Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Week

For those of you that don't know, I will be returning to Liberia a week from today! I will depart Atlanta on Saturday, February 4th and arrive in Liberia on February 5th. Right now, life seems calm. I spent this morning just laying in bed under my fluffy comforter, enjoying silence (until the hammering started), thinking, praying and mentally organizing my to-do list for this week. I'm just enjoying my last Saturday at home!

So now it's time for the honesty.

It doesn't seem real. I don't feel like I'm leaving for Liberia in a week (maybe that's why things seem calm?). It doesn't seem like next Sunday night, I will be sleeping in Liberia, under a mosquito net, to the sounds of traffic, crickets, waves crashing and people yelling. Oh, and the heat! I'm really looking forward to being room temperature--my feet can't wait--and wearing flip-flops and not having to be all bundled up and still be cold. But I hope I can handle the heat...especially on that first night of sleeping. It seriously feels like I've been away from Liberia for a year! So in that sense, I cannot wait to see the kids, my friends and my ORR family! But thoughts like 'oh crap, I'm going back to that way of life' or 'time to return to the world of [fill in the blank]' (commonly filled in with ridiculousness or insanity) are creeping into my mind. And that's when that tinge of dread comes in. (See, I told you I'd be honest)

Here's the deal. Life in Liberia is hard. It's uncomfortable and it's hot. Manual labor is necessary for the simplest of tasks--flushing the toilet, laundry, getting a glass of water, cutting the grass, cooking. It's totally opposite of anything in our familiar, easy and comfortable Western world. Nothing makes sense, everything takes forever and there is alot of frustration. And it's true that Liberia is the loneliest place in the world, even when it's impossible to ever be alone. Some days are disheartening, while others are the absolute best. Some days have death, while almost every day includes poverty, hunger and hopelessness. But every day also includes joy, laughter and beauty. There's no such thing as peace and quiet, which is difficult for those of us who gain strength, rest and renewal from quiet. Liberia is like a catch-22. So much good, but also so much struggle.

Then there are all of the things I can't wait for. I can't wait for life to be simple (despite all of those heavy issues like death, poverty and hunger). There isn't so much stuff and people aren't surgically attached to their technology (and aren't surgically removed from their family and friends). People seem so far away, but God seems so close. There's no TV. Beauty--beauty everywhere you look! You go to bed worn out and exhausted because you had a full day. Daily life feels like it just has more purpose. True community. Total dependance on God. The ocean--my sanity. Ma Mary's cooking. Momo. And of course, the kids! I can't wait for life to be full of their laughter and their carefree spirit. I'm looking forward to weekends in my hammock on the porch, and after dinner walks to the beach. I'm expectant for kids 'getting it' and really understanding their worth in Christ.

When I start to think about Liberia, sometimes I start feeling overwhelmed. I feel a great sense of responsibility with the kids. I'm there to plant and water seeds. Am I saying and doing and teaching and talking about the right things? I have to rely on God SO MUCH. I don't want to miss out, and I want to be fully obedient. The Holy Spirit--my Helper--must be my best friend...there's no other option! And then, some days, there is total peace. I know I'm right where God wants me to be, doing exactly what He's called me to do. You just know when you're in the center of His will--you feel it,  your actions and words reflect it and your life fully becomes His. Your dreams become His dreams. Your heart breaks for the things that break His heart. You desire Him; nothing more and nothing less. He is your everything.

Ok, I feel like I've gone all over the place with this one, but those are just some things I'm sitting here (under my fluffy comforter) thinking about while reflecting on His love and faithfulness, and how He will supply all of my needs for the journey ahead. I would appreciate your prayers over this next week--that I would manage my time wisely and enjoy these last few days at home with my family and friends, and that I would mentally, physically and spiritually be ready to get on that plane on Saturday. I'm also looking for people who want to join me on this journey. If you would like to make a donation to Orphan Relief and Rescue to help cover my expenses (plane tickets, malaria medicine, health insurance, room & board in Liberia, etc.), then click here. I love you all and thank you so much for all of your prayers and support! I am looking forward to sharing the next chapter of this journey with you!

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