Missions in Liberia

January 30, 2013
During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to go to Liberia, Africa on a mission trip for the United Methodist Church. While I was in Liberia my father and brother were raising money in the states for the mission station I was at. One day I got to speak with them on the phone. I was eager to share some of the amazing experiences I had already had with my new Camphor friends. It was hard for me to put into words how this trip was affecting me and how I already knew when we talked on the phone that I wanted to return to Camphor, that these two weeks wouldn’t be enough.

One of my most favorite things about Camphor is the people. Throughout my entire life I have loved meeting new people and making new friends. That was no different for me in Africa. I wanted to be friends with everybody! Lucky for me, everyone at Camphor kept asking me to be their friend so we all got along really well. My main job in Camphor was to love the kids there. I had no problems with that. These kids are so charming and eager to learn new things. I loved the feeling of having a little two year old on one hip and a little three year old hand wrapped around mine. The little kids of Camphor have a special place in my heart that will never be filled with anything else.

I also had an awesome time getting to know the teenage kids that were at Camphor. I now have a special friendship with many of the teens there, mainly because I am their age so we can relate to each other in a different way than most adults and teens relate to each other. I spent many hours sitting on the porch telling stories, laughing and playing games with these teens. I was grateful that I did not have a hard time with the language differences between the Camphor kids and me because it can be a huge barrier at times. Thankfully, we were able to communicate easily and for me, it was just like hanging out with my friends back home in the United States.

One of the harder things for me to experience at Camphor was the death of a five year old boy. On our last full day spent in Camphor, a family with this sick boy traveled to the clinic in Camphor. Danny Dickriede did his best treating the young boy but decided he needed to go to the hospital in Buchanan. Mathew, our beloved driver, took the boy and his father in the car and headed for the hospital. Not long after their departure, they returned. It was heart wrenching to see the father get out of the car carrying his dead son in his arms. Hearing the voices of women in the villages crying out to God in pain over their loss was one of the worst things I have ever heard in my life. I can’t imagine being in this precious boys family. It made my heart ache so badly. This day had an enormous impact on me. Prior to this I thought I had been through a lot with multiple surgeries and other things that were actually, not even close to what the family of this little boy had to endure. I am so blessed to live the life I have and thank God constantly for each new day.

Overall, my experience at Camphor Mission during summer of 2011 was one I could’ve never imagined. Through the ups, downs, frustrations, and joyous times there was always a presence of God like I had never experienced before. It impacted me greatly and I will never ever forget the first time I went to Camphor. I am praying that by God’s grace I will have more chances to visit Camphor mission for it is truly a magical place that has tattooed itself on my heart.

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