Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Home again!

Well, things have slowed down quite a bit since we arrived back in Ohio. I know that I said that I'd have one more post after I got home, but I realized that there just isn't much to say. It is good to be home, but we weren't really ready to leave Africa, so homecoming is a bit anticlimatic.
It is amazing how much food we have here. Not only how much, but how huge of a variety we have! I don't think I've ever thought before about how many choices we have and how much is available here in the good ole USA. We have nearly endless choices in the meat department, dairy department, vegetables, fruit, etc, etc. In Guinea, meat is a rarity, and processed or pre-packaged foods are almost non-existant. Most everyone there eats only two meals a day, and they will most generally be rice with some kind of sauce made from meat, peanuts or leaves over the top. The rice is so gritty from threshing and drying it on the ground that a lot of peoples teeth are ground down from the constant grinding of dirt with each meal. Anyway, we have no idea what a blessing (?) it is to have so much food! Moise always chuckled when we said "it's time to eat". He points out that Americans eat when it's "time", not when they are hungry or need food. In Africa, you eat to fill an empty stomach, not simply because it's "time".
But the biggest question going through our mind is.....where do we go from here? God has clearly placed a bit of our heart with the people in West Africa, and it seems like it would be nearly impossible not to stay involved. Without a doubt, we are completely trusting in God to lead us into whatever the next step is. At this time we are looking down the road at the likelyhood of a big need developing when Hope Medical Clinic decides they have enough money to start a new maternity facility. At this time they are thinking that they'll be ready to start the project in about two years so that gives us a little time to decide how involved we will be. Our hearts would like to consider going over for a long enough stay to help move the project from start to finish, but we're not sure if that could be a reality or not. Without a doubt, we couldn't undertake a long term stay without our friends and supporters. We want to say a HUGE thank you to each of you that have supported us and prayed with us up to this time! We'll likely publish an update down the road when we see future needs or when we have a better idea of what our future looks like with the ministry God has called us to in Guinea. Until then, thank you for your part in our journey, and let's each exalt the name of Yahweh and his only Son as we look to them for direction for our future!
God's greatest blessings to each of you,

Brian, Sandy and family

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time to leave :(

Well, the time that we have been dreading is here, it's time to leave and go home. It is going to be quite difficult to leave when we have such a huge part of our hearts here. I'm not going to miss sleeping under mosquito netting, never touching any water unless it's filtered or boiled, speaking in "signs and wonders" (waving your hands around and wondering if they get it) and several other things like that, but I'm sure looking forward to many of the reasons home is home. We have been here for two months and now it's seeming more like home here also, so much so that it would seem unnatural not to think about the next trip.

This photo shows the market where Sandy shops each week for our basic foods. There are quite a few options, but the question is whether you'd want to eat it or not. Every market day is a walk of faith.

Sara has been helping out a little more at the clinic. She has been working alongside another nurse here, taking vitals and helping with other tasks around the clinic. She has really enjoyed the variety of things she has done here and is quite certain that they are going to need her in the future :)

Last Sunday we spent the whole day driving about an hour to see the beginnings of a huge Iron ore mining operation. An Israeli company is partnering with a Brazilian company to explore and eventually mine what they believe to be one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. They have been drilling and mapping this mountain for over two years and are just now getting the actual mining operation set up and started. They will be building a railroad into Liberia to take the shortest route to a deap water port for export. We spent part of the day on top of the mountain having a picnic.

This photo shows the patients watching the Jesus film while waiting their turn to be seen by one of the doctors or nurses.

To all of you that have helped support the tractor project, our trip and other small projects, thank you, thank you, thank you!! We have already put about 70 hours on the tractor and their are many projects yet to begin. It will help them get tasks done without having to spend as much on labor costs and managing the amount of labor it would take to do what the tractor can do. The vision at Hope is serving the needs of this part of the world and sharing the good news of Jesus through offering a medical service. It would be nice to hire local labor to do all of the work, but that just requires more management and minimizes the medical emphasis of the mission.

This past week has been spent wrapping up all of the many projects we've been working on. It was nice having more help with Jordan, Luke and Grant here, so we really made a lot of headway in one week. It is amazing how God has totally arranged this whole trip. When we booked the dates, we had no idea when would be the best dates and how long the trip should be. But the amazing thing is, because of some logistical challenges here, we couldn't have started our work any earlier, and it took us exactly two months to wrap up what needed to be done. There is no way we could have known, but it was exactly the right time and length of time for our trip and we can only praise God for having orchstrated everything as He has done. The photo to the right is of Luke building a new workbench in our shop.

On the other side, there are many, many more things to be done here at Hope. As the facility grows and more staff arrives, there are more and more needs that are very difficult to find local help to do. The goal is to train local natives to take care of all the day to day operation, but that also takes time. We are leaving with the deep feeling that we'll be coming back and helping to continue what God has obviously put in our path. We will likely be appreciative of any that would feel to partner with us on future projects, helping to serve these people in a muchly needed way. It's beginning to look like we should start learning French! :) The children that come here from week to week with many troubles and ailments, and then leave with a smile all say thank you to everyone that has helped contribute to the possibility of them receiving treatment with love!
Yesterday, while Jordan and I wrapped up a few things around the shop and clinic, Stephen took Luke, Grant, his son Matthew, Sara and Amos (the anesthesioligist's son) to Mt. Nimba, which is about 1 1/2 hours south of here, and they all climbed to the top. It is the highest mountain in West Africa, sharing a the border with Liberia and Ivory Coast. It was an all day trip and they brought back some incredible photos of scenery and wildlife and a few blisters.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 6:00 for the two day drive back to Conakry for our flight out on Wednesday evening. We arrive back home Thursday evening. We'll probably post once more when we get home. We'd appreciate your prayers for the journey!