… I figured I would miss Peter — but I didn’t expect to be so jealous!  Oh, how I would love to be in Africa with him!!!  We got the chance to talk for a little while this afternoon and it sounds like his first day in Liberia was very full.  He’s already connected with several of the people he was hoping to meet while over there — Matt of ORR, the Gjerstads, and another man who runs a micro-loan program in Buchanan (another city in Liberia.)   He sounded tired, but completely stoked.   He’s been taking a ton of video and has a bunch of pictures to email me of the artisans that he’s met and some of their work.  Tomorrow he is going to spend some time with Joe Callaghan (a great guy that we met in Liberia last November) and he’s also planning on traveling into the interior to meet with some artisans in a several small villages. 

Hearing him talk about Ahmad and all the people he’s connected with and hearing the unmistakable Liberian noises in the background while we were on the phone made me really, really wish I was there.  Our trip to Liberia last November was so brief and I came home wanting to go back for a longer period of time.  I can’t even explain the feeling.  I know many of you probably think we’re nuts.  It’s okay.  I guess we are nuts in a lot of ways!  But some of you understand the feeling of being changed by a single walk down a dusty road in a strange country — staring openly at the stark reality of inequality and pain reflected in people’s eyes — but also a strange, almost incomprehensible hope there, too.  We couldn’t look away.  We couldn’t.  And I want to be there again working with Peter on this project hands on.  I don’t want to forget the rawness of it and I don’t want to settle into “we’re doing all we can” because none of us can afford to settle there.  It’s not true.  Every time we wake up in the morning we have the opportunity that day to give more freely and serve more selflessly and love more intensely than the day before.  No matter where we are in the world and no matter who is hurting around us or what the needs are.  I know that God puts different burdens on different people’s hearts — and not everyone is going to have the same burden.  But everyone should let their hearts break and should reach out to touch others lives.  Because life ain’t about us.  And I guess that’s one of the reasons why I want to be with Peter right now — because I don’t want this endeavor of ours to be about us.  And even with the best intentions, I know how easy it is to start feeling good about what you’re doing and let that good feeling become sort of a shallow, earthly reward that lets you off the hook… lets you settle for “I’m doing all I can.”  

Okay… There’s a little honesty and internal conversation for you… you guys all like honesty, right?

Next time I’ll go.  And, actually, since only one of us could go, I am glad it was Peter.  He is such a rockin’ guy.  I love that we are a team.  I love that God put the same things in both our hearts.  I don’t exactly know where we’ll go from here, or what we’ll do in our lives, but I am ever-so grateful to know that the guy I am doing life with is passionate about these things too.

Okay, so back to our phone conversation…

Peter said that his flight to Liberia was smooth and uneventful.  He sat next to a woman who was traveling to Liberia to bring her adopted son home (through AoH)  They had a good visit and he was able to help her at the airport.  Peter said that Ahmad was SOOO excited to see him.  I am really glad that Peter is with Ahmad and his family.  What a huge, huge blessing to have that relationship.  Ahmad and Peter built a strong friendship while he lived with us —  “Brothers forever” Ahmad told Peter right before he left our place in December.  Who would have thought when we agreed to let a total stranger live with us last fall that things would unfold the way they have?  It’s part of the mystery of giving.  It comes back… not always in the ways we think or in the time frames we imagine — but always in the end.  In all honesty, I was so scared last fall when the circumstances happened the way they did and this strange Liberian man was basically on our doorstep without a home unless we opened ours.  Aaahhhh!  But after taking a deep breath and trusting that God was opening the door, it really turned out to be an incredible season and now it’s even more obvious that it’s a long term blessing. 

That’s pretty much it.  I will post updates as I can.  Peter was going to blog about his trip himself, but I don’t think he’ll get internet access very often (if at all…)  So you’ll have to put up with my interpretation — and I’ll try to leave the rambling commentary out of it next time… 🙂