Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 26

September 19th, 2011

Me...I'm always making plans and lists and goals. Most of the lists and plans and goals never make it any farther than a piece of paper tucked away and eventually forgotten BUT I have made another plan and today I took the first step to carry it out!
I've decided that I will have everyone at the center over to the Guest House for dinner before I return to the states. WOW! That's a LOT of food...thank goodness Aunty M. likes my plan and has agreed to help:) Okay, I'll be honest, she does ALL the cooking. I just move a few chairs and greet the guests. She won't even let me help with the dishes and I'm totally fine with that too. I'll admit it, I'm lazy.
We've made a schedule and made sure that everyone will get a chance and tonight we started with Room 3 boys...the oldest ones! I am a bit scared of the room of 25 4-7 year old boys so I thought I'd start out on the easy end.
They came! Some of them didn't eat their rice for lunch because they were so excited to FEAST on Aunty M.'s chicken and fried rice and PIZZA! They were early! This is extremely unusual in Sierra Leone and I think it was because Pastor D. was in charge of them for the night and they were all EXCITED. We played a few board of them decided to play a few tricks on me and hide some of my things! And we had a lesson in table manners--important for boys who are used to throwing food they don't want on the floor, eating only with spoons, and licking the top of ketchup bottles! And after we ate we sat and talked about life, speaking in tongues, and family curses. (Um, Pastor D. talked and answered their questions, I listened:)
One of the other things on my joy/meaning list a few days back was sharing meals with people. I also love to host meals...the kind where you make your best food, set the table nice, and plan to sit for a long time and enjoy each other. I don't do that enough and I can sense another plan...list...goal coming on for where ever I "land" next.
Oh, and can you please pray for me? That group of 25--I split them into two groups and they'll be coming on 2 different nights in October. BUT I'm still scared!

Day 21

September 14th, 2011

Today I came back to the Guest House from the Center and found "We love you Aunty Karl" written on the fridge! This was obviously for me becuase we are missing some magnetic letters for our alphabet...the "C" and the "i"...and there are no karl's around. And, in high school some people called me Carl once in a while because they engraved my name wrong on my freshman yearbook! So it had to be for me!
Several of the girls had come over earlier in the day with another aunty to play in the activity room and visit Aunty M.
I didn't see it for a while...I sat down to eat my supper and there in front of me was another reminder that God is good.

Day 17

September 10th, 2011
Today I took 2 boys from the center and we went to visit Aunty M.'s house. She's been on vacation for a while now and I have been missing her! She wanted me to come and see all the work she has done on her house...
Several of us visited her house a few months ago and she showed us how terrible her roof was. The zinc had rusted and the rain was soaking through the plywood ceiling and flooding the house. The cement siding was cracked and the foundation was being eaten away. It was the begining of the rainy season so she was in great need of some help.
Some friends and I donated some money...some other friends donated some labor...and she now has a new roof and ceiling...and no more leaking means that she can save and buy one bag or two of cement at a time and repair the walls and foundation.
The transformation was amazing! She has decorated and set up a corner for a dining room where she can invite guests and family to come and enjoy her FANTASTIC food. And so we ATE...chicken, spagetti, and chocolate cake with fudge frosting--of course. Wow!
So here's what I realized...I love seeing tangible ways where I have been able to make a difference. I think sometimes I just need to see it. Something concrete, something finished, or something the is clearly defined. I know that God is always working...always moving and providing...but when I see a rainbow (saw one of those today too!) or I see a miracle I am reminded of His power and His work...otherwise I forget. It's the same way in helping others...I know that the little things we do...the ordinary, everyday ways that we reach out and love...make a long-term difference for Christ's-sake in others but I like to see the results sometimes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Begining of a New School Year!

September brings turning leaves, cooler temps, and fall wardrobes...WAIT! In Sierra Leone, September is the end of the rainy season and the temperature is warming up, daily! The sky turns beautiful colors over the ocean but the leaves remain the same. BUT new wardrobes come out in the form of school uniforms.
Ours are blue and white as you can see below; when driving through town I see uniforms of every color! I love the bright pink and brown of the school down the road and the reds and greens of others. One thing that becomes apparent now though is how many children are on the street when they should be in school. One of our children told us that her last school had 500 students in one class! Can you imagine teaching that?!?! Her teacher didn't show up most days.
Parents can't afford school fees or the uniform or the shoes or the book OR their children bring income into the family by selling or working on the street and they can't afford the loss of that. And even those that are priveledged to go to school can't expect a good education in overcrowded classrooms with underqualified teachers.
What is the future for a child that doesn't go to school? If they can't read or write they might still get a job but chances are their employer will rip them off in some ways. Without an education will they know enough not to take out a loan or make an agreement with someone who is trying to force them into slavery? And when they have children of their own, the cycle will simply repeat itself.
One thing that I have become aware of in new and fresh ways is how grateful I am for my education. I was priveledged to attend elementary-high school in a school where I had the right amount of attention from teachers. I had parents who never considered sending me out to get a job to support the family...they didn't need to consider it.
Our children at The Covering have this same opportunity; they recieve an education that is far better than most of the children of this country. You can see it in their smiles below. They love the chance to learn; I've never seen children so excited about booksd or so grateful for the chance to sit in a classroom.
I thought I'd share with you some pictures of the first days of school this school year at The Covering. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011


When the sun shines during the makes the evening better too!

Another birthday lunch! No pizza for him, CHICKEN!

Fun with a bottle top and a string.

Happy...just happy.

More smiles!

I chased my motor car up and down, up and down, and now I am tired!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 12: THE SUN!

It’s the rainy season and it feels as if it has been raining all day, EVERY day for years. No joke! It’s like MN in January and February when you don’t see the sun for long stretches of time and you believe it is there but you are known at times to doubt its existence. Okay I might be exaggerating a bit.

The sun came out today though and it felt so good. There’s no school this week so there were hours of fun outside in the sun! And because of the cooler temps it was a perfect day to play. They played balance ball, football, tag, and chased motorcars down the slop. I watched, enjoying the moments when someone would stop, come over to me and give me a hug or tell me a story or pull my hair. But mostly I enjoyed the sun! 

Side note: It’s not MN COLD! They tell me it’s cold here but I would guess the temp to be 70F at the lowestJ
(September 5, 2011)

Day 9: J

J. has been my constant companion these days.
He runs to me and throws his arms around me in the morning and 15 minutes later he is doing whatever he can to make me turn away from him. I have been intently seeking his attention for months now and I don’t know if he knows what to do with it.
He is not a small boy! One minute he’ll want to sit on my lap and the next he is pinching me and pushing me around. But this is it…I know that slowly and gently his heart is being changed. I know that this little-big boy who sobbed for over an hour in the office today is figuring out who he is when he is loved; his tears are healing. I told him today, as I squeezed him as tight as I could after he stole my phone, threatened to break my glasses, and pinched me so hard I almost started crying—that I love him (I also told him that I am not going to put up with his behavior so he needs to think about apologizing) and that always would…even if I’m not around to give him a squeeze!

(September 2, 2011)

Day 8: Sharing a Meal with others.

Aunty M. has been on leave, a much needed rest between teams and 17 hour days. But I am a bit lost without her. I have been so spoiled while living in Salone. I haven’t had to cook for myself or worry about coming home after a day at the center and finding something to eat. I’ve dined on some of the best Chinese stir-fry ever, ground-nut stew that is heavenly, and chocolate cake (although I would never be allowed to eat just chocolate cake for dinner!) With my “Sierra Leone Mother” gone I’ve been fending for myself and gotten pretty good at noodles and laughing cow cheese!

However, the worst part is not my cooking—it’s eating alone. I don’t really care for it. And I can’t simply sit and enjoy a meal alone; I must find something else to do while eating! This has all lead to me eating lunch with the kids at the center occasionally. Tuesday’s are my favorite days because we have beans! Today though, it was crain-crain. Another green leaf mixed with palm oil, maggi, and pepper and boiled and put on top of rice. Honestly the food itself doesn’t bring much joy. Some days there is so much pepper in it my upper lip sweats and I wonder if I am going to make it through the bowl in front of me. But I’ve realized that the joy comes in sharing a meal with others. And didn’t Jesus say something about fellowshipping around a table? And Paul about eating with one another?

It seems somehow sacred to sit and share in the abundance of food that these precious children have begun taking for granted…they always say thank you…but I think that they are trusting that they will be provided for. That food is not something they need to worry about right now; they can be children and play and not starve. And they fight over which table I should sit at and which one gets to watch “the white man eat black food” and they claim that cassava is making my skin darker!
(September 1, 2011)