Sunday, July 14, 2013

Liberia: my pre-trip thoughts

History is scary. It's a real-life true-story that happened to flesh-and-blood people somewhere in the world and... I am utterly fascinated by it.

World War II and the stories of Jewish families being helped by various people are by far my favorite part of history. I bite my nails with suspense as the Gestapo are within inches of finding those they sought but miraculously the asthmatic are silenced and those who hid these precious ones are protected. I want to stand up and cheer for the good that triumphed over such grotesque evil. But the hardest part was the reality that this happened. There are death camps to prove it.

I want to believe that I would do the same. That I would welcome into our home those who were sought by an evil government. That I would give my last breath to do without apology that which protected another's life. I am given an example to follow by amazing people such as Corrie Ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who did exactly that. 

I've recently been confronted with another piece of history. This one is far more recent than Hitler.

1980... while Samuel Doe was carrying out his coup in part to free the country of the corrupt government by the elite aristocracy, I was 3 years old - learning my letters.

1989 -1996...  Liberia falls into her First Civil War - those same years find me completing highschool and beginning college.

1999-2003... Liberia enters her Second Civil War and I finish college, begin teaching and get married. (Here is a link to a timeline of Liberia's history - if you are curious.)

Does it shock you? Do the parallel events make your mind spin? It should. That was the hardest part about reading these 2 books. The second is by far the "easiest" read but still a heavy one.

Reading the stories of horror stated so simply and plainly... It was mind-blowing that these things happened while I carried on my little life and acted on the opportunities given to me. Namely those of being an American, learning, gaining an education, working in my field, meeting and falling in love with my husband.

I still find it difficult to truly come to terms with the awful fact that right now as I'm comfortably sitting on a couch in our living room pressing the keys of this laptop, there is a war raging somewhere, bombs exploding, soldiers lurking, fear pounding the heart of a child, parents desperate to protect their family, basic needs far from being met - the greatest of which: knowing that they are loved with an everlasting love.

Honestly? I really don't know what to do with these facts.

I'm going to Liberia in an effort to help educate teachers but still I wonder... how much help is one untraveled American woman anyway? I have an education degree, yes. But there is such a huge need in every area of life.

Even as I reread that last sentence, I remember that every physical need can be met and in meeting those needs a person will still find themselves achingly empty and void. (i.e. most Americans).

I feel hauntingly inadequate for the job ahead of me. Teaching Lesson Design to 300 teachers?? Yeah. I'm trying not to have my little freak-out meltdown. For the last 8 years, I have been a mother and wife - even a new writer - but not a teacher. Every other teacher on the team is far more qualified than I am. It is very intimidating.

So I am left where I should be: trusting that God will use me - whatever that means. I am convinced that He wants me on this team, going to this country, at this time in my life. He is faithful to complete what He begins. So I rest in that.

-- Stay tuned for my "post-trip thoughts"... coming soon!

** If I have piqued your curiosity, there is a Facebook page that is sharing the few precious photographs remaining since most of them were destroyed to hide tribal affiliations in an effort to save lives. I also challenge you to read the books I mentioned above.

And Still Peace Did Not Come by Agnes Fallah Kamara Umunna

The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper

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