Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another day in Sierra Leone

We were thrilled to be able to pop in on the children again. We pulled in the gate and as I got out and looked up, I saw just a row of little heads all looking with anticipation at who was pulling in. They are just precious.
Some made my heart glad.....

And some made my heart sad.....

I they get any cuter than this little girl pictured below? And yes....she is playing with a rusty nail.

Pictured below is Sam. He is a hero.

The little one above just broke my heart. I was walking through the doorway and looked down and saw that she was crying. I never found out why but she was just precious. It was heartbreaking.

I got to tag along with Tina and her daughters to a village called Tombo. Emily was returning to her village for the first time in 5 years. She was adopted from Sierra Leone when she was 9 years old. So this was such a huge trip for her. She has gotten lots of questions answered and was welcomed so warmly in her village that she hasn't been to in such a long time. I was thrilled to be able to go along and capture some of their moments together. Below you find her with her sweet Grandmother who just loved on her so precious.

I have to say I have never seen some of the things I saw in this village. I absolutely loved being there. I loved capturing this culture through my lens. The people are just beautiful and yet mysterious at the same time. It is a culture that we as Americans can't even comprehend.

Of course my favorite thing to photograph is children. These children were piling in to get a glimpse of Emily. You cannot imagine how America is put on such a pedestal in this country. And for them to think that one of their own now lives in America and is getting her education in America.....they are soooo proud. They could not quit staring at her in awe. But I had to grab a few shots of the kids while I was there. ALL of them are obsessed with having their "SNAP" taken. They love it and surround me to have their picture taken. I'm guessing they don't have anyone "snapping" their pics very much. Well, they should, because they are beautiful.

This little one above is just the cutest!! Just look how she opens up to me while I shoot her picture with her friends.

Below....she is looking right at you and saying...."YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO!!"

She is speaking on behalf of the orphans, by the way.

Below, I grabbed some shots of Emily's Grandmother showing us where they live and sleep. It is truly amazing to see this village of people and to look at Emily and imagine what her life would be like had this family not stepped up to adopt her. They live off of nothing and sleep on a mat on the floor surrounded by their clothes piled in a corner. It is a life that American's can't comprehend but it is her life as well. It is her country and her heritage and she was so proud to come back and get to experience it again. It was just amazing to see the contrast. It shows the miracle in adoption when looking at the two different worlds. It is also a picture of adoption that shows how we are all adopted by God and the new life that He gives each one of us when we are called by His name into His kingdom.

Below is her beautiful sister and her baby. They were so sweet. She seemed like such a great mom at only 17.

And can you even stand how cute this baby is??

Emily had the neatest thing happen as she was there. They had an old photo album that she had sent them of some pictures of her over the years. She was looking at the album and came across a picture that someone had stuck in the album that she had never seen before.

She has never had any pictures of herself as a little girl and here she was flipping through this album and ran across one she had never seen. It was her as a little girl standing with her family in the village. It was precious. It is the only picture she has.

It was so awesome to see her go back to her people and pull up this missing piece to her past and watch her hand over this treasured item to her adoptive mother who has always longed for a picture of her daughter as a little girl.

Truly Awesome!!

We finally said our goodbyes and were on our way but I can't tell you what a special experience that was all the way around.....and I was only watching from the outside looking in.

Back at the new center we are busy preparing everything and have it about ready. We had the best first staff meeting ever. I was in tears over it. I am completely blown away by the people that have been hand picked by God to care for these orphans. They are so equipped to give back a double portion of what the Devil has stolen. Below you will find one of the staff we hired who is also a pastor. He asked if he could say something and got up and just flat out preached about being ONE family with these kids. He talked about everyone being an example to them and loving on them and about all of the staff getting along together as one. It was just amazing.

Then, Miss Francis got up to speak. She is normally soft spoken but when she spoke she spoke with determination. She talked to them about how to love these children and how to discipline with love and nothing else . She was just great to listen to. She referred everything back to God.

Then Julia got up to speak. She is another that we have put in charge. She immediately started singing a song that the whole room joined in on....except us American's . It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. There is something about hearing African voices come together as one that just has the heart of God wrapped around it. They reminded me of the kids singing....except all grown up. They had harmony and everything in the mix. It brought tears to my eyes. I picture them singing this when the children arrive on that first day to welcome them.

Below you will find Muhamed. He is the groundskeeper who was caring for the property before we arrived. He was the happiest man alive when we hired him to stay on as the groundskeeper. He is the hardest worker you have ever seen. He is always so quick to do whatever is asked of him. You can tell he wants to do his best at all times. He is way too thin and lives in the village across the drive from the house. He is Muslim and we just keep showering him with the love of Jesus. He came walking up yesterday carrying his son to bring to us to show us. He was so proud of him. He has also shared his story with us as many of them have about being orphaned himself from the war. He then was adopted and then his adoptive dad died and then he ran across a child in need and even though he had nothing he said he could not leave the child so he adopted that child. He then married and had this child of his own as well as his 4 year old adopted child. He has such a sweet heart. He will definitely be shown the love of God around this place. He is very poor and is so thankful for this job.

We have the halls decorated with some of our own homemade signs for the kids to make them feel like home when they arrive.

Speaking of the kids....they are still not with us. We just need you to pray. God has a plan that we cannot see yet and we are trying to stay strong until we do see it clearly. We know He wants these kids set free from the life they are living in and we know that He has us here to help make that happen. We have just faced many obstacles and have seen the enemy raise his ugly head a time or two but we also know that God goes before us and makes a way. He is bigger and He wins in the end.

Again, I am always good at having my camera ready when everyone seems to reach their max of all of the frustrations.

Everyone on this trip has a heart for a specific child that they feel they have connected with. It really tears our hearts out to have a center ready for them and yet they are still not here. I can't go into the reasons on this blog but trust that we are doing all that we can on our end to give the children their new home.

But in the end, after a long day, we always manage to come back to the hotel and let it all out in one way or another. Sometimes tears....and sometimes laughter. But it usually all comes out in one way or another. I would have to say that God did a great job of picking each one of us to come on this trip. Our hearts are one and our personalities click so well together. They are an amazing group to hang with for two weeks, I must say. Among the pressures of it all, we also have a lot of funny moments together.

This is Muhamed's little one below. He is such a sweet, beautiful child. However.....I must cut that string from around his neck asap. It is a tradition they have here. He told me it will heal his baby's teething and ear infection to have this string around his neck. It somehow goes under his armpit as well and then up around his neck. Not to worry....that thing is history as soon as I locate some scissors. Maybe then would be the time to tell him about the healing power of Jesus...and not the string. Whatcha think?

He had a rag on for a diaper with a plastic trash bag wrapped around it. I don't even know where he came from. He just came up with his baby and handed him off to me. We noticed he had a dirty diaper so we took him in to change him. This may have been the first real diaper that he had ever had on. I can't explain the arrangement he had going on with this homemade diaper. There was not telling how long his pants had been soiled and he had an awful rash. He was more raw then rashed. I put powder, which was all I had, on him and a pamper. Then I loosened the string around his neck as best I could and took him in and held him.

At the end of a day, after all the frustrations and let downs, God still gives us our little reminders that our work is not done but that He is still with us. Many are getting blessed each day......even as we wait on the children to arrive. God shows up in the small we we wait on the big.

What an adventure this is.


  1. I am just so overwhelmed that God has put you in that place to do SO much! And how can I help? I pray about that. I am no longer young at 56. I would not live to raise another child. Pray for me that God can show me the way to use me best. Thank you for being a friend to me all.

  2. Keep the Faith, Claim His Promises!

    Ezekiel 38:20
    The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.

    HillSong - Mighty to Save

    Everyone needs compassion,
    Love that's never failing;
    Let mercy fall on me.

    Everyone needs forgiveness,
    The kindness of a Saviour;
    The Hope of nations.

    Saviour, He can move the mountains,
    My God is Mighty to save,
    He is Mighty to save.

    Forever, Author of salvation,
    He rose and conquered the grave,
    Jesus conquered the grave.

    So take me as You find me,
    All my fears and failures,
    Fill my life again.

    I give my life to follow
    Everything I believe in,
    Now I surrender.

    My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
    My God is Mighty to save,
    He is Mighty to save.
    Forever, Author of salvation,
    He rose and conquered the grave,
    Jesus conquered the grave.

    Shine your light and let the whole world see,
    We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

    My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
    My God is Mighty to save,
    He is Mighty to save.
    Forever, Author of salvation,
    He rose and conquered the grave,
    Jesus conquered the grave.

    My Saviour, you can move the mountains,
    You are mighty to save,
    You are mighty to save.
    Forever, Author of Salvation,
    You rose and conquered the grave,
    Yes you conquered the grave

  3. beautiful stories...Im also following your other reports and praying daily for yall...thanks for the update, tears and smiles...

  4. I too am praying about how to be used best with this. Everything will come together according to God's great purpose and in the most perfect timing. Thank you and The Raining Season for your work over there on behalf of those children

  5. Yes I feel the same way--what can I do? What can our family do? Our Church? Well I keep praying! I would love to bring a couple of them home if God provides the money! We'll see!!! Sam is quite the guy! I was so glad to see his picture on here again! It just brought such joy to me! All of the kids are just precious! Have a great day! God is working and can't wait to see what He's going to do today!
    Isaiah 30:21
    "And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left."

    Dear Father,

    Please free the children today! THank you that you are working and protecting each one. We are waiting on you to provide in every way. Thank you JEsus that you are God and that you love these children and have a hope and a future for them. Thank you for making a way for them to have life and life in You. Give the kids patience and hope as they wait on You to take care of them. Please provide all that is needed today and refreshment in every way. Heal the children who are sick Lord I pray and keep all of the women healthy and strong. Thank you Jesus we rest in Your love today. We are weak Lord but you are strong. THank you God!
    In JEsus name amen