Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update 8.28.2011

Dear friends and family,

It’s been awhile since our last update, but please know that you have been on our minds and in our prayers! We thank the Lord for you!!

God continues to amaze us at every turn. Our June team was such a blessing to us personally and to so many of our friends here in Sierra Leone! Way to go TEAM!!!

Impact of the June team: Described in a previous post

In July and August we’ve continued to work at warp speed. On July 2nd we made the decision to bring our street kid Mohamed (Bobo) to our apartment to stay. This came after 6 months of having him in-and-out of the hospital and at a street kid’s refuge. With the approval of an uncle that is ultimately responsible for him, and other extended family members, we now have foster parent status for a period of one year to pursue medical treatment outside of Sierra Leone. We are currently working on a Passport and VISA for Mohamed. We have exhausted all possibilities to come to any true medical diagnosis in this country with the limited testing that can be done. Even the only dermatologist here has encouraged us to “travel with the boy for help.” We have a doctor in Texas that we believe is willing to try to determine the root cause for Bobo’s recurring skin condition. We pray God heals this precious boy completely. The scars on his entire body may never fade, but God will certainly have a story to tell through our Bobo.

Other happenings:
• Container arrived from GCPN with electrical and plumbing supplies, so Tom is now working “fast and furious” to make much needed repairs at the Hope Centre
• Food distributions continue, but we sense that the 244 family units are realizing that the parcels will soon be over and they will once again be scrambling for enough food to feed their families
• Harvests are looking good for rice, ground nuts and vegetables with seeds being set aside to expand farms next season for the War Widows and Orphan Caretaker Families
• We lost our youngest orphan, Baby Rebecca at 2 months, and one of our widows in July…very sad
• Our Project Restore Hope Team took 4 days to retreat to the south of the country for much needed solitude and time alone with the Lord individually and as a group
• Training by Mercy Ships for the staff of 2 of our orphanages on the topic of caring for children who have suffered trauma. The Mercy Ships team consisted of mental health professionals from Liberia, Togo, Benin, South Africa and the USA
• A week long Kid’s Camp hosted by the Mercy Ships team for 30 of our orphans
• Follow up continues from our May and June teams as we will soon help 7 boys with school supplies and tuition, rice bags are delivered monthly to St George Refuge for Street Kids, new uniforms will be provided for 40 students at Hosetta School for Children with Mental Challenges, new metal bed frames and mattresses for Margaret and the orphans…all 27 in the household will now be off the floor

Praising the Lord:
• We are at a loss as to how to thank a Texas family for making it possible for us to travel to South Africa in September for our annual medical testing and Tom’s 3 year post-cancer evaluation. We’ve learned that an annual visit to South Africa is a common thing for missionaries on this continent since the quality of health care is outstanding, but the costs are considerably lower than in the USA. We are also blessed to have long-time missionary friends living in Johannesburg who have made all appointments for us and will have us in their home. Having these medical needs taken care of now will give us the chance to focus on family and friends while in Texas from mid-Dec to mid-January. We’d estimated that up to 10 days out of the 30 we will have in Texas would have been spent on doctor visits and tests. We praise our Lord “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!!!”

Our love and gratitude for your faithful prayers and support!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Sierra Rutile Mining

Recently, our team (Chuck, Christine, Gabe & Sada, Baby Isaiah, Mohamed, Tom and I) spent a 4 day weekend in the south of Sierra Leone. Thanks to some missionary friends making a contact for us, we were able to stay at a mining camp that has housing for foreign employees and executives. The view as we drove into the Mokanji Hills was breathtaking! We were so blessed to have a chance to rest and spend time with the Lord in such a beautiful setting! During a walk one day, Tom picked up a long stick to use as a cane. His new nickname is, "MOSES!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

In the poda-poda!

On a ride in the poda-poda, Mark and Bobo were holding hands. Precious! You can see patches of sores on the back of his head. He got better with meds while the team was here, then went from bad to worse soon after. He's just finished another round of injections, and we are determined to persevere until a cure is found! Thanks go to a Texas doctor and lab tech for their willingness to work with us! A biopsy kit is being shipped as I type. We will pray for it's speedy return to the states with viable samples in tact!

The Bobo

The June team fell in love with our street kid, Mohamed. We affectionately call him The Bobo. Bobo in Krio means "boy."

Sarah & Becky on Mercy Ships

Becca with Mercy Ships (on the left) was so kind to arrange a day for Sarah and me to spend on Mercy Ships. Sarah was able to observe and work in the physical therapy department! It was amazing to see the before and after x-rays and pictures of children whose lives have been transformed through orthopedic surgerys!

War Widows Food Distribution

Food parcels to War Widows

Mark, Tony and Sarah had the opportunity to help with our monthly food distribution to the War Widows! There was singing, dancing and thankful hearts as we passed out the rice, peanuts, palm oil, salt and soap to 85 family units.

June Team Impacts Sierra Leone!!

Impact of the June team:

• Focus: curriculum development and teacher training at Hosetta School for Kids with Special Needs – one TX teacher who writes curriculum for special education for the state led 3 teachers, 2 college students training to be teachers and 2 assistants in 7 days of hands-on training with students working side-by-side with the staff of Hosetta
• An abundance of material, manipulatives and supplies were stocked in the classrooms at Hosetta
• 3 additional team members helped with a food distribution to 85 War Widow Families impacting approximately 700 people
• One team member, a physical therapist, spent a day assisting the Physical Therapy Staff on Mercy Ships
• One team member, an agriculturalist, spent a day with the Mercy Ships off-ship agricultural team in a training program for 30 nationals from all over Sierra Leone
• The agriculturalist also visited farms worked by the War Widows (about 40 miles in the interior) and by 85 orphan caretaker families (90 miles inland)
• The entire team spent one morning on the streets of Waterloo visiting street kids
• The entire team held 2 day Bible schools in the evenings for St George Refuge for Street Kids and Margaret Tucker’s Orphanage (2 evenings in each place)
• The 9 team members from Missouri spent time vision casting for future partnerships and ministry opportunities for 2012
• Sewing groups from Arkansas and Missouri provided clothing that blessed orphaned and under-privileged children in 3 locations

What a blessing the June team was to us personally and to so many of our friends here in Sierra Leone!!! Way to go TEAM!!!