Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of beauty with praise and thanksgiving. – Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything, Steve DeWitt
I thought you all might like to go on a little virtual tour of my living space in Monrovia…this is the front porch of the staff house where I live when I’m in town. I love to sit in the hammock and read and watch the waves come in. And for all of you who I have talked to on the phone, chances are I was lounging in the hammock then, too. It’s so nice to just take a book and a mango smoothie out there and relax after work or on the weekends.
This is our view from the front of the house…this is the living room window — see the hammocks from the first picture?!
This is our living room/dining room. It’s a pretty big area, so it serves as a gathering place for meetings and parties. We have lots of good times in this room. We got an HD projector so we are rearranging a little bit…the couches are going to be turned the other direction facing the opposite wall which is blank and serves as our screen!
Each hallway has three bedrooms and a bathroom at the end. My room is the first one on the right side. Eight of us live in the house, but we’re rarely all there except for the monthly management meeting. Only three are there on a regular basis. It’s fun when everybody is home though. The left wall has two big bookshelves full of lots of random books and art supplies. I’ve been enjoying the paints and pencils…
Danielle is kind enough to share her room with me…we have a purple theme going on! This is my bed and corner of the room.
Well, that’s all I have today. I’m upcountry in Gbarpolu county right now. I haven’t been to Bopolu base since last summer when I was sick and had to hike out of the jungle with Joni and Nikelle. I’m enjoying the base this time around. Layblee, the base manager is wonderful. She’s a great host! I head back to Monrovia tomorrow and then Friday is a holiday — Prayer and Fasting day…
I came to Liberia excited about the opportunity to serve and to learn about Liberian culture and to really get to know the people. And I have learned a lot about the culture and love the people. But God’s plans are always so much bigger, fuller, greater than anything I could have ever planned or imagined. I thought I was coming to Africa to get to know Liberians and tell them about Jesus. God has brought the nations to Liberia and has given us the opportunity to share the gospel with Pakistanis and Chinese! It’s been really neat building relationships with the UN Pak Batt in Foya and our Chinese neighbors here in Monrovia.
The Pak Batt is just a lifesaver. We love going there to eat — all of their food is flown in and imported, so they have what seems to be an endless supply of delicious meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. We’ve also really grown to love their company and have a mutual respect for each other. Really, they have become our friends. Major Javed is so kind and hospitable. I really love his candor. He is such a gracious and kind host. Anyway, we’ve had some really great conversations with him. He’s Muslim and I really enjoy hearing his opinions and thoughts on a lot of different subjects. We’ve gotten to know a few of the officers there and they’ve all been so kind to us. They’ve hosted us many times and had a special viewing of a movie on Pakistan’s beautiful geography. They know that we are Christians and respect that and when we eat dinner there they are very respectful and always tell us that it is fine with them if we want to pray and thank God before the meal. You can join me in praying for our Pakistani friends!
The Chinese are our next door neighbors. Their compound is right beside our office and we often see them jogging in the mornings or walking on the beach. Danielle befriended Lu several weeks ago and told him about Jesus. Then two weeks ago as we were walking to church we ran into him and invited him to come along. He eagerly accepted and seemed to treally enjoy the service. He asked lots of questions and we introduced him to Ben and Ken who talked in depth with him and a couple of his friends. We started a community Bible study on Wednesdays, tonight was the first, and Lu and his friend came very eager to learn about Jesus and the Bible. It’s so exciting! They have absolutely no concept of the Bible or Christianity and their English is not great, so sometimes it’s difficult to communicate clearly, but we’re trusting the Lord and I’m asking for the Holy Spirit to guide. Ken’s great because Japanese uses some Chinese characters, so he’s able to connect with them on that level and also just in understanding Asian culture. I made muffins and took them with me — Lu really enjoyed them and has promised to have us over for a Chinese dinner soon! I’m quite excited, their cook spent 8 years in culinary school mastering the art of Chinese cooking, so it’s going to be incredible. Anyway, it was a good evening and I’m excited about what the Lord is doing. Ben, Ken, Justin and I led them through John 1 at Lu’s request and it was really interesting explaining the trinity and creation and all of the questions that came out of that passage. Well, we didn’t really get past the first three verses actually.
Well, I gotta run, but more later…
Do you ever just wake up feeling fragile and heavy at the same time? Like you could break into a million pieces on the one hand, yet so heavy you can barely breathe, and for no apparent reason? It’s a vague sensation, a cloud of emotions that you can’t quite identify due to the fog. But if you had to guess it would probably be fear, not of anything in particular though and perhaps some anxiety thrown in for good measure and just an overall sense of vulnerability. It’s days like these that I just want to bury my head in my pillow and dream it all away, but that doesn’t work. Life is hard. When I am weak, He is strong. He is faithful. I am up and down and all around, but he is steady and unchanging. Joy is mine in Him.