We’ve been home for a week from our big family trip to experience life in Liberia, Africa for a few weeks. As you can imagine, stories are better told than typed. And it would be impossible to share everything, so I’m just going to highlight a variety of moments I was grateful to capture along the way:
Stamping Passports: The kids think it is the coolest thing in the world to have their own passports. Every time it was stamped in a new country…it became even more cool. We had brief stops in Canada, Belgium, and the United Kingdom on the way to Liberia.
A Real-Life Castle: We visited Windsor Castle on our London layover because Abby wanted to see a “real life castle” where real princesses live. It even exceeded my expectations and we saw the Changing of the Guard ceremony there.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Trains were the most fun…high speed from Brussels to London, including going under the English Channel. Jackson LOVED the “Tube” (London’s Subway) and quickly was the one telling us which lines we needed to transfer to for our next destination.
Thoughtful Kids: The night before we left, Jackson asked if he could go to the dollar store to buy beachballs. He thought they would be easy to pack and help make friends instantly. He was right…and there is a trail of beachballs he left there. They also became experts at making balloon animals with a kit friends sent with us.
Flexibility: It’s true that our kids probably never want to hear the word “flexibility” again in their life, but it was our mantra and I was proud of how they handled everything: unusual food, No hot water/running water (bucket showers!), being the center of attention (most people had never seen white children)…and almost no WiFi!
Suncrest Gratitude: I’m not on the team at Suncrest that oversees our Liberia ministry, but I came back extraordinarily proud of them and our whole church. Young leaders have been given an education — something that can never be taken away from them. New churches have been started, are growing, providing basics like water for their communities, and seeing people become followers of Jesus. Initial Economic Investments have been made that lift the whole country (employment, agricultural development, etc.) and also place responsibility for their financial future in the right place — on the Liberian leaders there.
Afraid…and Amazed: I could never describe this whole story, but there was a moment when we were stuck in a vehicle that died in the road, in the dark, not exactly sure where we were, calling everyone we knew for help with no luck. Jenny stopped with the kids to pray. God answered. I’ll tell you the whole story sometime.
Weird…and Cool: Our family was in a car driving back to our guesthouse Sunday night when I heard the man on the radio talking about issues they face and he referenced being at the Baccalaureate Service from a local college the day before. Then he started quoting some things from MY talk at that service. Kind of surreal. I told that story to friends the next day and Jackson just said, “Dad, stop bragging!” Thanks to my kids for keeping me humble.
Inspiring People: Edward. Gina & Travis. The young man on the side of the road. Michael & Taurus. George & Daniel. Danny & Bea. Joseph & Grace. Daisy. Chris & Rachelle. Sei & Ya. Peter. Hungry Kids. Jenny. Jackson. Abby. If you and I ever have 15 minutes, ask me about any of them. I have stories that inspire me to me a better human being and follower of Jesus.