Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Liberia Journal Entry

I've been away from my computer for a few days and I just finished the last post from my Liberia trip journal. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my trip. I've decided to try to keep up two blogs. This one will be go back to being my "stampin' only" blog. My new blog will be called "My Master's Pieces" and it will be a sampling of lessons I've learned from God and will also showcase some of my other creative pursuits. The URL is I hope you will subscribe to it as well as to this one.

Stamp each day with God's love,

I will exalt you, my God and King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Everyday will I praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:1-3


This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it! Today we are the be the honored guest at Champions of Faith Church. Ginger will deliver the sermon, Leah will give her testimony and I will exalt. We will be leaving for church soon. I packed most of my things last night so I will only have a few things left to do when we get back from church today. We are a little nervous about how long the service will last and if we will have time to shower and change before we have to go to the airport. Our plain leaves at nine tonight and we have a lot to do today.

Shortly after the service started this morning, a heavy downpour struck. It was so loud that the speakers could not be heard so the singing continued until the rain stopped. The shower cooled things off and with the fans going, it was quite pleasant for Africa. The service started again and then the generator stopped. A few of the men went out to check on the problem and get it started again. I forgot to mention that there were 16 points in the order of the service. I was to be #7 and Ginger preaching the sermon at # 9. Leah was to give her testimony at #11.

The service continued after a brief interruption of the generator problem. Then the generator stopped again, it was fixed a second time and the service started again. The third time, it could not be fixed. Someone had stolen a part of the generator while it was running and the service was going on! The pastor called someone to open their store so that he could to buy the part that was missing. All this happened before point seven, my part in the service, and we still had eleven points to go! It was getting on up in the afternoon and we were getting a little anxious about having time to get ready to leave the country and catch the one and only plane leaving until next Wednesday.
They were delaying the service until they could get the generator fixed so that we could have a microphone. They thought that white people could not talk loud LOL! We convinced them that we could talk loud enough to be heard and the service started again. I didn’t have a microphone for my exaltation, point #7, Leah was moved to #9 and did not have a microphone either. Ginger was pushed back to # 11 and shortly after she started, we had electricity and her voice came in loud and strong. Satan had tried his best to stop us that day but God’s word was heard!

Next came a “Gowning” ceremony and a special prayer time to send us off. Then at # 14, Remarks of the service and overall programs. Announcements and at # 16 the Benediction, which was not like any closing prayer I ever heard here in the states. It was usual to say the least, but I did get a special souvenir to bring home. By mid-afternoon the service was over and Ginger had done a fantastic job delivering God’s word. I had also enjoyed Leah’s testimony.
When we arrive back at the compound, we find the dinning room set up for a banquet. We were surprised to learn that the WACSN team and the pastors of the churches where we spoke were coming to have lunch with us. Ervin out did himself today, the food was superb!
We have about 3 hours to finish packing, take a shower and a nap and get to the airport. We really need a nap, we are all pooped!

I feel a little better after a shower and a short nap, we need to leave for the airport but TIA (this is Africa) No one seems to be in a hurry to get us there, I wonder when we will leave?
It's time for us to be at the airport, our bags have not been carried down and no one seems concerned about the time. The compound is not close to the airport, it will take some time to get there. We're waiting... we're still waiting...
Well, the ride to the airport was a little scary, to say the least. There is no speed limit in Liberia, you can drive as fast as you want. We made it to the airport with little time to spare. Maria had people waiting for us and they got us and our luggage through quickly. Ginger was called out and questioned because her curling iron looked like a gun LOL! But we made it on the plane and are flying home. Praise the Lord!

As we drove in downtown Liberia, we saw some kind of a ceremony taking place.
The ladies are singing and dancing.

One of the better homes we saw in Liberia. All the walls were still standing
and the house had a roof.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Journal Entry #7

Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Psalm 106:47

We move to a different church today. It is located downtown but it has no walls. There is a roof, which is a very good thing since this is the rainy season. Hopefully it will be a little cooler without walls and it should less smelly, unless there is a sewage problem.

There is a rain delay this morning so we have a little time to relax before the conference. This is the closest church we’ve been to and since it’s Saturday there will not be a much traffic. Today the ladies are making sun visors. I hope they enjoy them.

Another great service today, I made a very special friend. A darling little boy who looked to be around three years old decide to take up with me. The children who live in town have seen white people before but the ones who live farther out in the bush seemed to be afraid of us. One little girl was terrified at one of the other churches and screamed every time she saw us. Bless her heart, she was so cute, we would have loved to hold her.

I met a lady who had beautifully braded hair. I commented on it and learned that she was a hair dresser. She ask if I wanted her to brad my hair, I told her that I didn’t have time since we are leaving tomorrow. But the next time I come to Liberia that she can. I got her to give Maria her number and when I come back I’m going to set up an appointment with her. I think it will be neat. I hope to come back next year if the good Lord is willing. I’m really looking forward to coming back. I’ll take lots of pics of my new do ;o)

After the service we went to an area where some refugees lived to give some candy to the children. We were told not to get out of the van, just hand the candy out the doors of the van. We started a small riot and I thought some of the smaller kids were going to be crushed. I stopped giving out the candy and put the box to the inside of the van. I tried to make them get in line but the only stormed the van and took the candy. The driver was trying to move slowly to get the children to back up but that didn’t work. I was so afraid that hey would be run over. Eventually we were able to move and get away from the mob of kids and adults that appeared from nowhere.

The pastor of the church wants Ginger to preach the sermon tomorrow at their church. Leah is to give a testimony and I’m to exhort! I’m not sure what this is or how to do it. I’ve never done this before but I’ve been watching the ladies at the services we’ve had. I think it’s just praising God. I can do that, I think?!?

We’re back at the compound now and Ginger, Leah and I are trying to prepare for tomorrow’s church service. It’s very hot and we’re all trying to find a cool place to study and pray.

The ladies in their sun visors

The guys who played for us

My little friend and me

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Journal Entry 6

The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121: 7-8

Today we’re went back to the church at the orphanage where we had the conference yesterday. It was another good service and very long one. Ervine sent us a wonderful lunch of fried chicken smothered with tomatoes, zucchini, onions and carrots steamed with melted butter and seasoning.

Even though the weather is a little bit cooler today, It’s still hot! I really enjoyed our time with the ladies singing, dancing and praising God. The organist gave me a few lessons on playing my gourd instruments. The shaker, beaded gourd is made locally and use at all the church services. The other gourd piece shaker is made in Guinea by the Fula tribe from the Futa Jalon Highlands.

On the way home, a drunk man walked out on the four lane highway in between our two lane of traffic to get a cab. He was in the road with his back to our van trying to stop the cab that was right beside us. He stepped back into our van and pitched forward hitting the cab and hanging on for a few seconds as it traveled along. Thank goodness traffic was moving slow at that time. I thought I was going to see him thrown under the wheels of our van or the cab. But he staggered around and managed to right himself. He grabbed our van door and kept shouting, “Why are you trying to kill me?” over and over again.
A crowd was beginning to gather and it could have turned really ugly. But a policeman was really close and headed our way. Everyone here tries to avoid the police. The drunk leaned in our passenger side window and spit in the face of our driver and Maria, who was riding up front. He left then so the police would not come to see what the commotion was. We drove a few feet and another man came running up to the van and apologized for the actions of the drunk. The rest of the way home was pretty uneventful, thank goodness.
We arrived back at the compound much later than usual, it will be dark soon. They will start up the generator then and we might have some air conditioning. I hope ours decides to work tonight. I also hope our shower works, but at least we have running water for the moment. I was thrilled when I flushed the toilet and it actually flushed a little while ago. The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is take a very long very hot shower :o)

I’m so glad that God has not called me here on a long term or permanent basis. With God’s help, I guess I could do it, but I don’t think I would like it! Liberia has not been able to pull it’s self together since the war. There are bombed out buildings that still have people living in them. They have no money to fix them and nowhere else to go. Debris, dirt and lots of litter are everywhere. This is a very dirty and poor country, the infrastructure has collapsed. The president has her hands full trying to get the country back to it’s original state before the war.
The ladies, all of them, just throw trash on the church floor! After craft time there were piles of litter in the floor. They walked out and just left it there. I suppose someone will come and sweep it out the door later and the wind will carry it where it will. It’s hard to understand the mindset of the people here. I’m very thankful for our litter laws and our sanitation system back home. Sewers and septic tanks now hold a special place in my heart.

Photo's of Monrovia

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Journal Entry 5

This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24


I woke up to rain this morning, I think it rained all night. I woke up several times in the night and heard the rain. We’re leaving early this morning, to go further out into the “bush” as they call it, for the 3rd conference. I’m looking forward to seeing the country side of Liberia.

We’re back! The service was great. There was 92 women attending today’s session and I had 94 pair of flip-flops. I left the last two pair of shoes at the orphanage where we attended church for the conference. I sang praises to the Lord, danced before God and played a gourd instrument in the service. The place was really ‘jumpin’, very loud, very happy. I taught the ladies two new songs and tried to learn some of theirs.

Leah and Ginger did a great job as usual and the ladies were really blessed by the message they heard. The words they heard had such an impact, some of the ladies decided to rename their children. Here in Liberia, life is very hard and the people are still trying to recover from a war that lasted thirteen years. It is common practice here to name your baby after whatever the mother is going through at the time. They name their children war, trouble, bad bay, poor boy, garbage, dun hill, rape, hard time, lonely, struggle, hungry, pain, etc. Several of the women stood up and said that they were going to give their children good names, Biblical names, positive names. Just think, because of some positive actions, these newly named kids could grow up to change the face of the nation!

We got to tour the orphanage and meet the kids today. In their compound there is a birthing center, a medical clinic and a medicine store (like a pharmacy). The surrounding community also uses the birthing center and the clinic.

On the way back to the city we stopped at an art doll shop. How the artist started making the dolls is a sad but interesting story. Dolle, the artist, has a sister who had a child that was born with all her internal stomach organs on the outside. The people of the village thought the baby was “witchcraft” and wanted the parents to kill the baby. The mother refused to kill her child and she tried to bind the little girl so that people would not know about the deformity. The intestines, liver, kidneys and bowels soon became badly infected. The parents lived a long way out in the bush and there was no money for a doctor.

Dolle, the baby's aunt, talked her sister into bringing the baby to the city so that they could try to get some help. By the time they arrived at Monrovia, it was almost to late. The baby way battling a massive infection the doctors gave them no home that the little girl would live. But she survived and a surgery was performed to enclose the organs for the time being. The baby named Dolle, after her artist aunt, is now five months old and needs another every expensive surgery to make things right. The type of surgery needed can not be performed in Liberia. The aunt is making art dolls to sell so that the money can be raised for the trip, surgery and extended stay of the parents. Thousands of dollars are needed but they will not take money without giving something in return. I bought two larger dolls and twenty ornaments to give as gifts to my friends along with a different type of gourd instrument.

We arrive back at the compound very hot and sweaty. I went to the potty and discovered running water, YEA!! I’m going to take a real shower, the first one I‘ve had since arriving Sunday night! I get in the shower, turn on the water and find that the shower head is broken, so it’s back to using the trusty bucket but at least it’s private and somewhat warmer water.

It’s getting to dark to see to write, maybe we’ll get electricity later tonight. Here comes the rain again. Ah-h-h-h the sound of rain on a tin roof. We had another fantastic dinner tonight. It was some kind of a beef dish with sauce, sauteed carrots and zucchini in butter. We had fresh pineapple and fried bananas for dessert. I’m pooped and I’m going to bed before I get any more mosquito bites!


Here is sweet little Dolle and her mother.

Here the orphans are showing off their M&M candy.

Ladies this is the birthing center, can you say I'm glad I live in the good old US of A?

Part of the clinic at the orphanage.

A typical bedroom for the kids. They are luck and only have to sleep 2-3 per bed.

This is the kitchen where all their meals are prepared.

Here is the class room, on rainy days it also doubles as a laundry drying room.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Journal Entry 4

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23


Good morning God,
It’s midweek and our trip will be over soon. I wish we were staying longer, there is so much that needs to be done here. Thank you for the rain last night and my refreshing outdoor shower and I’m especially thankful for being able to flush the toilet this morning.

God, you are so good to me, thank you for all the many, many blessings you’ve given me. If I listed them all, this journal could not contain them. You know the desires of my heart and I’m thrilled to see your four footed creatures, but the mouse in our room last night was a little much. It did however bring a smile to my face as we scurried around to zip up the suitcases.
I love you, Lord, please keep us in the palm of your hand and in your will. Be with us in the conference this morning. Orchestrate our steps for your divine purpose.
In Jesus wonderful, powerful name I pray, Amen

Early this morning as I sit here writing in my journal and trying to catch a little breeze, I’m wondering what the day will bring. I can hear the ocean breaking on the rocks and rolling on the shore. I hear a rooster somewhere, birds chirping and men speaking in a foreign language. I look out and see a landscape filled with rusty tin roofs interspersed with palm trees and flowering bushes. On the horizon is the ocean and above is your heavens.

It looks like a clearing along the horizon. Elder Ross said they could tell by the direction of the clouds if they would get rain at the compound. Dark clouds rolling in with the ocean brought the rain here, if the clouds came from the land direction, the rain fall would be in town. The rain sees to have stopped for the moment, I hope we can eat and get to the church before it starts again this morning.

Breakfast was fried flat bread with an onion omelet and peach juice to drink. It’s very hot and steamy this morning, even the chimp is complaining. I found a few more ‘skeeter’ bites, I’m going to get the Benadryl cream before we leave for the conference.
Things went great today, we ‘tweeked’ a few areas last night to make things run smoother in today’s session. The tissue paper flowers were the big hit of the day as far as the crafts were concerned. Leah and Ginger both did a fantastic job. I loved the very large lizard (10-12 inches) that kept running around in the rafters then down the wall. The ladies never paid attention to it as it ran around on the floor and walked back and forth down the center isle while Ginger was speaking. I guess they were used to seeing that in church.

The women here are so beautiful, I love the way they dress. They always wear their best when they come to worship God. Looking out over the audience is a color feast for the eyes. I love the exuberance the show for praising God, I think we could take a few lessons from them.

We’re still having water, electricity and AC problems here at the compound. I have re-sorted the craft supplies for tomorrow and discovered that God has performed another miracle. With as many flip-flops as I have given away and some of the other supplies that have ‘walked away’, I still have 94 pair left! When I counted the repackaged left over supplies for the shoes, I had exactly 94 packages of decorations! Is our God amazing or what? Thank you, Jesus!
The girls and I had a good giggle session this afternoon. When your really tired everything is funny. After dinner we spent time talking with Erwin until bedtime.

The view from the Sun Room

The wall around our compound. The 'blobs' of concreat are filled with large shards of glass. It's the 'Home Security System'

Women carry their babies on their back.
New friends.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Journal Entry 3

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


I slept well last night and I got ready using the collected rain water this morning. I heard ‘Trouble’ the chimp this morning during my Bible study time, I’ll take her a treat later. Another great breakfast.

Time to go. Our first driver had car trouble. The second driver lost a wheel, not a tire but a wheel just yards from the compound. The pastor, from the church where we were to speak this morning, left the ladies at the church and came to pick us up. We made it to the church just before the rain began to fall heavily.

Since the ladies had been singing for the 2 hours before we arrived, we went right into Leah’s speech. Leah had been battling a cough for weeks but she never coughed once during her speech. God is great!

A snack was served before craft time. I gave my speech and then we went to work on the flip-flops. The ladies seemed to enjoy decorating them even though the humidity slowed down the drying time of the glue.

When Ginger’s time came to speak, torrential rain began to fall. Out came the buckets for the leaks in the rusty tin roof. Ginger had to stop speaking because the rain was pounding down so heard on the roof you couldn’t hear anything at all. The noise was almost deafening. We prayed for the rain to stop or slowdown and then sung some praise music. The rain slacked off and Ginger was able to give her message to the ladies. By the time we left, the rain had stopped.

It’s very hot and sticky and still no water for bathing or hair washing. If you know me, you know that I’m a very girly girl. I love to be clean, I hat to sweat and avoid it as much as possible. There is no electricity for fixing my hair and any make-up applied will be sweated off in a matter of seconds. I’m hot, sweaty, stinky and yet I love every minute of it. I’m so glad I’m here, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

I decided to take a fully clothed shower in the monsoon and learned that rain can beat you to a pulp and you can do your laundry and take a shower at the same time. I also learned that it’s hard to shampoo your hair when all the shampoo is getting washed out before you even have a chance to lather up your hair.

I got a surprise tonight! I noticed movement in the neighbors courtyard below me. Expecting to see a wild animal of some sort, I turned to look. It was a full grown man as necked as a jay-bird taking a shower in the rain. I turned and went back in to rinse off privately with my little bucket, but he had not seemed to mind sharing a shower with a stranger. Oh well. TIA!

The ladies who cooked lunch for the conference today.

Working hard to decorate their flip-flops.

Here I am talking to the ladies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Journal Entry 2

A screaming monkey or chimp woke me up before the alarm went off this morning. I’ll have to check that out later. No running water, I’m glad I took a shower last night. The toilet won’t flush.

After breakfast we’re going out to see the countryside and do some shopping in the city. Maria said to be ready early, we are going to have a full day of sightseeing and shopping. We wanted to sleep in, so we told Ervin to have our breakfast ready at 8:30ish. Breakfast was great, this is the first mission trip I’ve ever been on where we have had a privet chef prepare our meals :o)
After breakfast we met some new friends, Zimah and Konah twin eight year old boys and Elder Ross a spry 70 year old who are here at the compound. Leah, Ginger and I along with several other from the compound walked down to the beach which is just a few yards away. I had my picture made with the twins and got a little wet by an unexpected wave. The beaches are vacant other than our little group. The people here are afraid to the ocean. Elder Ross came with us today because he had never been to the beach and he lives right here at the compound?!?

Willette told us to be ready early, we would have a full day of shopping because this would be our last chance since the other days would be filled with the conference and other duties. By 10:00 we were back from the beach, no one is here to take us shopping, 11:00 - no one here, 12:00 - no one here. I tracked down the monkey. Word came that we would have lunch at 1:00 before we went shopping. Africa time, gotta’ love it LOL! I had tried to explain to the girls about Africa time when we were traveling, but I don’t think they believed me, now they do LOL!

After lunch we packed goodie bags for the ladies attending the conference. Later this afternoon the driver came and off we went! We went to one of the business districts in downtown Monrovia and visited several shops. We got a small tour of the city and saw several government buildings. I saw a white woman and her teenage daughter out side the American Embassy, it was the first white faces I’ve seen all day other than our own. The next stop was at an Art Shop which was filled with beautiful African art. The owner gave each of us a woven fan when we left his shop.

I have befriended the noisy chimp that woke me up this morning and interrupted my Bible study. I gave him a sucker, I hope he doesn’t throw poo at me! I think I have made a friend for life but I’m not sure. I’ll bring him something else tomorrow.

No electricity or water. The generator was started up about dark but we are not sure when the water situation will be corrected. They brought us a large plastic trashcan filled with rain water to flush the commode and told us to take a sponge bath using the rain water. This is the sweatiest day I’ve ever had in all my 56 years and all I get is a sponge bath?!? You have never experienced heat until you have been in Africa. This is the rainy season and the humidity is almost unbearable! But God is good, I’m sweating toxins out of my body and we almost have air conditioning tonight.

Another great meal tonight. We were served a wonderful fish dish with a white sauce. Ginger doesn’t like fish and even she loved it! There was also a slightly spicy okra dish with rice, a veggie dish with green beans, carrots and zucchini. The salad was tomatoes, avocados and onions with a special dressing Ervin made. I forgot to mention lunch, it was a chicken wrap with potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes with a special sauce inside. Yum!

Tomorrow is the first day of the conference, I need to get my crafts together, study my speech, pray, pray harder and try to get some sleep. The conference starts at 8:00 and we need to leave early to adjust for the bad roads, traffic and driving time. TIA


Our bathroom

Here is the compound where we stayed while in Liberia

At the beach with the twins. Shortly before this photo was taken, we were soaked by a large wave.

Here is the chimp, her name is Trouble. If they let her in the compound she causes all kinds of trouble. She will do things like loosening the wires on the vehicles and stealing jewlery from the rooms. She has also been known to raid the guest ice box and drink the sodas.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Journal Entry 1

Over the next few days, I’m going to post excerpts from my journal along with photos from my mission trip to Monrovia, Liberia.


The first 24 hours of the trip were exhausting! Starting in Nashville, we flew to Newark, from Newark to Brussels, from Brussels to Africa. First stop is the Ivory Coast to refuel and reload and then on to Monrovia, Liberia, YEA!! We received the ROYAL treatment at the airport and was ushered ahead of other who were waiting in line. We felt like ‘Rock Stars’ as we were given preferential treatment over other travelers at the airport. I’m sure they are still wondering, “Who were those three ladies?” and “Why did they get such special treatment?” We met Maria, Willitte and Francis then we were whisk away to waiting vehicles along with our luggage. All our luggage arrived when we did, I’ve heard that having all our luggage arrive with us is a major miracle here in Monrovia.

We traveled down the dark highways, no electricity here, everything is run off generators since the war. After arriving at our compound, we met the staff and learned that they have planned a late dinner for us. I was able to get a quick shower before going to the dinning room. The food was excellent but we had a ‘strange’ incident with a light fixture above our food exploding and fall off the wall. No one was hurt or cut and no glass went into our food. Our prayer warriors are on the job!

I’m glad we have air conditioning in our rooms. The lights just went off along with the air conditioner. The lights are back on now but not our air conditioner! Ervin, our chef, sorta’ fixed our AC. I’m pooped, I’m going to bed!!!

We have a lizard, I’m going to name him Larry and zip the suitcases up tight! Good night, don’t let the bed bugs.. um.. lizards bite.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just in case you've wondered where I've been...

Wow! I can't believe it has been so long ago since I posted something on my blog! The year is half over! I spent Feb. and March recovering from a total knee replacement. God has 'speeded' along my recovery and I've been out hiking and walking all over his creation. I've lost a few pounds, gotten a little bit of a tan and seen a lot of his beautiful creations. I'm seldom home to post on my blog.

God has been doing some amazing things in my life such as sending me to the other side of the planet. When I tell people that I’m going on a mission trip to Africa because God told me to. They usually look at my kinda’ funny, then ask, ”How do you know God want’s you to go?” “Did he talk to you? “ “Did you hear his voice?” Did you see a burning bush or something?
How do you know when it’s God and not just your own idea? I’m reminded of the cell phone commercial where the guy kept asking “Can you hear me now?” He would walk to another location and say, “Can you hear me now ?” On this journey, I've heard “Can you hear me now?” over and over. I’d like to share my story with you.

About a year and a half ago, God impressed on my heart that I should return to Africa and not only me but my daughter as well. We should host a woman’s conference. How many of you “run ahead of God”, unfortunately I do this a lot of the time. I need the words from Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God” or “Wait upon the Lord” tattooed on my eyeball so that I can see them all the time and be reminded that God’s timing is not my timing.
But my mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that we should be going with my church to Kenya the following October. I called Ginger and she wasn't sure she would be able to go, but I felt sure God would send us. I felt so strong about the two of us going, that I e-mailed Irene, Joseph W. secretary and ask about leading a women’s conference while we were there with our church in October. She said that the conference would be great and I should let her know if Ginger would be coming with me. Well the date of the mission trip with Westwood was moved from Oct. to Feb. And I was having knee replacement surgery at that time!

“God, what’s going on, I know I felt your call?” Maybe I’m to go with the church to China instead, that trip is coming up in early June. But God showed me that I was not to go to China, He said Africa and that’s what he meant! I wondered what was going on and told my husband, God’s calling me for something. It’s something big but I don’t know what it is! I really feel like he wants me to do something.

I kept praying and time went by, my health was improving and my knee was getting stronger day by day. There was a revival at my church and the theme was about serving God. One of the speakers was from Africa and I felt the stirring of my spirit. The African people were on my mind and in my heart. God was gently wooing me especially through a photo that kept being printed in our church bulletin. Also the June date seemed to be important. All this kept sticking in my mind but I couldn’t figure out why.

One of our ministers was hosting a trip to Canada and the group was leaving on June 4th at the same time that the China trip was scheduled. Since God had shown me that I was not to go to China, maybe Joe and I could take a little vacation and go on the Canada tour. After much debate back and forth, Joe decided he wouldn’t go, he needed new tires for the truck and the van. He said if I wanted to go, I should go with my cousin Rhonda who wanted to go and needed a roommate. I began praying about it but I didn’t get an answer. All I had was a ‘Do I really want to go?’ restlessness in my spirit.

As I sat by Rhonda in Sunday School class, I ask if she still wanted to go on the Canada trip and when she said yes, I told her that I would go with her. As soon as I told her I would go, I thought “You haven’t heard from God yet?” but I brushed it off and we started making plans.
I kept feeling that God was calling me for something but I didn’t have a clue as to what! I kept noticing the picture in the bulletin and every time it twinged my spirit. Finally, late one night in my bed, I told God, “I don’t know what you want from me? Others have so much to give, Ginger has a speaking ministry. I’m so proud of her, going where you send her and speaking to women about your love. I would like to do something like that, I would like to have a ministry for you, but I’m not trained in anything. All I have is my little arts and crafts knowledge, I don’t know how you could use that but that’s all I have. God, just take me and use me for your glory anyway you want to, I’m yours, take me, use me.

The following Tuesday as I sat with my girlfriends having lunch in a cute little tea room. God called me on my cell phone! And through the voice of my daughter he said,” Mom help! Lorrie and I are going to Liberia to do a ladies conference and taking another team member. We thought we were just there to speak but now we've found out that they want us to have arts and crafts too! We‘re leaving in 5 weeks on June 4th, we don‘t know what kind of things to make and we don‘t have any money for supplies!” “Can you hear me now?”

At first I thought about getting some things together and sending them with her team. The more I thought about it, the more God impressed upon me that I was to go myself. This was the June women’ s conference in Africa with Ginger he had called me for almost 2 years ago.
Lorrie, goes to church with a man named Dirk Helmling who has a ministry training and discipline pastors around the world. Three times a year he takes a team of men to host a pastors conference in Liberia and Lorrie had ask about going along and taking ladies for a women's conference. Lorrie, Ginger and two or three other ladies were to make the trip. One by one, some of the other team members had to drop out. Just this past week, Lorrie, our fearless leader, just learned that she is pregnant and her doctor will not let her go because she can’t take the malaria medication. I'm needed on the team "Can you hear me now?"

I have my shots and passport from previous mission trips, but I needed to raise around $3,500 in just a few short weeks. I needed money, God touched the hearts of my church friends and money for the trip is coming in. “Can you hear me now?“ The next thing I needed to do was get my plane ticket. I wanted a ticket on the same flight as my daughter so we could travel together, but she had bought her ticket weeks ago. God worked it out, we're on the same flights. “Can you hear me now?”

I knew that one of our crafts has to be decorating flip-flops so that they could have shoes. I needed 100 pair of flip flops for each of the 50 ladies in the 2 conferences. I found a place on-line where I could buy them for $1.00 each with free shipping but I had to order a gross, 144 pr. To get the deal. I ordered the rest of the craft supplies and everything came in within just a few days! “Can you hear me now?”

I thought about trying to pack all this up and figured that I would only take 100 pair and leave the other 44 behind. But God flooded my mind with ways to use the extra flip-flops as a witnessing tool. There a “free gift” just like salvation. Once we accept Jesus, we’re a new creature and we walk in a new life. As a Christian we walk in Jesus’ footsteps and try to live like him., etc.

Also I found out just a few days ago that the women in the area are so excited about our coming, more are signing up for the conference. We didn’t want to keep anyone from hearing the good news of Jesus, so we told them not to turn anyone away. I hope I have enough supplies, so we just keep thinking loves and fishes, loves and fishes.
 Next hurdle, getting the supplies to Africa. Airlines started charging a lot for luggage. But God’s coming in clear and strong, it’s in his hands. I’m just along for the ride and I can hear him and see his fingerprints all over this mission.

Ginger and I both will have to take an extra bag to get everything there as well as pack some of it in the suitcases with our clothes. I can just see it now, some attendant decides to check our bulging bags and when he unzips the suitcase, flip-flops fly everywhere. They may think we’re some kind of new shoe bomber!

I'll be posting some of the events of the trip in later blogs, I'm still recouping for jet lag :oP

Paint each day with God's love, Frankie