Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time with Kelvin and Hawa

Just got this message from Angel to those of us adoptive parents who will be traveling to Liberia:

"For those of you on the team who are waiting to bring your children home, I spoke with Georgia last week and Ed Kofi yesterday, and they both agreed that it would be good to get your children out of school the week we are there and have them stay with us for the week.

I want to share with you what I think that will look like, but I ask you to keep in mind that when it comes to Liberia, we need to hold very loosely our "plans" for the way the week will go. I don't anticipate any snags, but there's always the chance that a child will be sick, or a school will have a special test that week, or for some inexplicable reason, the "plan" has to shift at the last minute.

But for now, here's the plan: Georgia will get the children excused from school for the week. They will stay with us at the guest house and go to the missions during the day. I will try to coordinate rooms, so that each of your families can have a room at the guest house, and the children will sleep with you.

A couple of things you will want to think about are getting bed nets that they can also use and bringing pull ups for nighttime. Not all children from Liberia have bed wetting issues, but many do. You'll probably also want to pack small toys/games for them to play with at the guest house. Coloring, beading necklaces, balls, baby/Barbie dolls, jacks, books are all things they enjoy. This will definitely add a new dimension to the trip for all of us! Hope this brightens your day!"

Yep, it does. :)

Boutique (Continued...)

So- the Lord just continues to pull this together, with little help from me. That's the best, isn't it? We were even offered a wonderful, centrally located, shop to hold it in! If it works out, we'd have GREAT exposure to potential shoppers, plenty of parking, and a warm, little place to set up our wares. Best of all, the owners/operators are believers and WANT us there! What a cool thing! I continue to be so encouraged by the responses from so many people! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't wait to bless the Liberian people and orphans with whatever funds the Lord raises!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Wow... do you ever just sit back and get teary because people care about you, and about the things that matter to you? Today I did. I mass e-mailed and asked friends and family to consider this crazy boutique idea just 3 days ago, and almost immediately I had responses. People willing to help, excited with me, helping me with amazing ideas and thoughts and advice, ready to sew and craft and make it happen. I am a little blown away. : )
And all because they want to help the orphans in Liberia... and because they're awesome... and because they love me. And you know what's even more wonderful? There will be more! I mean, this is just the first few days of thinking it through! We actually have a SALE on our hands... a "Boutique Extraordinaire"!!

I have already begun to paint, and make cute little vases all beautified with wire and jewels, and my guest room is a collection of things I can sell. I have so much to do! And I don't mind a bit, because it will all benefit children and individuals in Liberia who will be truly thankful because they need it more than I can express or explain. {Truly God, you are amazing to bring this together... with so many willing friends and family members, with so much love and joy... we trust in you to pull it all together for your purposes.}

~Woot-a Woo!~

"Lovin' Liberia" Boutique Sale

OK- I had an idea, it's a little out-there. It came to me one night a week or so ago, and I couldn't sleep for 2 hours as I thought all about it. Maybe it was from the Lord, maybe not... but I'm kind of inspired.

I have a HUGE desire to raise some funds to go toward the projects that are important and even urgent in Liberia when we travel there in June. My heart is really desiring to be a blessing in whatever way I can to the orphans there. To be honest, money goes a long way there (unlike here) and the resources it can provide make a immense difference in their lives. Our team will get to decide how the money is best spent while we are there and able to see the greatest needs.

(Last year, these funds went toward things like:
*mattresses and bunk beds (made out of 2x4s) for the children at the orphanage
*food supply for the children there (rice)
*building a wall around the mission, to stop the thefts of the food and clothing supplies for the children
*seeds and gardening tools for the Liberian people they worked with to begin subsistance crops)

So- my idea is to hold a little boutique where all the money raised would go directly for this cause. We could call it "Lovin' Liberia" or something. I am imagining...

~shabby chic, sea-side, and spring/garden decor items
*hooks, tin signs, racks, serving items, notecards
*ivy starts in cute pots & containers
*white and off-white picture frames
*much more!
~a kids' table - with things made by kids, for kids
*I have some good ideas that kids can do...
~baked goods, presented beautifully
*specialty brownies
*unique items
~very gently used (and clean) purses on a rack
~crafts of various kinds:
*hand made bags & purses (you can make great little handbags out of placemats!)
*sewing /quilted crafts
*sewn dolls (Anika and I want to make some of the same dolls we made for Hawa)
*onesies with clever or cute sayings on them -hanging on a clothesline with clothespins

The only way it would work however, is if I had people who would be willing to help me by donating their time and the starting costs to make some crafts, or to collect some items that might sell, or to bake, etc. You get the idea. I wanted to send this out, and see if any of you very talented family & friends of mine would be interested. (And maybe you have family or other friends who would do this with you?? If we do this, the more people that get involved, the more money we raise. Feel free to invite others to donate some projects as well!)

If you do find yourself intrigued by the idea, and want to get involved, just think about what you enjoy doing... I'd like to stear clear of items that may not sell, but other than that, I'm open to all sorts of ideas. Come up with what you think is feasible for you, and let me know. And if you hate crafts, but still want to be involved, maybe I can hold a day where we have supplies, but need help to assemble. Maybe you'd rather donate some start-up money to someone else who likes to make things. I really enjoy decor items, so I'm all about finding those kinds of items to sell. I'll also collect more at garage sales, and spruce them up or paint them in a shabby chic way. I also will hit craft stores and buy a few things that are very clearanced out. I want to be able to sell things at reasonable prices.

If there is interest, it would most likely be in mid-May, maybe on a Friday or Saturday. I am unsure if I could do this at church, or my home, or elsewhere. I would advertise it in the paper, and let people know that all the proceeds will go to Liberia. Those of you who live out of state, you could still be involved in making smaller items, and maybe I could pay shipping costs to get them here. (???)

Would you want to help, and if so... what do you imagine wanting to donate? Ideas for things to make and sell? Thanks for thinking about it. I am not good at asking for help, but this is not about me ( so I'm getting over it). : )

With Love & a Smile,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ways you can Help!

If you'd like to get involved by helping with our trip, here are some ways to do that. None of the money that is donated will go to us, it will all go directly to help the orphans and toward projects that will help sustain the Liberian people we will serve.

1.) Project Funds- We would really LOVE to bless this solid Liberian ministry with financial resources for dire needs that they face everyday. Last year, the team members raised their own trip costs ~plus whatever extra funds they could ~ to go toward specific projects that were needed. These funds went toward things like food for the children, mattresses and bunk beds so that the children were no longer sleeping on the ground, mosquito nets to lessen the risk of malaria, a wall around the orphanage to protect them from the many thefts that occurred, and seeds for the Liberians to begin the agricultural initiatives that ACFI has started up. Our team will be raising as much as we can before we go, to be used for these types of projects. (You can make a donation toward these specific uses by following the instructions on the bottom of the page. )
2.)You can sponsor a specific child at the boarding school for $40 a month, and encourage them and love on them through occasional letters! Go to the following website for details. Www.africanchildsponsorship.com There is a huge and constant need for support so that the hundreds of children can be fed and clothed. You are also able to make larger or one-time direct donations to the boarding school (orphanage) on that same website.

3.)You can help us to gather supplies that we need to bring to Liberia. We are extremely limited in what we can bring, as there is no postal system and everything we need for the week's work, and to leave with the children and ACFI ministry, must fit into the 2 check-in suitcases that we will bring. Our personal items must all fit into our one carry-on bag. There is a long checklist of items that we want to bring which includes specific food items, hundreds of toothbrushes, soccer balls and sports equipment, some of the tools for the construction projects, clothing, flip-flops, and many, many more items as well.
I will be responsible for collecting:
*50-75 tubes of toothpaste,
*20 boxes of band-aids (variety of sizes),
*10 bags of cotton balls, and
*at least 350 good quality pencils.
I may collect more things, but will start with those. If you'd like to help with these items, please commit to a certain amount, and let me know before you purchace them... as we can only take as much as we can carry, have a very specific list to work from, and do not want to receive more of these things than we carry.
Please know that ALL of these ways to give will go directly for these purposes, and will bless the children and adults that we will be directly working with in Liberia!

Thank you for wanting to help!!! It's such an encouragement to us!
-Jason and Corrie

Donations are tax deductible. *Checks should be made out to Christian Adoption Services (“2010 Liberia Trip” in memo line). Please send donations to us, as we are required to keep track of them, before sending them to CAS. For our address, e-mail me at cluebke@mywdo.com
or theluebkes@usfamily.net

Our Liberia prayer letter

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

Faithful family and friends,
Over the last several years, the Lord has softened our hearts and given us a passion for orphans. It doesn't matter whether they are in the US foster care system or across the world, babies or older children, sick or well... we are burdened by the great need, and we are “ruined for the ordinary” when it comes to them! We have been SO challenged, not to just talk and think about these children, or even just to give toward their care... but to DO something. Many of you know that we have been in the adoption process for almost 3 years, and certainly, this is something we can do... but this thing brewing in us, this crazy eager desire to live out what is pulling on us, is calling us to something more. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these children.

We are excited to let you know that we are planning to travel to Liberia as part of a missions team of 18 people this June 17-26th. We are greatly anticipating meeting and spending time with Kelvin and Hawa, our two children who we have been waiting to adopt for the past year and a half. This team will be led by our adoption coordinator, Angel Rutledge, and includes several people who went to serve in Liberia last year (... most of whom specifically remember meeting and holding Hawa!). We will be partnering with our Liberian brothers and sisters in Christ, and working with a ministry called African Christian Fellowship International (ACFI) primarily to serve the many orphans and indigent children in their care, but also to bring education in sustainable avenues of work for the Liberian people.

Liberia is on the coast of Western Africa, and was embroiled in a brutal 14 year-long civil war up until just 6 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and the country's economy collapsed. The country has stabilized somewhat under the current government, but only because of help from western nations. It is a place where incredible atrocities have taken place, yet hope remains alive and beautiful in the Liberian people. We are looking forward to this enormous opportunity to spend time in the country that has already captured our hearts because of our adoption journey.

We will be serving in various areas while there. Jason will be helping to lead a team on the construction and repairs that are needed at the both the Daniel Hoover Children's Village (previously known as the orphanage, now the boarding school) and the Deaf Orphan's Mission. There are many things that he may be doing, but will concentrate on the most needed things first, like making repairs to the water tower there. I will be helping to lead the VBS activities for the children, as well as gathering information to update the sponsorship program, which will include taking new pictures and getting heights & weights of all of the children, and helping them to write letters to their sponsors back here in the US. Overall, we will be interacting with and loving the many hundreds of orphans in whatever ways God sets before us!

There are other focus areas as well. One will be to train the leaders and older children in small business skills such as agriculture, sewing, and baking, which will allow the Liberian people to understand and practice trades that can sustain them and help them in becoming more independent in the long-term. Another area of focus will be to train the teachers in curriculum that is age-appropriate and beneficial in the education of the orphans in their care. The kids at the Deaf Mission will be loved on in a special way as we have 3 people that are fluent in sign language on the team! Angel will, as opportunities are given, be meeting with government officials and community leaders in hopes of moving adoptions forward once again.

Obviously, we will also be trying to spend as much time as possible with our children! We are told that they will join us as we serve, so we will be with them the entire week. Our hearts don't even know how to accept the reality that we can go to hold them for a short time! We hope to communicate our love for them and joy to have them join our family one day, even as we must continue to wait on the Lord to make this possible. It will be very, very difficult to say goodbye at the end of our week there, but we know that this sweet opportunity to visit them is worth the pain that we will certainly feel upon leaving.

We know that even though our adoption has not worked out as we thought it might, and even though it's been a difficult journey, we know with absolute certainty that God is good, and His plans are perfect. Kelvin and Hawa are in good hands, whether they are here in our home or not, because they are HIS children. The verse that best embodies what we have been learning through the last few years is Romans 5:3-5 ...
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, even though our circumstances have been difficult on our hearts. His goodness leads us to press on with hope and joy.

The Lord has provided the money for us to travel to Liberia, so we are not in need of financial help in that way. However, there are some very specific needs for our work there that we can inform you of that would be a huge blessing to the people we will be working with, and have a lasting effect on their lives. Many of you have asked us how you can help over this last year. Now we have some great avenues to suggest. We know that this is our calling, and that you may be called to something entirely different, yet equally important to the Father, but if you pray and sense that God would have you “sow into” the lives of the Liberian people, please contact us. We'd be excited to get that information to you.

Last, but most importantly to us, we want to thank so many of you for being our faithful prayer warriors in regards to our adoption so far. We are always amazed at the people who pray for us, some of which we've never even met, and that you have hung in there with us for such a long time already! We have many prayer needs before and during this trip as well.
We desire that:
*We have protection from the enemy before and during the trip
*God would be glorified and made known in all we do, individually and as a team
*We would have a wonderful and sweet time meeting and loving our children
*We would have safety, good health, on-time flights, and no lost baggage
*God would give us strength, energy, and whole-heartedness as we serve, even if we're exhausted
*We would be flexible & have great attitudes even when things don't go as planned
*We could sleep well despite very hot & humid weather and mosquitoes trying to eat us alive (!)
*God would enable us to make his love known very specifically to as many people and children as possible
*Anika & Asher would have a great time with their grandparents, and not miss us too much while we're away
*God would give us the courage and strength to say good-bye to Kelvin & Hawa when the time comes, and great peace after

We know that many of you are excited that we have the opportunity to head to Liberia, so I hope this served to give you a few details!

Thanks for loving us!
Jason & Corrie Luebke

http://www.whenyouriseup.blogspot.com/ – This is the easiest way for me to communicate what's going on with trip plans, prayer requests, and our adoption in general. Please check it out if you'd like the latest info!
* A video was made of last year's March missions trip. It is so good at showing you the sights and sounds and purposes of our own trip, that I would encourage you to check it out! If you pay close attention, you will see both Kelvin and Hawa!! (Hint: Kelvin is in a red fleece with the sleeves cut off, and is seeing our pictures and finding out we will adopt him. Hawa is in brown and is sucking on a lollipop while looking at our pictures, also finding out she will be adopted!) www.africanchildsponsorship.com/video.html

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It's official, Jason and I are going to Liberia this June!
We will be part of a team of 18 people traveling from the US to Liberia to serve with ACFI (African Christian Fellowship International), who runs the boarding school (previously the orphanage).
Obviously, we are HUGELY anticipating getting to meet our kids! And that's an extreme understatement! We will spend a week there, and will get to have Kelvin and Hawa with us while we serve. I have thought of this a million times... what will it be like to meet them? This June, I'll get to find out. We'll get to hold them, love them, talk to them and get to know them. It doesn't seem real to me yet.

We are also very thankful to be able just to go and experience Liberia, and to serve the Liberian orphans (primarily) in whatever way we can. Most likely, Jason will be doing construction projects, and I will be helping to organize and run VBS there. More details on that when we get them all figured out.

The only frustration I am having is that I seem to be unable to really celebrate this. It's like I'm waiting for the bad news to come, that it's all cancelled, and we can't go. I don't mean to be like this, but it's just the pattern of things in the last several years regarding adoption... you know? I can't seem to will myself to assume things will all work out fine. Certainly, the Lord has taught us that we cannot lean on our own plans or our own understanding. Things disappoint us, and I am now automatically reluctant to hope. I want to be truly excited. I mean, I will meet Kelvin and Hawa! ... there's not anything that can top that right now! Maybe I just need a little time? I really dislike being negative or cynical, but I'm not sure how to be assured and expectant that God will allow all this to work out the way we hope for.

Anyway, just wanted you to know!