Wednesday, January 4

Hi, all.

I promised an update on JoJo, and I’ll start today’s post with that. Julie and Fatu spent most of the day with her again today at the hospital. Her lab results leave a lot to be desired--they simply don’t have the medical technology needed to figure out specifically what’s wrong. But in a nutshell (and after conversations with doctor’s in the US), Julie is quite convinced that JoJo is in need of further medical care. She’s a very sick little girl... Nine years old and forty-four pounds. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that she’s far from thriving. Please continue to keep JoJo in your prayers, especially as we work with Emmanuel and Fatu to figure out what the best course of action is for her. Should she be treated in Ghana? Or the States? Is that even possible? We don’t know, but we covet your prayers as we continue to explore the options.

Although JoJo’s situation feels a bit all-consuming, we do have a limited time in-country and we have much to do... Therefore the rest of the team has continued to follow our itinerary. Here’s what we’ve been up to...

Yesterday, Brent and Nick spent some time with “Big Time Joe,” a member of Robert’s church and the person that we’ve been considering starting a mechanic shop and salvage yard with. They learned a lot and have much for us to consider after their morning with Joe! 

While Brent and Nick were busy with Joe, the rest of us traveled to New Dollo Town, a small township on the big Firestone plantation in Monrovia. We were able to see how Firestone operates (each worker is responsible to tap 700 trees a day--which usually requires the entire family to get up well before sunrise and work until sunset), and we spent some time with Abraham, the pastor of an Abide in the Vine church plant in New Dollo Town. Abraham amazed us with his passion for Christ and his commitment to his community. I think we all left feeling like we had spent time in the presence of greatness! Abraham showed us his church and home, and also took us to his garden--a small parcel of land that is a very long hike from his home. He grows cassava, corn, peppers, okra, and a few other things. His garden is completely at the mercy of the elements... And the tiny plants were a testament to the difficulty of raising a good crop without proper irrigation, pest, and weed control.

In the afternoon, the whole team (minus Julie because she was with JoJo) spent time meeting with and interviewing the pastors from the five branches of the Abide in the Vine churches. We fell deeply in love with each of them, and feel a strong call to help out in any way we can. We pray that God will raise up partners who share our vision for these amazing people, their churches, and their communities.

On to today... Today we all split up. Julie went to the hospital with Fatu and JoJo, Brent, Nick, Aaron, and Tim went to LEAD Liberia (a non-profit that specializes in micro-loans), and Todd and I spent the entire day at the orphanage updating the children’s records and photographing, videotaping, and interviewing every one of them. I can’t speak for anyone else, but today was a JOY! Todd and I worked hard for hours (and got pretty stinkin’ sunburnt) but it was worth every minute. I got to spend ten minutes one-on-one with each and every child at Christ Our Hope, and I feel like I got a pretty good grasp on their individual personalities, interests, and hopes for the future. For the first time since it’s inception, One Body One Hope will have (relatively) accurate, updated records! I can’t wait to share it with all of our sponsors. And I’m also excited to say that I have a few surprises for those of you who sponsor our kids... It’ll be a few weeks, but watch your email (snail mail?) for a gift from halfway across the world. (BTW, we still need a few sponsors, so it’s not to late to get in on the fun! Email me at if you’re interested.)

Well, I think that’s enough for now. We’re all exhausted, but we weren’t too tired that a LONG swim in the ocean didn’t sound like fun... We all played in the waves and body surfed for an hour or two when we got “home” to ELWA. (And I have a massive sand burn on my hip to prove that we caught some awesome waves!)

Thank you for your prayers! We feel them SO MUCH... This trip has been richly blessed in ways that we can’t even begin to comprehend. God is moving in big, BIG ways and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store. Wow. I. Am. Amazed.

To God be the glory, now and forevermore.