For those of you who had checked our blog while we were in Liberia, I’d like to apologize for our lack of updates. We were unsure of what our housing situation would be but we knew that during Bekah’s last trip she could get online from her housing at the African Bible College campus. This time around, we only had extremely limited access to the internet via mobile phones so we used that for shorter updates on Facebook rather than full posts. But in order to let you know how our trip went, we’d like to share a little of our experience with you now. For brevity, I will just give you a summary of what we did as there is too much to put in one post. Hopefully we will be able to tell you more after we have had time to write.
As stated in our one post made during the trip, on our flight from Brussels to Monrovia, one of the layers of our airplane developed a crack and our flight had to be diverted to Dakar, Senegal where repairs could be made. We were eventually transported to a hotel where we spent two days mostly just waiting to hear when our alternate flight would be. The hotel was very nice and certainly our best accommodations during the trip but it was disappointing to be held back from our desired destination. On Sunday afternoon, we were loaded back onto the repaired plane and headed to Liberia.
Arrival in Monrovia
When we got to the airport late Sunday we passed by temperature reading cameras and grabbed our many pieces of luggage. Pastor Emmanuel Jonah, son of the couple running the orphanage, met us and drove us to his house. It was dark by the time we arrived. His wife Wintee treated us to a meal as we caught up with them.
The next day was the celebration of Liberia’s independence day and we were not able to travel to Yekepa where the orphanage was so we stayed in town and checked out LCMI Church and the local ministry. Emmanuel also took Paul, Margaret, and I around to meet some members of the church and pray with them.
Tuesday we arranged transportation part way to Yekepa and headed out passing through ebola checkpoints, dodging pot holes, and trying to keep the van from overheating. When we got to the last town before the pavement ends we transferred vehicles. It was a long day of travel, but we made it up the slippery dirt hills to get to Camp Four where the orphanage is. The children greeted us in the dark with singing and Anthony and Betty Jonah (Ma & Pa) invited us inside for some food. Then we traveled the 20 minutes to our housing in the larger town of Yekepa where Remmington, the missionary that Bekah helped support through bible school met us and helped us prepare for the upcoming days.
Time at the Orphanage
When we had all gotten some rest, we started by going through all of the crates of donations we had brought and organizing them. We wanted to take a few things over to the orphanage each day. Upon arriving in Camp Four, Remmington took us for a tour of the town as little children followed us “white people” around. We also got to connect with the kids at the orphanage for the first time.
Each of the following days followed a similar format, spend some time preparing for the day, get some motorbikes to give us a ride to the orphanage, eat lunch with Ma and Pa Jonah, and spend as much time with the kids at the orphanage as we could before going home, spend some time talking to Remington and planning for tomorrow. But we mixed things up some days.
On our first Friday in Liberia, Ma invited us to go to a new church that had been built in the town of New Yekepa. Milton, one of the boys from the orphanage lead the bible study. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law Margaret gave a three hour workshop for the teachers of the local school. The next day, Bekah and I went with Remington, his wife comfort, and two older children from the orphanage to a larger town where we bought mattresses and clothes for the children.
On Sunday, we went to Redeemer Baptist Church, where Anthony Jonah is one of the pastors. After worshiping with them, we took a sight seeing trip to the mountain where the mining company had stopped operating 18 years ago. Monday Bekah and the older girls made spaghetti and funfetti cake at the house we stayed at while I hiked into the bush with the boys to gather logs for cooking. We were also able to meet with some of the friends Bekah had made on her last trip as well as with the leaders of Remington’s church. But not all of our fun happened away from the orphanage. We made giant bubbles, played ultimate frisbee, wrote letters, made milk candy, and spent time with the children in their dorms.
Our last full day at the orphanage it rained on and off. Around mid-afternoon the orphanage put together a going-away ceremony for us. The children started by singing songs together as the adults came in, including some of the members of the community. Emmanuel Lugon, a boy who had been though the orphanage and is now going to the local bible college, lead the ceremony as people gave testamonies. The orphanage gave each of us a traditional Liberian outfit.
We had been planning on leaving Yekepa at about 6 the next morning but more transportation trouble and couldn’t leave till 8. As we passed by the orphanage all of the children and Ma Betty were waiting for us by the road. We continued to travel the long road back to the airport. We arrived with just enough time to get through the required screenings and various lines to get through the tiny Monrovia airport.
More To Come
Again, thank you all who supported and prayed for us and our trip. It was a blessing to be able to bring the gifts and encouragement to the people of Liberia and we couldn’t have done it without you. We would like to share more stories from our trip with you through the blog in the coming days but also feel free to ask us directly.
The people of Liberia still need a lot of help and we hope that our role in what is going on there will continue. God is working through people there to bring hope and provide needs. We will be looking to see what our role will be now while we wait for the next opportunity for us to go again.
Originally published at liveloveliberia.blogspot.com on August 15, 2015.