Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Birthday--28!

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 28th birthday. It was a great Friday full of favorites! And the celebrating continued on Saturday, too! Here's what my LIB birthday included...
I was greeted in the morning with breakfast in bed (cards from home, OJ and real cream filled Dunkin Donuts--previously frozen, imported and then thawed) while my teammates serenaded me with "Happy Birthday" (wish I had that on film) as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
I spent the afternoon baking with my FG girls. It took us about 3 hours to make 3 cakes...mixing everything by hand and baking on a's the LIB way! We had 2 cassava cakes and one coconut cake. The coconut cake was AWESOME!

And on Saturday, us girls went to the Ethiopian buffet for dinner--YUM! And then I got a big surprise! Deb handed me a key to our friend's suite at Kendeja (the nicest hotel in Liberia), and told me I had it for the night! WHAT?! Hot showers, electricity, running water, air-conditioning, peace and quiet, sleeping in as long as I want, a big bed with no mosquito net and a fluffy duvet to snuggle under.....PERFECT!

Snuggling up since I cranked the air way down...just because I could, and I wanted to make the most of the fluffy duvet. Fast internet meant I could steam IHOP's Prayer Room, and my mom's homemade salsa and chips for breakfast!

I was also able to Facetime with my parents for about 2 hours, so that was great too! I slept in until after 10am, took a second hot shower, enjoyed some more IHOP, did some reading and writing and then finally packed up and left around 4pm! It was a great birthday!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Sometimes there are children who fight hard. The situations and circumstances that they come from are unimaginable. Life is extremely difficult, there are no opportunities, and there is no encouragement or motivation to change their situation--they are oppressed and left without a voice. That is why we are here in Liberia. To fight for these children.

One child who has fought hard is George. George is 10 years old, and now he has a new outlook on life. George came from an terrible and hopeless situation. He was living in an orphanage with horrible conditions, he was sick and hungry and he wasn’t in school. He spent many days wandering around the community trying to find work, and usually doing hard, manuel labor, so that he would have food for the day. It appeared that George would never have a way out of that life.

The good news is that George got out! Orphan Relief and Rescue fought hard for George so that he could attend an excellent boarding school, where he has a clean and safe place to live, and he is finally receiving an education. In the beginning, George was having a difficult time adjusting to a new life of structure and discipline, and he was frequently fighting and causing trouble. One afternoon I sat down to talk to George--to find out why he’s fighting and to encourage him and let him know that I knew the real George and that George did not fight. I went to visit George a few weeks later, and when I saw him, he was standing in the front of his classroom in his crisp uniform and big smile, leading his classmates in spelling words. George was improving.

Fast forward a few more months. George is thriving! He has been participating in our weekly CDP time and every week he eagerly raises his hand to participate. He walks with his head held high and carries that huge smile! A few weeks ago, George sat down and read an entire book to me--something he would never have been able to do before. The next week, I noticed George sitting in the corner reading another book aloud. I couldn’t help but just sit there and smile; thinking about how much George’s life has changed, and wondering what George’s future holds. George is going to do great things--for himself, for others and for the country of Liberia. This is why Orphan Relief and Rescue exists. To help children like George.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dolls, Dolls and More Dolls!

Part of the container delivery included more than 100 handmade dolls for the children that I work with in Liberia. Thanks to a kind (and motivated and generous...) stranger (Kim) that came across my blog last year, she started the doll-making train. She inspired others to make dolls for Liberia! Between Kim, me, my sister (Julianne) and the GA's at New Hope Baptist Church, we sewed, stitched, stuffed and shipped more than 100 dolls to Liberia! The girls have LOVED the dolls, and it has been so much fun to hand them out. The container even arrived in time for my mom to help hand out the dolls! Thank you to Kim, the New Hope GA's and Julianne for creating such beautiful, special dolls! And GA's--I will bring the letters home from your new friends soon! Here are some photos!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blankets4Liberia Update!

A few weeks ago, it was feeling alittle like Christmas around here! The shipping container arrived, and our house was full of boxes! Included on the container were the 284+ blankets from the Blankets4Liberia pledge, as well as New Hope/HeartCry. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the Blankets4Liberia pledge! It's been like Christmas for the kids--everybody getting their very own blanket to stay warm this rainy season, and to help protect against malaria. Here are some photos from the blanket distribution. Enjoy the photos!