a little something that Elizabeth wrote for you to read. I’ll put it at the top so that you will
not get bored with my comments before seeing hers.
I was told
a lot of things before I left for Liberia like; don’t drink the water,
take this hand sanitizer, and take lots of pictures; all of this is good
advice. I had heard my Mama and
Daddy talk about Liberia and all of the things they have seen there, but
even still I was not prepared for what I would experience. The billboards alone tell a lot about
where the country is at. Some
billboards talk about keeping Liberia clean and healthy, while others are
trying to sell them a cell phone so they can be “happier” or
“cooler”. There are signs that
talk about the good things that are happening like the new paved roads,
and telling kids to stay in school so they will be like the smiling
doctor in the photograph.
Patriotism, taxes, and health are themes as well. So, some good
some not so good, but after spending time with some of the people you
have a strong feeling that things will be just fine. There are so many people who are
looking to Liberia’s future and trying to make a positive difference in
it. It’s amazing to see a country
that has gone thru 14 years of war and oppression come out the other side
so enthusiastic and willing to work to make it better. Pray that more people will jump in to “lift
back to the boring stuff:
going to bed around 1am this morning it was a little difficult getting
out of bed. But I didn’t want to
be shown up by Elizabeth so I got up.
I think she was already awake but she came out of her room as I
was walking by.
morning I have a car rented and am going to take Elizabeth around so that
she can take photographs of billboards and storefronts. She thinks that she will do a project
for school showing the different advertising messages used in Liberia
versus the U.S. Of course, as the
Motley Fool of PBS fame says, all advertisements are lies.
our driver, promised to be here by 8:30am so that we could leave by
9:00am but he didn’t show until a few minutes after 9:00am. That’s about as prompt as it gets
around here so I was excited. Of
course then I was embarrassed because breakfast had just been served (isn’t
that brunch?) so we hurried to eat our food and leave.
we were leaving I called Robert to see if he wanted to ride around with
us today so that we could talk business while Elizabeth
photographed. “I’ll have the car
come pick you up soon,” he said.
But since I had already secured a car he cancelled the one for
today. We’ll take that one for the
rest of the time I’m here.
wanted to stop at Duport Road Junction and take some pictures so we spent
a few minutes there. Then we drove
to Sinkor and picked up Robert at his home on 18th
Street. He was not feeling good as
his stomach was bothering him.
When he said that he was going to have to cut back on the peppers
I knew it was serious. But he
insisted on going so we left to go toward Monrovia.
stopped at Providence Baptist Church in downtown Monrovia and visited
with Sam Reeves, the chairman of our board. We discussed some business stuff and I
dropped off some books that he had requested. The he took Elizabeth for a quick tour
of the main sanctuary where we could see the very large stained glass
window along with the bullet holes that were shot in it during the
war. After that we went into the
old chapel where the Liberian Declaration of Independence was signed.
run by the SN Brussels office where I’m told, “Our system is not doing
good.” That’s the Liberian way of
saying that it’s not working. So
she tells me a flight is due in tonight and they will call me in the
morning if my bag comes in. This
time I get a phone number to call them at so that this calling thing isn’t
one way. I have several shirts but
am on my last set of underwear and have worn the same pair of pants now
for 4 days. I may end up in
Liberian pants before long. But
seriously, pray that the bag comes in as it had several items that were
brought over for others.
we travel around Monrovia taking pictures I like it less and less. Every time Elizabeth gets out with her
camera all the younger Liberian men come over and want their picture
taken. Then they want it taken
with her in it. She’s being a good
sport about it… so far. Only small
children want their picture taken when I have the camera. I wonder what the difference is?
enjoyed having Elizabeth along and seeing her reaction to
everything. She’s been gracious
and has a pretty good ear for the Liberian English, unlike me. She’s also not been scared to get out
and mix with the crowds. When it’s
your child you take a deeper interest in how she treats others. Does she expect to be served or is she
more willing to do the serving.
Does she show proper respect even to those who are in a much more
difficult situation than she is?
So far I think her mother has done a good job of raising her.
left and went back to the compound to work on the Cato fence budget
proposal and to discuss the 12Stone team’s itinerary.
Cato property is not secured by a fence which prevents us from putting
objects of value there. Even with
a security guard there would be no way to protect valuable items as the
property is used as a transit zone by people who live behind it. The area to be fenced is 1 acre in
size. It’s composed of 4 lots (1/4
acre each) in the shape of a rectangle.
The front is 165 feet wide and it is 264 feet deep. The roadway is on the ocean side with a
nice view of a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. The property slopes pretty steeply upward
from the front of the property to the back (mainly staring about half way
back where a substantial volcanic rock shelf starts). There are 2 housed, one behind the
other, on the left side as seen from the road and the right side is open,
low and accumulates water in the rainy season. One good thing is that we have a
culvert in the front of the property that goes underneath the road and
empties out on the ocean side. We
just have to develop a drainage plan that will move the water off the
property in a more effective manner.
you’d like to see a rough diagram of the property please click here.
total price if we put in the 8 foot tall concrete block wall around the
back and sides with an equally tall wire fence across the front to
protect the ocean view (complete with razor wire) is $12,500. We
originally thought it was going to cost about $9,000 but we added the
razor wire, plastering and painting of the inside block portion and some
filling dirt. We called the
contractor a couple of times today to make clarifications about certain
items and finally agreed that we would meet at the property in a couple
of hours to discuss it face to face.
and I then moved on to talk about the 12Stone team’s itinerary. If you’d like to see a copy of it so
far please click here. Christine has some people selected to
pair with the 12Stone individual team members but not enough for
all. So we’ll be determining
potential relationships and ministries for them to serve with. I am excited to see the enthusiasm and
spirit of these young adults. We
finished our planning session and left to meet with the contractor.
explained to the contractor, multiple times today, that I needed a firm
quote that didn’t involve the option to come back later and say that he
had forgotten something. He assured
me that this was the case so I will write up a contact that says as
much. I think he is a good man and
he has done several other projects for us in the past year plus he built
Robert and Emma’s house and he and Robert are still speaking. That has to stand for something.
walked the property and discussed potential post-wall strategies I believe that the next step will be to
fill in the low area where the driveway and loading dock will go. This will allow us to put in a concrete
driveway (used for parking when a truck is not being unloaded), build a
loading dock and position storage containers behind the dock. The ELWA/SIM folks continue to be very
gracious to allow us to use their fenced in lot but we really need to
move the operation to a facility designed for what we’re doing. We could save considerable money in
equipment rent, unloading manpower costs, etc.
the dock and related items are in place, we will need to renovate one
building for offices and with a plan to put an open training room as the
upstairs portion. Following that
would be to renovate the second building into a guest house complete with
a second story as well.
envision setting up a first class library of pastoral and leadership
related books, DVD’s, CD’s and online internet access. The living room area of these houses is
plenty large enough to allow this.
We believe that we would serve both the church, business and
governmental segments of society through such a library thus allowing us
spiritual influence with those we serve.
We also have a couple of other ministry organizations that would
like to use office space when we have it.
we left the Cato property, Elizabeth, Alex and I drove into Monrovia so
that Elizabeth could see more of Liberia.
We even went down to the Waterfront market where there were hoards
of people crammed into the streets with storefronts and booths thrown up
in front of them. The mix of
sight, smell and sound can be overwhelming and it can be intoxicating. I’ve asked Elizabeth to write a little
something about her experiences so far.
I’m guessing that it will contain something about the Waterfront.
I forgot to tell you. Michael
Miller called today. He’s learning
self restraint as he waited until the day after Christmas to call me.
to serving those on the mission field”