Mission Trip - March 2009 Recap
My name is Henry. My best friend's name is Mark. Will you please remember us?
This is just one example of the countless number of letters I came home with as I recently returned from a ten day mission trip to the Daniel Hoover Children's Village in Liberia.
The "Daniel Hoover Children's Village" (DHCV) and its sister-ministry, "The Deaf Home", are two orphanages that are run by the ACFI Ministry (African Christian Fellowship International ). ACFI began in 1986 as a church planting ministry. When the Liberian Civil War erupted in the 90's, people began bringing orphaned children to the ministry for help. Out of that need, the first ACFI orphanage was born.
Last year, Christian Adoption Services partnered with ACFI in hopes that more families could be located to adopt these precious waiting children who live in this impoverished and war-torn country.
When my husband and I joined with a group of 14 others from various churches, our vision was clear - bring medical aid, bring daily survival supplies and bring hope to these brothers and sisters in Christ.
During our visit with the over 400 children and staff of these orphanages, I can honestly say that I'm not sure who was blessed more - us or them.
Never before in my life have I experienced the absolute poverty that plagues this nation on a daily basis.
With our world in the midst of a financial crisis; it's easy to feel despair. However, despite the losses that each of us may have experienced recently; not too many of us have ever wondered if our child would have food for today (anything - a piece of bread, a handful of rice).
Not too many of us have prayed for money to get a taxi so we can get our child to the free malaria clinic for help.
Not too many of us have lived in a three walled hut made only of bamboo, leaves and dirt in conditions that include extreme rain and 100 degree temperatures.
And yet - this is the reality in Liberia. Not just for a few...but for most.
Despite this reality, I have never before felt the love that the Liberian culture taught me. The kids don't wallow in self-pity and they don't complain that they don't have any toys...they simply run, smile, kick soccer balls and sing songs of what Jesus means to them.
Oh, how much we can learn from these precious children.
While we were in Liberia, we were able to accomplish many things. We repaired windows to keep mosquitoes out of the kid's bedrooms; we remodeled the medical center; we purchased much needed mattresses and bunk beds and we did medical evaluations on each child. God blessed our time greatly and we came away knowing that He had joined us on this mission.
And yet, years from now; I know it's not the bunk beds that I'll remember or even the medical check-ups that were accomplished. It will be the notes from the little children...The little children who affectionately refer to any American as "Mama" and "Papa" and who never once asked me for anything more than a prayer and a memory.