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    August 2014 Newsletter

    More Mission Trip Testimonies

    Alicia with children at the Mission school for the Deaf

    "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.  In him, our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22

    We hope you received the Ebola Update and learned how the virus is specifically affecting life for the children and staff of the mission homes.  If not, you can find that information at this link. The situation continues to worsen, and it has become more difficult to purchase food or travel. Most of the children are back at the mission home, and ACFI is working to ship a container of medicines and food from the US to circumvent the rising costs in Liberia. They are trying to self-quarantine the adults and children to limit their risk of exposure. Please continue to pray for West Africa, as the fear surrounding ebola is causing many unstable situations.  Pray for great wisdom for those in leadership of these countries- that they might know how best to handle such a difficult situation for the good of their people.

    We were thankful to get the picture of some of the children celebrating Flag Day on August 24th. It is good to see that every day life activities and celebrations are still taking place.

    As promised, we have two more individuals who were willing to share their perspectives and experiences while in Liberia this past spring.  For Alicia, it was her first trip, and for Les, his second trip to Liberia, though he's been in many places over his life to serve people in Jesus' name.  I hope you enjoy hearing about their time in their own words!

    From Alicia:

    "My name is Alicia Toomey. I live in Boone, a small college town in the mountains of western North Carolina. I work as an American Sign Language Instructor and Interpreter for the Deaf at Appalachian State University. Sometimes I wonder how I ended up on a mission trip to Liberia, West Africa. And then I remember…God called me there!

    He worked over and over again in His miraculous way to make everything possible. He heard every care, every fear, every whisper and desire of my heart. It was His provision that made it possible for my younger sister from Texas to go on the trip too! Through my church, friends, and family, he provided funding. Through prayer and the encouragement of those I love, he reassured me that this was His will for me. He placed all things in order that I might leave my family, my work, and my home to do His work.

    God put together an amazing team of 12, including three Liberians who were returning to their country after adoption into the USA. I felt so honored to have them on the team. I was truly blessed by my time with each team member. Those who had been to Liberia before did a wonderful job preparing us, but it had been two years since they were last there.

    When we arrived in Liberia, I was surprised to find things flowed much easier than I expected. We were greeted at the airport by Bishop Kofi and others from ACFI. I’ll never forget that first night, standing outside in front of the guest house in the sand holding hands with one of my Liberian teammates while “Brother Ed” prayed for us all. He prayed that our work there would be blessed and productive. I was moved to tears. After all the preparations, planning, praying, waiting, and traveling, I was finally in Africa!

    Pre-trip, my focus areas were “Vacation Bible School” , sponsorship, and the Deaf Mission School. But, once we hit the ground, we all found ourselves doing whatever was needed in the moment. Our team motto was “Have a plan, but, be flexible. TIA! (This Is Africa!).

    The true desire put in my heart by God was to work with the deaf children in Liberia. We spent one day at the Oscar and Viola Stewart mission school for the Deaf doing sponsorship updates, distribution of supplies, and Bible lessons. Fortunately, I got to spend another half day at the Deaf mission/school while others from the team honored the caregivers with a ceremony at Daniel Hoover . We wanted the Deaf teachers and staff from there to be able to participate, so I got to spend some real quality time just playing and talking with the deaf children. They are amazing kids! They told me stories of their families, gave me a tour of their gardens, and shared their hopes and dreams for the future. Deaf people in Liberia don’t have the same rights as those in America and I am so thankful ACFI has made a “home and family” for these wonderful children of God. The big need at the Deaf mission/school is to build a wall that will protect these sweet children and their caregivers. Often families nearby will come and take advantage of all others do to try and help and give to the deaf children. If you feel led by God, PLEASE help contribute to this great need. 

    I went to Liberia to bless others and ended up getting blessed myself. When my friends ask me, “Didn’t you just want to bring some of those beautiful kids back with you?” “Yes!”, I say, “I did bring them back. I brought them back in my heart.”

    Les Mack with some buddies at Daniel Hoover Children's Village

    From Les:

     "I count it a privilege to be able to share my experience and thoughts about the opportunity I had last May/June to return to Liberia and assist at the ACFI mission homes and schools. Since I, Les Mack, was the "old man" of the team (at age 87!) and the Lord had given me several prior opportunities to be on mission trips, I was not too surprised of the climate, culture, and facilities in Liberia. God had prepared me well: growing up on a farm without electricity and modern conveniences, training in the Army with limited facilities, and teaching science at the high school and teaching method courses at the college.

    Even though it was my second time to Daniel Hoover Mission School, I was again impressed with the children: how healthy they were and how well they were cared for, how they expressed happiness, and how well they respected each other in spite of having to share many things. It was good to see how effectively the mission was managed and how supportive the staff was in accomplishing the many needed tasks. God has blessed them richly.

    Even with limited resources, I was amazed to see how the children were learning the Word of God, and being taught how to put Him first in their lives. I was honored to give my testimony and to speak twice before the students at their evening devotions.

    Our time with the children was the greatest: distributing clothes and toys to each one, teaching truths and songs in VBS, helping write sponsorship letters, and just "hanging out" with them. Tom Harpootlian and I had the opportunity to remain an additional five days and we had the awesome experience of working with the students and teachers in classroom presentations of math and science. I also shared strategies of problem solving and critical thinking with the teachers.

    I see the greatest need that ACFI has at this time is to secure sponsors for each child so that more finances would be available for improvement on the compound and at the school. There also is a need for greater educational training, both technical and vocational, so that the students would have a greater opportunity upon graduation for success and independence and/or educational advancement.

    I plan to continue sponsoring children at the mission, to keep updated on the needs of ACFI, and if the Lord leads, returning to continue working with the principal and staff in every way that I can."

    Thank you for your care of the children of Liberia!  

    With JOY,

    Corrie Luebke

    Sponsorship Coordinator

    [Posted: 08/21/2014]

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