April 1, 2010
Here on Mount Zion the LORD Almighty will prepare a banquet for all the nations of the world—a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine. Here he will suddenly remove the cloud of sorrow that has been hanging over all the nations. The Sovereign LORD will destroy death forever! He will wipe away the tears from everyone’s eyes and take away the disgrace his people have suffered throughout the world. The LORD himself has spoken.
-Isaiah 25:6-8 (Good News Translation)
Dear Friends and Family!
What a busy, wonderful month! If I had to sum it up, it would be in two words…..transitions and visitors. George, a long-time Sierra Leonean staff member, and my small group co-leader, found out he was approved for a UK visa. He left a few days later to join his new wife there. We also waved farewell to Faye, who was Erin’s original Servant Team coordinator. She has invested the past five years of her life here in this community. Finally, Noah and Florence returned from their marriage leave and another staff member, Dan, arrived from the States to begin his three-year commitment with our community. Goodbyes are always difficult. It hasn’t been easy to see two long-term members of our community move on to their next calling and destinations. However, we treasure the memories and times shared. We recognize together that there are seasons and chapters in life and as we journey, we will all take our turn getting on and off this train called Word Made Flesh Sierra Leone.
We have also been busy and blessed with a number of visitors this month. David Chronic, our friend and regional coordinator from Word Made Flesh Romania, visited our community for ten days. His visits are always encouraging and our spirits were lifted as we shared and he encouraged us in the areas of evangelism and the prophetic. David, and all of our visitors have been thrilled to see the new ministry center, Ale’ Ale’ House of Hope. We are encouraged and blessed to see the shared enthusiasm for this step we have taken as a community.
We were also blessed by a wonderful enthusiastic team of eight midwest moms. One of them, a supporter and friend of WMFSL for several years now, put together a team of friends to come and see what God is doing in our community here in Freetown. They were only here for five short days, but they drank deeply of Freetown sights and sounds. In my time here, I haven’t seen a team which matched their enthusiasm and passion for what we’re doing here. They asked deep, meaningful questions and committed to not forget Kroo Bay and Sierra Leone upon their return to the States. What a blessing!
We are also in the middle of a month-long visit from my brother Matt and his wife Kristen. They have been staying with us and we have been blessed by their company and encouragement. We have been able to do day-to-day life with them without trying to rush a visit into 10 days. Keyara has loved having her uncle and aunt to play with at all times.
Day to day life in Freetown is definitely challenging!! Let me try to portray life here for those who haven’t had a chance to travel. Four weeks ago now, we changed the lock on the front gate at the ministry center. We asked for a volunteer from the staff to go and cut sixteen new keys so everyone could have a copy. The next day we returned with the copies and began passing them out to staff only to find out that not a single one of them worked in the lock. So fast forward four weeks later… Tomorrow a staff member is on their EIGHTH trip back to the lock smith to finish up the last two keys that still don’t work after all these trips back and forth. This is how a ninety minute errand can turn into hours and hours of work.
We share the house we stay in with a German family (and Matt and Kristen who are currently visiting). We live a few minutes up on a hillside and public water does not reach up to our house secondary to the low water pressure. During the dry season, we rely on a water truck once a month to fill up our tanks, so we have water at our house. We called for water two weeks ago only to find out that the water tanker was in the shop broken down! Needless to say the prospect of the nine of us going without water was a bit alarming. Trust me, you don’t want to go to bed in Freetown without both you and your spouse taking at least one bucket bath at the end of the day!! Needless to say, our dirty laundry has been piling up. We are managing on twenty gallons of water a day by fetching water with taxis. We use almost every gallon twice, once for washing, doing dishes or cooking, and a second time for flush water. So you can be praying for the water truck to be fixed. You can get some idea of how much extra work is involved in just living here. We try to laugh at things lest we cry. Usually there is already enough stress to go around. 🙂
So thank you guys again for journeying with us. Thank you for sharing our joys and sorrows, ups and downs. The work is good and it is rewarding, but it’s not easy. Pray for continued grace for each other and for the day-to-day circumstances that meet us. We do love hearing from you guys. Please consider dropping us an email this month if you get a chance. Let us know how we can also be praying for you.
With Love and Gratitude,
Chris, Erin and Keyara Harrell