Friday, January 28, 2011

Update from Liberia

Thanks for praying. There have been highs and lows for the Luebkes the last few days...

Low: On Wednesday they went to the Embassy to file their I-600 and learned that a new step has been added for adoption cases...DNA testing. Though we knew this was a possibility, it was discouraging to find out it would be required, especially since the Embassy first quoted a 3-4 month timeframe for it. Since then, it looks like it might be more like 5-6 weeks if all goes well. Please pray that all goes well and for the Luebkes to have wisdom and peace through this process.

High: Their time at the mission homes has been sweet, and their time with their four children has been even better. Yesterday, their four seemed to connect on a new level as they played together. As you can imagine, this was a source of great joy for Corrie and Jason! They seem to be getting some great time with kids and adults at the mission homes, which was one of the main things they really hoped for on this trip.

Keep those prayers coming!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Life from Liberia

So thanks for praying for a good night of sleep for Corrie. She was able to get one despite a bunch of mice trying to rummage through their food. If you would, please pray that the pesky pests lay off the munchies and vacate the premises.

They were able to get Hawa to a doctor at ELWA today, and as we suspected, she does have malaria. She has to get a shot for three days, but she already seems to be doing pretty well after the first one. It's a good reminder to continue to pray for everyone's health.

They seem to be doing really well with balancing the list of items they wanted to get done with just hanging out and enjoying all of our Liberian friends. Jason is struggling to find a good internet solution out at Daniel Hoover, so you could add that to the prayer list.

Thankfully, they found a good solution to their need for transportation. There was a vehicle at the Deaf Home that needed a minor repair, and by paying for it, they'll be able to use the vehicle while they're there. It's funny how God works out the big and small details, no matter where we happen to be or what we happen to need.

Praying with you,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life at Daniel Hoover

Corrie sounded good on the phone this morning and a bit refreshed after a good day yesterday. Still, she's had trouble sleeping with caring for four kids, dealing with the heat, and having the extra company of small, moving critters who want to share their space. Please pray that God will provide the rest she and the others need to keep going for the long haul. Thankfully, He's providing enough adrenaline to make up for lost sleep right now!

The Luebkes and Brenda arrived at Daniel Hoover later in the day on Tuesday. As they expected, there were many excited children waiting to greet them. This proved to be a little too overwhelming for Asher, who melted down, and then Annika, who melted down later after they got inside. Thankfully, God's mercies are new every morning, and they awoke yesterday to a new day and adjusted really well. Corrie said that having Brenda there has been a huge help!

They have been getting some updates on both mission homes and enjoying time with everyone. Yesterday, they did go to the Deaf Mission for a couple of hours and ended up having to walk part way back to Daniel Hoover when their car got a flat. Corrie said it was a true Liberian experience!

The most important prayer request right now is for little Hawa. Since Monday she has been struggling with a fever and on and off headache and nausea. Corrie was concerned about her getting dehydrated but the last few hours, she's been doing much better. They are going to watch her carefully and get her to a clinic if she starts feeling bad again.

Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Day in Liberia

The Luebkes and Brenda enjoyed their first day in Liberia! The Luebkes were able to spend the time at the guest house, reconnecting with Liberian friends and most especially being together as a whole family of six for the first time. The kids had a great day playing together. A highlight for Asher was catching lizards, while Annika spent a lot of time observing and playing with Hawa and Kelvin. Jason and Corrie noticed that Hawa and Kelvin were quieter than when they were together in June, not having all of the kids' usual friends around to interact with.

Today, they may all walk down to the beach and hang out a little more at the guest house before heading to the Daniel Hoover Children's Village Mission School in the afternoon.

They are thankful that everyone is healthy and doing well together. Please continue to pray as they transition to life at the mission school where there will be many children anxious for their arrival and attention.

With joy,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Safe Arrival

The Luebke Family and Brenda (a woman traveling with them to help for a week at the mission homes) arrived safely in Liberia as scheduled today. Praise God!

I received a brief email from Brenda about an hour after their scheduled arrival time saying they had gotten in and were being well cared for. I'll post more details after talking with them all tomorrow.

Thanks for praying!

Angel Rutledge

Thursday, January 13, 2011

God of Adventure

Well, we're almost on our way!!

Four backpacks (well... one "sling" for Jason; very Jack Bauer-esque),
four carry-ons,
seven 50 lb. check-ins (NO... they are NOT all packed with our stuff... 4.5 are full of packages for kiddos at the orphanages and supplies that have been collected and donated).
... and a partridge in a pear tree.

What does one bring to West Africa, traveling as a family of 4 and staying for a month, you ask? Well, among other things, lots and lots of bug spray, flashlights, sunscreen, protein bars, several large bottles of hand sanitizer, plenty of wipes, toiletries, flip-flops, medicines of all kinds, tools, mini-fans, batteries galore, and school stuff for the kiddos (... so that all the information they know doesn't fall out of their heads this month). Of course, we have underwear & a new outfit for Kelvin and Hawa, as well as warm traveling clothes in case they come home with us. If all the bags make it there... we'll be happy. If they don't, we'll still be happy... just less comfortably so...

... and maybe covered in bug-bites. :)

Before we go, I just have to take the opportunity to praise God for his goodness. What an adventure he has us on. I always dreamed of going to Africa as a kid, and here I am, ready to embark on my second trip there in less than 7 months. And I'm not going for some plain 'ol safari. That would be awesome, don't get me wrong... but instead of a trip all about me and my desires, I get to go on behalf of others, and God's desires. How amazing is that? How incredible is it that God is a God of adventure?

You know what I believe with all my heart though? I believe that I can be on the adventure of my life right here at home... and I believe that's where God has much of it planned for me. I'll continue to live and love the adventure of being in an amazing family, always learning how I can better love and partner with my husband, raising and shaping the lives God has entrusted to me. This trip to Africa, our adoption journey, and the drama of the past 3 years, are not the norm of life... they are just new and different ways that God has been teaching us and directing us into what he has for us next. It is equally exciting to me when he shows us ways he wants to use us right here at home... when we can speak his life and encouragement into others' lives, when we are given the chance to love others in his name.

I love an adventure. I'm one of those odd people who actually enjoy airports and layovers (in moderation, of course) because of the promise of a new place and new people on the other side. But to be honest, there's a large part of me right now that can't wait for some "normal" to set in once we get home. I'm looking forward to settling into a routine again that doesn't involve packing up my life for weeks at a time or making my kids take typhoid vaccinations. I LOVE the adventure we'll be a part of starting Saturday... but I LOVE being home as well. I am content in the role he's given me, and I desire to say that I am content no matter what circumstance surrounds me. I frequently have to work at that... it can be difficult to accept hard or painful things. I certainly have not had searing loss or deep wounds as many others have had, but I hope that I would lean on Christ even through those circumstances, and come out brighter and with a truer kind of joy because of them.

Anyway, all that to say that I'm excited... but I hope you're excited too. I hope that just because you may not be leaving for Africa soon, your heart won't be held back from seeing the adventure right in front of you... no matter what form or shape it's in. God is glorified when we live the adventure he sets before each of us with joy and whole-heartedness. That's what it's all about. That's what I want. Bring it on.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Poor Mail Lady

My poor mail lady... I had to apologize to her today as she trudged up my slippery steps AGAIN today. She had arms full of packages! I told her that her hard work for for a good cause, and that all these things being sent to us were for kids in Africa. She smiled and said, "Oh, that's ok... it's job security!"

I am receiving things from some of the sponsors that support kids in Liberia, through the ministry we are going to serve. It's so exciting for me to think of the many kids who will get their own 9x12" manila package full of special things, and the notes of love that they'll get to read. If you happen to be one of those sponsors, thank you. You are bringing hope and joy to a child, who I will get to hug on your behalf very soon! :) If you have a desire to plug into what's happening, please go to to find out about the sponsorship program, where all the money goes, and how you can be part of a Liberian child's life as well! It is our TOTAL JOY to be able to bring Sarah and Rebecca, our sponsored girls, their packages in person! I can't wait to hug them and hold them again, and I know Jason is super excited too!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And We're Off... Again!

Many of you already know this news, but here it is for those of you who haven't yet heard.

I wanted to touch base with you all and ask you to pray for our family! We are traveling to Liberia for 4 weeks, (leaving in less than 2 weeks). This time, Anika and Asher, will go with us. Kelvin and Hawa should be able to spend the whole time staying with us, so we will be a "whole" family for the first time ever. :) For those of you who have been there, you will understand in an especially real way how challenging this will be. While we are very excited to go and serve in whatever ways the Lord sets before us... we know that this will be a difficult trip on many, many levels.

So... please commit to pray for us if the Lord prompts you to! (A woman named Brenda will be joining us for the first week as well, so you can pray for her too!)

We will stay at the guest house only for a short time, unless we feel the need to have some down-time as a family. It is very expensive for us to spend a whole month there, and it would be impractical to drive to DHCV and the DM (the 2 orphanages/boarding schools) for as often as we'd like to be there. So, we will stay in a dorm at DHCV (larger of the two homes) the majority of the time.

Prayer Requests:

Safety and protection: flights, in driving in Liberia, personal safety for our family, etc.

Health: from big things like serious injury and malaria, to little things like the flu, sunburns, or reactions to foods, and everything in between. I don't know about you, but the idea of throwing up in a Liberian toilet just doesn't sound nice. (Not that it sounds nice any other way either...)

Sleep: Staying at DHCV means no lovely fans all night long! :) This one is a biggie to me... I barely slept in Liberia in June, and I am concerned that my kids will have the same issue (especially coming from frigid Minnesota winter weather). We really need the Lord to help us adjust and give us the ability to get rest each night.

The kids: Anika & Asher will be overwhelmed. They just will. But, we know that the Lord can give them what they need. We will be around LOTS of children on most days. Pray that my kids share themselves with love and compassion, and yet have the ability to stand up their ground, speak up, and not let all of the activity make them shrink away and fall apart.

Communication: We all need a supernatural ability to quickly learn to understand Liberian english (especially so we can have more meaningful time with Kelvin and Hawa), in order to really interact with the kids and staff. I'd love to build some deep relationships on this trip, and just need the Lord to allow us to fully understand others and to be understood. We have learned some basic sign language, and also desire that the Lord helps us to have special time with the deaf children!!

Serving: We just desire to be a blessing as we go. Pray that God clearly shows us, each day, what we should be doing to bring him glory and to serve others. We are intending to spend quality time with the children and staff, touch base with the other children who have adoptive families in the states, check up on how the bakery and micro-finance stuff is going, work on sponsorship updates, work on the computer issues, take note of what might be best to focus on for this summer's mission trip... but above all, we want to love on the children.

Family time: We are excited to be a family of 6. Pray that God gives us opportunites to parent Kelvin and Hawa meaningfully, time away from the chaos when we need it, and the ability to homeschool all 4 kids to a certain extent. We will also need oodles (yes, oodles...) of patience and forbearance with one another. When it's 90 degrees, you're sweating all over, and have 4 kids who want to sit on your lap b/c they NEED you... I imagine I might want to run away. :) We need God's kind of love... patient, kind, not self-seeking, not easily angered, always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres!

Adoption: As some of you know, the adoption paperwork is actually moving as of right now. It looked close to being done and over with this fall, but for some reason, is now moving. We have to be prepared to bring our kids HOME with us... while at the same time, be prepared to say goodbye if things once again shut down. We are in a place of surrender. God is good whether or not we get what we would like. Please just pray for our hearts (all 6 of us) to be guarded and protected, but ready for whatever God does. We do not expect the kids to be able to come home with us, nor is that the reason we decided to go to Liberia, but we are certainly not done believing that God can complete what he has begun, if it is his plan to do so! There are other families still waiting as well... pray for them too... this has been a long two (plus) years for all of us.

The Need: Pray that God gives us a continued brokenness for the great needs of the Liberian people without being too overwhelmed by it. We'll be asked for help, money, etc... and we just need the Lord to show us what our portion is.

Nitty-Gritty: Pray for God to help us in the little things too: having very little electricity or running water, drinking and brushing teeth only with bottled water (or risking sickness when we forget!), that our systems would handle the change of foods and lack of the fruits and veggies that we're used to (since they are not all safe for us to eat), communication being difficult- that we'd be able to touch base with people when we need to via phone or e-mail, remembering to take our malaria medications each day, and dealing with being dirty, sweaty and smelly most of the time! :)

That's all I can think of for now. I know, I know... it's PLENTY. There are just so many facets to this trip. Spiritual, emotional, physical, mental... I feel we'll need to totally depend on God for all these things!

Thanks for your friendship and support!
Love, Corrie