Amazing kids

As you all know, our Lifegate Children’s Home has grown by 6 kids.We have grown in love and in joy and in happiness, too. These kids are simply amazing and we are thrilled to have them join our family. We still need sponsors for 5 of them though, and we are asking you to consider helping. Read this post and share it with your church, your small group, your co-workers. You can sponsor a child collectively with others or just with your family. You can sponsor the full amount needed per month, or any denomination otherwise. There is no wrong amount to give, nothing too small. The blessing about sponsoring one of our kids is that I personally know and love all these kids. I will send you updates and pictures, and you can even come visit if you want. These kids are real, the need is real, and as their “Momma” I am asking you to make a sacrifice for them. They appreciate it more than you will ever know.

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Alfred Samba and his little brother Andrew Samba have been through a lot in their short lives. Their father died when they were 7 and 3 respectively. People here are exposed to lots of different illnesses, which are not life threatening unless you simply can not afford treatment. Alfred’s dad could not afford medical care needed and he died. Shortly after his passing, their mother also fell ill and passed. With nobody to care for them, Alfred was sent to live with his dads only sister. While caring for him, she went out to harvest some cassava leaf to feed them and to sell when she was bitten by a snake. She died 3 days after. Alfred then was sent to live with his younger brother, Andrew, who was being cared for by their blind uncle. He could not care for these boys and asked our organization to help. They both now live at the Lifegate Children’s Home. Andrew has been fully sponsored, praise God, but Alfred is still without full sponsorship. He needs $70 a month to take care of his meals, clothing, medical needs, schooling and daily care. He’s 11 years old, and very sweet. He craves hugs and affection and we are so thrilled to meet that need. Please consider helping us meet his other needs.

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Musa Bengeh lost his father, Salieu Bengeh to sickness, like most of the orphaned kids in Sierra Leone. His father was a hardworking man who did his best to provide for his family. After Salieu passed, Musas mom Kadiatu was left to care for her son alone. She got very sick and had a stroke, leaving her completely unable to care for Musa. The doctors predict she does not have long to live, sadly. Musa has living grandparents but they can not afford to care for him either and have asked Lifegate Children’s Home to step in and help. He’s now living at the home and he is doing so well! He is a soft spoken twelve year old boy who loves to laugh. We are so happy have him in our family, but we need help meeting his daily needs. He still needs $40 in monthly sponsorship. We ask you to please consider helping Musa.

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Eddie Johnnymore is a 6 year old boy from a small village called Kpangbama. His mother got pregnant with Eddie when she was young and his biological father abandoned he and his mother. His mom, Abie, tried her best to take care of Eddie, but she got very sick and passed away. With nobody to care of Eddie, he was given to Lifegate Children’s Home. We are so sad for this sweet little guy’s past, but we praise God that He redeems and restores. Eddie is so happy and loves his new home and family. We are thankful to love and care for him. We still need monthly support for Eddie, though. He still lacks $20 a month for his food, clothing, schooling, and medical needs. We know he has a bright future and we ask you to consider investing in it!

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Fatmata Jalloh is a bright, sweet 13 year old girl born into a rough life. Her mom, Amie Jalloh, had dreams but was her parents were very poor. They forced her to marry a man named Ali Jalloh because he was wealthy. Alie had many wives besides Amie and the situation was not good. Amie was abused by the other wives. Ali, Fatmata’s dad, got sick and died, and Amie was left without a place to live and no means to take care of Fatmata. She asked Lifegate Children’s Home to care for her daughter. Fatmata has really changed just in the short weeks she has been with us. She is less shy and more outgoing, and she loves having sisters in the home to talk to. Her previous situation left her ostracized and abused, and now she can have a normal life and be treated with love. Fatmata still needs the full $90 in sponsorship to meet her needs. We are asking you to please consider helping. Recently she drew a picture for her future sponsors and she wrote “I love you” on it. She is grateful for her new start. Please help us help her.

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Mabinty Turay is a brilliant 13 year old girl. She amazes me with her intelligence and kindness. She is from Bunga Wharf which is named after the sweet bunga fish that is caught there in the village right off the ocean coast. Mabinty’s father, Allusine Turay, was Bunga Wharf’s headman. As a result, he took several wives, one of which was Mabinty’s mom. Mabinty’s mom became sick and passed away. Shortly after, Mabinty’s father, Allusine, became very ill and he is not able to care for his family. This resulted in Mabinty being left to be cared for by one of her step-moms. Sadly, in this culture, step children are often mistreated to inhumane degrees. Mabinty was beaten, locked out of her house, and starved. We have brought her into the Lifegate Children’s Home to live and be cared for. She is getting enough to eat now and she will be able to attend school. She still needs the full $90 in monthly support. We are so grateful she’s in our home and in our family. We love her and we want to see her life be great. Please consider helping!

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A group shot of our 17 kiddos. This is truly a family and we ask for you to help us by blessing these kids.

You can find out about sponsorship by emailing us at millersinafrica@gmail.com or going to our site http://www.lifegateinafrica.org/contact/ and contacting us from there, where you can call or email our director of partnerships,Chance Newingham. If you are ready to start donating, follow this link: http://www.lifegateinafrica.org/sponsor-an-orphan .We look forward to hearing from you!

Baptism and boys (and girls too)

We have lots to celebrate! We were so privileged to watch so many people accept Christ on Sunday August 7th. We were up to our shins in water with all the rains, and Ty has finished the toilet houses. The ceiling in the second home just got placed in 3 bedrooms, and in a matter of days our Children’s Home will grow by 6 more kids. We are really enjoying this season of life right now!

To jump right in, we had baptisms on Sunday the 7th of August. Twelve Lifegate members publicly declared their choice to follow Christ fully. Included in that were our two oldest sons, Connor and Finn. You can not imagine our joy and pride I felt standing with them while Tyler baptized them. To add to the blessing, we watched our 7 oldest kids in the Lifegate Children’s Home make that same decision, as well as one of our caregivers, Bondu. Everyone at church walked from the church down to the beach. The congregation waiting on the shore sang worship songs. Everyone being baptized came up with the biggest smiles. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever been part of. After their baptisms, they got to take their first communion.

Almost everyone wanted a new Christian name after their baptism so I was really blessed to help come up with a list of choices for them. I think the names they had were already great but I understood their desire to identify themselves even more with their faith. They will still go by their birth names, but now they have another name that is from The Bible. One of our caregivers, Bondu, has really blossomed since becoming part of Lifegate. I have only known her for 9 months, but Rick and Paula have been blessed to watch her transform over the last couple of years. She doesn’t often speak about her past but I know she has been deeply hurt by old relationships. She asked me to help choose a new name for her and while I was compiling a list of names and meanings I stumbled upon Abigail. It means The Fathers Joy. I felt it was what God had chosen for her to show her His unconditional love for her. She was delighted with her new name. Moments like that are what makes this all matter so much.

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Beautiful Bondu!

Another great blessing is that the toilet houses are complete! They officially opened them with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on the same baptism Sunday. I think everyone is super excited to have a toilet. One of the caregivers, Auntie Marie, said she wanted to have her photo taken in the toilet houses. She was serious! Its nice having everyone so excited and proud of their church. We see new people coming all the time, the registration in the schools is huge, and we give God all the glory. This ministry is taking off by Gods grace!

As I mentioned,Ty and Musa got the ceilings in the bedrooms placed and they will be complete soon. For the moment, Ty is welding new bunk beds for the boys house. The new kiddos arrive Sunday, August 28th. School begins on September 7th so we are praying for smooth transitions and lots of blessings in the lives of all these kids! We already love them and can not wait to show them!

A family that paints together stays together. Or something 🙂

We are in rainy season now. We actually haven’t been hit too hard for the time of year it is. The rains were much needed for our family as our well ran dry in June. God is so faithful though. The rains started earlier than usual this year and the heavy August rains are not the constant down pour thats typical for now. Little waterfalls and streams seem to pop up overnight all over the place. Its beautiful but also hard for so many people here who already struggle to survive. The rains can keep fisherman out of their boats, and taxi drivers who use motorcycles off the roads. Houses and businesses built in valley areas will flood and  of course this can cause lots of damage. We give thanks for the rain but also pray for protection and provision of these people. For the moment the rains have really slowed down and it seems it will end uneventfully.

Lastly, we have a huge need as a ministry. We desperately need donors for the new kids. We need to have money for their daily food, schooling, medical care and to pay the salaries of their amazing caregivers. This need comes to $90/ month per kid, however you can give ANY amount and it will be a blessing. We currently lack a total of $310 per month in sponsorship. These kids will be here in less than a week,and were trusting that God will fill that need. Please consider helping. Im including pictures of the final 5 kids who need support. If you feel like you can give a dollar a day, or $10 a month, or maybe the full $3 a day to sponsor one child entirely, contact me via facebook or my email- millersinafrica@gmail.com – and I will walk you through it all. I won’t beg you for much but for these kids, I am begging you to consider helping. You cant fathom how much they appreciate you as their sponsors. They pray for you, ask about you, and love you. Truly, any amount is a blessing.

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This is Eddie. He is 6 and super sweet. He lost both of his parents but he still has that amazing smile. We cant wait to love on him at the home. He needs $20 more in monthly support

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This is Mabinty and shes 14. She is very shy but very sweet. When her mom passed she was left without care. We look forward to her joining our family. She needs $90 a month in support.

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This is Musa. He is 12 years old. He lost both of his parents. He currently needs $40 to a month. We know he will be especially loved by his new brothers in the home.

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This is Fatmata. She is 13 years old. Both of her parents have passed. She is very bright and we know a good education and a loving home will help her go far. She currently needs $90 a month in giving.

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Lastly, this is Alfred. He is 12 years old. When their parents passed there was nobody to care for them. I say they because he has a little brother coming with him who is already sponsored. He needs $70 more in monthly support.

Please consider helping these amazing kids. Whats unique about Lifegate Childrens Home is this is a personal relationship. I can send you photos and updates, and you have an opportunity to travel with a yearly team to visit your sponsored child personally if you are able. Maybe your small group or church is willing to sponsor a child. Please contact me for any information or with any questions. God Bless you all!

Here are a few other things to join us in prayer over, please.

  1. We pray for the new kids and the current kids to bond together well and for our family to be blessed as it grows.
  2. We are looking for a house for us in Brigitte so we can be close to the orphanage.In July the lease is up on our current home and the owner wants to sell it instead of renting it yearly. Please pray for a perfect place and for financial blessings to move our container from our current house to our new one.
  3. We give God glory for the baptism of our loved ones. We ask that He guide them and help them as they walk in their faith every day.

Thanks for your love and support over our family and all the on goings happening here in Sierra Leone. Its an amazing life we are blessed to live.

Chameleons and Cake (too much cake!)

June was a good month! Life here is never dull. Seems like theres always a new thing to do and more stuff to keep tabs on. Our family is well. We so appreciate your prayers over us and the way you care about us all. For the last two months, nobody has had any issues with malaria, and we praise God. Ty had it twice since being here, and it was treated quickly. We are able to take preventatives and they are working well. Connor had a few rough patches with infection that started from cuts and bug bites on his legs. Its so hard to stay clean here. We called upon our friends for prayers and got him started on antibiotics. We praise God that he is doing much better now! Connor has been reading a lot of Jules Verne books and playing yahtzee with me (Sarah). So far I win more often. Unless Ty plays. I think he cheats 😉 Finn has been a daddies boy lately and wants to go out and work with him. Wether Ty is working on the cars or the concrete at the church, Finn likes to learn and help. Lately, Sulli has been Mr.Picasso always drawing and coloring lots of pictures.

 

Ty and Musa have been working hard at the church and expect to get the roofs on the toilet houses in a week. The rains have started and we get some rain most every day. This can make these final stages a little difficult. In August we are expected to get four feet of rain. Since our well went dry last month the rains have been a huge blessing to us, just not the best gift for construction. Once those roofs are on, Ty will be able to get cranking on the orphanage house!

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I just taught my last two art classes until September. School will be out during the heavy  rains of late July and August. Its like summer break here without the nice weather 🙂 You might think it would be better to be in school when its raining. I had the pleasure of being at one of the schools during a huge rain. All those droplets on a tin roof is deafeningly loud. So now I get it! I have also been busy with the boys and the dog and the house. Someone/thing always needs taught, fed or cleaned. Can I get an Amen? 😉

 

The kids at the orphanage are also keeping me busy! We celebrated 6 birthdays in June!! So much fun but we are all over cake for a while. Lahai turned 14, Ya Marie turned 9, Martha turned 14, Ishmael turned 12, John turned 11 and Julie turned 7. Have I told you how much I love these kids? Only 312 times? Ok, I love these kids. They are hilarious and fun and sweet. We are excited to bring in the new 5 kiddos and show them the love of Christ. The new kids are now sponsored thanks to your prayers and outpouring! The really cool thing is if you want to come and meet these kids you are helping, we’d happily welcome you. Thats a rare gift that not many other organizations can make a reality. These kids pray over their supporters and are so thankful for their help!

In other news with the kids, we need prayers for Lahai. Boys will be boys, no matter where they live. Lahai was running around and fell on the concrete steps outside the house. The result was 3 fractures in his arm. He’s seeing a doctor and Letty, our nurse, is taking great care of him. Prayers for a complete healing are appreciated. Two of our older girls, Martha and Konnah, are fighting off infections and they would love your prayers as well. I know so many of you come here to find out how to pray and keep tabs, so thank you for that!

On Fathers day Sunday we took Musa and Jeri to the beach to celebrate their anniversary. I got to help teach Jeri to swim and baby JJ warmed up to the water a lot also! Jeri and Musa are a huge asset to the orphanage and great friends to Ty and I as well. Bondu is one of our caregivers and she’s a very special lady. She used to break rocks in a quarry all day. She’s a single mom and had to work hard to keep them all fed. This resulted in her two children, T-boy and Sia, not attending school.  Since coming to the home to work, she and her kids have a place to live and the kids are in school.  Last Sunday we were able to take Bondu and her kids, as well as our newest girl Ya Marie, to the beach. Now all the caregivers and kids have had the beach trip before the rains come. We loved getting to see the kids play and run, and we really enjoyed watching Bondu hopping in the waves like a little girl. She even wanted us to bury her! God is continually doing a work in her and its amazing to witness!

The older kids at the orphanage, as well as Connor and Finn, and some of the church members, are taking part in a baptism class! They are learning about the biblical significance of baptism and will have the choice to be baptized in August! We are proud and excited for this step in their walk.

We found a chameleon one day on our way home from visiting the kids. Ty jumped out and brought it back with us. So many people here think everything is poisonous, so the bystanders started yelling at Ty to leave it alone. So funny to see their disbelief when he put it in the car. We’re used to being weird to everyone though. We brought it in and admired it a few hours before making him/her (I forgot to ask what its name was. We called it Rango to be gender neutral) at home in our mango trees.

Ramadan just ended here. The muslim community observes this by fasting from food and water from sun up to sun down. We want our guard Foday to follow Christ so we would go out with lots of food each afternoon and offer him a bite if he’d turn to Jesus. IM JUST KIDDING!!! We love Foday lots and we know he would do anything to take care of our family and keep us safe. He’s a huge blessing. We really enjoy seeing him and Connor read the bible and discuss things. We pray for him to know a God who is eternal and ask you to pray for him with us. We have great muslim friends here and we lift them up in prayer often.

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This Saturday we will play our last soccer game until after the rains, so long as the weather cooperates. We have loved the friendly competition and the way it allows us to meet people in the communities! We have made great relationships and we get to minister to others. A young lady last time wanted to play but did not have the attire required to play modestly. I was able to trade clothes with her to so she could play, and it also gave me a chance to show her love. I praise God for each instance like this because He is the one orchestrating it all.

 

Please lift up my friend Hawa. She moved away from our village a couple months ago, and she lost her son a month ago. This is common here but its never not painful. Her son was 2. I feel awful for her pain and would ask that you pray for comfort. Her sister Sarah still lives here and had a baby boy two weeks ago. 1 in every 5 babies dies here so they wont name him til hes around 3 months old. I was able to meet him and share my congratulations. Please pray for his health! (also forgive the photo of me and Hawa. I was looking for something that isnt sold in my village. She was understandably confused)

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In other praises we gained 2 more supporters. We continually have new needs come up, so we can not adequately share how much of an answered prayer this is! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. We praise God for how He provides!!

As usual, there is lots of things to lift up in prayer and praise! Thanks for so much more than we can express! We are looking forward to a rainy July, and lots of projects getting completed. May God bless you all!!!

 

 

 

Soccer, Swimming, and new jobs

We have been really busy lately, but things have been exciting! We’ve lived here for six months now, and in that time God has helped us to grow in ministry and relational ways that are only from Him. I have only done monthly blog updates because first of all, we are so busy! its good though.  Secondly, it takes hours to do it. For real! Were in Africa where internet speed resembles DSL in the 90s. Its not awesome. Nobody wants to read a blog without pictures. I am like a toddler in blog world. “ooh interesting title. Does it have pictures? Ok I will read it”. Hence, the hours of devotion that goes into this. Thank you for reading. Seriously. We need you! 🙂

We have been given an exciting task. We are now the international directors of the Lifegate Children’s Home. We have grown really close to our kids up at the home, and we have been praying for a way to be useful and helpful in their care. Rick and Paula were tackling this responsibility previously. Lifegate has a lot of branches to it. Rick oversees 2 schools, 3 churches, the radio program and the bible telling school construction, along with many other projects. We are now able to take on the job of overseeing the orphanage and making sure everyone and everything is running smoothly. With this new position, we can be more hands on with the kids care and needs, which is such a gift to us as we love these kids like crazy. As part of our new role, I get to help purchase the clothing and shoes for the kids. Auntie Marie and I did this together with the help of our oldest girl, Martha. It was a lot of fun getting to spend that time with them and get the kids some new church clothes. We really love this new role and all our kids!

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In other orphanage news, we have a new girl in the house! Her name is Mariama, typically Marie for short, but everyone calls her Yay Marie. We already have an auntie Marie, and yay is like saying “junior” in a way. She is the middle sister of Idrissa and Isha. We prayed for her to come live with her siblings and we were able to see those prayers answered. She’s an incredibly sweet 8 year old girl. She also needs monthly sponsorship. In addition to Yay Marie, we will be bringing in 5 more waiting kids to the Lifegate Children’s Home as soon as the second house is finished with construction. It just got a new roof placed last week, and Tyler will be putting in a ceiling very soon. These other 5 kids are in need of sponsors as well. You can be one of three givers who donate $30 a month, or give the full $90 a month for the needs of one child. If this is something that is convicting you, please contact our Director of Partnerships, Chance Newingham via chance@lifegateinafrica.com for more information.

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Isha, Mariama (yay Marie), and Idrissa (aka ED). She was very shy but she’s so thrilled to be at the Lifegate Children’s Home!

Some fun stuff we have had going on include beach days and soccer matches. Ty and I were able to get some football (soccer) games going here in the villages connected to Lifegate churches. We have really seen it grow over these last few weeks! We started out playing with the orphanage kids and workers, but as the village communities have come to watch, we have been able to invite huge amounts join in.  Through that its become quite a ministry. We invite the school kids and their parents to come play, and anyone else in the community that wants to join in is welcome also. Jonathan Kamba, the national director of Lifegate, handles sound equipment so we can begin the games with prayer and invitation, and our Pastor, Lamin Conteh, referees for us. We have seen our church grow and we have been able to make friendships with so many people in the villages. Through these relationships, we get a chance to show the love of Christ. 

We have also been able to go on more beach trips in May. So far 10 of our wonderful kids have gotten to come with us for a day of fun and a meal at the restaurant. Most of our kiddos have never been to a restaurant before, so its really funny and endearing to see what they do. They all threw their chicken bones down under the table as that’s what you normally do when eating. Garbage cans are not common in homes and most everyone eats outside anyway. Due to this, there is always an animal of some kind to come “clean up” be it goat or dog or other 🙂 . We have also noticed several wadded up napkins under the table when the kids are finished.Its like a confetti of sorts under that table. Our wait staff is always so gracious. We learned most of the kids weren’t sure how to open soda cans, but now they’re experts. It was neat to watch them experience new things. It also makes us appreciate the blessings we take for granted, like what a treat a meal out can be. The kids loved the meal and all of them got so excited about “chips” (what they call french fries). They don’t get to eat them typically but know of them because some street vendors sell them. When it came to the swimming, they learned a lot as well. Since a lot of people here have stories about the ocean being scary, due to fisherman drowning and most people never been taught to swim, 7 of the kids were afraid of the water at first. With a little help and holding Ty and my hands, they warmed up well and everyone ended up loving the water! Seeing the big boys head into the water with floaties on their arms, holding Ty’s hand, was the sweetest thing ever. We have loved getting to spend quality time with the kids by ourselves and giving them words of love and affirmation on these trips.

We had Mothers Day Sunday in May and it was really great to show these special women in our church how valued they are. I was able to speak for a short while about God’s heart for women and mamas. When I finished we gave all the ladies a cold bottle of soda and a package of cookies as a thank you for the things they do. The dads and kids also got some since we brought enough of share. Its such a blessing to be with these brothers and sisters. 

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Me and the mommas. We could not get a shot of everyone looking and smiling for anything. Our kids were distracting us though 🙂 Missing Paula who was absent due to sweetly taking care of her mom.

 

Also, we have a dog now. We knew we wanted one for a while but were waiting to get settled. When we went to Freetown for supplies one day, we passed a man carrying two tiny puppies with red ribbons. We asked how much he wanted, and he told us 70,000 Leones, which is the equivalent of $12 USD. Needless to say, we couldn’t say no. We asked the kids what they wanted to name the puppy and Sulli yelled out “Ralph”. We realized that Ralph was a girl, but he was so adamant, we couldn’t change it. So now Ralph the girl dog spends her days chasing lizards, laying on the cold tile in the living room, and eating rice and potato leaf. We bought her a bag of dog food and she was utterly unimpressed. She did not eat for two days! I made african one day and she started howling and whimpering until she got her own dish of it. Turns out all the dogs in this country eat rice. She is a Sierra Leonian dog so it makes sense. 🙂

 

I was able to take a rainbow painting art project to both the Lifegate Brigitte Preschool in Brigitte Village and the Kassie school, which is a Lifegate preschool in the village of Kassie. The kids loved it, and they were able to tell their parents about the story of Noah, and the rainbow they made, which symbolizes God’s promises. Once school resumes after rainy season I’ll start doing a monthly bible story and art project for each school. It makes our hearts so happy to see these kids learning about a God who loves them and sharing that news with others!

Ty has gotten a lot finished on the toilet houses. Soon they will have roofs and doors and be open for business, literally 😛 As I mentioned, once thats complete he’ll head over to the orphanage to put in a ceiling and eventually tile. He’s got a lot of projects in the works but were really excited to see God move to make them all happen!

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June is sure to be an equally busy month as we have 5 kids with birthdays, and they are coming to our house for a day of fun soon! Thanks for following along with us and thank you for your monthly gifts that make this all possible. They are so needed. Thank you also for covering us with your prayers. We continually pray for you as well. God bless you all!!!

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!

Blessings and snakes

February was a blessed month, and in some ways a hard month.

On February 11th, Tyler’s sweet grandma, Wilma Miller, passed away. It was extremely hard to be 6,000 miles away from family when someone so special to you is gone. We have all grieved this loss. Granny was a spunky, hilarious woman who made everyone she met feel like family. She was always welcoming and warm. She loved to play records and watch Cardinals baseball. She loved her husband Oke every moment of their 50 years of marriage, and she adored all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. More than anything, she LOVED Jesus. Part of why we are here in Africa is because of her. When we told her about how God had put it on our hearts to come to Sierra Leone way back in 2011, she smiled and said “When I was a little girl, some missionaries came to our church from Africa. I knew from that moment that I was supposed to go. I never did, but maybe now I will get the chance”. We believe God had started calling someone from that line of the Miller family then, and how wonderful to be the ones who got to come. We know God continues to orchestrate things for His glory.

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Even in her passing, Granny is blessing us. Memorials were requested to be given to our family in her memory and we were blessed with several donations for Gods work here in Africa. We were surprised by this generous move, and so thankful. She was an amazing woman. We have felt grieved to be away from Tys family and ask you to pray for them all.

In other news, we have had an answer to prayer! We have been in need of more funding for our family to make ends meet here. This country is so very poor and yet everything is so expensive. Gas is over $3 a gallon, and cheese is $10+ a pound. Most any food thats not rice is at least double what it would cost in America, and more often four times as much. We try to live modestly but needing money for guards, rent and groceries is unavoidable. When we shared our need for more support, we prayed and asked God to do another miracle. We were blessed with 3 new supporters for our family, and one supporter for the work we are praying to accomplish! With these donations, we will be able to meet our monthly needs, as well as start a meal and bible study time with village women, and begin bible based art projects with the school children! This is an amazing blessing! Thank you for your support. We couldn’t do this without you. We have been praying for these things. So many answered prayers!

Ty is currently in the midst helping plan out toilet pits for the orphanage and church, and building a table and chairs for the orphanage. The wood here is not treated nominal lumber pieces and he’s found that trying to make these chunks of trees work has not been an easy feat. The things you take for granted. Please pray over these projects with us.

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We also had a few run-ins with the police here. We could be put into jail for slander here, so I have to be careful on what I say, but we did not really do anything wrong and we are learning a lot of lessons. So much struggle when getting adapted to a different culture. Driving here is like playing a game of frogger. There aren’t stop signs or traffic lights. There are speed limit signs sporadically but policemen and women don’t have cars or radar guns to enforce that. You basically drive with your hand on the horn and a lot of prayer.

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We have been doing some bible studies with the older orphanage girls on the traits of biblical women. Paula has been the leader and I have loved sitting in and hearing the input.  We recently took some chalk up to the kids. They absolutely went crazy for it! We loved seeing their creativity come out. Creative thinking isn’t really practiced here so seeing them think out some ideas was cool. They drew things they knew. Fish, box, motorcar, table. I can’t wait to continue to help these kids unlock their imaginations. I also took up a pack of Uno cards and taught everyone to play. It was a blast! 🙂

Recently Ishmael from the orphanage was pretty sick with malaria but thanks to Nurse Letty and God’s healing, he’s better. Ty  came down with malaria a couple dys ago and was the sickest he’s ever been. He’s doing much better today though. We realize malaria is as bad as everyone says.

we have also had our guards find a couple snakes around our yard. One is an African beauty snake. It’s harmless but mimics the pattern of a type of cobra. The other was a green mamba which is deathly poisonous. We’ve made sure to educate our boys about these snakes and to be so careful. I also included a picture of the squid we found washed up on the shore during our monthly beach trip. Lots of crazy up in here.

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Theres a team from our hometown area coming for a mission trip next week. We are excited to see them and share what God is doing here in Sierra Leone. Please pray for their safety and for Gods blessings.

Thank you all for your prayers and support for our family and the work God is doing here. Please continue to pray for our kids in the orphanage, for the radio programs outreach, for the ministries we are hoping to begin in the ways of fellowship and teaching, and for our continued health. We praise God for you all!

Heres your sign

We have been doing really well! We love to keep you all in the loop with us and wanted to check in, so to speak 🙂 The boys are doing amazing with their schooling. We took tests yesterday- we do every Friday. They got As on everything. I am super proud of them. Sullivan has loved to learn lately. Its a blessing because for the longest time he would fight me so much. Today, he knows all his letters and can write over 12 of them! He is daily impressing us. Finn has taken a liking to climbing the mango tree in our yard. He recently hung a hammock at the bottom with some help from Ty.  For when he’s on the ground ;). Connor has been drawing a lot. He has also been reading through his bible all by himself. He has the action bible that he really likes to read with the comic book style. He’s just gotten in the new testament. I often peak in after they’ve gone to bed and found him and his brothers still reading with their bedside lights. Its a blessing all of our boys are so interested in books.

 

There was a conference at church recently when Pastor Dwight Haymon from the Lifegate church in Georgia came to Brigitte Village, along with their church music minister Alex. It was awesome to see the church so full with people and praise! I took some pics before it began with the kids but once it was full of people I forgot to take any of the congregation. There were people standing outside even! Dwight brought the message that we can all be connected with The Holy Spirit through constant prayer and thought. It was wonderful to see how people received the message. Please continue to pray as it sparked a spirit of revival and prayer for the whole community!

 

Ty has been working on the signs for the orphanage and the church to place along side the road. This will help people locate them better. It started with some sheets of metal and metal poles. Ty welded them and painted them. It was a labor but they look really good (if Im allowed to brag on his handy work). Now my catchy title makes sense, right? Please Don’t unsubscribe. Cheese is over. Now Ty is working on a table and chairs for the kids. He prefers to work with wood and he’s excited for this new project!

The kids in the orphanage are doing well, Praise God! They have been working hard at school now that they’re back to the swing of things after Christmas break. I was sad a little that they’re back because on Wednesdays I don’t get to see them as much. They often have to stay back extra time for tutoring and such. Baby Junior, Musa and Jeriatu’s baby, is growing like a weed! He was born the week we came so we joke that he will be our measuring stick for how long we’ve lived in Africa. He has a fabulous smile already! All the kids have grown to love him as a brother, just as they do with one another. They are such a wonderful, happy family. Being with those kids is my favorite thing about life here.

 

The boys and Foday have had fun with a pvc and wood bow with sticks for arrows. Ty and Foday built it for fun, and Foday and the boys “hunt” lizards and chickens in the compound. Nothing is ever harmed, because its a stick and all 4 of them couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, and its absolutely hilarious to watch.

 

I recently went to the preschool to visit the kids. They are such a precious bunch. Since life gate will soon have 3 schools it is overseeing I have really wanted to teach art to the kids a couple times a month. I would work with them on a project that is bible based. Please pray for this idea to come to fruition as it would be such a cool experience!

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In other news from around the world, we have a new nephew! My sister Emily had him on January 25th. His name is Barrett Douglas and he’s a doll. I can’t hold him and that is hard but I did get to video call him. We had an intense conversation about politics and such. He was enamored clearly. We actually praise God for little Bear and the blessing he is to our family.

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In a major praise we posted last week that we needed another $500 each month. We were contacted by a few of you amazing readers and we were blessed with $250 of that need in monthly contributions! Thank you all for your prayers and your help!

We pray God blesses you. We so appreciate your love and prayers for our family. Thanks for your support and for reading!

 

 

 

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