Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas in Liberia

In case you missed it elsewhere, here's a look at Christmas for the kids in Liberia. Hope you enjoy Christmas and cherish the food and fun with family and friends. God bless.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I'm now editing for the third time an entry that just doesn't seem to want to come. I wonder what to write about and then, hours later (usually as I'm just about to fall asleep, but invariably when I'm out of reach of my computer), I'll think of a dozen things, each of which worthy of its own post.

- There's the obvious Christmas greeting, almost but not quite as overdue as last year's Dec. 29 email.
- There's the Christmas play I'm directing at a church here in town. (How I got into that, I have no idea; I could write an essay just figuring that little mystery...)
- There's the litany of AWESOME skin maladies that have come my way recently: ringworm on my foot, then two separate acid bug burns! (Very cool to watch how they start out like just a little red spot and then boil over then turn grey then get itchy. Completely backwards. But so engrossing, having a little Discovery Channel action right on my own skin...!)

But I think a better blog entry would have to be in regards to this book I'm reading, and the uncoincidences alongside it. The book is The Myth of Certainty, and it's all about navigating the narrow middle ground between the smugness of close-minded secular humanism and the smugness of close-minded, know-it-all, religious Christianity. The author does a fantastic job of striking a balance (offending both sides in equal measure), writing to a minority he calls 'reflective Christians'. These are people unafraid on answerless questions, insatiable minds with the humility to admit they don't know but the rigor to always demand More.

In the midst of reading my own testimony in its pages, I've been meeting new friends and having new conversations with old friends seeking earnestly for More, yet unable to stomach the religiosity and/or hypocrisy of church.

To be perfectly honest, it's hard to know what to say. Most of the time, I have no stinking clue, and that's the best answer I can give. (That's the answer I wish I'd gotten, countless times!) On the one hand, I desperately want you to get a little closer to God--more than anything!--to drink from the same Source of strength and comfort and direction that He's poured out to me. But on the other hand, all I can do is share my story: that my life has been saved, in ways I can't begin to express. I've never seen the map, and the only part of the road I know is that which I've already walked.

I want a culture of difficult questions. I want a culture that's more concerned with asking than with answering. I want to draw nearer to God -- and honour Him! -- by chewing things too big for me. I don't want anything else in life besides More. Of God. After a 25-year search, More is the only thing worth my time.

My hope is that you'll ask with me, search with me. My hope is that you'll delve only into worthy things, whether or not you agree with me. My hope is that we'll all be brave enough to agree humbly and disagree well.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Gifty is on the plane!

Is it possible? What seemed like an impossibility two months ago, two weeks ago, even two days ago -- it's happened! The first leg of the race is over for my little girl--she's got a family and she's on her way home. 

Deb and I were talking on the way home from the airport tonight what a blessing it was that she's been healthy the past two weeks--for months we couldn't keep her fevers away for more than a couple of days, and her doctors were talking about running out of options for her (she was taking the strong antibiotics they had!). But ever since her mom arrived she was great, eating and interacting like crazy. I couldn't believe it, playing with her today, how far she'd come since I met her on September 23rd. The girl I held then was an absolute wreck. The girl I kissed goodbye today was radiant, a spoiled little queen.

It's been a joy to get to know her these past few healthy weeks. To feed her her first french fry, to introduce her to her reflection, to learn what her different cries mean (and how sincere they are). To hear her first attempts at talking. Tomorrow, after thirty hours of traveling, she'll discover the land of the free: Dad, Grandma, siblings. Snow. Clean hospitals. A new liver, even.

This journey has been incredible. To face these immovable mountains day after day, bureaucratic or medical or logistical, to battle with despair, and then to see them jump out of the way -- it's been nothing short of breathtaking. I always hoped I'd see a miracle, something I could look back on and say, Yes: I watched God intervene.

I can say that now.

Thank you all for praying for Gifty so faithfully. Your support has meant so much to her, me, my team. Please keep her in your prayers, as she has a long, long way to go yet.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Need your help

After five very eventful days helping Gifty's new mom work her way through the Liberian court system and back and forth across town a zillion times, we finally made some progress: in the Republic of Liberia, my little girl now has a mom, dad, two brothers and one sister.

That's wonderful and a miracle in itself, but there's still the U.S. side of things. Gifty has changed her ticket to Wednesday, and we're hoping and praying that by then, with a lot of hard work, we can either find her aunt or another relative that can help us straighten out the facts and satisfy the Embassy that she is in fact abandoned. We're putting the word out here, and I would ask you to please pray with me that my little girl gets to go home -- to a real hospital, where they can give her a new liver and life -- on Wednesday.

For now, Gifty's health is the best it's been in a long time, and she's been able to live with Mom at our friends' place, so we're grateful for that and for finishing with African bureaucracy...almost! Much love. More soon.