Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2014

Christmas greetings!

With 24 days until we board the plane for Sierra Leone, we know that an update is in order. You all mean the world to us, and we so appreciate your prayers and support! Love you all dearly!!

2014 WAS OFF TO AN AMAZING START with teams in February, May and June focusing on our orphans, street boys and construction! The Lord was at work as well as we shared in strategic planning among partnering organizations for future ministry opportunities. And we were especially thrilled that the adoption process for two of our orphans was completed in July, and the kiddos flew with their new forever parents to the USA!

IT WAS THE WEEK OF JULY 21 that Ebola entered the capital of Freetown, and we began to talk through what it might look like if we chose to stay in Sierra Leone, or how we would set things in motion to run ministries long-distance from Texas. After much thought and prayer, we departed for the USA mid-August. Thankfully, all work has continued with some modifications with the exception of construction!

EBOLA IS STILL A CONCERN IN WEST AFRICA, but we feel an overwhelming peace that we are to return HOME. We have now shifted gears and are making preparations to fly on January 10, 2015.

A NEW AREA OF MINISTRY: "RELIEF" - we have never liked the word RELIEF because there is no clear view to self-sustainability, but Sierra Leone is in an extreme crisis, and people we love are suffering. We know we cannot feed 6 million people, but we are developing a list of 15-20 family units, aside from our orphans and caretaker families for street boys, that we believe we need to assist. A basic parcel that will help to offset needs will include rice, peanuts, oil, salt and soap for approximately $75 per month. For families who have absolutely no income, we may double the parcel. We would like to commit to help these families for up to one year. We pray for discernment and wisdom as we seek to meet needs!

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE - with things settling down in Liberia, we feel more attention will be focused on Sierra Leone. Other missionaries are planning to return in 2015, and we are in on-going communication. Our prayer and our hope is that things will turn around for SL, and in the meantime, the Lord will be able to speak to hearts through this time of crisis that would not be open to hearing His Voice any other way.

We love you!!  Thank you for your prayers, support and the love you have for us and all those we serve!!

It's all for the Kingdom!!

Tom, Beck and Bo

So blessed by Dianna of the DMN!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ministry continues ........

We can never express our gratitude for our friends and partners in
Sierra Leone for continuing ministry in our absence.
It is always a privilege to serve alongside these guys,
 and absolutely humbling to know of the depth of their commitment to 
continue the work as we are in the USA.  
Once again this week, all distributions for the orphans and caretaker families
for street boys have been carried out even with
the risks involved from Ebola.  A big thank you to all!!!  

Here are a few pictures the guys have posted over the last few months!


We wish we had photos of everyone that has been a part of this effort!  
We will certainly post about them upon
our return to Sierra Leone
in January!!

It's all for the Kingdom!     

Friday, November 28, 2014

EBOLA ... our final 12 days in Sierra Leone, August 2014

Abdule Carew

With the departure of our final group from the USA on July 20th, we knew we needed to think through decisions as to what it would look like if we stayed in Sierra Leone, or how could things be set in motion for us to conduct ministry from stateside.  We are so thankful for our incredible partners for working tirelessly on security updates for our compound, and for daily meetings to line out plans. We cannot wait to be back with all these (and others) that we love so dearly!!

Solomon, Sankoh & Omaru



Auntie Margaret

Carew & Sulaiman

Donald (as of today he is in the arms of Jesus!)  
& Daniel

In no way were we able to get pictures of all those we serve alongside, 
but God knows each and every one, and we trust that 
during these turbulent times in our Sweet Salone!  

Kent Jones 25project strategic planning!

Also in July, we were blessed to have Kent Jones for a few days of planning 
for the future of the street kids ministry!
 Love our team ... Patrick, Daniel, Charles & Kent!!!  

A Thrilling Moment!! July 2014

What a thrill as Pastor Chris & Brenna were united with John & Mariama following a two year  process of adoption!  It was a privilege to be a part of bringing these precious people together!  

Father's Day 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reflections on June Team 2014!

Construction and teaching focus at Hosetta School for Kiddos with special needs!
Martin, Leah & Kandra!

Ronnie's Extra Week!!! May 2014

We were blessed to have Ronnie for an extra week following the May team.  Our original partnership with him and a UK organization from 2008-10 has led to many amazing friendships.  He and Becky made the rounds to numerous Community Based Organizations that we've had the privilege of serving over the years! Pictured here is Ibrahim, loving called "the wood carver." Our team members enjoy shopping from him, and are so proud that he was able to use his carving skill to put himself through an electrical engineering degree.  

Ronnie at the United Polio Brotherhood Skills Center!

Hastings Ladies Polio Association!

City of Rest for adults and youth with addictions!

St George Foundation for Street Kids!

King George VI for the Elderly!

May Team 2014

Ronnie & Ted, as well as all of the team, continued construction on the toilet system for Auntie Margaret and the orphans!  Hot, but rewarding, work!!  

Catherine with Fatmata & Yeama, two of our college students.

Justin, team leader, with Sankoh! 

Kathleen & Janise!

Lots of progress made on the building!  And as always, the team had the opportunity to minister among all areas ... orphans, street kids & special needs kiddos ... during their time in Sierra Leone! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

March-April '14 Reflections

It was in March that we began to hear the word EBOLA, but it seemed so far removed from us. We were determined not to be driven by concerns or fear knowing that we had lots of exciting things ahead for 2014!

Charles and Patrick spent lots of time this spring updating profiles of street boys and securing pictures of their caretakers for verification during rice distributions. Becky had the opportunity to participate in March as 43 families received rice!  A joyous day!!

Margaret's college kiddos spent time improving their computer skills this year, and of course, Bo enjoys pestering them when he can get away with it!  Fatmata, Ibrahim & Yeama.

Work continued on the toilet system throughout the year. Tom has some great guys working alongside him on construction projects!

As April came to an end, the news of EBOLA concerns in Guinea was increasing by the day. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jan-Feb '14 Reflections

Hello everyone!!

We are terribly behind on updating our blog! It's been quite a busy year! We thought we'd hit the highlights, and we can weave in information on the effects of Ebola in West Africa along the way. As always, we are so thankful for your prayers and support as YOU are the reason we have the privilege of living and serving in our Sweet Salone!!

How thrilling for Auntie Margaret and the kiddos to receive a visit from several of the staff and students of Murraydeen in January! They had heard of the orphanage, and were stirred as a school to make this one of their ministry projects for the year! Provisions were delivered, and a fun afternoon was had by all!  Margaret and Becky visited the school in March and had the chance to offer thanks to the entire staff and student body!

Our February team hosted by 25project did an amazing job on our 3rd camp for former street boys! Numerous pictures with captions were posted on this event previously!

We had some fun times Jan-March with teammate Chuck Luke as he was in and out of Freetown! Honestly, he and Bo fight like brothers! We had Sada Herrera and others from Arlington, Texas with us in February for strategic planning, and Sada returned with a team in early June as well.

A double blessing came on Feb 16th as Sulaiman and Gbessay welcomed twins!  Our Feb team and others from TX were instrumental in keeping these little guys healthy over the months that followed as each needed surgeries and special attention!  They are simply darling!

Be watching for additional reflections!  Our love to you all!!! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Reflecting on our February team!

We continue to experience the blessings of our February team as we anticipate the next team's arrival on May 1-2!  While the focus in Feb was another camp for street boys from Waterloo, in May the group will throw themselves into mixing cement and raising walls on the toilet system at Auntie Margaret's!  We pray that the early rains will hold off, and that much progress will be made!  With the arrival of the May team, we will celebrate SIX YEARS of ministry in Sierra Leone!  ONLY GOD!!!