Liberia Trip 2019
From March 16th through 26th, a group of 20 of us were blessed to be able to travel to Liberia and stay with our friends at ACFI at the Daniel Hoover Childrens Village. Our group came together from all over the country to travel for over 24 hours and be greeted late at night by a group of smiling children who had waited up for our arrival. Our hosts were so gracious, ensuring that our dorm was furnished with everything we could need- including big fans (thank goodness!). There are generally some last-minute snags in any mission trip, but this one went so smoothly. A few team members had bad stomach days, one flight was slightly rescheduled, but all-in all everything went according to plan! On each trip, the team comes together perfectly, and this time was no different. We were so blessed to have two Physician Assistants on our team who spent countless hours every day doing medical check-ups on every sick and well child and staff member who lined up outside their makeshift clinic. A run to the pharmacy in town supplied mountains of necessary medications (like anti-malaria pills, de-wormers, and multi-vitamins) for very little cost. A unique aspect of the trip this year was that the large majority of the students at Daniel Hoover currently are teens, and God brought together 6 teenagers who wanted to spend their Spring Breaks serving their Liberian brothers and sisters through sports and fellowship. We also had a former professional athlete and two coaches/PE teacher, so there were MANY hours of soccer and kickball on these fields! Another God wink came in that 4 families on our team have adopted children themselves, including two from Daniel Hoover. His plan was everywhere.
Team members were split into groups of sports ministry, sponsorship updates, medical, construction, VBS, and training seminars. We also spent one day at the Deaf Home doing the same work, which is always a favorite. All of you who currently sponsor children will be getting updates very soon, since I have piles of papers, photos, and letters from every boarding and day student at both Daniel Hoover and from the Deaf Home.
Dan, Angel, and Jamie led business and finance trainings, which led to many follow-up conversations- especially from young women with exciting business ideas. Donn and Cyndie led Bible studies, and John and Laura led a personality strength training. Laura, Kacey, Lindsay and I led a womens seminar meant to encourage and empower, and snuck in some good "girl talk". CG, Laura, and Phil led VBS and crafts for the younger kids, Jason and others worked with Liberians on construction repairs, and the faithful teens played soccer in the sun the whole time. One day we were able to distribute the thousands of pounds of supplies that we carried over with us. Every student received a new outfit, toothbrush, candy, snack, toy, and flip-flops. Sponsors, if you sent a package for your child, I hand-delivered it to their happy faces, and you will be getting a photo soon. That day we also held a staff and alumni appreciation ceremony in which we gave each staff member a gift and served them a meal of rice, chicken, sandwiches and sodas. Liberians have such servants hearts that it was tricky getting them to sit down and be served by us!
Overall we were very encouraged by everything we saw. Roofs have been replaced with funds that we have sent from your donations, dorms have been painted, the generator runs well and there is some running water. The children are in good health overall. Even so, there were still many needs. We were able to bring along funds for special projects and used a portion of those to purchase the boarding students new mattresses, sheets, and bednets. Major needs that we need to contribute toward and pray for are:
1) Sponsors- Please spread the word and pray. Sponsorship of $40 a month pays for the childrens food at both boarding homes, and there is a need for much more. We are in the process of creating a brand new sponsorship website!
2) College sponsors- With such a high teen population, there are many graduating seniors who would love to go to college. College tuition is around $400, two to three times per year depending on the school.
3) Special Projects- Major plumbing repairs are needed in order to fix the toilets in the dorms.
Again, we are so thankful for all of your donations and prayers. God gave us a very successful trip and great fellowship with our ACFI family through your generosity. Be on the lookout for a new sponsorship website and updates on all of your kids!