Today will be my last post for the week. I’m going to take a hiatus during the weekend, to focus on spending time with family and completing an AP Lit essay. I have been blessed that the culture shock hasn’t been too intense returning home. However, I am still feeling the effects of jet lag and haven’t been able to get into the “Christmas spirit” yet. I would appreciate prayer for that!
November 27, 2013
It’s hump day! We have been here for 4 days and will be here for 4 more days. This morning, after waiting, we went to visit the J. Dunbar-Norris school, founded by Owen’s grandfather. The kids swarmed us and ran toward us as we exited the car. We toured the school, which contained all the grades in one building, with walls in between the classrooms but no doors. I talked to the kids about school and dancing, but many times I just stood there holding their hands with nothing to say. I began to feel useless. The discouragement increased when two children asked me for a sip of my water and I had to refuse.
The negative emotions lasted for a few hours. On the car ride, I was squashed with four people in the middle seat and couldn’t handle all the touch (note: physical touch is not my love language). I also got motion sickness – dizziness and nausea. I rarely get motion sick in the States, but these roads were really tough. Thankfully once we got out to walk for a bit and then turned on some worship music in the car, my spirits were uplifted. Just further proof that I need Jesus to survive!
We arrived in Zorzor to find that our rooms at the Salvation Army compound had been taken. After a half hour of waiting and searching, we ended up at the Come and Rest Guest House – with seven bedrooms! Kaitlin and I are sharing a room. When we arrived, we were greeted by a group of Liberians. Some such as Famata, Bernice, and Emmanuel, we had met before in Monrovia or Gbarnga. Others we met for the first time. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and love. Famata and I had a “real” conversation (meaning it was more than yes and no questions) about the weather, food, clothes, dancing, and my purity ring. It was the first time I had a back-and-forth conversation with a Liberian for longer than 5 minutes. So special and rewarding! For lunch we had our first taste of spicy Liberian food – not too spicy.
Then we went back to our house for about an hour and a half of rest (I slept soundly) before the revival meeting. The revival meeting was the first time this trip that I have felt poured into. Up until then I had felt like I was giving of myself with little return. The worship was powerful. Their songs repeat truth over and over. All the Liberians dance and sway to the music without any inhibition. Pastor Steve spoke about the prodigal sons from Luke 15, and we had the opportunity to pray over many people who came forward. About 15-20 people chose to accept Jesus for the first time or renewed their dedication to Him! My spirit was refreshed with the Holy Spirit. While we are here to serve the Liberians, I think they are serving us more than we ever could.
Afterward many came and introduced themselves to us, even some of the littlest ones. A little boy, about three, came up to each one of us to shake our hands. Such a gentleman 🙂 Later on I had a conversation with an 18 year old named Irene. We are both in the 12th grade, so we talked a lot about our classes. All of us team members have been amazed at how the Liberians are more advanced in their studies than any of us in America. Although the Liberians speak English, each of our accents often hinder us from fully understanding. Talking with Irene was such a God-thing, because I could relate with her and understand her clearly.