the power of one: stories from Liberia, West Africa

recently, i had the honor of delivering the message at my home church on Sunday morning. now, i’ve never been one to call myself a preacher, but i do know that God’s made me a storyteller.

i wish i could take all the words and the pictures and the feelings and the experiences and share them with you here, but somehow, it doesn’t do it justice.

but if you have 45 minutes or so, i’d … Read the rest

to my long-lost love

liberia, i have been missing you oh-so-fiercely as of late, missing you so deeply and true that i feel it in my bones, in the way they ache for you. i miss the heaviness of your air, the way it sits on my shoulders and seeps in through my pores. i miss the glare of your noonday sun and the blue of your sky; i miss the lush green of your tall grass, the red … Read the rest

love them like Jesus does

there’s this group of kids that i’ve known and loved and served for three years in Liberia. i’ve prayed with them, cried with them, laughed with them, walked through all sorts of situations and circumstances of life with them. we were family.

and then, one day, things changed. i went from seeing those kids every single week to having to walk away from them without any contact. there were valid and important reasons, to be … Read the rest

Robertsport retreat

Here in Liberia, a popular get-away destination for expats is Robertsport, a town close to the Sierra Leone border with beautiful beaches, good surf spots, and a laid-back lifestyle (especially compared with the busy bustle of Monrovia.) 

This past week, the Orphan Relief and Rescue gang took a three-day trip to Robertsport for a mini-retreat of sorts. There was team-building. Bonfires. Sunshine. Surf. Swimming. Exploring. Sunsets. Seafood. Relaxation. Sightseeing. It was the perfect way to … Read the rest

the fight

i’ve been doing a lot of thinking today. mainly because the reality that i’ll be back in Liberia in three weeks is fully setting in. and i’m thoroughly excited, don’t get me wrong. i’m heading back to a land of beautiful people, smiling faces, bright colors and hot sun. there will be hugs and handshakes, joyful reunions, familiar friends, and snuggling children. Liberia means all that…and more.

it’s the “and more” that i’ve been thinking

Read the rest

(this is an old post, but i am shamelessly recycling it. updated “life in Liberia” blogs to come in March 2012, when i FINALLY return to the field!)

so many of you have asked me what my life here in Liberia is like. the answer—often unexpected. rarely going according to plans. surprising. hectic. beautiful. challenging. rewarding. atypical. something like this:

wake up at about seven o’clock, often still tired from a night of sweating, tossing, … Read the rest

It’s now been seven months since I left Liberia, left behind a country and routine and job that had been my life for almost two years. In those seven months, so much of life has happened. Some of it has been good, some of it heartbreaking. It’s been seven months of constant emotion, of settling (but not really), of struggling to live an old life and be the old Elena that simply no longer…fits. I’ve Read the rest