Everyone was up bright and early (4:00), Thursday morning. We flew from Chattanooga to Chicago (no problems). We had a 9 hr. Layover; had a great United assistant suggest that we stay in a lounge that was secluded and we could leave our carry-ons in when we went to eat etc. They even took us on a cart to our departure gate, an hour before departed (everything was looking great).
We boarded the plane for Brussels and right before we were to depart we had a deja vu moment for an hour. The planes ice maker was broken and we had to wait at the gate; this was going to eat into our 3.5 hour layover in Brussels. The clock was ticking and we were able to take off for a 9 hr. Flight.
Arrived in Brussels with no problems and began another 9 hr. Flight to Monrovia.
At the airport in Monrovia, had to wait in line (100 degree bldg.) To have our covid documentation validated, pay for a test and have the test administered. We were the very last 4 in line.
The biggest Blessing we could think of was our 8 checked bags were waiting on us. We breezed thru customs, with the help of a porter (she actually berated the customs officer, that had a question about one of our bags; she told her that we were on a mission and don't give us any problems).
Everyone was welcoming us to Liberia (everything great, right?).
Went out to meet our driver an transportation to Monrovia, they had not made it but we had a lot of people try to help us. Called the Missionary and he said there was a delay, road construction etc.
They showed up later and we made the 1+ hr. Trip to the UMC visitor compound.
Had a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs and fresh bread.
After Breakfast, David the Liberia country missionary, headquarters account took us to see some sites and buy some of the food for the VBS children’s lunch.
After returning to compound, started rearranging the bags and organizing them for when we needed the supplies etc.
Power has been out since 9:00 this morning so we will piggy back on Patty's internet to send updates.
Went Palm Sunday service and had a Heath lunch. Did catch a little of your 9:45 service.
Went back the airport and picked Priscilla and her sister up.
The road from the airport is under construction and what should be a 1 hr trip takes 2.
Got up early, loaded the van and went to the telephone store, battery store and went to see the bishop, he had been called out to
something important; we rescheduled for when we are back in Monrovia.
Started the 4hr drive to Ganta; 2 hrs into the trip we had a flat tire, the wrenches he had would not fit, had to get some help. It took 2 hrs. in the hot, hot sun to get it changed. Nevertheless we made it to the Mission station around dusk. Got the supplies and food together for Tuesday VBS.
Some of the lessons could be merged so everything could work.
Got up bright and early (6:00) and headed to vocational and Elementary school (45 min.) Picked up some additional items on the way.
Had a devotional with the children and divide into 4 groups.
It was a long day, and everyone is pretty tired by the time we got back to the UMC Ganta Mission guest house.
Time for bed!
Since the Tuesday document didn't have a lot of detail, will try to do it today.
Up and ready for breakfast at 6:00 (you may say that’s not a bad time to get up, but that is 2:00, our
time). At Ganta Mission Station guest house, breakfast is always fresh fruit (mango, papayas, bananas, pineapple, fresh yeast rolls, oatmeal or ice).
First thing we did was walk down to the gym, at the Mission Station, and attend their assembly.
After introduction Priscilla, introduced us to the new principle and some of the new staff that we didn't meet in 2018. Then we were off to Gipo.
The roads are under construction and the dirt is Georgia red clay, we have to keep the widows down, and at the end of the 45 min drive, you can guess what the dust has done to us. Before we arrive, the kids eat breakfast. A family at ELUMC generously donated the money for this. Thank you. Thank you!
We had divided into 4 groups, with the larges class being the kindergarten to 2nd (43), have around 124 total.
Today we covered another day of holy week, explaining the lead up to Jesus’s betray, trail, death and resurrection. Covered lessons that gave the children a chance to color, make crowns, learn the mission song.
Checked the pigs out at Gipo, vocational school, when we were ready to go. The heat today was horrible, had to be in the high nineties, with humidity (hot/hot/hot).
We weren't finished yet. When we got back to the Mission Station, we went to the palm oil processing, the Stations piggery (Bobby kissed the pig), the UMC Ganta nurse training facilities (found out a developer was encouraging on Mission Station property, and has been in the courts since 2017). Also went to the rehab center and craft store (picked up the crosses for the church and gifts for the family).
Just finished dinner (potatoes, rice, chicken, cucumbers, bananas, and dried bananas). All of us desperately need to clean up, but they are plans that need be finalized and copies made.
This turned out to be another busy day. The clock went off at 6:00am (2:00, our time) and it would been nice to roll over and sleep a little longer.
Ate a quick breakfast and went to a devotional that the temporary superintendent of the station has every morning. This probably was going to put on a tight schedule to Gipo.
Well that was just wish full thinking because on the way we stopped for gas, stopped for additional juice for the devotional, stopped at 3 more places to pick up helpers; so yes we were going to be late.
But you learn that they are on their time, so chill out.
By now everyone, with the helpers, were getting into a rhythm and even if you needed to deviate from what we planned for the day, it wasn't bad thing. Maybe we are chilling out.
The major thing on our agenda, since it was Mundy Thursday, was to have communion with the children and staff. We took enough of the sacraments for everyone, and Zach did the litany via a recorded message, thank you Zach.
After this we headed back to the Mission station house and evening we could rest because tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.
Good Friday 04/15/22
Had another excellent breakfast, included scrambled eggs.
Scheduled to attend the Hospital's morning devotional and present them their supplies. They were thrilled to receive them and thank us and ELUMC over and over, since they have so little.
It was looking to be the hottest day we had and it didn't disappoint (more on that later).
Headed to Gipo and yes we were going to be late. As always the ride was like a 45 minute roller coaster.
This was our last day for VBS so we were getting used to adjusting. We had 4 different classrooms
going on at once and not everything was not exactly the same, for instance the kindergarten through second we concentrated on telling the story of what happened on every day of holy week. The other
classes did concentrate (today) on the crucifixion and the resurrection and why it is important to the
Church and each individual to have eternal life. I think this got their attention, since we found out that the majority of these kids did not go to Church. We hope and pray, we touched at least one out of 100+. We even had a Easter egg hunt that none of them had ever done it, exposing the significance of the egg.
Did I mention it was miserably hot? - Back to that later!
At final assembly we listened to multiple school officials, Gipo Village officials, saw kids dance, sing
and was thanked over and over for coming over because no one had ever done this for them. The Gipo school is sponsored by UMC.
We thought we were going back to the mission station, but the Gipo Village had other plans. They wanted the whole Village to see and thank us. It was hot, hot, hot..
The village is a combination of block and clay homes, with either tin or thatched roofs (yes they
make their own blocks).
They showed us their ethnic dance, songs and a tour of village (Bobby and Patty) since the heat had
finally got to Charles. Both Bobby and Patty learned some new dance moves.
After leaving the village, we went back to the Mission station, it was a long hot, dusty drive.
Since Patty had not toured the hospital, her and Bobby went there with Priscilla. There were some wet eyes for seeing how little the hospital has and what they can provide to the patients.
Good night from Liberia