Best Version Liberia

The boys have been out of school all week. I am here writing so that tells you that we made it. Some days I feel like it was by the skin of our teeth, but we did it! It gave us a good look into what is to come when they are out of school from June-September. We are being proactive in trying to find activities for them during that time and trying to find some help so that we don’t all have to go to the grocery store as a family. It makes it problematic that I do not drive here, and have no intention to. So errands being run becomes a fiasco. Who is going to go, who is going to stay? Ladies, you can relate that the one who does the cooking is the one who likes to go to the store/market. I could just give Zach a list, but many times that results in a missed item or incorrect brand type. Hehe. Love you, Zach. Like he doesn’t have enough on his mind!

The rain has not come full force, but it’s like a waiting game. The official start of rainy season was this week and we have had some night storms and a couple days of rain in the morning into the afternoon. We have heard that the bad storms are now, the booming thunder and lightening that lights up the entire apartment at night, but those die off and then it’s just rain. We had some fun stomping in puddles in our boots one morning, until Max decided to take a swim in a really deep one. That kid, he is a piece of work.

Each day I wake up telling myself, “Today, today I am going to be patient, I am going to bite my tongue, I am going to talk quietly to my children, I am going to discipline them and further explain in a calm manner why they are getting in trouble, I am going to do all of these things, and it is going to be a great day.” I have had much success. I also have locked the door to my room and screamed into a pillow a few times. This entire week has been one of the hardest here. Not just because the boys were out of school. It’s been a build up of other things. My grandfather was hospitalized for a heart attack, our Ethan is in the hospital right now with pneumonia, it is Easter and our first big holiday without our family, which leads to our hearts really missing them. Wanting to be with them. To have a conversation that’s not on the phone, delayed with bad connection. Sometimes, even when we have each other, we feel alone. It is not a good feeling and one that we try to push away, but embrace at the same time. It’s part of it. Part of our sacrifice.

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We decided to go spend some time at Hope in Christ yesterday for Easter and bring the kids some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some games, and other fun things. We brought some friends that I have met through my women’s Bible study. They wanted to come along and bring their children to meet all of the kids also. It was a wonderful day of fellowship, we all had such a good time. We read the Easter story which started at the Last Supper and went all the way through the Ascension. Their faces, the wonderment, the excitement, all of these expressions with every turn of the page as if they had never heard the story before. It is truly beautiful, and our family really needed that visit. We needed a day to just be with them. Zach didn’t have his camera out much, we weren’t gathering any information, it was just a day to be with them. It brings you back, to the mission, to the why.

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We are trying to immerse ourselves in the Liberian culture the best we can. We are learning things, we are doing things, we are trying to learn small small Liberian English. But we are still the minority here, no matter how hard we try to blend in, we stick out. It can be exhausting, but trying our best to embrace it, to wave to people, or nod our head to say hello when we get stares. The truth is that no one will ever get that used to seeing a white family walking down the sidewalk in Monrovia, Liberia in their Sunday church clothes. It’s a foreign scene and one that gets many looks. It has made me stop and wonder how people feel when all eyes are on them. I feel like I am pressured to keep my kids in line even more so because everyone is watching. That is literally impossible, but I try. The exhaustion is real. But our cup is filled each time a child is sponsored. Each time we receive a hopeful note or message from someone saying hello. The work being done is worth it. Worth every moment of sadness, or lack of contentment. The Best Version Project launch this week has been more successful than we could have dreamed. Each child we introduced was scooped up by a loving soul within hours of the original posts made. Hours. What an amazing Easter week.

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I’ll end with a conversation Zach and I had Friday night before bed. Earlier that day while running on the treadmill I had some time to think about the day and how it transpired many years ago. How Jesus sat and ate with his most trusted friends, his disciples. How He was all-knowing, how he knew that Judas, the betrayer, would do so for some pieces of silver. How could a person sit and eat with the man He knew would ultimately be a piece to the puzzle to end His life. How could someone love so much? Silver was worth the life of the most important person Judas had ever come to know, but yet he was still invited and welcomed to sit and eat at the same table. Unfathomable love. Unfathomable forgiveness.

Even though Liberia is hard, and even though we have had to deal with some hard things and situations involving people and things, Jesus invited Judas to eat. I think we can all say that knowing you would pay the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of others, by the most excruciating death, we would think twice about loving that person like Jesus loved Judas. We all have a Judas. Love one another. Be kind to one another. Practice forgiveness. Teach your children forgiveness. Our lives on Earth are short in the grand scheme of things. Let’s strive to live each day not for ourselves, but for others, as Jesus did.

Happy Easter everyone. We love you all.

Special prayer requests for my grandfather who is on the mend. For our nephew, Ethan, who is still in the hospital for his pneumonia but getting better slowly. For my 3 kiddos and their runny tummies. We are going on Day 3 with the twins and 2 with Max with some stomach issues, trying to get to bottom of what it may be causing it. Thank you all.

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