two weeks in photos

Me and Annie at the TOT in Foya last week. I’m so excited to be working with her! I’m heading back up to Foya on Monday for ten days to visit our CLP communities and work with our facilitators.

I must admit, I was SO happy when the TOT ended…it was a long week. The NAEAL facilitators even recognized me as the first ever expat to sit through an entire training week. They said that everyone else had to take frequent breaks and walks…I can totally understand why! It was so long and inefficient! But overall the week was really good.

Thank you to Elizabeth for teaching me how to make a homemade chai latte! This has literally transformed my mornings 🙂 Mmmmm so good. For real. Be jealous. Haha.

I love that the ocean is right outside my house in Monrovia. It’s so nice to be able to take a walk and enjoy the waves after work…

Elizabeth, Ben and I took little Anna to play on the beach last night. We had loads of fun running around in the sand…

Later! xoxo,

jayjay

today was the day

Today. 17 November 2011. Today was the day that I was supposed to arrive in Atlanta early in the morning and then catch a flight to Charlotte. Today was the day that was to mark the end of my 5 month internship in Liberia. Today was the day that I was supposed to…

  • arrive back in the USA after 5 months away – I always love coming back into the US after being away for any amount of time
  • have a happy reunion with family and friends after a couple of months away
  • be looking back at 5 months of work and lessons learned in Liberia
  • thinking of the friends that I had to say goodbye to in Liberia
  • be tired from jet lag, but so excited to see everyone that I get kind of punchy
  • know whether or not I want to stay on the field or stay in the states
  • come home and have lots of pictures and stories to tell over the Thanksgiving Holiday

Instead, today I am sitting here writing this post with a steaming hot cup of coffee in my kitchen before I head off to work. Today I will go to work and come home and really, it’s just a regular old day, nothing special. Except, for me it still is a marker of what the last 5 months have meant to me. I might not have been able to finish my internship, but that doesn’t mean that these last couple of months have not been significant. Today is the day that I…

  • look back at all that God has done in the last 5 months and see his faithfulness and his kind hand that upheld me through trials, confusion, and lots of waiting
  • celebrate and praise God for all of his provision and grace
  • thank God for sustaining me and giving me a job for the months that I have been healthy and here in Boone
  • remember to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14
  • will go to work and come home and try to remember to be faithful in the small tasks that are set before me
  • watch my little brother’s basketball game

“All your circumstances are ordered in wisdom by a living, thoughtful, and loving God. Our heavenly Father knows what he is doing, even when his way appears to be involved and complicated and we cannot untangle the threads, the Lord sees all things clearly. His breadth exceeds the range of our vision; his depth baffles our profoundest thought.” – CH Spurgeon

I continue to learn and re-learn and remind myself of these truths. I just wrote a dear friend and described these past couple of months like this, “I’ve struggled with the waiting, but the Lord has called me to trust and rest and has increased my faith; I’ve been confused and felt directionless, but my good God has reminded me of his sovereign care for me and has provided at every turn and has made my path clear. It has been one step at a time and that’s been frustrating at times, but he’s been there to light my path. It’s really interesting to look back over the last year or so and see how he has worked everything out in his timing and how it’s been better than anything I ever could have planned.” I think that one thing I have learned for sure over the past couple of years is that I can plan and plan all I want, but I am not in control. I am looking forward to this next adventure.

xoxo,

JayJay

Back Home

I’m back home in North Carolina for a little while. Thank you all for your prayers, I appreciate them so much. I left Liberia on Friday evening and arrived in Atlanta on Saturday morning and then flew to Charlotte. Okay, so Janet, Ted and Danielle were all traveling with me and I was sooo grateful for their assistance — I really don’t think I would have made it in one piece without them. We got to Accra, Ghana without incident and the flight was super empty, so I was able to stretch out and sleep. However, once we got to Ghana the flight was 100% full and the new crew wasn’t so sure about me being on the flight. They were soooo close to kicking me off and sending me to a  hospital in Ghana. It was not a great moment when I thought I was going to be stuck there for a while, but thankfully the Captain let me fly. It totally would have been par for the course if I had been removed from the flight though! God is so good and he definitely worked out all of the details of my trip home. Ted, Janet and Danielle were so amazing. They got me through security in Liberia and took care of me on the flight and made sure I had a wheelchair and assistance at every turn and took care of getting my bags, getting me through customs, and back through security…they were AWESOME!

Anyway, I’m home for now and still not feeling great. I went to my primary care doctor this morning and was referred to an Infectious Disease and Tropical Disease specialist at Baptist Hospital on Wednesday. There are a lot of unknowns at this point and some things that I won’t go into now, but I’m trusting that God’s sovereign care is so good and that he will continue to be faithful as he has always been. I would appreciate your continued prayers.

Much Love to all.

JayJay

New Directions

You never quite know what’s going to hit you, do you? The beautiful thing about that is that God does and his sovereign care is infinitely wiser than anything my human hands could ever construct. Sunday night I became very sick again, so sick that I was hospitalized through Wednesday afternoon. The doctors here really don’t know what is wrong with me, but they were able to get me stable, which is a huge blessing and I really am thankful for their care. However, it has been decided that I really need to see an American doctor and get some tests done and receive proper treatment, whatever that may be, before I am ready to return to work. So, I’m flying back to the states tomorrow afternoon. I really do think this is the best decision right now, especially considering that I’ve been sick twice in two and a half weeks. It’ll be good to see a doctor at home and recover and then hopefully get back as soon as possible. I am very sad to say goodbye to Liberia after such a short time. It’s much harder to say goodbye, even for a short period of time, than I thought it would be. I’ve only been here about a month, but I’ve really grown to love it here. I am so excited about the work that I was going to be a part of and the staff here are just awesome and it’s been a pleasure to get to know them and it’s been so wonderful to get to know the Liberian people and culture. Please pray that God would make it clear to my doctors in the states the best course of treatment and that I would heal quickly and regain my strength so that I can come back to Liberia and finish my work soon. You can also pray for safe, uneventful travel. At this point, I’m stable and doing much better than earlier in the week, but as far as traveling goes, I’m super weak and have very low energy. Thankfully, Danielle, Janet and Ted are all on my flight and will be there if I need anything. Ted is going all the way back to Boone, so he’ll be there in Atlanta to help me get through customs and find our connecting flight. God is so good in the way that he provides for his children! I will leave you with these verses from Psalm 34 – they were of great comfort to me while I was in the hospital.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-5

The Twists and Turns of Adventure

I’ll start out with a few more pictures of my time in Pakawelleh.

Nikelle and her friend

the village

Our time in Pakawelleh really flew by and we had a great week with the team there. I loved being there with the kids and getting to know Alice, Matilda and Annie and also I was really just getting to know Joni and Nikelle, too! Although since I had known them for four days already, I felt like we were already old friends! The challenge came on Thursday morning when we were supposed to hike out. We flew on Monday, but our pilot went on home leave on Wednesday and our interim pilot had not yet arrived. So, we had planned on hiking out to a nearby village and having either a car or motorbikes pick us up…it just depended on the condition of the “roads.” It was supposed to be about a 3 hour hike. Well we had amazing weather the whole time we were there, hot, but sunny and beautiful. Thursday morning we woke up to a downpour. We were going to leave around 7am, but waited until 8am to see if it would let up. No such luck, folks. In fact it was probably raining harder. I woke up Thursday morning feeling kind of sick, but I knew I had a hike and a very long car ride in front of me, so I tried to just ignore it. The hike was…treacherous. We were wading through eel infested waters. Just kidding. Sorry, we just watched Princess Bride and I couldn’t help the reference. We were wading through thigh high water and there are boa constrictors around those parts, and in my opinion, that’s worse. But praise the Lord, we didn’t come across any. The path was steep at times and it was slippery and then we had to cross these little log bridges. It was kind of crazy, but also really fun in a way, too. I would have enjoyed it even more had I not been feeling so sick. Oh I almost forgot! We rode in a canoe too! It was all quite the VBS experience. Once we reached our salvation in the form a white Toyota Land Cruiser I crashed. It was such a bumpy ride, but I kept nodding off and then I would be jerked awake. We were so disgusting too. We were all soaked to the bone and smelled really special as well. It took us 6 hours to get back to Monrovia and let me tell you what, a hot shower has NEVER felt so good in my life. Go a week without running water and then hike out of a jungle in a rainstorm and the staff house will feel like the Plaza! Plus, Bev had a hot meal ready for us. Again, pork chops, creamy mashed potatoes and corn never tasted so good. It literally was melt in your mouth good.

This was the weekend for parties, no joke. We kicked it off on Friday night with a Lord of the Rings movie night at the staff house. It was Nikelle’s first time watching it…I think it would be kind of confusing to start off with The Two Towers, but she was a trooper and watched the whole thing. By then I wasn’t feeling so great, so I left halfway through and escaped to my room. But I have really enjoyed hanging out and getting to know the staff. The next day, Kendell and Bev’s son, Felix had his 9th birthday, so we had a little party for him. Bev made him the cutest helicopter cake!

Check it out! The helicopter is a big rice krispie treat! I think Felix loved the cake and Danielle bought a bunch of noise makers and party favors that everyone had lots of fun playing with. Right after Felix’s party we had afarewell party for Bill and Megan. I woke up Sunday morning feeling really crappy. Like really really really bad. So I pretty much just stayed in bed and then eventually migrated out to the couch when I couldn’t stand my four walls anymore. I watched Nadal and Djokovic at Wimbledon with Nikelle, Justin and Jeremy and enjoyed the funny commentary on the colorful attire of the fans. I will spare you all the nasty details, but I hadn’t been able to keep anything down and had only eaten 3 crackers in 24 hours and was becoming extremely dehydrated. I had tested negative on a malaria test earlier in the week, but I ended up having it. So Bill and Erin came back and started an IV (which was so great, haha, they were treating me and rigging up a little makeshift hospital in my room) and then got me started on all sorts of meds. Sunday and Monday morning were really rough, but by the time I had two doses of Coartem in me, I was feeling so much better. Today I even came into the office for devotions. I went home and rested for a while after, but I’m walking around and I’m eating and drinking again, so that is all very good news.

Next week Nikelle and I will head back out into the bush for another week of VBS follow up. I’ll write more as I am able!

Jamie

Pakawelleh Pt 2

On day 2 of VBS follow up the kids had an opportunity to meet with counselors one on one and ask questions. We also sang plenty of songs…I’m beginning to feel like a professional–this is why I need Sarah to come help me with VBS! The afternoon session was the OCC distribution, but the kids didn’t know that it was going to take place.

My friend, Blessing

This is my new friend, Blessing. She was super shy at first and very suspicious of me, but after a while she came around and then she wouldn’t leave my side! It was so sweet, I had been trying to get her to open up and then I had just about given up and she ran up to me and grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go.

One again, my internet is being really slow, so I’ll have to post more later.

 

The ocean

I’m feeling much better today. We think it was probably just a little bug that’s been going around…I did sleep in and decided not to go swimming yet. I’ve enjoyed a quiet morning alone in the house of reading and praying. Here are a couple more photos…

beach across from my house

My internet connection is acting up right now, so I think it’ll just be the one picture for now. I took the picture from our front porch. It’s a little dark and rainy today. The perfect day for a nap!

xoxo,

JJ

the explosion in paris and other things

the explosion in paris

I got to Paris and soon realized that it was almost humanly impossible for me to roll a 50lb bag, roll a decent sized carry on, carry a backpack, and lug around another 50lb duffel bag. I mean, I’m pretty strong, but not that strong 🙂 Ok, ok, so I’m really not that strong at all…so I knew something had to give. Either my arms, legs and back or some of the weight.

another angle of the explosion

I wasn’t kidding when I said explosion…but I would like to say that I only had to chuck a couple of non-essentials and due to my incredible packing skills I fit almost everything into….get ready for it…

down to two bags, a backpack and very small tote

For those of you who saw my luggage before I repacked, I’m sure you must be thinking I just threw the other bag and all of its contents away, but I didn’t! Most of it is in those two bags! Once I got to Lier, I unpacked everything and then repacked it into all three bags for the flight. It was quite a chore, but it certainly helped not to have to manage so many bags through airports, train stations, taxis, etc.

my room!

Oops this photo is a bit blurry. This picture was taken from the door. The closet is to the right and to the left is an extra bed. Friends, you are welcome to come, I have extra room 🙂 Haha.

my room

I will try to get some more shots of the house and the ocean and the people this weekend. So far it’s been pretty busy and I just haven’ t had a chance to go around with my camera. Oh, if you want to see some photos of our staff 5k Friday run you can check out Bev’s blog. I’m super psyched about the 10k and am excited about training with all of the staff. It should be a lot of fun. http://ybevruns.blogspot.com/2011/06/team-sps-friday-run.html

goodbye, boone.

Tomorrow is the day! Tomorrow evening I’ll be flying out and heading to Liberia. I’ve had a great week of orientation here at IHQ. I’ve learned a lot and made some new friends along the way. I told Bev that I’d try to rest up this week so I’d be nice and fresh when I arrived in Monrovia, but that didn’t really happen…:) There was simply too much to do! However, I’m probably going to just pass out on the plane. Monday morning I’ll be on a helicopter taking me to the bush! I’m super psyched and so excited to see how God is working and moving in Liberia. Please pray for me as I travel tomorrow and as I adjust to this new place and culture. I’ll try to update the blog frequently.

xoxo,

jayjay