Sunday, January 14, 2007

January Update

We sent this short update out last week. If you get it, sorry that you thought we had a new post and it's old news to you. If you don't get it, you can check here for monthly updates (about) or drop me an email to say you want to get it via email.

I'll write more soon.

Dear Friends –

Happy New Year! We’ve hit the ground running, with a construction team from Wheaton, Illinois, that arrived on January 3. They’ve already got most of the framing for the roof of the new Services Office Building in place (a couple of them arrived the 29th and got started with the Liberian carpenters the next day). In addition, we moved our SIM office to our new location on the ELWA compound this week. (Moved, but not really moved in- but it’s a step in the right direction.)

We enjoyed a great holiday with a nearly 2 week visit from Rick’s dad and his brother Doug and his family (wife Deidre, daughters Haley, Hannah and Maddi). There was lots of beach time, tours of Monrovia and ELWA and even a jaunt out of town (see our blog at for proof!)

It’s a little scary to face this, but our schedule for 2007 is very quickly filling up. We have a steady stream of people coming over the next 6 months, for a variety of reasons. Medical students, short-term docs and nurses, radio consultants, teacher trainers, administrative consultants, and more. It’s even beginning to get tricky to be able to house everyone.

The logistics of getting all these people here and finding a place for them to sleep is a big enough task. But it looks like we will be really having to work a lot on our mentoring and support systems for all our new people, both short term and long term. We have been developing some materials for orientation, but they still need more refinement and some kind of structure to be a real “program” that will help get our new missionaries plugged in to their ministries and the Liberian culture. We want everyone to have a positive experience here but we’ve pretty much been flying by the seat of our pants during the lean years. Admittedly, we haven’t always been successful at that, and we’ll be even less so as we start receiving more people, unless we get more systematic about it.

We do love interacting with newly arrived missionaries -- we enjoy their enthusiasm and zeal for ministry and are happy to help them understand more about the people of Liberia and their way of life. But you can imagine that it is also a challenge to be involved with people as they get through the ups and downs of culture stress and adjustment, finding their niche in ministry and sometimes just growing in the Lord and as a person. Our prayer request this month is for the power of the Holy Spirit to uphold us and flow through in this role – to have love, and joy, and grace, and patience that really come from the heart of God towards our new missionaries and not to be relying our own strength.

These folks are expected in January and early February:
Frieda Schmidt – dental therapist, new SIM member from Canada (arrived 1/5)
Beth Larson – medical student, 5 weeks.
Hannah Cho and Eun Yung Ahn - medical students from Korea, 4 weeks
Tom and Melanie Goodnow, plus 4 – nurse anesthetist, 6 months
Gary and Tammy Dunseath, plus 3 – pastor’s training, new SIM members from USA

Pray for them and for us!
His Kingdom Come, Debbie Sacra

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