While these thoughts were going through my mind and as we went down the road, I saw the immense poverty everywhere and it literally shocked me! Between everything that was happening and what I was seeing was almost too much for me to take in. I expect Mark was watching my expressions at times but I took no notice of it. So, how can I portray the lives of these people who live in one of the poorest nations in the world? How much, I wondered, did they know about the Word of God? What right did we have to keep so much for ourselves when people were literally starving to death because they don’t have the necessary food to stay alive? Even more importantly, they are starving spiritually because they don’t have the Word of God like they should? The earlier thoughts eventually disappeared because the latter thoughts and questions took over.
I knew the Lord was in control and, no matter what happened, we were supposed to be exactly where we were! I had absolutely no doubts from that time even until now that we were to take that trip and even to return to Liberia as soon as the Lord allows. Normally, after such little sleep as I received on the airplane, I am so tired that I cannot concentrate on much and have to rest. It was quite different this time and I was not prepared for the emotions that overcame me. I so wanted to weep over the conditions I saw but really did not want anyone to see me so I kept a tight reign on my thoughts. The time for weeping had not come as there was so much to be accomplished. I began praying because I that was the only option and also the best option. It was no longer, “Help us to get through this,” but it became, “Lord, help us to be able to teach them while we are here in such a way that they understand and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to bond with them in such a way that our lives become one with them. Help us to love them the way You love us! Help us all to learn and grow through each situation we encounter here in Liberia. Help us to be able to come back one day and in a fairly short amount of time!” So much to pray and so much to do in a very short amount of time!
In one way, my thoughts were quite disturbing but in another way, I realized I had found something that I really wanted to do. I was already pretty sure that I wanted to go to Liberia but even the short amount of time I was there made me realize that I definitely didn’t want to stay the rest of my life in America. The heat was something that could be endured and it wasn’t too bad at that point.
We eventually stopped somewhere and sat there for a time. I think Mark got out as did Pastor James and Pastor Philemon. I stayed in the car and watched everything around me with intense curiosity. If this was the place we would return, I wanted it to become a part of me…I didn’t want to leave without having these things imprinted in my mind. I figured whatever I was seeing at that point was probably going to be something I saw many times. Sister Dylin made a comment to me while I was watching, “You are very quiet, Sis Violet! You are watching everything!”
“Yes,” I admitted unashamedly, “It’s still kind of hard for me to believe that I am here in Liberia. I’ve wanted to be here since Mark returned on his last trip and now I am here.” That was another thought that I was having. I almost pinched myself a few times to make sure I wasn’t asleep! Could I actually be in Liberia after wishing to be there for so long? I started to ask Mark to pinch me at one point but figured he might do it so I desisted! LOL!
We started back on the road and went for such a long while that I lost track of many things. Mark pointed out to me the place he stayed upon his arrival when he went the first time. He pointed out many things on that trip to Pastor James’ house but I can’t remember everything. Actually, I don’t remember most of it! We came to this one area where Mark said we were almost at Pastor James’ house and turned down this road that didn’t look anything like I would recognize.
When we turn down a road in the states, even a dirt road, normally you can tell where to turn, where the edge is, where you need to be. It was different in Liberia. Most of the dirt roads can be wide or narrow depending on where the taxi cabs and motorcycles park. I couldn’t figure out, when we turned down the road, why it looked so strange. I did notice, however, that when people go onto the main road anyplace to drive out is fair game. For instance, they drive on the same side that we do…the right hand side. When you are turning, though, if there is an open spot on the left hand side or the right hand side, you can whip on over there and turn. If anyone gets in your way you just start honking! Whoever was there first had the right of way!
Speaking of honking horns, I noticed that horns are honked almost continuously! When one person starts honking then everyone else around tends to want to join in. There are many different reasons for honking horns. The most noticeable one is…someone is in your way! If you end up in the middle of the road you are trying to turn on and no one lets you through, it is fine to honk at everyone until they let you through! All lines of traffic may be stopped and everyone else is honking at you to get out of the way but…no worries, you were there first!
If you see someone you know, you can honk at them! If someone looks like they are going to get in your way, it’s ok to give a honk so they don’t do it. Please make sure you honk at everyone standing in the middle of the road because if you try to drive by them without honking they won’t move! As you are coming around a bend in the road, make sure you give a few honks because you never know who might be in the middle of the road happily walking along and ignoring any and all possibility that someone might be about to run them over! I remember many times, while staying at Pastor James’ house, hearing one horn start and next thing you hear is a series of honks until everyone disappeared out of each other’s sights. It would quieten down for a few seconds or so then start back up again! 😀 Anyway, we did turn down the road and shortly after that we arrived at Pastor James’s house.