Pakawelleh – My First Experience in the Liberian Bush Pt 1

On Monday morning I flew out to Pakawelleh, a small village, with Joni and Nikelle to do VBS follow ups with the kids who had participated in VBS two weeks ago. My first chopper ride was pretty sweet! They let me ride up front since it was my first time. It was so cool! I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and am looking forward to going back out on Monday. Anyway, we arrived in the village on Monday and met up with our VBS team — Matilda, Annie and Alice. They are so funny! We took a tour of Pakawelleh and met the Chief and the Commissioner. Monday was pretty low key. Monday night there was a community meeting to announce the follow up. We were formally introduced to the community and they even had us stand up and let everyone come through a meet and greet line. Haha, it was kind of funny! Once it gets dark, there’s not much to do out in the bush. There isn’t any electricity or running water, so we took our bucket baths before the sun went down and then headed to bed after the meeting. Everyone is up bright and early with sun, so I guess it’s a good thing that we went to bed so early!

boy from pakawelleh

Tuesday the VBS follow up got under way. We started around 8:30am and Matilda quickly reviewed all of the lessons (we have about 20 different posters that basically go through the entire Bible) and they  recited their memory verses and we sang lots of songs. Around 12 we fed the kids lunch and then took a break and ate our lunch and rested and then headed back to the church for the afternoon session.

Day 1 of VBS Follow Up

The kids were so cute when they sang and recited their memory verses! I now have Jeremiah 29:13 and Romans 3:23 and John 3:16 permanently ingrained in my memory. I loved hearing their little voices scream out those verses. One of the songs they learned was “God is So Big.” It goes like this “My God is so big//so strong and so mighty//there’s nothing my God cannot do//For YOU!//The Mountains are his!//The Rivers are His!//The stars are his handiwork too!” But they had the lyrics wrong, so they kept singing, “My God is so big//so strong and so might//there’s nothing my God cannot do//For YOU!//The mountains are hills//the rivers are hills//the stars are spinning for you!” It was so funny!

me and the girls 🙂

These two little girls were absolutely precious. They sat with me both days and the older one gave me about a dozen bracelets as a gift. They were so cute and I loved every moment with them!

I think most of you know that I am not a huge fan of being in front of a crowd…even if they are mostly children. I just don’t like it. I get nervous and feel uncomfortable and oh so awkward. So you can imagine my response when I was asked, or more like told, by the VBS team that they wanted to put me in charge of praise and worship. I laughed at first and then I realized they were dead serious. That’s when I started to panic. I told them I couldn’t sing and I thought they dropped it. That is until the afternoon session when they asked me to come up and sing a song. Alone. yes, as in a SOLO. I literally couldn’t think of any VBS songs…I kept hearing Kathryn Hodges singing “Frere Jacques” and Sarah and I muddling our way through “Before the Throne.” That was it. No songs. Except for a few completely random songs that wouldn’t have been appropriate for VBS. So I ended up singing “Jesus Loves Me.” It actually went ok, praise the Lord. A couple of the women even asked me for singing lessons after. Haha, but really I think what I learned is that sometimes in order to serve and love well you have just get over yourself. They were blessed and felt loved by my standing up there singing a song.

I’ll post more about the OCC distribution and hiking out tomorrow. We had quite the jungle experience…but for now I’m going to get some rest and find some dinner. I actually got sick yeesterday right before we had to hike out. I’ve had a fever, nausea and lots of aches and pains since…not fun. So if you think about it you can pray that I’ll be healthy and ready to go back out next week! Thanks!

xoxo,

JJ

 

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