Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's that time again...

Bany Trading Company school supply drive blessing the men and women students at the Orphanage Vocational Training Centre in Sierra Leone, West Africa with excess benefiting the children at the Wellington Orphanage. Items needed are college supplies in nature such as spiral notebooks, pens/pencils, computer memory USB sticks, etc.

Collection Deadline: Sunday, September 5, 2010.

Location: Drop off supplies at Grace Community Church at each campus in designated containers or contact Stefani or Amanda for additional dropoff locations or for pickup.

Contact: Stefani Masten & Amanda Storer at
m or via facebook.
Look forward to seeing what God will do again this year!!!

If you would like to donate financially, donations can be made to Bany Trading Company.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Did someone say SALE???? It's true. Grace Community Church is hosting a Women's Christmas event this weekend. It's an awesome time to shop with a PURPOSE! There will be a number of booths with great items from all over the world.

Here's the info....

Ladies, come celebrate a “Country Christmas” with Women of Grace! Enjoy live musical entertainment and come early to do some Christmas shopping. Proceeds support local and international missions.

Date: Saturday, December 5; Doors open at 9am, Brunch and concert 10-11:30am
Location: Old Jacksonville Campus Auditorium
Cost: Tickets $10 each; Free for girls 10 & under
No Childcare Available

Tyler Campuses: purchase at the Downtown Ministry Center, multi-site church office, or Christmas event booth in the Commons.

Lindale & Athens: call or email to reserve tickets, pay at the door.
Registration Deadline: December 3
Contact: Crystal Smoker; 903.595.5249

We'd love to see you there...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chicken in a Bag

Today was exciting!  After training today I was called into the office by my friend Poppy.  He started explaining that he wanted me to have Pepper Soup (which I had previously told him I liked).  We mostly eat international food here at the team house, not African food.  So I was not exactly sure what he was wanting.  Initially, I thought he was going to invite me to dinner.  Would be great, except that I would not have been able to due to transport for returning home. we were talking he pointed over towards the wall.  There, in a plastic bag, was the beginnings of my pepper very own chicken in a bag!  

It's very honoring that he would even try to find a way for me to have pepper soup and I know it was a sacrifice for him to buy the chicken.  Freaked me out as I picked it up....I was waiting for it to peck my hand.  However, it is very well-behaved.  It traveled home with me by car and I'm still not sure yet what I will do with it.  I was going to name it, but in the event that I do eat it, I don't think I could eat something I've named.  


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Who Knew..

I have never heard of, nor done this new little beauty secret...UNTIL NOW.  Who knew you could dye your eyelashes.  I didn't anyway.  Vez, my ginger (red-headed) friend, asked me for help several days ago.  I thought it was going to be serious help for something therapy related.  However, when she told me she wanted me to help her dye her eyelashes - I didn't know what to say.  Putting peroxide that close to someone's eyes just doesn't seem very safe.  She has done it several times back in England and apparently it's been fine.  SO, even being a little nervous about the whole thing, I agreed.

We got out all her supplies and prepared for the task at hand.  Unfortunately, there was limited instructions so she was going from memory and telling me what and how to do it.  To further any hesitations I may have had- the instructions say "For Professional Use Only".  Last time I tried to dye anything personally, it turned out very bad.  But, we pressed on.  Mixed it all up, put on the eye things, and started painting the dye on.  It only takes 5-7 minutes...crazy!  By that time, Sandra had come in the room to "supervise".   I was feeling pretty good about my job until Vez said her eye was stinging.  Fortunately, she said that's normal.  After the 7 minutes was up, took it all off, and her eyelashes were successfully brown.  Just looked like she had mascara on - which was the point.  SO, all was well.

Then she asked if I wanted my done.  It was easy enough so I said sure.  She was much better at painting the dye on than I was!  After my 7 minutes was up, took it all off and looked at my eyelashes - not too much change since they are already brown.  I risked my eyesight for nothing!  Just kidding.  It was a fun process and some good bonding time!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reacting in Emergencies...

So, I've learned through the years that I am not the best in emergency situations.  I tend to forget all reason and freeze.  Unfortunate as it is, it's just how I react. 

Yesterday, I made the long journey across town to visit the orphanage.  It was so great to see them again.  I had really missed them during the week.  All the missionaries that are visiting had left that morning for their trip up-country, except one girl named Crystal.  We were in the middle of eating lunch when one of the boys burst in the door holding his leg.  There was blood and the look on his face was intense pain.  He uncovered the area and revealed a DEEP cut on his shin.  Deep enough that you could see muscle and even down to the bone.  A clean slice - the result of a fall on the roof.  The story is still a bit unclear but nevertheless, it required immediate attention.

Crystal and I both waited a bit for the cooks or people over the orphanage to react.  Everyone sort of froze.  They didn't.  They were grossed out by the cut and everyone was just standing around.  They did bring a dirty shirt to wrap around it.  It was a bit confusing as everyone is trying to figure out who to contact - as the pastors and the resident nurse were gone on the trip.  Thankfully, Crystal reacted first and ran up to her room grabbed 2 clean shirts and a first aid bag.  We wrapped his leg, talked him through it, and the bleeding stopped.  Somehow, still after 5-10 minutes, no one knew what to do.  Their solution was to put salt in it and leave it (I think).   We decided that we would take Samuel down the hill to a children's clinic because he was definitely going to need medical attention.  A couple of the boys carried him on their backs, taking turns as we headed to the clinic.  Once there, he was seen pretty quickly and they were able to stitch him up.  He was admitted for several hours.  I wasn't able to see him again yesterday but he did ask for food after it was all done - a good sign.

Samuel handled it like a champ.  Unbelievable how much pain he was feeling and how he was able to calm himself.  He was so brave.   

I was so thankful for Crystal and her reaction...that we had each other to help deal with the situation.  So thankful that Samuel is fine and he was able to see a doctor so quickly.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A New Adventure

One thing that I had always wanted to do last time I was in Sierra Leone was to attend a football game at the stadium in town.  I did not know how safe it was for expats to go and the opportunity never really presented itself.  So, it was just something that I wished I could do but didn't think would ever happen.

My first day back at Mercy Ships I ran in to Vez, one of my good friends here.  She told me that they had gotten ticket to go to the game the next day and I was fun!  There was a group of about 10 of us that were going to see Sierra Leone take on South Africa in a World Cup qualifying game.  

We met up with the rest of the crowd on Saturday and set out on foot to the stadium.  Several of the girls were wearing green (which is representative of both teams).  However, since the majority of the group was white - we kept getting comments about South Africa.  We  tried to explain along the way, that we were cheering for Salone.

As we neared the stadium, the crowds were bigger and bigger.  Got in the stadium and got to our seats and just took it all in.  Gradually the stadium became more and more full.  The game was pretty exciting!  It was so fun to be in the crowd with all the fans.  They were all very into the game.  Looking around - you could see all ages watching intently, some with radios right up against their ear as they watched and listened.  The best part of the whole game was when SL scored their goal.  The crown lept to their feet - everyone cheering, yelling, singing, jumping with arms in the air.  It was awesome!  
Sierra Leone won the game 1-0.  After the final whistle blew, many of the fans rushed onto the field to carry the players on their shoulders as they made their victory lap.  It was such a great I'm very thankful for!

Sierra Leone won the game 1-0 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Limbs

God is so amazing! In June of last year - there was a group of 28 Americans that came to Sierra Leone with various gifts, passions, and skills. Several of the projects included working with people who suffered from amputations during the war. The organization was attempting to set up a partnership with a local organization to assist in making/providing prosthetic limbs for these amputees. The partnership was not really coming together and so there was limited opportunities for these patients to get new limbs. HOWEVER....God was at work!

The team was traveling to a town up-country (about 4 hours from Freetown) to visit a village where 4HIM had built a school. We left about 4 am and all was going smoothly. About an hour into the journey - our poda poda broke down - oil pouring out from underneath. All the missionaries piled into 2 cars and continued on. We arrived in Makeni and waited for another car for an hour or two. While we were there...a car pulled in the gate...the logo read something like Seattle's Prosthetics and Orthotics. Discussions began between the people from the car and the 4HIM team. Thus, a partnership began.

Between June and October - 40 limbs were provided for these patients. There have been many more since that time. The cost to make these limbs is between $50-100. Amazing that such a small amount can truly change a life.

This year, we were able to go out with a team to see several amputees fitted with their new limbs. Some were receiving limbs that have never had one and others were receiving replacements. It was such an incredible experience. One man in particular, had never had a prosthetic arm. The workers fitted his new arm and he immediately reached to pick up a box. The smile that came across his face was absolutely incredible. He quickly jumped up and began practicing how to use it. He went to the car door and attempted to open/shut the door numerous times. He started writing with a marker and even pinched the man who was working with him. How wonderful to witness such a monumental time in his life. Here's several pictures of the event.

I'm blown way by the awesomeness of God. His perfect timing and his sovereignty. How he orchestrates everything perfectly. If our car had not broken down, we would not been a the hotel to meet this group, the partnership would not have begun that day, and all that's come from it...God is AWESOME!