Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finch Elementary School, McKinney, Texas

Bravo to the 5th grade class of Finch Elementary School in McKinney, Texas! For the 3rd year in a row, during a unit of study on polio, they have raised funds to benefit the Leonard Cheshire School for Children with Polio in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Yesterday we were able to deliver 2 full bags of rice, 35 sheets, 20 pillow cases and 3 matresses (5 additional matresses will be delivered on Monday). Pictured above are some of the grateful students along with Director Ms. Sesay. Leonard Cheshire was founded in 1961 and currently has 70 students, 40 live-in and 30 day students.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hosetta Students!

Margaret's newest orphan!

Renewing relationships!

It's always such a blessing to renew relationships from previous years!!!

Lois and the gals!

Mayemi Baptist Fellowship

Church on Sunday (the stick structure)!

Margaret's Orphanage - two bedrooms

The guys on our May team helped Tom set up an new metal bed for some of the boys at Margaret's that have been sleeping on the crumbling cement floor. Thanks to the team as a whole and individually, several other things are in the works: badly needed roof and floor repairs, another metal bed frame to get Margaret and the 2 smallest children off the floor, a crib for the baby that Margaret took in just three weeks ago, formula and other baby needs for one year. Would you like to help with some of the needs? Ask us how!

Brooke & Jon!

The entire vision for Hosetta School for Children with Mental Challenges started because of the special relationship between this wonderful pair!

Amazing sunset!

For the first time our team flew in before dark. This was the view while they waited on the water taxi! Breathtaking!

Our main men!!!

Love these gals!

Precious memories!

Our amazing May team!

Our amazing May team...less David who was taking the pics!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

from teammate...Lois

Jewelry Making

Just a few weeks prior to leaving for the Sierra Leone trip, I was planning on helping with the construction project for the Hosetta school since that was the purpose of the trip. However, God started nudging my heart to see if it would be possible for me to teach some ladies how to make jewelry. So, I reached out to Becky to see if it would be possible for me to do this and she replied ‘ABSOLUTELY’. So, we started the plan in motion. Becky talked to Margaret who runs the war widow program to find six ladies for me to teach.

As it turned out, I ended up teaching six war widows and four orphans how to make the jewelry. The orphan’s parents were killed when Freetown was invaded in 1999. They are now young ladies in their late teens and early 20s.

While we were making the jewelry, I had my iPhone playing praise and worship music on a portable speaker. The young ladies loved the music and one girl in particular (Fatnata) would ask me what some of the different songs were trying to communicate. However, the one song she understood with no explanation needed is the song ‘Blessings’ by Laura Story. The words are pasted at the bottom of this posting.

I wrote out the words of the song for Fatnata and by the end of the trip, whenever the song would play on my iPhone, she would sing all of the words.

I thought I was going on a mission trip to be a blessing to the people of Sierra Leone but the people there blessed me so much more than words can express. Since I have been home, every time I hear the song ‘Blessings’ by Laura Story, I get a tear in my eye and I think of the special people I met in Sierra Leone – especially the young ladies I taught how to make jewelry.

Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Margaret's Orphans

Margaret (pictured on the right in gold African outfit) brought the kiddos and some helpers over one evening to thank our team for blessing them with clothes and other goodies. They prayed over us and sang for us! If they only knew...WE WERE THE ONES THAT RECEIVED THE BLESSING each time we were with them during the 11 days the team was here! Margaret is holding her newest orphan. The baby's mother died a couple of days after giving birth. She is in a safe place now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great times around the table!

What fun to share meals at breakfast and dinner around our table!

Tom with "Little Mama!"

"Little Mama" and her family live just across the road! The team enjoyed meeting the seven kiddos!

from team member....Chris

My life changing time in Sierra Leone: Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, whom I had just met, I am a ‘very’ get to A to B, work-work-work kind of Girl, my life as always resembled more Martha than Mary, with lists of things to do and what to do next. But something happened to me in Sierra Leone- all my heart longed to do was sit beside, hug a neck, & listen to the story of the beautiful African people who I fell in love with. I found myself looking for the nearest African to met, talk to and love on every moment I got. The teachers at Hosetta School, The War Widows, Tom & Becky’s neighbors, especially the amazing, God given men working around Tom & Becky, not to leave out the most beautiful children I have ever seen, God’s Children- just everywhere! I picked up, kissed & loved on as many as I could. One of the War Widow women saw my tears one day and asked me, “Why do you people love children so much?” The hard hearts, life conditions, swollen bellies from malnutrition, orphans, naked-shoeless children and even more so the kids I met who sleep on the street with no one to care for them broke me, my words would never be able to explain. One night awake during a rain storm with a broken heart, the immensity of the need in Sierra Leone overwhelmed me. The Lord gave me some scripture & a song on my ipod called Rain, a part of the song prayed: “Let your mercy rain down on me, let your love heal my heart; feed the babies who don’t have enough to eat; shoe the children with no shoes on their feet, house the people who are living in the street, oh there is a solution –Let it rain down on me.” We are commanded to love! We can’t feed or fill every need, but we can love and love deeply. Now don’t get me wrong, He has told us to take care of those orphans & widows! And to give to those in need; but he said the greatest commandment was to love. And that’s the gift I came home with and amazing eye opening love for this country, its people and my indescribable Lord who holds in all in his hands. Chris of Missouri

Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Amazing Team!!!

Our May team is in the air headed back to the USA! What an amazing time we had! It will take days to share the many short stories that make up OUR BIG STORY of all that GOD did while they were here in Sierra Leone! Stay tuned!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Laughin' Our Heads Off!!

So...the internet has NOT been cooperating for us to post, but the team arrived safely Tuesday evening, and we've been having a blast ever since!


Wed - team planning in the morning, visit to Hosetta School in the afternoon, introduction to Margaret Tucker's Orphans in the evening

Thur - work day at Hosetta, taught sign language praise & worship songs to deaf students, War Widows jewelry making, kiddos from King George came to visit, outreach to Grafton neighbors

Friday - four projects simultaneously in four locations, work day at Hosetta (playground construction & educational materials to teachers), War Widows jewelry making, mentoring older teen orphans, Leonard Cheshire School for Children with Polio (Finch Elementary School Project, McKinney, TX)


"Body lice?!?" ...Brooke

"It's 11am and Brooke and Lori aren't up yet???" ...David

"Are my hands swelling???" ...Janise

"These mosquito love me!!!" ...Emily

"I met an Africa man in Freetown today from Denton, TX." ...Craig

"If the generator goes out again I'll camp outside...(David's response, oh yeah, with the Cobras)" ...Chris

"Jon said YOUR name FIRST, David??" ...Brooke

"Yes, I was de-wormed a couple of weeks ago." ...Wa-ala Mama

"You know this is gonna' take all day don't ya??" ...Daddy Grumbles