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!!!

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

Something to pray about

I love this life. It’s not easy but it’s so worth while. We get to minister and love on people in neighboring villages, in our community, and in our own yard even. We know God has called us specifically and purposefully to be here in Sierra Leone. We have been amazed at how He constantly meets us in our needs through answered prayers.

Now we need help. I hate this part of the journey but it’s something God is working on me about. The asking. We ask and He moves. We do not have enough monthly support. We came here in faith that God would send us more supporters, knowing we lacked the day we left.

Today we have a small community of givers who sacrifice for us to be here. They pour into us in gifts and prayers. We want to be transparent. Their monthly gifts combined total $1,500.

Our monthly expenses come in at $2,200. God has always provided just enough to help us make it through. We really need more givers, though. No amount is too small. It all is used wisely. We have rent to pay, food to buy, and cab fare to come up with. We pay for internet each month and medications to keep us from getting malaria. We also have to pay our guards each month, which may seem like an unnecessary expense, but without them we are at a risk of being robbed. Admittedly, we have not been praying rent thus far in order to be able to meet our other expenses, but it will be due come June.

I hate this stuff and I imagine you hate reading it. But I ask you to please consider becoming a donor. If you can give any amount it will be used wisely I assure you. Nothing is too small. God can use many hands to meet the need. If you simply can’t give then pray for us, please. We believe God will answer those prayers and send us donors. He provides every time.

If you currently give, we want to make sure you know that it matters. Each gift is thanked for specifically and sincerely. Each time you remember us and give so selflessly we are blessed by you and we know we simply could not be here without you. Your sacrifice is doing things for God, I assure you. Thank you, thank you!

Thank you all for your time to hear this need and pray about helping. May God bless you!

Relationships

Lately our pace has gotten into a groove that is more fitted to the lifestyle here. This country and the people who call it home care much more about relationships. The pace is slow. Life happens. When your life is a daily struggle, you tend to focus more on the people you do life with. The American definition of success doesn’t exist here. We have learned just how much of a gift each day is. We spend time with The Lord and we focus on what God has given us each day. More so, who God has given us. We have been blessed with relationships and we are nurturing those. That’s why we are here. You’ve likely heard the phrase “I don’t want a religion, I want a relationship”. We have very little impact in sharing the Gospel if we don’t practice what we preach. We have been really trying to cultivate these wonderful relationships we are given into friendships that lead to testimonies.

We have spent a lot of time with our guard, Foday. He’s in our daily life. He’s also a Muslim. Devout in fact. And he’s also the sweetest guy. Yesterday I caught him washing Sullis dirty feet with care after Sulli jumped in some muddy water. This guy is a sweetheart. Ty recently gave Foday a bible. He’s promised to read it. We feed Foday every day and do other things for him that I won’t say because it’s not about that. My hope is that these daily interactions will turn into a relationship between him and Christ. Please pray with us.

Another relationship we have been blessed with is the one we have with our driver, Allucine. He has gone into church with us the last two weeks and said it blessed him so much. He’s very kind and we have loved getting to know him. We know he has had some struggles and hardships and we pray that he will continue his walk with God.

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My favorite relationship is the one we have with 10 boys and girls. The lifegate orphanage kids. We see them throughout the the week and get to share life with them. I’ve started doing art projects with them. This week they made masks. It’s so much fun to see their personalities come out. These are the sweetest, most loving, most amazing kids. They started another semester of school and I ask that you pray for them. Please also pray for the older girls, as Paula and I are going to start a bible study focused on traits of a Godly woman with them. I am so excited to continue cultivating the relationship we have with these girls. In other news with the kids, Ty brought binoculars up on Saturday. They had never been able to see anything like that before. The shrieks and giggles were amazing! It’s such a joy to experience new things through their eyes.

we have also loved the relationship we share with the members of our church here in Salone. lifegate church in Briggitte village has given us a chance to worship and be encouraged with other believers. With Rick’s successful work to share bible stories on the radio, people all over Salone are hearing about Jesus. Please pray for God to grow this church as He sees fit!

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Our relationship as a family continues to grow as well. We have time every morning to pray and study the bible together. We have more time to be together. We get to serve The Lord as a family.

Thank you for your support and prayers. It’s not an easy life but we often say “we can’t believe its ours” because it’s such an amazing one. We couldn’t do this without you all.

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