Monday, January 31, 2011

Our boys are progressing!

We are so thankful that our four street kids are progressing. Three are ready to leave the clinic. Now comes the hard part! Alfred and the Social Work Interns have located family members for each of the guys, but some relationship building must take place! The boys have come to feel most comfortable on the streets. They don't want to go back to places where they have been abused and neglected. Alfred will be impressing on the caregivers that we will be making routine visits with the full knowledge of the authorities in the area. There will be a level of expectation and accountability. We truly hope that the kids are able to adjust to being "home." We may find them back on the streets again in a matter of days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tom's reflections - Part #5

On Saturday morning (1/22) we were back on the streets of Waterloo. Throughout the morning we came across two more boys in need of medical attention. After hours of informing the proper authorities we were able to transport them to Heart & Hand in the evening.

Mohamed M (age 17) was suffering from Typhoid, Malaria and Pneumonia in both lungs. Dr Patricia was quite certain that he would not have lasted long on the streets. He has been treated with antiboitic IVs, etc...and is improving. A week's stay should have him fixed up and ready to return to Waterloo.

Alhaji (age 14) had a wound on his leg that was seriously infected. He is improving and needs about one week of care as well.

Tom's reflections - Part #4

Look at these smiles after 3 days of treatment! We were able to have them admitted to Heart & Hand Clinic near our apartment in Grafton on Jan 20th just 5 days after I first met them. Dr Patricia is partnering with us to help meet the medical needs of the street kids we encounter. Wherever possible she will seek to cut costs for us, a real blessing!!!

As of Jan 22nd: Father Joe has had IV antibotics in preparation for some surgery on his foot. His fever is gone, as well as some of the swelling. The infection seems to be concentrating in a central location on the top of his foot which will be opened and drained soon. He will be at the clinic for about two weeks.

Little Mohamed is having body washings three times daily with ointments applied, injections daily since his skin is too delicate to run IVs, and will spend about a month at the clinic.

Tom's reflections - Part #3

As we went along to another location in the market the interns introduced me to a little boy named Mohamed, age 9. It was easy to see that he was laboring to walk and I could see his little arms and face were covered with oozing scabs. As I shook his hand, even his palms were open sores. He was wearing a loose fitting shirt and pants, and as they raised his pant leg, I knew that his whole body was covered. I have NEVER seen anything as horrific as this! He was in a lot of pain, but doing all he can to survive on the street. I was fighting back tears to keep from alarming the boy. After we left, I asked Alfred what would happen to the two boys I had met. He said they would likely die, as two other boys had since the beginning of their ministry. I KNEW SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE! WE COULD NOT LOSE ANOTHER CHILD!

Tom's reflections - Part #2

One of the boys I met on my first visit to Waterloo is named Alhassan, age 13 (street name: “Father Joe”). He had injured his foot a few weeks earlier and it was plain to see that he was in big trouble if he did not get medical attention soon. Infection was spreading, constant fever, pain up his leg as far as his groin and he was past the point of being able to walk without help.

Tom's reflections on meeting the street kids at Waterloo - Part #1

from Tom...

Saturday a week ago I had the opportunity to join one of the HOPE CENTRE partners, Buckner International, on a visit to Waterloo just a few miles down the road from the center. Buckner Country Director, Alfred Kargbo, and Social Work Interns from two local Bible Colleges started a ministry there two years ago with street kids that are either orphaned or that are neglected or abused to the point that street life is better than home. I cannot get my mind to understand how bad home life must be after seeing how bad street life is for these children. Alfred and his interns took me to their different contact places to introduct me to the kids. As we walked, I asked Alfred how the kids survive and he told me they do whatever they can such as push carts for merchants, sell plastic bags, shovel trash or simply beg. Most of them will work for days before they earn enough to buy an actual meal.

...continue along as we post pictures of four of the boys that YOU are helping through your prayers and support...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waterloo Street Kids

As previously mentioned, there are over 1000 street kids in Waterloo, a city just down the road from where we live. Here are a few of the guys. The boy in the lower right of the picture was the original connection that Alfred and the Interns made in 2008. We took Chuck and his guests from the US for a visit on Wed. Chuck (in red) was an ICU nurse before coming to SL full-time. He was able to evaluate the two boys, Mohamed and "Father Joe," who are now in the Heart & Hand clinic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Lord hath provided!

Thank you to our friends and family who are supporting us with your prayers and offerings! We've been blessed with a 2000 Toyota 4Runner!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diana & Kevin

Diana (nurse from Arlington, TX) and Kevin (Physician's Assistant from Lufkin, TX) were an amazing team as they performed medical assessmants on nearly 500 widows, orphans and caretakers at Grafton and Mile 91. These records will be used over the next year to help determine the success of the food distribution, agriculture/skills development project. THANK YOU BUNCHES, KEVIN AND DIANA!!!

Camp for the Displaced

I, Becky, spent Saturday afternoon walking through a camp for people displaced from the civil war. As I continued deeper inside the camp I lost all sense of how big it actually is. Some of the people are still living in stick and tarp houses since 1999. Others have managed to build red mud brick dwellings. Multiple families live together. The 86 "War Widow's for Christ" that we are serving through the food distribution and agriculture/skills development project live within the camp. I am just beginning to grasp the magnitude of the needs here in Sierra Leone.

Waterloo Street Kids

Tom spent Saturday morning in a town nearby with Alfred of Buckner International and some of the Social Work Interns from the Bible College. For two years they have had a ministry among street kids in Waterloo. The town has over 100,000 total population. More than 1,000 of these are kids living on the streets. About 600 of them have families in the area, but because of abuse and trafficing they choose NOT to go home. The other 400 are homeless orphans. Tom said the kids flocked to Alfred and the students as soon as they saw them. They play ball, visit, and genuinely care about the kids. It's a "no pressure" ministry where all they seek to do is build relationships and let them know they matter to someone. Tom and I look forward to being a part of this wonderful work!


It's amazing how many women here wear some type of wig. Christine's friend stopped by the office last week and the the next thing we knew Christine stepped into our office with her wig on. Then Tom decided he had to try it on for size! What a hoot!

Getting My Teeth Cleaned!

We are thrilled to work alongside a dentist (Gabe) and his team!

Headman: Sahid Solomon Kabbia

Headman of Jui with Tom and Alfred.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jui Young Adult Counsel

The Jui Young Adult Counsel are a neat bunch! They officially organized on January 5, 2010 under the name Dynamic Youth Organization. They have since been involved in community improvement and development projects. We look forward to working with them, all 120, in a skills development program that will be based on a "quick impact strategy" aimed at empowering the young people to set up businesses or form co-ops for work in certain areas. Along with the Counsel, Headman Sahid Solomon Kabbia met with us for a planning session. He has been very impressed with the activities of the organization over the last year on behalf of the community. He is pictured 4th from the left (standing).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goofy guys and gals!!!

Sada returns to Texas tomorrow where she will give birth to their 1st baby...a boy! Gabe will join her in early February, and the baby is due later in the month. We will be excited to have them back with us in April!!! They will be missed!

This picture was taken a couple of nights ago as we celebrated Christine's 32nd birthday with a pot luck dinner. The guys started imitating Sada with the birthday balloons, and before you know it they had Christine in on the action!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Update 2011

Hello everyone! Happy New Year!

Our thoughts have been with you throughout the holiday season. We trust that God blessed you with wonderful times with family and friends!

Our Christmas was different, of course, but we enjoyed every moment. We have met so many people, some that we work alongside weekly, others that are serving in Sierra Leone with other organizations. It is amazing how there is an instant bond as we connect with missionaries who are serving the Lord here. We are blessed!

Please know that your prayers and your support are impacting lives:

• We arrived safely on November 10th and within days we were settled and on the job
• Our apartment was fully furnished, so we were instantly “at home”
• We have had consistent internet access which has meant to world to us and our family back in the US
• We have great working relationships with partners which include: Global Connection Partnership Network (Arlington, TX), The Restore Hope Project (Jui, SL), Buckner International (the Country Director works from the Hope Centre along with us) and so many local pastors and associates here in Sierra Leone
• We are serving in four communities: Wellington, Grafton, Mile 91 and Pujehun (200 miles up-country)
• 226 orphans with their caretaker families and 86 widows and their families are a part of a three year project that will help with the immediate need of food, and with the long-range goal of sustainability through agricultural and skills development
• An association of 120 young adults between 18 and 35 years of age will soon be involved in skills training in several areas: computers (already underway), auto mechanics, basic plumbing and electrical, catering, tailoring, hairdressing and gara (African tie-dying)
• The Hosetta School for children with mental and mild physical disabilities will be the focus of two teams coming from the US in May and June: construction needs, staff training and curriculum development

We are so aware that we can do nothing apart from our Father working through us, and without your prayers and support! We thank you for joining us in this great adventure!!

Prayer requests:

• We continue to look for an affordable and reliable vehicle
• Our main generator at the apartment needs repair - we will need parts from the states
• Physical strength as we head into the hottest months of the year from mid-February through mid-April
• There are many details that need to be worked out for our 2011 teams
• Hosetta School children – that our teams will know best how to work alongside the staff with training and curriculum development that will lead to a sustainable work
• The 120 young adults of the Jui Association
• Our orphans, caretakers and widows as they begin working to clear and plow fields in February
• Our family back home

Blessings for an amazing new year!
Tom and Becky