Well things are crazy in Sierra Leone and we weren't able to get to an internet cafe until today (10th) So I am posting our updates for our first week and this last week. Love you all! -Erin
7/2/06 (Week One)
It all started in 1462 when Portuguese sailors came along the West African coast, and upon seeing the statuesque cliffs and hearing the roaring thunder like lions, named this beautiful land, Sierra Leone, Lion Mountain. And now a new leaf is being turned, as we take this country by storm!
The traveling was as expected, mind numbing, nerve racking, and wonderful to be over. We each had about 5 hours of sleep over the course of three calendar days, along time swirling around our minds. Finally, we made it! We stepped off the plane on the “Sierra Leone International Air_ort” (the p in the sign was out) and pretty much started sweating instantly. After an amazing helicopter ride and a fabulously bumpy bus ride, our new home was discovered.
Understand that they have us so amazingly well taken care of! Anyone out there praying for our accommodations/food, change to praise! We have several locals working for us, making our lives almost too easy. They are amazingly nice, very patient, and incredible workers. We thought we would be eating rice, fish, and cassava leaves, instead we have had the most flavorful smattering of local favorites. This pure food is really hitting the spot.
Now for what really matters! The children are so amazing! 80 some smiling faces all excited to play with you and learn about Jesus, it is amazing. They run around calling us Uncle and Auntie, and just wanting attention. Thankfully, the Lord is working in us and we seem to have limitless energy for them, as they do for us. They sing and dance amazingly and are all very strong and healthy. They eat very well at their orphanage and it shows. We are so pleased to be a part of these kids’ lives and that they are part of ours. We can feel God working is them and in Sierra Leone, as the love of Jesus is everywhere.
Momoh, our house boy told me, “People ask how we live here, and we tell them, we can live here because we have God.” It’s the things like that that stick with the soul. While the poverty is everywhere, absolutely everywhere, so is God, and we all have faith that these kids in the orphanage with their educations, good health, and love of God will be the future of this land. Till the next time we are able to write continue praying for our ability to show this children Jesus’ love and for the continual health we are currently experiencing.
Brent: Everything is amazing! The people, the scenery, the accommodations, the insane taxi rides, but still, I miss you all at home and truly wish that I could be sharing this experience with all of you. Please offer prayers of praise about our amazing house workers and for our safe travels and all the joyous hearts.
Erin (Auntie Jeneh): Well, I thought I was prepared for all that I would face here, but I don’t think there is any way to prepare yourself for poverty staring at you every single day. You want to be able to help every person you meet, and being unable is heartbreaking! Please pray for these wonderful and incredible people God has in Sierra Leone…pray for change in this nation and these people’s hearts. To my friends and family, I love and miss you all so much. I am well and loving every minute of it even though it is extremely hard. Continue praying me! Love you all.
Kaila Ann: Oh my goodness! I am so overjoyed to be here. My two months solid of hugging and loving kids is off to a great start… Mama, I wish the phone wasn’t so messed up, but I will call as soon as I can (I’ve gotten three notes so far J.) To all of my friends and family, I’m so happy! The kids are the most perfect things I have ever seen, the food is fine J, it’s humid and rainy, but we hit the gorgeous beach a couple of times. I’m totally safe and couldn’t be better taken care of. I love you all more than I know how to tell you and I miss you very, very much!
Natedog: I LOVE THIS PLACE! It’s pretty much impossible to not return the favor to these children when they smile at you—it would work with Saddam Hussein, I’m telling you. I have been having a blast with them, and I am thrilled every time I hear them chime my African name of “Uncle Vandi.” The people I have met are more amazing than I would have hoped people could be. The leadership staff is awesome and the team from Florida that we hooked up with is packed with a fantastic set of humanity. So many of the worries that had been bothering me before I arrived were dismissed by the first day of the trip. I would like prayer for further spiritual growth, for the children and people of Sierra Leone to realize God’s great love for them, and for more rain, since there is a shortage up to this point and people are getting worried. Love and peace!