Monday, March 31, 2014


The internet has been down yesterday and today, but I have been so excited to share the progress on The Green House with you! I’m writing this Monday afternoon, however, I’m not sure when I will have internet and be able to post the update.
It has been a very busy weekend around The Green House! The yard and the house are transforming before my eyes! This weekend, the landlord (Uncle Sam), really rallied his guys to get things moving. He had two dump truck loads of sand, along with one dump truck load of crushed rock, delivered for the foundation for the fence. Building a fence is back-breaking work here in Liberia! They had to cut down all of the bamboo that fenced in the property, dig up the roots and then dig the 3-4 foot deep trenches that will be the foundation for the fence. Uncle Sam also had the cement blocks, steel rod and bundles of zinc delivered.

On Sunday, the guys dug the trench for the front fence, and they’ve been working hard today on digging the trench on the side of the house. Let me tell you, the sun is hot today…and they’re moving hundreds of pounds of sand one shovel full at a time. The carpenter also came today and has already removed the old zinc off of half of the house. He is fixing beams, setting lines and getting things ready to put the new zinc on over the next few days.

The plan is to work simultaneously on the roof and the fence. After all of the cement dust settles, they will move inside and start the painting, laying tile and all of the other small tasks. The roof should be finished by the end of the week, and the fence will probably take 1-2 weeks. The welder is also working on the steel gate for the fence so that it will be ready to hang once the fence is finished.

A very exciting discovery is that LEC (Liberian electricity) has poles along the main highway, so I will be able to have electricity at the house! This is HUGE! I have been debating about what to do for electricity, and this is the best, easiest and most cost efficient option. We haven’t had electricity in this area the entire time I’ve been in Liberia, so the timing is absolutely perfect! Once I have internet again, I will fill out a hook-up request form online and submit it to start the process of getting electricity!

I have been surprised at how fast things are moving—talk about an answer to prayer! All of my dealings with Uncle Sam have been easy, and we’ve sat around the palava hut in the heat of the day just talking. One of my prayers has been that he would really catch the vision and get behind the dream, and I hope that in sharing my story with him, he has been able to see how God has been moving, working, answering prayers and providing to make this a reality.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Roller-Coaster

The last 48 hours have been a roller-coaster.

I thought I was going to Liberia on Tuesday, but instead, I took an overnight trip to New York.

I was mentally and emotionally prepared--my life here was in shutdown mode, and my life in Liberia was booting up. I was ready, excited and was filled with peace.

After a late night and early morning, I returned back to Atlanta on Wednesday morning. I was reunited with family and friends. I got pizza for lunch--something that I had wanted to eat before I left, but didn't. I spent the afternoon with my sister and mom, helping my sister get her nursery ready. I slept in my own bed last night, with a ceiling fan and fluffy warm covers. I was happy to have an extra day at home.

Last night, I prayed that when I checked the flights this morning, that it would be very clear whether or not I should try again today or wait until next week. I wanted big, obvious results...which didn't happen. Right now, the computer says I should make it to New York, and then to Accra and Monrovia. The problem is that things can easily and quickly change, and there's no way to know.

My sister called me, and she pretty much kicked my butt. It wasn't fun. It was emotional. I told her I needed to finish reading my Bible and praying and then I'd make a decision. I read 2 Thessalonians today.

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one...And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good...Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way."
2 Thessalonians 3: 3, 13, 16

[well, first excuse to my sister this morning was that i was exhausted, and the thought of traveling for two days just makes me even more tired.]

And, let's be honest: I really wanted to be in Liberia for Small Ashley's birthday (which is today). I had promised Momo that I would be there for her birthday. And that's clearly not possible. So then I started thinking that since it's so close to a few things happening here, that I was bummed about missing out on, that it's ok to stick around here until next week. 

I think some of the emotions came from realizing that, before it felt like either/or...and today I have realized that it's a neither.

So, I'm leaving for Liberia today. I don't know what will happen in New York, but I know that I can't not try. If the numbers were obvious, and trying was foolish, of course I wouldn't do it. But right now, I should make it on all flights. I wish I just knew the outcome, and knew I'd for sure be on my way to Liberia tonight. But the reality is, I don't know what's going to happen. I do know, that I'm going to put one foot in front of the other, and go to the airport at 3:30 for a repeat performance. 

I would appreciate your prayers! I'm praying that God wouldn't even let me leave Atlanta if Liberia isn't a possibility today. I'm praying for a seat out of JFK, so that I will wake up in Africa tomorrow. I am continuing to trust in God's good plans and perfect timing. 

I will already have a friend waiting for me at the gate in New York...a Liberian who didn't make it on Tuesday either. So, at least if I don't make it, I won't be stuck alone. I will keep you all updated on where today takes me. Love you all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Return to Liberia

So here is my usual night-before post. It's 2am, but I've been packed for hours. I spent my day running errands and space-saving and weighing bags over and over again. I had the traditional "Last Supper" with my family and friends. Tonight's menu: homemade meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, salad and ice cream. All the comforts of home.

I have said almost all of my goodbyes. Things are getting real.

But let's be honest....I've felt like I was going to throw up since about 4pm. So many mixed emotions. I have been away from Liberia for almost one full year...the longest amount of time for the last 7 years. But my heart and mind have been so close to Liberia this whole time. I am so ready to be back there--sweating, the ocean breeze, Liberian-English, laughter, my children and my family!

But this is also the first time that I've left for Liberia and I'm already looking forward to coming home. Strange. This will be a very short trip, compared to my usual 7+ months. I will be in Liberia for 5 weeks. But when I come home, I will become the proud aunt of two more nephews!

I know things have been quiet around here, but let me just tell you that God has done so much in my heart and life just over the past few weeks! He continues to answer prayers. He continues to provide. He continues to expand my heart. He continues to guide my steps. He is here, He has gone before me, and He will follow behind me.

God has also done so much healing in my own heart since I was last in Liberia, and I am so excited to go back to Liberia with a new heart and new eyes. A huge part of that healing was me forgiving Liberia. It was a long and painful process, but it brought so much freedom and joy! It was also necessary, in order for me to take the next step of faith, and actually finally agree [aka be obedient] to return to Liberia.

I can see how God has heard my cries, answered my prayers and filled me with joy. He has torn down walls, given me purpose and made my heart full.

Tonight, just before my sister said her goodbyes, she asked what she could pray for. I started off by telling her to pray that I wouldn't get Ebola and die. And that there wouldn't be too much drama with my landlord. And then she said, " no seriously..." and I said, "seriously....ok, pray against the enemy. God has been doing so much, that I know he is ready to fight." And it's true...for the past few weeks, I've felt like I need to arrive with my dukes up.

She then asked if there had been a verse or a theme or anything that I'd been thinking about. And the answer to that is YES! I just keep thinking, "the old has gone and the new has come." I have also been praying, "Jesus, make your joy the anchor of my heart."

I am so. ready. to get to Liberia. Yes, I'm dreading things--like sweating, stifling heat, landlord and money drama, Liberia drama, etc--but I am also looking forward to sweet reunions, celebrating Small Ashley's first birthday, the laughter of children, watching The Green House transform before my eyes, the ocean=my sanity, prayer walking in Cooper Beach, claiming scripture in my yard and in the house, sharing life with my neighbors, and sharing the stories with all of you!

You can be praying that I make it on all of my flights tomorrow (I'm flying standby the whole way) and that all of my bags would make it. Pray for divine appointments in airports and on airplanes. Pray for protection, good health (p.s. there is an Ebola outbreak in Guinea on the Liberian border) and rest. Pray that I would be able to collect the photos, videos and interviews that are needed for this next round of fundraising. And most of all, pray that everything would be done for His glory!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support. I truly could not do any of this without you!