Liberia! This is her first time to Africa, so she's soaking everything in and seeing things with a fresh set of eyes. She will be a guest blogger later on this week.