Monday, November 12, 2012

Affirm This

Affirm This. A couple months ago I served as a cocktail server for an event that cost…well let’s just say…more than my wedding will probably cost. Hundreds of family members and friends gathered together to lavishly celebrate a birthday. There was a DJ, dance floor, open bar, buffet of appetizers, buffet of main entrĂ©es, coffee bar, desert bar…you name it…they had it. It was a party I wished I was attending as opposed to serving, for sure! As I went table to table checking on guests, and pushed my way through the crowd to serve trays of food and drinks I nodded my head to the music and wished I could join everyone on the dance floor. It was a fun party, but it was a long night as the one serving. Their birthday celebration did not end until 1:30, which meant the staff and myself did not leave until 2:45am. As I bussed all of the tables and began carrying platters back to the kitchen, I stacked the dishes by the dish washing station…and then I noticed him…Emmanuel*, the man who washes all of our dishes. I've noticed him before. I've introduced myself, said hello...but much of our interaction has been quick as I've hurried back to my guests. As I stacked the dishes in my hands for him to wash, I carried on my usual interaction: smiled and said thank you. In broken English he hurriedly said, “You’re welcome.” I couldn’t help but pause for a moment and lock eyes with him. This sixty something year old man, wrinkles beginning to form around his eyes, sweat gathering on his forehead…I thought to myself…I wonder what his story is. I wonder if he has a wife waiting at home. Children? Grand children? What did he do before this job? Has he worked here long? And then the big question that truly pierced my heart…when was the last time someone affirmed him in his hard work? The dishes stacked higher and higher and higher…was his heart racing? Was he wondering when he’d actually get home tonight? Does this happen most nights? I turned around and returned to gather more dishes. By the time I came back the dishes had stacked even higher and as I set my dishes down and began organizing them to make it a little easier on him…my heart had to move a bit…I went around to Emmanuel…placed my hand on his shoulder. He jumped. Startled. I said, “Thank you so much for your hard work.” And I smiled, locking eyes with him. He looked at me stunned. And after a moment. Said, “Thank you, mi preciosa.” Now, my thanks did not make Emmanuel’s work load any lighter…my thanks did not do much of anything…some might argue it just made me feel better. BUT, I would argue…that what it did do was validate Emmanuel and affirm him as a man working by my side. What it did was make him a real person to me. And it made me a real person to him. It put us on an even plane. There is a huge amount of separation in our culture. I saw it on perhaps a more exaggerated level when I traveled abroad, but I’m seeing it every day now right here where we live. How do we bridge the gap? Affirmation and validation. A simple touch. A simple word of thanks. A simple word of recognition. Has the potential to bridge the gap between server and dishwasher…Manager and Employee…Child and Adult…Educated and Less educated…Homeless Man and Businessman. I’m learning that part of opening our eyes to the need in the world and part of just playing the part of a person here on this planet is to truly look around and see…who am I ignoring…who can I affirm…who can I validate? It starts here…Affirmation…it paves the way and invites true change to begin to emerge. Striving to Affirm those I connect With, Regina *Name in this story Change for Privacy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Agape: love. a commitment to do good to someone else. To regard someone in such a way that you commit to their good.  When there were 99 sheep and one was missing Jesus went to find the one. He pulled in the sheep and said you are mine. Thats the love of God.... taking initiative. Love. Reaching out and loving others even in your time of hurt. Thats what God did..... he took initiative.  I read 1 John 4:7-21 this weekend and almost fell off my chair. It hits you hard..... read it slowly. You see, Love is a God-thing, and it shows up in people who are born of God and know him. God's love in Christ, took initiative to meet our greatest need...... he DIED for OUR sins. His love that is expressed among his people displays the fullness of his presence.  Verse 12 says..... No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.  I don't know about you but its hard for me to believe in a God that I can not physically see. I don't know with 1000000% of my being that he exists..... but you know what? I see God is others, I see God in the youth that I work with each week...... I see God in the miracles that he creates, the sun that he brings us each morning, the skyline that I drive past each day, and the ways he works in my life. I see Gods love in an entire new perspective when I realize how huge his love is for us. I look at the word love in an entire new perspective when I understand how precious this word is.  LOVE- a commitment to do good to someone else. To regard someone in such a way that you commit to their good. Doesn't God do that to us each and every day? We don't deserve that. We fail him daily.  Lets look at the word love in a different way...... "We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another." 1 John 3:16  We fail God daily. The LEAST we could do is to show our love for him by radiating it to others, and laying down our life for him. If we as his people don't get this message right we are sending the wrong message to the world and failing to show who God is. WE are a family of love. Lets continue to love one another so that we can sense that God is among us.  How often do we say "oh i LOVE starbucks..... or i LOVE that movie." What does that kind of love mean? I can bet it doesn't mean the same kind of Love that God has for us. Why do we use the word Love so lightly? Love is love..... it shouldnt have so many meanings. Is that failing God? Shouldn't love be forgiving those who have hurt you, or holding onto God when you feel like you have nothing left to hang onto? Guard this word of love. Treat it with the utmost respect. Lets guard this word of love shall we? When we say "I love you" or "I love that ....." Think of Gods love.... and if it compares....... than say it like you mean it. I think it's safe to say…. that I truly LOVE all of the supporters that God has brought Firefleyes….. remember that you are truly cherished and truly loved. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

God, bring it on....

Its been over a month since our team arrived home from Africa. I have gotten a lot of requests for posting a blog. Questions have been coming up..... "Why didn't you post while you were over there" "Why have you not posted since you have been home"
My answer is this...... How do i begin to post what im witnessing while im over there? How do i put together words when i come home to paint some sort of picture for you all? Its a battle I wrestle with God each and every day.... HOW do I tell the story? How do I begin to tell you about baby Mabinty that i held in the hospital during her lasts breaths...... how her mother could not afford her blood transfusion so she was out on the streets trying to find money...... I paid for her transfusion...... 30 dollars. Is she still alive? probably not. How do i tell you about the slum we visited...... can't really call it a slum, i would call it a garbage dump..... literally. How do i describe the smell that overwhelmed me, or the children digging through the garbage trying to find a scrap of food to bring home to the family for dinner....... can't believe this happens? well it does, cause i saw it...... a young boy next to me found an onion peel, smiled, and ran back to his home to show his mother what he got to eat that night. How do i describe to you the sweet sweet sounds of the children in the villages singing the good news of Jesus....... the way they praise their father with every part of their being, or the way the lift their hands as they pray without giving a care in the world who was watching. Have you ever seen a 5 year old stand in front of his peers and give his testimony of what the Lord has done in their life? Probably not. Amazing isn't it? How do I tell you about the people that have forever changed my heart..... Auntie Alice, Aunty Marie, Osseh, Quami, my amazing team, the people in the villages, the hundreds of children that looked into my eyes in the week we were there.

Its not all depressing..... you see, God has this profound way of finding hope in the midst of tragedy..... want to hear about all the HOPE God gives in Sierra Leone? I saw HOPE when our team danced for two solid hours in the dark of night with 86 children at the center (talk about dripping in sweat!!) I saw HOPE when we took the afternoon to walk up and down the streets to pray with whoever we saw, to tell them the good news of Jesus...... HOPE when pastor daniel gathered children in the village to tell them who God was, and to then watch them accept him as their Lord and Savior.... and clap with excitement.......imagine that. HOPE was radiating once again when our team visited an orphanage off the beaten path. Two teenage girls half way across the world became my sisters that day..... and we will forever have a bond that again..... i can't describe to you. HOPE washed over the church service when a teenage girl who had suffered from a dark past because of the choices she made recommitted her life to Christ in front of hundreds of people.....HOPE is found in tragedy... and that is what we learn from people who live in poverty.

I can tell you this...... God is working, and he needs our help. He wants our hearts to break for what breaks his so that we can then do HIS work, with OUR hands. I can tell you that his love for you is a love we will never be able to comprehend. I can tell you that in Sierra Leone i felt angels among us every step of the way. I saw angels among us in the faces on the streets...... Have you ever met an angel?.... an angel who has punctured your life? Has this angel changed your life but also brought you closer to God? I can tell you that God wants you to reach out. Do the small things to show God's great love at work. Simple things done with great love will change the world. Your service power is not based on who you are, but who Jesus is through you. Based on that, i can tell you that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, and that when we offer ourselves to others, we offer ourselves to Christ.

Go.... right now. Pray about it. Sit with it.... and figure out where God wants you to serve. I promise it will fulfill your life in a way that you never saw possible.... Don't be average. Don't just Take your passion.... and do something to impact the world.

Sitting with a heavy heart tonight as i miss my other family in Africa right now... But feeling inspired as to what God has up his sleeve next. If Challenges are what we live for then this is what i have to say..... God, bring it on.

Love to you,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Darkness Cannot Overcome Darkness

Last week an insurmountable amount of people lost their lives and homes in floods and tornadoes across the Southeast. Entire communities have banded together to pick up the pieces that lay around them. Yesterday afternoon I went to a Welcome Home party for a friend whose home sustained extreme damages in the Nashville Flood of 2010. A year later, groups of people who gathered just a year before to help this family in rebuilding efforts, were now celebrating in the joy of restoration. What do these situations have in common? Light overtaking the darkness. In the midst of darkness...someone grabs ahold of light and way, unfathomable will not take away my light. You will not overcome me.

On my last trip to Sierra Leone Bethany and I shook the hands of a man who has taken a huge part in the suffering of others. The weight on my chest I felt in his presence made me feel physically ill. But upon meeting him...all I heard in my head was, "Don't you judge him, he has a story too." Where does brokenness come from? Gosh, I'll never answer that question. But, I think a better question could be when does brokenness thrive and produce more brokenness? When we give negative energy to an already negative situation.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‎"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Our nation has been engaged in a War on Terror for the past 10 years. As of yesterday evening it was announced that Osama Bin Laden, public enemy number one had been killed. A man responsible for the death of more than my brain can fathom, and shed darkness on so many lives had now been killed. A nation rejoiced.

I preface my future remarks by saying, I grew up for the first eleven years of my life as the child of an Air Force Officer and almost every male member of my family has served in the United States Military, including my cousin who graduated from West Point and now serves in Afghanistan. I take pride in the work our servicemen do because they give of themselves for the betterment of others. They humbly give of their lives. BUT...there it is...yep...there's a but...I cannot and will not rejoice in the death of a man. I will lament in the brokenness that was in his heart and the damage produced. But in order to squelch the darkness...we must overwhelm the situation with light.

My thoughts over the past few hours are in no way eloquent. I've tried to come up with some quip statement to really drive the point home. But my heart hurts. My heart hurts because just days and even moments after wrapping the darkness of those close to me in light...the negative energy produced by this one man was met with more...negative energy.

We all have a story. We all have a reason for where we have come in our lives. If I were to lay my brokenness on a table in front of you...lay out all of the negative things about myself, all the terrible situations that have occurred in my would provide insight to others as to why I respond and act the way I do. It may not excuse it. But others would certainly understand where I come from. And beyond that...I certainly hope that my brokenness would be viewed by others through a lens of love rather than hate and judgement (ESPECIALLY by the people who claim to live for a Savior who exhibited nothing BUT light.) I certainly hope each one of my inadequacies would be met by others with, "So now what...? Let's move forward." Osama Bin Laden has a table of brokenness too. He did beyond terrible things. I don't excuse any of his actions for a moment, but instead of throwing parties, instead of shouting "USA ALL THE WAY!" Perhaps we should be covering the families of those affected by the last 10 years (and the years that we still have ahead) in LIGHT...and I don't know...perhaps covering Osama himself in light and saying, "So now what...? Let's move forward." Let's move forward with LOVE AND LIGHT!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life is Beautiful

I get stressed out a lot. I don’t know why really. Because I have a lot to do? Because the things I’m doing are somehow so important that they necessitate me freaking out? As I sit in here Sierra Leone…I’m confused. The past two days have been so busy. But they have been the most joyful. Sure there was a moment during Arts and Crafts day yesterday where we had 25 boys running amuck, not paying attention that I thought I might loose my cool for a moment. But then I took a deep breath. In and out. I forget to breathe. Even if I don’t show it on the outside, sometimes inside my head I want to punch something when my to-do list is too long or the traffic is not fast enough or the man in line at the store does something that annoys me, or something doesn’t go my way. What does any of it matter? Just breathe. There’s a youth pastor named Rob Bell that did a series of videos called ‘Nooma’ videos and one of my favorites is entitled ‘Breathe.’ He says God is as close as the air we breathe. Each breath we take in and out we can feel the very existence of the God who created us. The exuberant fun we have had the past few days has reminded me just that!

Yesterday we had ‘Arts and Crafts Day’ at the center. We took each room group after nap-time and gave them a wooden cross to decorate with paint pens, glue and colorful beads! It was meticulous to organize, but it went well! Grandma Linda and Stacey stayed in the back of the room and painted the girls fingernails and toenails and the boys played outside while they waited on their turn…at the end we had 70 some odd decorated crosses drying on the balcony! It was so awesome watching each of them decorate their cross in their own unique way. Encouraging them, helping them. It was so great!

Then this morning we finished the playroom!! All of the bins are organized, nursery rhymes hanging on the walls, dress up clothes hung on colorful hooks, encouraging words and animal faces hung on the wall, stuffed animals aligning the book shelves…it’s exactly how we envisioned it! We had an arts and crafts table made for the main room and hung a mural on the wall of Noah and the Ark with a heading that says “God Keeps His Promises.” And tomorrow we’ll finish off the whole project by finishing our “Reading Corner” where there will be encouraging Bible Verses hanging from a fish net along the wall! We broke it in by giving the teen mom’s a break and bringing their babies up to draw and play with puzzles. Regina and Mariatu are the two teen mom’s at The Center. They each have two children. Once they joined us with their kiddos we gave each of them a purse with nail polish, perfume and lotion and gave the toddlers some dress up clothes. Then…the dance party of all dance parties began! Dancing with them was nothing but pure joy. Unabandoned joy. Nothing better.

This afternoon we also went to “Sports Day.” Sports Day is a huge event that each school puts on. There are 7 of the older kids at the center who go to Secondary school and participate in many of the track and field events. We got to go and sit in the stands and watch them run, jump, relay etc…I have never felt more like a proud mother than I did today! We cheered the loudest…our kids were the best…and I’m sure that Isatu has a future as an Olympic Athlete in the Long Jump! Encouragement. Another incredible uninhibited, joyful, stress free experience. The thing I noticed the most was how beautiful it was watching two of the heads of the Center, Pastor Daniel and Uncle Daniel, encouraging the kids and playing the role of “Father” for them as they competed. Don’t you remember how it felt to look in the stands when you were younger and see your parents cheering you on? Or if you didn’t play sports…to look out in the audience out of the corner of your eye and see them watching you perform? It was the best wasn’t it? You never felt more proud. Take a breath! Life is beautiful!

The past two days I have been constantly reminded of every breath I take. And how joyful that is. Not stressful. Joyful. It’s in the moments when we breathe, sit back and just enjoy the fullness of life that we are captivated by our very existence! What if each day we took a moment to dance around uninhibited? What if we took time to encourage the people we care about…but tend to forget about because we are constantly going…because we don’t breathe. To forget the stress of our to-do list or forget the little annoyances that we make a huge deal in our mind and just live.

Tonight we went to prayer time with the teen mom’s and their caretaker Auntie Alice asked me to explain why I think a relationship with God is so wonderful. I smiled and looked down into the big brown eyes and smile of the adorable little 2 year-old baby girl, Zainab, that I held in my arms and had my answer right in front of me. When I look into the eyes of a child, up at the stars, the moon, the sky…every thing…every specimen…every molecule…all the life around me…I know without a doubt that I have a relationship with unconditional light and love…that no matter what darkness may come to me or anyone around me that there is light and assurance of a God who is so powerful, so mighty that he gave us life. He breathed into us. And if he breathed into me…shouldn’t my response be to breathe in each day to the fullest? Why stress? Why not just live out beauty? Life is beautiful. ☺

Hope You See the Beauty in Your Life Today,


P.S. For all my theological and seminary minded friends….I apologize for my constant use of the ‘masculine’ in reference to God…you may insert whatever gender you feel necessary to encompass his magnitude. ☺

Take Your Love Wherever You Go

Here is a recap of the past couple days:

This whole morning consisted of me sleeping in bed with a stomach bug. I was not feeling the greatest so I resorted to my top bunk bed. Jesus healed me and after my nap I was golden ☺ We created a play room for the kids in the guest house. The TRS guest house is just one building down from the orphanage where all the kids are so it works great to create a play room at the guest house for a group of kids to just walk over anytime to play! Thanks to all of YOU and your crafty donations we were able to create a FUN playroom with crafts, pictures, costumes, books, trucks, baby dolls…. You name it, we had it! We can’t wait to bring them over to play; it will be SO wonderful for them to just be kids. It turned out so so cute! Pictures to come! After we did that we walked over to the center to do some arts and crafts with the kids. We had brought small wooden crosses with us so they all painted and applied beads to them. We explained that the cross represents Jesus dying for us on the cross and taking away our sins, and all the colors and beads remind us that Jesus rose from the dead and his love is now so beautiful and everlasting. They had such a blast being creative. Most of them didn’t understand the concept of applying glue or how it is used. It was so fun to watch on my end while the kids explored their creativity and make something special all on their own.

Later that night we were all really hoping for some water. The pipes broke here at the guesthouse so we have been without running water this whole trip. Bucket baths feel AMAZING at the end of the day! Most nights the security guards or some of the workers at the center would go get buckets of water for us to wash with, but last night we didn’t have any. I walked down to where the teen mothers were sitting outside and asked where the water source was so I could go get myself some water to wash up with. Regina, one of the mothers said she would go with me. We walked down a rocky hill….she was a pro! She laughed at me because it took me so long to get down there. It was dark so I was terrified! I asked her, “Regina, is there snakes down here?” She said yes, and laughed very hard when I grabbed on tight to her! After filling the buckets with water I asked if I could help her carry it up the hill. Without any hesitation she lifted the heavy bucket of water and carried it on her head all the way up to our bathroom. It was the sweetest gesture, and it meant so much to me to have something to wash up with that night. Those few minutes really opened my eyes…… these people work so hard here. We take everyday common occurrences for granted every single day of our lives…..running water, flushing the toilets, driving in the car, and having a roof over our head…. The list could go on and on. We don’t have to walk miles to go get water to drink or bath in, or walk the streets a lone as a young child with no one to love us. Look around you people…. You are so blessed.

Today was the best day of my life. We spent the entire day with the teen mothers that live downstairs with their children. Both of these girls are 20 (just like me) and we bonded so much today. We gave them purses, painted their nails, gave them perfume, and did girly things with them all day. They LOVED it. It was so rewarding to laugh, sing, and dance with them all day….. it was just like spending a day with my girl friends back at home. We share such a tight bond and can’t wait to see each other again. It was the most fun I have had in a long time. We ended the day with them by sitting on the porch with their care giver auntie Alice, their two friends Emmanuel and Santos, the babies, and the Firefleyes team and sang worship songs and prayed. We prayed for thanks and we prayed for the broken. The most special moment was while we were singing and praying I was holding 3 year old Daniel in my lap. I was holding him tight and praying in his ear. It took my breath away sitting with my brand new friends, and sitting under the stars in Sierra Leone. Thank you God….

There is a day dedicated each year all across Sierra Leone to each school hosting a “sports day.” To us in America it would be like a track and field day. Some of the older kids at the center go to school out in the community and don’t attend school with the rest of the kids at the center. The older kids participated in the sports day today. We went to go and cheer them on and MAN was it fun! I felt like a proud mother screaming and yelling for all our little kiddos as they were running around the field! All the locals were looking at us “white people” like we were crazy and plugging their ears. They must not get into sports and cheering on their kids like us Americans do ☺ It was such a great time!! I was so proud!

Tomorrow is our last day in Sierra Leone. I am sitting on the balcony tonight under the stars and looking over all of Freetown reflecting on the past week. I am so grateful to our Lord for bringing these precious people into my life. They will forever be in my heart. Until we all meet when I get back …. I will part with this story to sum up this past week……. Today as we were getting organized and fixing up the playroom we were playing fingerprints of God by Steven Curtis Chapman. I was singing the words right as Auntie Marie (our cook) was walking by. I stopped her and gave her a big big hug and sang these lyrics right in her ear. I then asked if she knew how loved she was. You see…. These people truly are the fingerprints of God. They reflect his love and his grace in their everyday life. Praise God for them….. they have shaped my life in more ways than I ever thought possible….

Taking my love everywhere I go,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All you need is Love...

All you need is Love…

I have been slowly writing small portions of a blog everyday. I have not had time to post them, so thought I would compile them all together in one blog. So here it goes…

Today I met my angel. Today I met the inspiration to get me through the hard days when I head back to the United States. Today I met the biggest miracle I believe God has ever created…… Today I met little Lucy…. Who stole my heart forever. Let me fill you in on Lucy’s story so you can understand my love for this young girl.
Lucy was found abandoned on the beach as a newborn, and seemed to be handicapped. After she was found she was taken to an orphanage that thought of handicapped children as “abnormal” or a “curse.” She was left in a corner for days after days, while her body was withering away. No food, no water, and absolutely no love. After many months Lucy was finally saved and brought into the arms of TRS. Lucy has made SO much progress and now smiles, giggles, WALKS, and can respond to the things we say to her. What was once a girl close to being one of God’s angels is now a miracle in the making, and teaching ME how to enjoy my life for all that it offers. Lucy and I have bonded so much since meeting this week. She runs to me when I put my arms out and her laugh is SO SWEET! She giggles when I walk in the room and loves to play “peek a boo!” Tonight during prayer time before the kids went to bed I rocked Lucy to sleep. She snuggled right in my arms and I said a prayer in her ear thanking our awesome God for his child Lucy, and bringing this piece of joy into my life. I love Lucy with all my heart, and I think you can see why …… Praise God for this little bundle of joy.

I could go on and tell you how many days its been since I have showered, how unbelievably hot it is here, or how long its been since I have had a cold drink of water…… but all that seems so trivial when im surrounded by more love here in Sierra Leone that I never knew even existed. Recently my faith has been tested in so many areas of my life…. Being filled with doubt and worries that have made me question many aspects of my life. When I come to Sierra Leone all those doubts and worries go away… I see the Love of God in every single beautiful face and every smiling child. I find myself having more compassion and love for the people of Sierra Leone this time around. After my first trip I didn’t think my love could get any deeper for these people. They are all a family and always look out for one another. The love that surrounds me here is unlike any other. It’s truly a gift from God.

The guesthouse that our team is staying at runs a teen mom program. The moms and their children live in the basement of where we are staying. Today I walked down there and spent some time with the mothers and their children. Zainab and Hannah are little toddlers and boy are they CUTE!!! They giggle whenever they see me and run up to me to pick them both up. Today Zainab and Hannah sat on my lap out on the porch. (Keep in mind our guesthouse over looks the ocean and is on top of the hill to see all of Freetown) We laughed and played and laughed and played. I remember thinking in those moments that life could not get any better. I also spent some time with the teen mothers and we totally bonded. I asked how old they were and we all came to the realization that we are “sisters for life” because we are all 20! We shared a sister hug and prayed for one another. We thanked God for bringing together his sisters in Christ no matter their skin color and no matter where they live. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know these beautiful girls that I can now call my sisters …..

There is something really humbling about waking up in the morning in Sierra Leone, walking out to the balcony of our guesthouse that over looks the ocean and Freetown, and hearing 80 beautiful children next door singing and saying good morning to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m in Africa. Friends, can I tell you something? We don’t have the kind of love Sierra Leone has back in the US….. we don’t have the kind of respect and compassion for one another as the people do here….. and we sure don’t have the zest for life that comes across here. How is that possible?? We have EVERYTHING we could ever want, and still choose to complain, and treat each other with complete disrespect. The people of Freetown live in garbage, have no roof over their head, and wonder everyday when their next meal will be, yet they have Christ inside their heart and it shows so much.. Its unbelievable. They give thanks to God for everything that they have in their life and praise him for all the blessings he gives them. How cool is that? THAT’S love and THAT’S compassion. We can learn a lot from them ……. I know I have.

Today was beach day! We had a BLAST! It was such a treat to watch the kids truly having so much fun…. They swam and swam and swam alllll day long. They are exhausted now, and so are we! It was the most beautiful beach I had ever seen in my life. Regina and I taught the girls cartwheels, leaps, toe touches, and all kinds of dancing moves. They LOVED it! There was one point while I was sitting in the water with children all around me and I looked up at the sky…. And had to pinch myself to be reminded that I was in Africa. Could it get any better than that? I feel like this trip is just filled with so many of Gods blessings. I am so grateful for the people of Sierra Leone and the love and friendship I share with them. I feel as if I have a family in the United States and a family in Sierra Leone, and I love them just the same.