Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas in Liberia

From my journal – December 26, 2014:
“Christmas is very different here in Liberia.  There are no Christmas trees, no gifts wrapped or a special morning to excitedly wake up to.  But, the kids have a good time!  Those who can afford will buy their kids new clothes and shoes (often these clothes are US Goodwill rejects).  The girls will get their hair fixed beautiful.  The boys love sunglasses.  They will get dressed up and go from house to house to show off and receive their Christmas much like our Halloween.  The homes fix extra food and purchase candy to give.  This is a day with plenty of food.

Junior dressed up and going door to door
This month we cut our missions in half and gave over 60 of our sacrificial leaders a blessing.  45 received $40 each and the rest $15.  It was so they could have a Christmas for their children.    

We at WSL made a huge pot of special rice with much meat for visitors and we gave out suckers.  Greene St. United Methodist Church had given us over 80 dresses for the girls which we also handed out.  The place was hopping.  Adults and children all enjoyed our place.

As I watched and participated I also experienced a deep sadness.  The poverty and suffering is so great.  In this great suffering they try to celebrate but through it all I can feel the emptiness.  It breaks my heart.  The deep sadness they carry constantly I feel and take on also.  January is known as a hunger month because so much went into the clothes and celebration.  Christmas morning Ojuku, one of our leaders, came to me to say thanks.  He had bought clothes and shoes for his boy with the $15 he had received.  But, there was no food in the house.  He promised to come the day after to work if we could give him food money.  We assisted.  He left carrying a deep sadness in the midst of the “celebration”.

Today, the day after Christmas, as I am writing in my journal Francis comes.  He is about 20, an orphan of many years and one of our committed, fruitful, sacrificial leaders.  He is homeless again.  The place he stayed is being taken over by a humanitarian organization.  He has been sleeping with friends.  As him and I talked we got news that another leader’s aunt died in an accident (the day before Christmas we buried the mother of one of our leaders).  A line is forming outside my door.  One woman came to report her husband is full of demons and screaming.  Next came in a street boy I have been discipling and then came three more street boys that want to be discipled.  All are eager for hope and a life worth living.  We talked and prayed.  Prayed for forgiveness, school fees, and to be children of God.  Others are outside waiting to see me for help with urgent emergencies.”

In the sadness there is fruit and hope.  Many are coming into their salvation and spiritual maturity.   Suffering on earth is for a time but without Christ it is an everlasting timeless suffering.  Our Lord is using us, you and I, the team of WSL, to snatch them from the fire.  Jude tells us to, “Snatch others from the fire and save them.”  

Below is a fun picture.  I was holding Jesse.  The camera was on my desk.  Unplanned and haphazardly I snapped this picture.  

No comments:

Post a Comment