Liberia, i missing you-o!

Some days (like today), I really, really, REALLY miss Liberia. I want to be with the kids. I want to hug them, listen to them sing, pray with them—all those things brought (bring?) me such incredible joy. So today, I decided to pull out a few of the goodbye letters some of the kids wrote me. And, well, they’re just so precious that I had to share!

life lately

First off:
a) I realize that the last time I blogged was more than two months ago.
b) I apologize. But…
c) …life has been so busy. And…
d)…blogging will (hopefully) become much more regular from here on.

As you know, I got back from Liberia in late June, and spent the first month or so resting, relaxing, and catching up with those I love so dearly. August and September (thus far), however, have been an absolute whirlwind. I made two trips to Canada, did speaking engagements about Orphan Relief and Rescue, held two major fundraisers, and packed for Seattle and, after that, Liberia.

I arrived in Seattle on Sunday and was happily reunited with some of the team. Along with that, I had the pleasure of getting to know some new people who have joined the Orphan Relief and Rescue family. This week, we’ve all been meeting for prayer, worship, Bible study, and teaching. The field team has also had the privilege of spending time with a sweet, feisty Cuban woman named Margarita who is a crisis and trauma counselor. She has been helping us process some of the events that happened this year in Liberia.

We also had a day of silence and solitude at Mt. Rainier. Honestly, I can’t sum up the experience. All I can say is that it took my breath away. It was challenging, transforming, and…necessary. In a word: incredible.

Finally, despite all the headaches from rising airfare costs and ever-changing itineraries, I was able to purchase my plane ticket back to Liberia! I leave Seattle on September 30 and will arrive in Liberia on October 1. Though I wasn’t able to get the exact itinerary as Debbie, she and I will be leaving Seattle within just a few hours of each other and have plans to meet up in Brussels. Please keep the both of us in prayer, as we make our final preparations to go back.

Again, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making memories with me these past two months. Every coffee date, concert, sleepover, shopping day, road trip, sweet prayer time—all of it was just amazing. I love you guys, and can’t wait to update you again from Liberia in just a few weeks!

home sweet home

I know, I know — it’s a been a while since I’ve posted. Please forgive me. Life has been…well, crazy(to say the least) and blogging has simply fallen to the bottom of the to-do list.

As you know, I made it safely back to the good ol’ US of A on June 29th for a time of rest, relaxation, and fund-raising before I head back to Liberia in the fall. I’m in Pennsylvania until August 2, and then I’ll be driving up to Ontario to visit my family in the Guelph/Toronto area. I’ll be back around the 14th, only to fly out on the 17th to see my Mom and siblings in Alberta. I get back to Pennsylvania again on the 26th of August, and have a little time left at home before I have to head out to Seattle sometime around the 9th or 10th of September. And after all of that, it’s back to Liberia.
(WOW. Talk about a full schedule; it’s even making my own head spin a little bit, to be honest!)

Life at home has been wonderful, though. Busy, yes, but also absolutely wonderful. It was definitely a little weird at first; part of me felt like it was still in Liberia while the rest of me was trying to jump into life here head-first. After a couple of days of adjusting and getting acclimated, I quickly fell back into the routine of life here. I have so enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones, talking about all that has happened over the past seven months. It’s so much fun to share stories and pictures and videos from Liberia, and I am continually overwhelmed by all the love, encouragement, and support I’ve received. (You guys are the BEST!) And, of course, I can’t deny how nice it’s been to take a hot shower. To walk around Target and bookstores and sit around my favorite coffee shops. To drive my car again—on paved roads! In a place where there’s actually traffic laws…and people who abide by them! To grab my iPod and hit the trails at Gring’s Mill (one my most favorite ways to unwind!) To see my church family (who, by the way, are amazing. Absolutely, hands-down, 100% amazing. I love you guys!) To straighten my hair (I know—totally girly and a little high-maintenance. But I’m being honest. I really missed my flat iron while I was in Liberia!) To eat something besides rice or bread. Liiiike….salads. And cereal. And Panera. Oh, wow. I’d almost forgotten how much I love Panera…

Anyway, like I said: life at home has been wonderful. I am so thankful to have this time, and I want to savor each and every moment.
(And if you and I haven’t gotten together yet…well, we really need to. Send me an email or Facebook message, and we’ll make it happen.)