WE ARE IN LIBERIA!!!
Thank you all so much for all your prayers. The last several weeks have been hectic but also absolutely wonderful, between packing, spending time with family and friends, and MOVING TO LIBERIA. We weren’t able to visit with everyone we love… not enough hours in the day or days in the week… but we are SO glad to have spent time with those of you we did get to see. (Just let us know and we will make a plan to meet up with some of the others of you the next time around!)
We don’t want to bore you with the details, but as a quick packing recap, I do not necessarily recommend trying to fit one’s (or two’s) life (lives) into checked and carry-on baggage. But, if you must, remember that compromise is key. Some of you will be excited to know that Nathan managed to bring a few board games and I snuck in my wind chimes. Also, a carry-on is a great place to pack 45+ pounds of surgical textbooks, but bear in mind that you might get stopped by security because the books are apparently thick enough that you will be suspected to be hiding contraband in them. Also bear in mind you should bring a strong fellow traveler to place it in the over-head bin without dropping it on someone’s head/looking suspicious.
Flights were uneventful but long, with no transfer or layover issues. I slept a good bit, watched a movie I would recommend (A United Kingdom), and enjoyed talking with some Liberians who were also headed home. Nathan (who I regularly peered at between the seats) appeared to enjoy napping and playing games.
When we arrived in Liberia we were greeted warmly by both the people at the airport and the climate. The heat and near-oppressive humidity hit us at once, even though it was after 9pm local time, making our jackets we had worn onto the plane seem utterly ridiculous. By the time we were through the passport line, all of our bags had already been gathered into a group by the porters (the bags were all marked “ELWA Hospital” and I fully recommend this method) and we were so excited to see that all of our bags had arrived with us! We traversed customs quickly with the help of the porters with no issues. It was a testament to us of the quality of care and reputation of ELWA that we, though strangers, were taken care of so well simply because we were going to ELWA Hospital.
We were met at the airport by both SIM and Samaritan’s Purse folks, the beginning of our beautiful blended-family experience. We are here with the post-residency program through Samaritan’s Purse and SP funded the rebuilding of the hospital, but we are seconded to SIM as they own and operate the ELWA compound and hospital. It is a somewhat confusing but beautiful thing, as what it essentially means to us is that we have lots of incredible people and two very reputable organizations watching out for us.
So here we are on the ELWA compound, house J-17. Our home sweet home. And sweet it is, above and beyond what we had expected or hoped. We were blown away with how much space we have and are praying that even now God would begin to allow us to use it for hospitality and His kingdom. We even have a spare bedroom with a bed already in it, just waiting for guests! Now accepting reservations with openings beginning March 2018. 🙂
The last two days have been a dazed flurry of arriving, unloading, unpacking essentials, attempting to reset our internal clocks (we are 5 hours ahead of EST), figuring out communication essentials (with Mrs. Nancy’s indefatigable assistance our phones are working and we have internet/email access as of yesterday afternoon so we would LOVE to hear from you!), and meeting oh so many people, both expats and Liberians. This morning (our first day without any schedule or agenda given that it is Saturday), we were able to sleep in and awoke to the sound of the ocean and children playing. We will attend church tomorrow and have meetings again on Monday. I am still awaiting my interview date to appear at the Liberian Ministry of Health in order to obtain my Liberian medical license before I will be able to begin work. Prayers for an expeditious process are greatly appreciated as I am excited to begin working as soon as possible.
Admittedly, it’s only the very beginning of our time here, but it is such a blessing that things so far are exceeding everything we had expected. What we can say with complete confidence is that God has watched over our going out and our coming in, and we fully trust that He will, both from this time forth and forevermore (Psalm 121:8).
Here’s a fun random pic since we are random people:
We arrived back home to this little guy sitting in our living room last night. Per Nathan, his name is Carlton. We had a little visit, a photo shoot, and then I caught him and put him outside. I think he was sad to leave… I could almost see it in his beady little eyes.
Please continue to follow along as we share more stories and pictures from our Liberian adventure as it unfolds! We can’t wait to discover Liberia with you.