Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you had a wonderful day, filled with family, friends, togetherness, food and laughs, but most importantly, I hope that you took a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Christ was born, so that we might live! God sent His Son to Earth, to dwell among us and no matter what, He continues to love and guide us! How awesome is that!?

This Christmas has felt different to me. It's not about December 25th, the gifts, the mad shopping, the decorations or anything that culture tells us today should be about. Christmas is about celebrating Christ's birth, while being surrounded by my family! We've laughed and cried this Christmas. I've had those moments of wishing I were in Liberia this Christmas. But then I sit in the living room and look around at the people that I'm surrounded by (while playing a mean game of Mafia) and am so grateful that I am here, right now, today, in a room full of love, happiness, comfort and joy.

And then, to see the video that's above--joyful kids in Liberia, experiencing Christmas. Thank you to everyone who donated a Christmas bundle--more than 300 bundles were delivered! I am continually grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to be His hands and feet to orphans in Liberia. I am thankful for all of you--the people who pray for me, love me, support me, read my blogs and send me emails of encouragement. I am also extremely grateful for my ORR family! I hate that I'm missing out on being with them right now, but that just makes my return all the sweeter!

God is SO good and SO faithful! His goodness and faithfulness started long before you and I were here, and His love and grace are definitely more than we deserve!

(And on another tangent...)

As my mom and I were preparing Christmas Eve dinner for 14 yesterday, we were blasting Chris Tomlin's Christmas album, Glory in the Highest. We started talking about our favorite Christmas songs. Now, I will admit, I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas music. I can't stand it when that's all you hear starting the day after Thanksgiving (I think it's a combo of working in retail and radio for years--you hear it non-stop at both places.) But, when my mom asked me what my favorite song was, I replied, "I don't know why, but this year, a particular song has just stood out to me, and I LOVE it." So, I'll wrap my Christmas post up with the lyrics...I feel like it encompasses all that Christmas is about

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.

Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!

O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.

And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

With all our hearts we praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gifty Update--PRAY!

I just wanted to give all of those who have been following Gifty's story a quick update.

On December 18, Gifty was wheeled into surgery. Gifty received her liver transplant! The surgery went well and she began her long road of recovery. Join me in praising God for this miracle for our miracle girl!

Last night, I talked with Debbie in Liberia. She had just gotten word that Gifty was having another surgery. Because of the blood thinner medications she's on for her new liver, Gifty was having bleeding in her brain. She needed emergency brain surgery!

Please continue to pray for Gifty. Her little body has gone through so much, but she's a fighter! Pray for her family--for peace, rest and comfort. Pray for her doctors--that God would give them knowledge and guide their hands. Pray for healing and comfort for Gifty's body. Thank you all for your prayers!

Monday, December 7, 2009

4 Liberia Christmas Gift Market

Since I have some Liberian items left over from the big fundraiser that was held last month, I thought it would be great to offer them to my blog readers! They would all make unique Christmas gifts for your loved ones, and all of the proceeds will benefit orphans in Liberia. You can't beat that! You can click on any of the pictures for a closer look. Please contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions or would like to make a purchase. Shipping costs are not included, but should be no more than an additional $3...not including the artwork or unless you buy everything! You can pay with PayPal, check or cash. So, I present to you...the 4 Liberia Gift Market!

Christmas Cards:
Spread joy this Christmas by sending your family and friends Christmas cards with a purpose. The cards feature some of my own favorite photos of Liberia's orphans. And, the proceeds benefit Liberia's orphans!
[Pack of 10 Christmas cards with envelopes. Two of each card. $15]

All of these purses are made from traditional Liberian lappa fabric.
[Clutch made by my good friend, Joyce. $15]
[Purse above made by me. $30 each]
These two purses are made from traditional Liberian batik fabric.
[Batik purses made in Liberia, $10 each]

These earrings were made by the women at Amazing Grace, Inc. in Monrovia, Liberia. The beads are made out of recycled glass bottles. The women are make beautiful, handmade jewelry as a means to provide food for their families. These were part of the Beads4Bucks auctions I had a few months ago.
[Brown & Gold earrings or brown & pink earrings, $15 each]
[Adjustable, woven 'Liberia' bracelets. Made in Liberia. $5]

Bullet Crosses:
These bullet casings are straight from Liberia. A Liberian man, James, takes the bullets and turns them into crosses. James says that he turns the bullets into crosses because what was once meant for death and destruction can now be used for something good. I turned some of the bullet crosses into Christmas ornaments for myself by putting a hole for a ornament hook in them (like the cross in the front). Just let me know if you'd like a hole in yours--works great for ornaments, key chains or to put on a cord for a necklace!
[Bullet cross, $4]

I have an online gallery of original artwork from Liberia that you can browse. All of the artists were children during Liberia's 14 years of civil war. Check out the beautiful artwork here: Original Liberian Artwork For Sale.

Christmas Bundles:
Provide a Christmas bundle to an orphan in Liberia! You can also enclose a personalized card to the child. So far, 160 orphans will receive a bundle. Let's make sure 250 kids get a bundle this Christmas! Click here to donate a Christmas bundle!

If you have any questions, or would like to make a purchase, please leave a comment or contact me at ashley [at] orphanreliefandrescue [dot] org.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

7 Hours Left!

Today is the last day for the Undies-4-Liberia collection! Please visit the pledge's site to sign the pledge. What a simple, inexpensive way to impact the lives of orphans living in Liberia. You can either purchase the undies yourself, put a giftcard in the mail or make a donation through PayPal.

Sign my pledge at PledgeBank