Liberian church service
May 2012 Newsletter
This week, my phone has gone everywhere with me. Typically, it sits on my counter rarely-used, and I ignore the poor thing like you wouldn't believe. But since my husband, Jason, and the team are currently in Liberia, I like to have my phone with me just in case he calls. :) I also have been daily checking to see if Angel Rutledge has been able to update her blog, which is only possible if time and access to electricity is available. So- in honor of the team being in Liberia currently, this month I will simply pass on some information to you about their days in country so far. I encourage you to check for more updates by going to Angel's blog directly at http://rutledge6.blogspot.com/ , she will try to update as she is able over the next week and a half.
Day One (Arrival In Liberia):
All fourteen team members made it to Liberia, but only after a ridiculous number of obstacles. We all know that when so many things go wrong, the team must have a great purpose in their mission, and our enemy would like to discourage or stop them altogether! Among the many issues, four team members were so delayed on their US flights, that it truly was God's intervention that allowed the doors of the flight to Liberia to re-open so they could get on. As a result, eight of the bags of supplies did not make the flight from Atlanta to Liberia, and they were forced to check their carry-ons (with ALL their personal items), which were then left in Ghana. So, these four team members are truly learning how little they can survive on. Thankfully, God made a way for the whole team to arrive safely on Friday afternoon, and over the course of the next several days, Angel was able to get a hold of all the supply bags left in Atlanta except one, although the four personal bags took longer to reaquire.
The rest of the update, I will take from Angel's blog...
Liberia: Day Two - "Hmm, how to put Liberia: Day Two into words? I could simply tell you that today we were able to visit Daniel Hoover Children's Village and the Oscar and Viola Stewart School for the Deaf & that we got to spend some time hanging out with the kids and evaluated both facilities to prioritize the maintenance needs. I could tell you that we dipped our toes in the ocean, ate jollaf rice and worked with people in our focus areas of maintenance projects and teacher training to solidify a plan for the beginning of the week. That's what we did.
But each of us saw and tasted and felt more in the day than there are words for. And yet, each of us try to find the words anyway. There were those new to Liberia who tried to express it with a squeeze on my shoulder and eyes a little wet with tears or with words tripping over themselves of how much they have and how can such a chasm between our ways of life exist? Then there were others, several who have never journaled before scrounging around once we got back to the guest house for a notebook or spare sheets of paper & anything to try to capture what their brains could not quite settle upon.
Students in class at the Deaf Mission
And how, after all, do you find a spot in your head for the child who latches onto your hand the moment you step out of the car and doesn't let it go until you get back into go several hours later? Who asks you if maybe you will be their ma or at least find a ma and pa for them even though they have a mom and dad somewhere in Liberia? Still, they know that what they have been given so far is not quite enough. When they understand that no, you will not be able to be all that, they ask instead, "Wha my nay?" (What's my name?) Because if you at least remember their name, it is something, something that makes them feel known and valuable, and that will be enough for today. They are used to settling for that& what is enough for today.
So there is all of that and much more that shatters your heart in a day. But Liberia does not leave you there. It never does. It opens your eyes so you can see better, and not just the hard stuff. The hopeful stuff, too. The way time slows down and you relearn how to play simple games with children that make you both laugh, like taking turns writing in the sand. Or the way the children sway back and forth when they sing that makes you want to do the same. Or the joy to be found in seeing caretakers who keep serving in discouraging jobs day after day because it is right and God is faithful. I think if I had to sum up Day Two in Liberia, I would say it was a good day. Better than I have words for."
Liberia: Monday (May 28th) "Today has been exhausting, hopeful, discouraging, a load of fun, maddening, and encouraging all together and sometimes all at the same time. (You'll have to chack out Angel's blog for all the reasons why!!) ... Thank you for your prayers for this and so many other things. We really need them. At this point of the trip everyone's adrenalin has worn off, and we must rely on the Holy Spirit and not ourselves. A good thing but not comfortable all of the time, right? Thank God for what He is doing in each of us. For now, I'll head to bed while the generator is still on, and I can get to sleep with a fan. With joy from Liberia, Angel"
With JOY from America,