Thursday, April 29, 2010

Danny Feeney (Gold Child) Update

[How about that beautiful building...a beautiful new ORR truck?!]

Just an FYI: Gold Child Orphanage Home recently inc
orporated under the new name Danny Feeney Memorial Orphanage Home. Gold Child will now be referred to as Danny Feeney.

The construction in Cotton Tree is moving right along! Thanks to the $30,000 that was raised back in November at the HeartCry dinner and auction, the new home will be completed. Matt and the construction guys have been hard at work because Matt is leaving Liberia on May 24th, and things need to be close to done by then. Plans are underway for a grand opening ceremony, as well as trying to figure out when we will be able to move the children.

Right now, the crew is working on the latrines. We've been having alot of rain, which has made cement mixing and pouring interesting, but the slab will be poured tomorrow. There were a few attempts at drilling a well about a month or so ago, without success. We just got news that two organizations are partnering together to drill the well, install the apron and hand pump, and pay for it! Another answer to prayer!

The building is looking amazing! I am looking forward to making the house a home for the children, and I absolutely cannot wait to move the kids into their new place!

Here are a few pictures of the project from a few weeks ago.
[Working on the latrines]

[The inside...before the ceiling, but still looking awesome!]

[Inside one of the bedrooms. Matt did an awesome job on the ceiling and sky lights!]

You can be praying for strength and energy for Matt and his guys. They are working really hard, out in the hot sun, all day long! Also, pray that the rains hold off so they can finish the latrine casting. Pray for the 37 kids who will call this home in just a few short months!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Field Trip!

[Kumbah, Naomi, Ashley, Mercy & Patricia]

Today was a first. A first of many, I hope.

I have started meeting with the older girls at Frances Gaskins on Wednesday afternoons. These girls are intelligent, hilarious, creative and talented. I really enjoy Wednesday afternoons! Knowing that the 'big big girls' are the creative types, I've been trying to think of how to approach our Wednesday afternoons, how to spend our special time and how to encourage the girls in their talents and creativity.

Rewind. You might remember the Beads4Bucks auctions that I held last year, featuring the beautiful glass bead jewelry made by the women at Amazing Grace, Inc. While I was at home, Amazing Grace relocated and now they are just 3 minutes down the road! I have visited them a few times since I've been back and last week I decided to ask if I could bring some girls there to see how they make the beads. The woman said sure, and we made plans to come today around 2:30, but I wasn't too confident in her following through. Much to my surprise, she called me at 9am this morning to confirm my visit (whoa! where am i?).

As soon as we loaded up and hit the road, the girls were excited and giggling and trying to figure out how to buckle seat belts. Then they told me they hoped we were going to 'that woman's place who can fix the beads.' A few minutes later, and we were pulling up to the Amazing Grace container. Grace and Olivia from Amazing Grace did a fabulous job--wanting to get to know the girls, showing and explaining how to make the beads, answering questions and having some fun! The girls were mesmerized by the bead oven and couldn't quite get over that old bottles were being turned into beautiful beads.

Grace and Olivia told me that the girls were more than welcome to come during rainy season to make beads, as well as learn other skills like basket weaving, making country cloth and tye-dying. As a souvenir, the ladies gave the girls their own pair of Amazing Grace earrings. They really went above and beyond, and took some time to encourage and empower the girls too! And, they told me I can bring the 'big big boys' next week!

After we got back in the car, the girls went wild! The very first thing that was said was, "Auntie Ashley, we want to learn it. We want to make something fine fine for you." They giggled and talked about everything the whole way home. Just before pulling into the yard, they quickly put on their new earrings and made a pact that, instead of keeping the field trip a secret, they would tell the other children what they learned.

Opportunities like this get me excited, and make me even more excited for the girls--a chance to learn something and to express themselves. Plus, I get to learn how to make beads too, while spending some quality time with girls that I love!

Here are a few photos from our field trip, enjoy!
[Olivia showing the girls how they crush glass bottles. This guy has the hardest job...sweating in front of the oven all day!]
[Olivia with the girls]

Monday, April 12, 2010


This is Yamah.

Yamah is in my small group for CDP at Danny Feeney (formerly, Gold Child Orphanage). She is a smart, but shy, six year old who loves to color and make funny faces. She usually doesn't say much, but her big brown eyes and huge smile are killer!

This week in CDP, we are finishing up our lessons on The Fruits of the Spirit. Because we are finished, the kids get to keep their copy books. I thought it would be cool to write little notes to each of the kids...some surprise the back of their copy books. Today I passed out the copy books and told the kids that they each had a special message inside. The kids flipped though quickly, and noticed the brightly colored page towards the back. They weren't too excited because none of them can read, but they enjoyed my doodles. I started the kids on their color sheet for today and went around and asked each child if they found their special message. I read each child their note, but most of them were already distracted before I could finish.

Somehow I didn't get to Yamah...probably because she likes to sit backwards on the bench and uses the seat as her table. After 'study class' finished, I went and sat outside. Yamah came over with her copy book, and I realized I didn't read her her note. I asked Yamah if she read it, knowing that she couldn't, and then asked if I should read it to her. She nodded yes.
I cannot tell you how much fun it was to sit there, amongst the chaos of 35+ other children running around, and watch the face of precious Yamah change. She lit up! It was a special nobody else even existed. She looked down shyly, and let her beautiful smile slip. I asked her if she agreed with what I said, and she could only smile. I said, "it's true! You are special and beautiful and God loves you so much!" She let her smile slip again, and it was priceless. I knew that it had been a long time, if ever, that she had heard those words, and that she really believed them. She went in for a hug, and then just stood there for a minute holding my hand.
Moments like that, with Yamah, are what it's all about!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Easter

Last week, in our Child Development Program (CDP), we were celebrating Easter. We wanted to share the story of Christ's death and resurrection with the kids in a new, real, fresh and fun way. With the help of "Benjamin's Box" by Melody Carlson and Family Life's Resurrection Eggs, the story came alive. The children were enthralled by the story of Benjamin and enjoyed opening each egg to find a surprise inside! After talking about the sacrifice that was made for us and the freedom and forgiveness that we can find in Christ, we were able to share the good news of Christ's resurrection! And, no Easter celebration would be complete with crafts, 'He's Alive' stickers and 'He Lives' bracelets! The best part is that this week, we're following up with a butterfly craft that helps us talk to the kids about new life. Thank you all for your prayers for our Easter week lesson. The week sparked questions and conversations among the children, which allowed us to share more about Christ's love!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Looking for Your Input

I've been working on some things....brainstorming, thinking, dreaming....and I'm looking for opinions. Would you take a few minutes to fill out this short survey. I'm looking at coming up with handmade items from Liberia to use for fundraising, and I want to know what you people are interested in. Yea, I'm finally using my 4 1/2 years of college to do alittle market research, haha. Anyway, thanks for taking a few minutes to give me your opinion!

A more exciting update is coming soon!