Our first night in Liberia was complete with a tropical storm; loud rain drops pounding on our metal roof, lightning flashing in the sky, and thunder drowning out the sound of the waves crashing in our front yard. We spent our first day here taking in everything from the thick, humid, air to the complexity of spoken Liberian english. Several of the other missionaries stopped by our house to visit and welcome us. As the sun set after our first full day in west Africa, we were in awe of God’s faithfulness and goodness and our hearts were full of gratitude for our new home, the community here, and the work God has set before us.
The past two weeks have consisted of :
- getting adjusted to the weather! It is warm (usually around 85 degrees) and humid. Most days we can cool off in the ocean mid afternoon, and we are VERY thankful for that.
- shopping in Monrovia- we have been introduced to several grocery stores, furniture stores, and the fruit and vegetable market on Randall Street (our favorite).
- meeting new people- the missionaries here and Liberians. The community of missionaries has been a huge encouragement and blessing to our family. Our first week here, we had dinner at a different missionary family’s house each night. On Wednesdays, the SIM missionaries get together for “prayer and share”, a time to share and update the group on how everything is going, and to pray for each other. Several times a week Bethany and Bekah have gotten to go swimming with the other missionary kids. The Liberians we have met are wonderful; their smiles are welcoming and the way they speak Liberian english is beautiful (something we are each working on!)
- using local ingredients to make DELICIOUS food.. Every Monday, a Liberian named Moses sells us a fish he caught that morning and it lasts for 2-4 meals. There is an abundance of pineapple, bananas, papaya, sweet potatoes, and okra. The grocery stores are mainly run by Lebanese and we have been enjoying flatbread and Middle Eastern spices.
- attending the Liberian church service on Sunday mornings. There has been something so special about walking as a family through the forest behind our house to a bright blue church building where the church choir is leading worship and the congregation is dancing around, shaking each other’s hands, and praising Jesus.
Bekah is recovering from a cold that she got our first week here (fever and all) and her and Beth spend their mornings homeschooling (although we are still working on getting reliable internet) and have enjoyed many ‘hands on’ lessons as we are learning so much about the culture of Liberia.
Bethany has begun a few photojournalism projects- she had the opportunity to take pictures at Faith Academy, one of the village schools that is part of the SIM Christian Education and Teacher Training Project that Jenny Elphick is running. She also took pictures at the celebration of the 12th anniversary of ELWA Academy, the school down the street from our house. Bethany looks forward to helping tell the stories of what God is doing in Liberia 🙂
John started work at the hospital on Monday morning! Each morning starts with a beautiful chapel service. The patients are often extremely ill and malaria and other infectious diseases are very common. Despite this intensity, the team serving these patients, both Liberian and expatriate have been amazing to work with. He feels blessed to be a part of this team.
Thank you SO much for your continuous prayers and support. We feel incredibly blessed for the smooth adjustment from our lives in California to our new home in Liberia.