Saturday, February 24, 2007

Welcome to Liberia!

I spent the last ten days working to get housing ready for a short term nurse, Grace, and a new family, Tom and Melanie Goodnow. My shoulders still ache from scrubbing walls and hanging curtains, but with a little help from my friends (thanks, Janna, Frieda, Bill, Sis Bindu, Morris, Eric and of course, Rick!) we had the places in pretty good shape – clean and well, almost everything, working…..we did our best.

The Goodnows are here for 5 months, and Tom will be in the OR, as a nurse anesthetist, also training ELWA Hospital’s OR assistants in anesthesia. They have 4 boys, one of whom (Joel) is Caleb’s age, so the two of them are now tethered to one another. The others are Tim (17), Nathan (4) and Daniel (2). Goto to see a picture. Please pray for all of us as we get the Goodnows settled in, because it is not a small thing to make such a big shift. They came from California, so they are still trying to get on schedule, and little kids just can’t force it the way we adults can. And then there is the whole deal of learning to cook with different foods, and coping without a washing machine (ours went down at Christmas and we won’t have new ones till the container comes, probably in April), and the heat and humidity, and the Liberian English, etc, etc. It’s just not easy. Seeing the reality again reminds me that we need to pace ourselves as we accept new missionaries and rebuild our team.

In addition to the Goodnows, we have Dr. Dave McLaughlin and Dr. Gene Birdsong (who came through Northwest Medical Teams) helping out at the hospital giving the docs a little relief from the workload; Hanna Cho and a friend, medical students from Korea; Grace Heister, Dr. Dave’s niece who is a nurse, and Cork Loken, a former ELWA Radio missionary here helping out the technicians! This is a big team (for now- they’ll all be gone by March 11)! It is certainly challenging our “small-time” methods of hosting and orienting people, and I am feeling a little guilty, like we are not really serving them like we should – having them for meals, touching base with them to see how their day was and what they are working on, what their questions and frustrations are, etc. I bet this is a lot like a pastor feels as his church gets bigger. But it is also an opportunity I guess, to let God be their guide, to let our national partners connect with our missionaries more directly, and to let our other teammates mentor and encourage the new folks as well.

Well, that’s all for now. I did actually go to the beach today, which means something like I am having a breather. It won't last for long - since we have more people coming next month and it's right around the corner!

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