Teams and birthdays

We have been really busy lately and fell a little behind on updating you all. We have been mostly healthy other than Ty getting malaria, and it was short lived (thank you Lord for this constant provision). We are also very happy. Many exciting things have been happening. Being here in itself is exciting. We feel blessed to wake up here every morning. Ty and I recently listened to a Francis Chan sermon where he spoke of mission work and the utter joy it can give. You are no longer focused on yourself. What you look like, what you are wearing, or what you have/ lack. Everyone around you knows sincere need and it makes your “stuff” fall to the way side. You stop being self focused and become exponentially more focused on others. We had to let go of many things. Thats not a negative truth. It’s so good to purge ourselves of things so were free to grab onto whats better for us. Things from The Lord. One of the biggest things we had to leave behind was people we love. We don’t stop loving them but the absence of their presence is felt deeply. In turn, we crave that love and fellowship and it will fall onto those God has brought into our lives. For us, we feel like we now have 10 more sons and daughters. We have brothers and sisters who we did not know 5 months earlier. We have a deep love for all these people and its not our doing or from our capacity. God has cultivated in us a love for them that is from Him. While we have been settling into a completely foreign place, looking for ways to minister, and learning an entirely new way to live, we have fallen in love with Sierra Leone. Not so much the country, while it is beautiful and broken, but rather the people who God divinely places into our lives each day. We are simply blessed and overwhelmed to be here.

We had a team of friends old and new come to Sierra Leone to see the work Lifegate is doing. One of Ty’s best friends, Chance, came with 4 women and spent a week seeing churches, schools, and meeting the children that live in the Children’s Home. We enjoyed their company so much and loved the time we got to spend with them. While they were here Chance preached on the 10 plagues of Egypt and was so refreshing to hear a sermon in English. Its something we missed more than we were aware of. Chance camped out on our couch with our friend from Liberia, Moses. It was great for Ty to have time with his friends. Since Chance is the director of partnerships for Lifegate, he got to see some projects that need funds raised to be completed.

We also started some new traditions of our own with the Lifegate Children’s Home kids. We go to the beach one time every month and have lunch and play for the day. We decided to start taking the kids two at a time with us. We get to have time with them and they learn some new things like how to eat in a restaurant. We had the boys draw the girls names and vice versa. We took Ishmael and Juliana first. It was so much fun. They had to learn some things like how to use a fork (here people just use spoons) and how to drink soda from a can. They ordered sandwiches but had no idea how to pick one up to eat it. It was really endearing teaching them things and learning how to respond. When it was time for swimming, they were really scared at first. They had been to shallow streams to wash before but not out in the ocean. We brought two pairs of floaties. One for Sulli and one for Julie since she’s very small. Ishmael caught onto the concept and started taking turns with Julie though. So sweet to see a 12 year old boy who is as tall as me heading for the water in arm floaties. They would only go in the water if Ty and I were holding onto them but it allowed us to show them they were safe and it made us feel good that they trusted us. We love all the kids beyond words.

Another fun tradition we have begun is taking up cake and a present on everyone’s actual birthdays. They do not celebrate birthdays in this country. It is not often someone can tell you when their birthday is even. We got the kids info from Jonathan, our national director for Lifegate. This week Idrissa (ED) turned 6 and Alpha will turn 13. When we took up cake and a present for ED he didn’t even know he had to take off the paper. He just held the wrapped box like “cool”. My birthday was the day after EDs and so the other Miller family went up and decorated the house for our birthdays. It was a sweet surprise! Everyone made us cards and we had such a fun time!

I was able to go to the church with some of the women and pray for the church, the congregation, the village, the country, and all of you. It was an amazing prayer time and it was beautiful the way they brought me along in spite of my language differences, and our pasts. We are one family in Christ and I am so thrilled to get to do life with these amazing women.

The past couple weeks Ty has been over at the Brigitte Village Lifegate church working on the toilet pits. He has enjoyed working with the guys there and doing a project. We are excited for the toilets to be complete! I will be going to the church on Monday to start the first art classes at the church. We had to wait a bit for the kids to get back to school after Easter break but Im excited for these new projects. The first one will be mixing primary colors to make new colors. Then they will use all their new colors to make a rainbow and we will talk about God’s creation!

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The Lifegate Children’s Home recently got a new well donated by Water for Life. This is a huge blessing as the kids were walking to the near by stream for water. They now can do everything at the house. It blesses the village to as all are welcome to come and use the well. It is another way to show the Love of Christ to others. We did not have any hand in the well. It was all Rick and the Water of Life organization but we are excited for the blessing it is! We went and prayed over the well on Easter Sunday and we know God will bless those who use it!

Being here, we have gotten to see God doing some mighty works. We want to share with you all so you will be encouraged by them.

Foday, our day guard, has been reading the bible and discussing it with Connor lately. We helped him get a place to live down from us and he wanted to show Ty his room. On top of his meager possessions was the Bible Ty gave him. He is learning about Christ and we are praying for him.Another thing was our well began to run dry. We were so concerned because we are in dry season and rains are a while off yet. We prayed about the well and that day we got a burst of rain. Then again in the evening. Awesome God! Ty recently got to go to a village way off the beaten path with some missionaries who come here several times a year to do outreaches. You have to walk for several miles after parking your car to get there. While in the village he was able to pray for several people who were experiencing troubles we had experienced ourselves. He got to minister to them and encourage them from his story of overcoming and through a God who cares! This village has amazing stories. We pray for them to continue to turn from a Muslim past to a living God. Our car here has been experiencing some troubles. Overheating, and not running well. We have been praying over it every time something has come up, and each time the problem gets resolved. Its truly Gods hand.Lastly, we were blessed with another new donor! We praise God for all the funds He brings in so we be here, and so we can help others in need. Your support wether in prayer or gift is invaluable. Thank you all! Please join us in praising God for the way He provides.

We pray for each of you reading this, in whatever your walk looks like, that God will meet you and you will feel His love. God bless you all!

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