I have been unsettled lately. I can’t really put my finger on it. I have noticed that when I let my mind wonder to Sierra Leone, and the hurt of this broken world….a battle soon arises. A battle of thoughts and emotions. I am then every quick to push those thoughts away. I’m not ready to face the battle. I am not ready to navigate my way through the gray areas of life. Ashamed by my selfishness, fearful of brokenness. Scared, so scared, that God might call me to leave ‘the sterile hallways of religion.’ Not sure what God pressing on my heart, but terrified to figure it out. But why? Do I not want to be where God is? God is in the messiness of this world. He is not in the black and white, but in the gray. He is under the banana tree with that beautiful forgotten child. Why am I not willing to go there with Him?
Now is the time to pray. Sierra Leone’s election day is approaching. Below is a link to BBC which shows the current conditions in SL.
My dad recently wrote on this blog:What if — ten years from now — Kroo Bay was the the diamond of West Africa? What if the 6000 had fulfilling jobs? What if African leaders gathered in Kroo Bay to agree on kingdom strategies to bring change to their countries? What if Kroo Bay became the model for escaping poverty in Africa?
What if we all prayed with that vision? Please join us!
Spent most of the day on the porch. Sharing stories, dreams, ideas, discouragements, with my good friends and family. Slowly processing the experience we just went through and feeling God continue to chip away at my heart. I heard this song today by Bebo Norman called Long Way Home. I think it is about Marriage, but it held different meaning for me tonight.. As I fall more in love with Sierra Leone and the people, I feel this struggle or tension. I want to be everything to them….I want to be their Kingdom come. But the truth is I will make lots of mistakes in this process. I will say dumb things. I’m not really sure what it means for me to love Sierra Leone. I will be overcome with sorrow, stumble through the great unknown. Praying that the pieces will be gathered up in grace.
When all is said and done, maybe we will stand next to our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone and say,
“When we dream this dream for the last time we’ll see that we lived this love for a lifetime…just you and me. Cause you and I, we’re gonna fly, the long way home.”
It’s a long way home, and the fists have flown
In the silence, there’s nowhere left to run
It’s the battle of our pending love
In the shadow of another smoking gun
When we dreamed this dream for the first it seemed
We could live this love for a lifetime….you and me
I will not give up this fight
I will not lay down and die
I will not carry this heart of stone
I may not be your place to run
I may not be your kingdom come
I may stumble through this great unknown
But I will be all that is true
I will not give up on you
I was made to be with you alone
Cause you and me, we’re gonna see…the long way home
It’s a long way home, and crying is done
But the sorrow is still wet upon your face
Our colliding hearts sometimes break apart
But now the pieces are gathered up in grace
When we dream this dream for the last time we’ll see
That we lived this love for a lifetime….just you and me
Cause you and I, we’re gonna fly..the long way home
By the title, you might have been fooled into thinking this was going to be a blog of depth. The reality is we were just very spoiled by the incredible fruit they had in Sierra Leone. Mango, Papaya, Plantains, Pineapple, Star fruit, etc! We even had banana and papaya trees in our front yard. Talk about living off the land. There was no other option. No other option was needed. We were able to support nationals by purchasing their fruit while at the same time enjoy some of the tastiest treasures known to man. The fruit that we ate was the juiciest, most flavorful fruit ever! Dole has nothing on Sierra Leone:)
This is Madianna
She lived above Sarah and Kristen during their time in Freetown. She is originally from Banta. However, Mama Angie (the country director for COTN) brought her to Freetown to save her from an arranged marriage to a 60 yr. old man. Madianna and Aminata (another girl who lived upstairs) came down often to visit us. Madianna and Sarah had a sister-like relationship. Which was a joy to watch since Sarah is an only child. Madianna always made us laugh. She would mess up the cards when were playing card games. She could sleep anywhere.
We fell in love with her. I found myself praying for her future husband. I prayed that she would find a man with integrity, with a love for the Lord. Probably not easy to find in SL.
I miss her!
I was reading a booked titled “sub-merge” by John B. Hayes today. To enhance the current chapter he tells the true story of Portuguese missionaries who decided to establish a mission to the Congo in 1490. Their decision quickly became reality as there was vast conversion. The King and Queen of Congo even converted and their son as well. It was the son who dreamed of the Congo becoming a Christian Kingdom. Unfortunately, the Portuguese didn’t take him seriously and seemed more interested in “commerce than Christianity.” The son did everything he could to make the Congo a Christian Kingdom, but lack of mentoring and true concern from the Portuguese left it weak. When the son died, his work and dream soon followed.
“Five centuries ago, Portuguese church leaders failed to see and share a vision for an authentic indigenous church in the Congo, failing also to recognize their critical role in serving as midwife to the process.”
It seems as though I constantly have to be reminded that a small group of people CAN make a difference. In fact, in the same book it reminds us that most change has come from such. But to think of Sierra Leone and to think that our interests and efforts will bring change has been a challenge. I don’t want to give in though. Just as important and just as hard is the ability to dream. Joanna and I, our family, Families for Africa, COTN…..we must keep dreaming! When dreaming dies or gets lost in the shadow of doubt, so does the ability for change. Joanna and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that this dream will take time. So much time that we will most likely do everything we can to pass the dream on for generations to come. That….That is hard. My dad always said, “No pain, No gain.” Dream on Friends.
Auntie Joanna and Uncle Taylor. Those were our names. Though it’s common in SL to call adults with those titles, it made us feel like family. It was unexpected how hearing Auntie Joanna yelled from a window or Uncle Taylor from down the hall connected us to these kids. Even though I doubt we learned half of their names, they all called us as if they knew us. We were never without hugs and hand holds. There was always a child desiring your attention or just wanting to be by your side. Though sometimes a little overwhelming, we miss those kids. We miss being Auntie and Uncle. I guess we’ll just have to go back:)