Friday, December 14, 2007


I got home from the orphanage feeling hot and tired. I headed straight to bed to rest for awhile. While I was sleeping (or attempting to sleep), I started feeling more and more achy, eyes burning, very hot, and just overall - not great. Came downstairs and told my fellow housemates that I thought I had a fever. Took out the themometer and checked - 38.8 C. A bit high. Then Sandra (who's a doctor) asked me if I'd been taking my Doxy (anti-malaria meds). Well...I said....I hadn't. It had been an issue before, last time I was sick, at which time I promised I would start taking it. Unfortunately, that was a promise I broke. I can't actually remember the last time I took my Doxy. Anyway, thankfully she had a test at home. We went upstairs, she poked my finger, got the blood and we let the test sit. Waited a few minutes and it came back invalid. Repeated the process, except this time....the malaria line appeared. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I did indeed have malaria. Again, thankfully, Sandra had the medication at home so I took it immediately and slept a lot.

After 3 days of feeling less than great, I have fully recovered (almost fully). It was not nearly as bad as it could have been and I'm so thankful we caught it quickly. My word of advice to all who are reading...TAKE THE DOXY!!! It's just stupid not to. Lesson learned. I will be taking it for the next 4 weeks to prevent new infection or a relapse. Again, TAKE THE DOXY!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

One last visit...

Ah...the orphange. How I'm gong to miss those kids!!! The last visit was really a special day. A group of 4 of us went to see the kids and deliver a bunch of Christmas goodies. The people who supported me to come here, gave very generously, so I had a bit of money left over. I sent my parents a list of all sorts of things for the kids - crayons, colored pencils, paper, scissors, glue, hair clippies, combs, new shirts, books, games, soccer balls, toys, and other such things. This was delivery day! I was so excited...I just knew the kids would love it all.

We arrived and they had planned a special thing for me. They sang a couple songs, danced, and then sang Christmas carols. It was really wonderful. They also sang this really sad song for me about my going away. They were so precious as many of them started crying. I could barely hold it together. They have been such a blessing to me over the past 6 months, I can't even begin to express with words what they mean to me.
After the songs, they had a lively game of football (soccer). The girls almost managed to beat the boys. It was really fun to just be there and spend time with them. They had made us lunch - kassava leaves and rice (yum!). A truly lovely day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Meet the New Steps rehab team (minus one John Angel). This is the team I've been working with for the past 6 months. They have become good friends. God is using them in great ways to reach the people with disabilities here in SL. They have been such a blessing to me and I will miss them greatly. There is Richard on the stool, Abu next to him, Alfred, and Morelai. Abdulai in front. Me, Geraldine, and Rosemarie in the back. I am really going to miss them.

To the Beach...

This is one of our favorite spots. Usually, on the way home from work on Friday's, we all stop here for some groundnuts and drinks. It's such a peaceful place and a nice way to unwind before heading home. While we sit, there are numerous traders coming along to sell things like necklaces, carvings, blankets, material, etc. So, you can also shop while you great is that. I know...pretty rough you're thinking. It is a blessing to live so close to the beach!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the spot...

So...I went to the Lord's Mission Church this past weekend because they were having a Youth Celebration. My friend MS invited me because he was a canidate for Youth of the Year. I don't understand how it all works, but I wanted to support him and the other kids so I decided to go.

It started at 1:30 pm. I had to leave my house at 11:30 to make sure I had enough time to get transport and maneuver through town. I headed up the hill to the first stop to catch a pudapuda to town. I arrived at the top and caught one immediately, which was a blessing. It wasn't going to exactly where I was wanting, but I've made this transfer before and am fairly familiar with the route (mind you, I did say fairly familiar!).

Made the first drop without too much problem. Started walking towards the next stop but decided to take a different cut-through. Headed down another street and throught it was a direct wasn't. After a few twists and turns and asking for directions, I was on my way. By this time, it had started raining so I was getting soaked and trying to press on. Usually better to keep moving, rather than stop. SO...thankfully...there was another pudapuda that came by fairly quickly so I hopped on. Because of the rain, I was already soggy and dripping with water. There were 18 others (at least) on the pudapuda and all the windows closed. I was sizzling and therefore, beads of sweat were also appearing everywhere on my arms, face, etc. Unfortunately, the little girl sitting next to me looked a little nervous because I was white...and then the added drippings...she was terrified I think. She accidentally touched me arm at one point...the look on her face was priceless. Disgust and horror all at the same time. Thankfully, she didn't cry!

Made it to the orphanage by 12:40. To my surprise...the celebration had already started so I was hurried in and ushered to the front row next to my friend Timothy. MS, my friend, was announcing chairpeople to sort of MC the event. To my surprise again...he shouted my name which meant I sat on the stage and had to help announce the different things going on. Now, for those of you who know me, being in front of a crowd is not my favorite thing...let alone being the only white person in an African church. I was just laughing thinking how much of a sense of humor God has.

SO...when people take the microphone, they shout something like "Praise the Lord" and the congregation all respond, "Hallelujah". I get up for my first announcement and say, "Praise the Lord," and hear only one hallelujah. I knew then it was going to be a little rough :). Got more nervous after that first time.

The celebration continued past 1:30, past 2:30, past 3:30 and by that time I was getting a little anxious. I still had to get transport home and be there before dark. The day before it had taken 2 hours to make it home. I was beginning to fidgit in my chair and figure out some way that I could slip out without offending everyone. Unfortunately, we were only about half way through the program after 3 hours...didn't think I could make it to the end. God worked it out because after talking to the other chairperson, I was freed to go. I snuck out and was on my way. Unfortunately, I still don't know if MS won or not.

What a day! It was quite an adventure as every trip across town is. It was such a blessing to be there and supporting MS and the rest of the kids who were singing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun...

One might ask, What does Thanksgiving look like in Africa? Well...pretty similar to home. I'm not one much for working in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. I prefer to wash up afterwards. Morgen and I decided to stay home this Thanksgiving to help Jitske with all the preparations. It was such a fun day. Started with stuffing the turkeys (yes, we found turkey's here). Then moved on to preparing the green bean casserole and a salad. There were 28 people coming so lots of food was being prepared. Helen and Jitske had already made the pumpkin pies and apple cake.

After all the food was ready for the oven, we headed outside to decorate. Made the center pieces, made the cutlery look pretty, etc. I was mostly just an assistant but it was a great day. Had some down time in the afternoon. Of course, the last hour or so was a bit hectic. There were 28 people coming, so planning the timing was a little tricky. It all came together! We had most of the traditional stuff - turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumkin pie, etc. DELICIOUS!!! I definitely missed my family but this was a great way to spend the day. The American's were outnumbered which was definitely a first :).

We finished dinner and dessert with a great time of worship and a short teaching/discussion. What a great Thanksgiving. If I had to be away from home, there was not other place I'd rather be. Praise the Lord.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


When I sit down to think about all the things I'm thankful for this year, I'm blown away by how much God has blessed me. I'm in Africa - a dream of over 4 years - serving God and the people here. I've met so many amazing people and have experienced so many incredible things. I'm thankful that I'm here, for the people He's brought into my path, the patient's I've seen, the kids at the orphanage, the church He's provided, the community of friends, His provision through the good and bad moments, the communication He's allowed with those back home, and SO many other things. That's just what's here...there's so much to be thankful for at home too! My family, friends, church, car, 24 hours of power, air conditioning, mexican food, Dr. Pepper, ease of getting places, etc.

We have so much to be thankful for...SO much. God is so incredible. His love is so extravagant. Truly, He has given us eternal life. He sent His son to die for our sins, so we could have relationship with God. He provided a way. Think about that for just a moment. He calls us His friend. He pursues us and loves us. He's Unconditional, He's Able, He NEVER changes, He is better than anything we could ever imagine. Praise God. Thank God.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Staff Retreat

All the Mercy Ships Sierra Leone staff had a retreat on November 21st. It was an excellent day filled with worship, discussions, and teaching. God really spoke to everyone as we were taught on endurance and drifting. It was so fun to see everyone dressed up. It was a great day for all the staff to come together and be apart of Mercy Ships as a whole.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Amazing hair ordeals...

This week was quite a day at the orphanage. One would think in the first picture that they were fixing my hair...unfortunately...they were plucking my grey hairs. Somehow over the past 4 months I have had a plethora of new ones showing themselves. The kids lovingly plucked them for me.

Then, Kati and Mabinty wanted to plant (braid) my hair. Really she just twisted two pieces together through the front. It was fun!! Who needs hair color or a beauty shop :)

Sesay Family

I met the most amazing family! Fell in love with them immediately! James, the dad is a teacher at one of the local schools. Sandra, the mom, stays home and does A LOT! She had food sent for us daily, gave cucumber, and was so generous! Rebekah, the one stirring was a precious sweet and kind. She made butterscotch nightly and we could buy it very cheaply. It was delicious!!! James, Anthony, and Isatu were around to play with every night. Anthony fell asleep in my lap a couple of precious. They were one of the highlights of my trip!!! Such a blessing!!!

Patients, Patients and More Patients...

These are just a few of the kiddos we saw. There were 90 patients total. We gave out several Personal Energy Transmitters (PETs), the cars seen above. Were able to see quite a variety of cases including polio, cerebral palsy, stroke, and many other orthopedic issues. It was really great to see and interact with the kids. We also made several splints to assist the patients. All in all, it was a fantastic trip. Hopefully I will get to go back before I leave to visit some of the schools to look at environmental modifications.


What a great week in Lunsar. We were plenty busy with patients but were able to enjoy the evenings relaxing. Geraldine and I stayed with a family in their extra bedroom. It as an adventure. Some large spiders, mosquitos, and either a small mouse or large cockroach (not sure which one)! We ate lots of African food off the same was a real family affair. We even bought a deer leg on the way there. Poppy and Abu made pepper soup and was delicious!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Back to Life

Back to the grind in Sierra Leone after an incredible holiday! Was at the orphanage on Friday and got to see Ola. He's doing a lot better and getting stronger by the day. He's sitting better and is able to hold his head up better, for longer periods of time, etc. He's definitely progressing. Praise the Lord! All the other kids have returned to school so it was fun to see them in the uniforms and with their peers. What an awesome bunch of kids they are. So refreshing to be with them.

Giant Prawns

Have you ever seen a prawn this big????? I thought they were small lobsters at first. It was HUGE and very delicious!!! The lobsters were also gigantic. I love fresh seafood.


Lisa and Eddie are finally married. After 7 long years (especially for Eddie), they have tied the knot on the beach in Zanzibar. Praise God! What an incredible story of patience and relying on God. The wedding was beautiful. There were about 20 guests all together. It was really great!


Zanzibar was AMAZING! It had the most beautiful water I have ever seen. All different shades of blues and greens. The beaches were also quite nice. Spent most of the days just lounging on the beach hanging out with Lisa, Eddie, Steph, and the Baughmans. Truly gorgeous. Such a blessing!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I had the most amazing time in Liberia. God allowed me to visit the African Mercy. It was a divine appointment!!! I was able to visit some friends, process through some things for New Steps, and meet an amazing rehab doctor. He is passionate about rehab in general and about bringing rehab to West Africa. He helped ignite a desire in my heart for the future. It'll be fun to see what God does. While there we visited one of the communities both days I was there for the opening and dedication of a medical clinic. It was so awesome to see what God is doing in Liberia and be apart of the bigger Mercy Ships team. This is a picture of the dedication ceremony where the President of Liberia came. That little blue dot is her hat. My camera was not cooperating but it was wonderful!!!

Bush Meat

We were on the way home on Wednesday and happen to pass a group of men with an antelope for sale. We proceeded to back up on the highway to check it out. Mohmoh got out of the car to bargain the price for Aunty Claudia. The Mercy Ships bus full of other staff also stopped to get in on the bidding. It was quite the adventure. The animal ended up in the back of our car staring at us for the rest of the ride home. Only in Africa :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Best Purchases In Sierra Leone thus far...

These are my favorite purchases here! There's nothing like American toothepaste and that snickers was probably the best one I have ever had (maybe that's because I can't remember the last time I had one). Nonetheless....both have made the past couple of weeks even better than before!!! Oh the things we take for granted.

Ola's New Home

Ola, the little boy that you've been praying for, has a new home! He's now in the loving care of my orphanage. God did amazing things. In less than 2 weeks, Ola was moved from the hospital to the orphanage. God has placed him in many loving hands. He has a long way to go but with all the other kids helping him and invensting in him...he already looks like a new kid. Praise God for all He has done!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Great Human Tricks

These guys with Polio came to visit New Steps this week to get their wheelchairs fixed. When I brought out the camera...they went crazy performing all sorts of tricks. Both of them were able to wrap their legs around their necks and hold themselves up. Pretty amazing!

Ward Aerobics

One of my new favorite things about Fridays....Ward Aerobics. Vez (PT friend) and I have been leading aerobics for the women on the ward. They love it! Gets them moving, laughing, and praising God. So fun! These women are so precious!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Green Pasture

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he RESTORES MY SOUL...." Psalm 23

As we were studying this passage in Bible study last night, I couldn't help but remember this view as we walked through the mountains. Such beauty and stillness that the Lord provides does restore my soul indeed.

Psalm 139

"O Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid you hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me to attain..."

How amazing is our God! I am overwhelmed and so thankful that He knows me that well and will guide me along the way. This Psalm is so rich with the love and care of my God. It's so encouraging to me as I am in a new culture trying to find my place. That He knows every thought, every word, every circumstance...all of it already. He knew before He created me - that I would be here now. So I continue to trust that He placed me at here at this time, for His purpose.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

You Know You're in Africa When...

This list started the week I got here and has continued to grow some. Enjoy…

1) You take a bucket bath and it feels like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened
2) You see a live chicken running through the isle at church
3) The sound of the generator is what lulls you to sleep
4) Children yell “hello” wherever you go and calling you “whiteman” or “Apato” (whiteman in Temmne)
5) See little boys wearing pantyhose as pants
6) You have to pour water into the toilet so that it will flush
7) You drive around town and off to the side of the road…there’s always a man peeing
8) Some of the children are terrified of you because you are white
9) Sit in church for 2 ½ hours and that’s a short service
10) All the children want to hold your hand or touch you

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Joy in the small things

SO...I was at the Fistula clinic today. It's my Thursday job where I usually just help out with crafts and such. It hit me today as I was rolling my 10th ball of yarn that God calls us to rejoice in all things...even the small, seemingly menial tasks. The women at this clinic are young and almost all have experienced the loss of a child. Getting more "thread" as they call is may be the best thing that happens to them all day. As I was running around trying to get everyone what they needed/wanted...God just reminded me how much He loves these women. These women come from all over Sierra Leone and the people they meet at the clinic may be the only Jesus they ever see. And so, in giving out thread, helping sew, or even coloring sometimes...I need to be a light for Him. To give with a smile and a let them know that they are seen and loved. It is a blessing to serve them, no matter what job I'm doing or how little it seems. Pray for these women - that the would come to know Him.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

One Month

Welcome to my Sierra Leone blogspot. I think this will be a good way to sort out thoughts and you can check my pictures too. This past month has been absolutely amazing! I can hardly believe it's already been a month and in other ways it feels like I've already been here 6 months. A lot has happened and God has done so much already.

I am finally settling in to my routine (I think!) and beginning to figure stuff out. Still so much to learn. God is teaching me a lot about faith and continually believing Him. That He is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do. I truly believe that, but sometimes it's easy to forget that in the midst of circumstances. He is and has been so good. The transition to a different culture is still hard at times but I'm trusting Him to lead me through. I'm praying for His wisdom, insight, and discernment as I work with the staff and patients. I know that He has brought me here at this time, for a purpose. I will trust Him to do His will.

Thank you for continuing to be apart of this time with me. I'm looking forward to continually sharing with you all that the Lord is doing here in Sierra Leone. Enjoy the pictures :) Love you guys!