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!


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