Rachel Swanson (Liberia, Africa) – African Travelers

Hello from Liberia!

I am back from the ACFI conference in Buchanan. It was an experience in more ways than one. We got to try the true African way of traveling across the country…a loaded van with all the luggage on top, while we were swaying back and forth traveling at a good speed. Christie and I were in front with three other people, and the rest of the 20 some kids were sardined in the back. During the trip our noses picked up a pretty ranky smell from the back and there was alot of yelling to stop the van! The driver pulled over and all the kids piled out of the back and let the poor little boy run to the bushes. While we were stopped, the driver decided to check the engine which we had been sitting over in the front. (Christie has learned where the phrase “pants on fire” comes from as she sat right above the battery which was over heating.) As he pulled up the seat and unscrewed a cap, boiling oil spurted everywhere. He just poured in more oil, screwed the cap on and we were good to go. God was good in keeping us all in one piece.

The conference was good. There were three sessions a day, which in truth got rather long, especially when at least one of them never failed to go at least 4 hours if not 5. Great preaching and I was challenged in many ways just through my devotions in the morning as well. Christe and I have been putting our dancing shoes on! It’s the African tradition to dance to the offering and also the worship. When I first attended a service all i did was clap. Now, the Lord has loosened my muscles and I have been turning my “happy feet” on. 🙂 The older women loved to see that we were trying to adapt to there culture. One night when we came home from the last session, a lady who cooks for us was laughing with another women about how Christie and I dance. I guess Americans tend to do a lot with there shoulders….We told Kamah that she would have to teach us some moves, so the next night she found us during the offering and we praised the Lord with our dancing together. Since the conference was in under a tent with dirt, we all got the dust flying.

One day when we were walking back to the house that we were staying at, there was a crazy little old man that wanted some attention. He had a small build, was dressed like a girl in a black blouse and skirt and wearing flowers in is hair.Also, his eyes looked like he was in drugs. I just thought he was begging and couldn’t catch all that he was saying. When he started to get too
close, almost touching us, I was thinking that a good self defense action might becoming in use. Before we had do actually confront him, one of the drivers from the conference was passing us, and I asked him if he would make sure the man wouldn’t follow us home. When we got back to the house and explained the situation, we were told that he was the local crazy man and filled with demons. He has been that way since the war. We ran across him a couple others times, but didn’t have to rebuke him in the name of Christ. During that week we ran across a few more cases like that one, and everyone’s explanation for the case if that “they have been like that since the war. ” It really opened my eyes to the spiritual warfare that is taking place down here and that I will need to have my “armor” on and be prepared for the fiery darts the devil’s going to send my way. At the conference there was a Pastor that is Liberian who is from North Carolina where he is pastoring a church. He fled Liberia 12 years
ago, because the Rebels wanted his life. This was his first time back since he had fled so many years ago. We stayed in the same house as his family, and enjoyed many conversations with him. His testimony is phenomenal. He said that he recognized many people from so long ago. He even, just in that short time that he’s been here in Liberia, has walked past people that he saw slaughter families, children, pastors…just for the sake of killing. He said that Liberia still has so much unforgiveness in their hearts and need deliverance from it. I can only imagine how hard it would be to see the person how killed your family everyday. A lot of bitterness. I can only think of how hard it was for Corrie Ten Boom to shake the hand of the Nazi officer how killed her sister, and look him in the eyes and forgive him.

We traveled back to Dixiville this past Monday. When we pulled up, it actually felt like home. I think we are getting settled! We celebrate our 1 month anniversary tomorrow. The ride home was almost even more eventful than the first, but I just might have to share that one when I get home. 🙂

School is on break until March 2nd. Christie and I already have our hands full with kids and forming and controlling our relationships
with them. we really feel a burden for the older girl and desire to start a bible study with them and get deeper into their lives. We are discovering though, it’s very easy to “vex” them. (The Liberian way how they explain that they are angry.) It’s hard to show each of them the attention and the friendship that they are hungry for. They each want to be “the” close one, and will get jealous or hurt over a very little thing. Pray for sensitivity. Wayne says that there has been a lot of abuse done to a lot of the girls at the orphanage, and I’m sure some of the girls are emotionally/physically scarred and are hurting inside. We don’t want to leave these girls with just a surface friendship. We want to go where it hurts and where both our lives will be changed because of it. Your prayers are needed and such a blessing. Thank you. Not only that, but we are still very much involved with the younger kids. Combine the two and it’s a little overwhelming. Wayne was there this past week and he had some words of wisdom. He said not to worry about loving every single kid. The ones that God wants us to love will just find their way to you. It’s been very true. Not that we don’t reach out, but also, there are some kids that are just attracted to Christie more that me, and visa versa. It’s been a joy to discover all these unique individuals here. God is so good.

We made the adventurous trip into town today. Every day I have more and more respect for my little escort back at home. I didn’t know that when I bought it I was buying an “all terrain” rugged vehicle. 🙂 It’s amazing what these cars go through down here and
still survive after one day of it. The drivers are hard core and would win any demolition derby. (correct my spelling all you car lovers out there!)

Again, there is so much to write down, but I look forward to updating you in the future. Thank you for the prayers. Love you all.

Prov 27:1


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