Monday, September 29, 2014

Twenty-two reasons to pray that the Ebola outbreak ends soon...

I think sometimes when we hear the news of faraway places, it's hard to care.
I understand. I do the same thing...
But the current news about Ebola and the potential it has to wipe out a whole generation of people in West Africa hits VERY close to home for me... for obvious reasons.
Today I want to introduce you to just a small sampling of my loved ones there and ask you to pray not only for them, but for their country and region.
Ebola isn't just a disease in a far off land... it's a disease that's just miles away from these beautiful people who are in my heart and on my mind every day.
This sweet little girl on the left is named Cecilia. Her mother was our cook while we
were in Banta this trip.
Cecelia is a little shy, but has the most beautiful smile.

Aminata is a beautiful, statuesque young woman who is waiting
to take her senior secondary school exams and hoping to go on to
university after the Ebola outbreak ends

Idrissa (Spengy) is one of our sons. He loves Michael Jordon and basketball,
but because the basketball courts got ruined, he now plays soccer almost every
afternoon. He aspires to be a neurologist AND a pastor.

Meet Becky - one of the youngest children in the Children's Home.
She is the sweetest little imp.

Jeneba is a dear, dear girl that I would sponsor in a second if she wasn't
already fully sponsored. She is thoughtful, kind, well-spoken and
extremely generous. I adore her.

Phillip is the newest of our sons, since we just sponsored him upon our return. He is
a quiet, hard worker. Asia fell in love with his personality and his work ethic. It wasn't
unusual to see Phillip by Asia's side... he latched on immediately after Asia told him
he wanted to sponsor him.

Henry is on staff at the Mallory Jansen Memorial School as the primary headmaster.
He is a young teacher, finishing up his schooling during school holidays. His
enthusiasm and leadership are absolutely infectious - and the example he is setting for the younger
children in the school is so powerful, since he grew up in a neighboring village and is
now employed and leading the school into the future.

Hawa... what can I say about this girl? She is one of the first faces any team
visiting will see, since she is on the welcoming committee. She always has a smile
on her face and is truly a light in her home. Her heart shows in the way she cares for
the younger children... she's a bright spot for sure.

This is Marie... who is a ball of energy... and full of laughter.
I love seeing her because I never know what funny thing she will
say next. Isn't she beautiful?

Mustapha is a wonderful young man that we met in 2011. He is from a neighboring
village and is currently studying to take the entrance exam into nursing
school. He has so much potential and we are so excited about his future!

Adamsay was Kyler's favorite child in the home when we went as a
family. You name it, she's full of it... laughter, energy, spunk... she's
a powerhouse that is stepping out as an amazing leader amongst her peers.

This is Capri... a young musician who leads the youth choir, helps with worship
at church and hopes to pursue a career in music. He is a strong leader.

This is another of our sons - Alhassan, and his twin sister, Assanata.
They are both currently needing additional sponsors. They are
such sweet kids...

Massah's laughter is identifiable from across the room... she is a tiny
little powerhouse of God's love. She is also waiting to take her senior secondary school
exams. Massah is one of Tejan's very best friends. Their relationship
brings tears to my eyes, the way they care for each other.

This lovely woman on the right is Esther. The last time we visited, Esther
sewed me a beautiful African dress in less than a week. She is currently
in vocational school studying catering. She is beautiful through and through.

Isatu is one of the shyest girls in the children's home... but my persistence
has paid off and I have such a sweet friend in this lovely teen. My parents sponsor
Isatu, which makes me so happy.

Here is Charles... the self-declared barber in the children's home. He is
hoping to study accounting after he passes his exams and goes to university.
He has a quiet strength to him... I believe he will accomplish much with his life.

This is Steve Michael. He had polio as a child and is confined
to his wheelchair. He lives in a neighboring village and hopes
to be a pastor someday. He is also studying and waiting for the
same exams.

On the left is Ali, the driver who managed to get us all over Sierra Leone in the rainy
season and with a van that really didn't want to run. He has four children and lives
miles away from his family in order to work and provide for them.

On the right is our dear friend Magnus Beah. Magnus is a pastor
and works for COTN as the in-country host. He is a problem solver, a people lover, a treasured
counselor and an amazing man of God.
And of course, this is Tejan. The boy who started it all for me... my son. My
treasure. My amazing gift of patience and perseverance and servanthood... I am
SO proud of who he is becoming. 
If you'd like to donate to help fight Ebola, providing protection and resources not only for these lovely people, but for the surrounding hospitals and villages, you can donate HERE. I sent a donation just this morning... will you join me?


  1. Anonymous9:18 PM

    I have really treasured following your story and helping learn about a part of the world unfamiliar to me. I donated tonight because I appreciate all that you and Asia are doing to be a positive influence in the lives of so many wonderful children. hmbalison

  2. Wow - thanks SO much... it means the world to me when people are moved and respond to this crisis in a tangible way. God bless!


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