Saturday, June 2, 2012
We owe a LOT of thanks right now to many people. One of them is Dave Williamson. Dave and his wife Amber have been great friends to us since 2005. Sometimes you know you have awesome friends but then a circumstance proves it and you find yourself amazed. That is how I feel about the last few years. When we decided to adopt they somehow secretly got a million donations for a huge yard sale where they cooked hot dogs and sold drinks and made a ton of money! We were so amazed and I didn't know what to say so I don't know if I said anything. Then we decided to move to Africa and work for a nonprofit group in a nonpaying position. Since that would require fundraising the Williamson's jumped to action and have been advocates for us from the first day. They have done an incredible amount of fundraising for us. One of them was a blanket drive. We stood in amazement at the work they and our other awesome friends put forth on our behalf. And again I felt like writing on paper just couldn't sum up the wealth we felt not only for the money they raised, but also the effort to support us. This is the busy season at work for Dave. Ambers mother has been severely sick. They have two kids and volunteer regularly as softball and soccer coach and nursery workers at church. They are really busy. However, they just did a second yard sale at their home and again raised a large sum of money to help cover the remainder of what we have to raise for our two years here. Also, Dave is the leader of our mission board and Amber is our financial partner who takes care of our donations and banking there in the US. They have worked I don't even know how many hours doing errands for us, buying us an oven, getting our container packed and loaded and I don't even know what else. THEN, Dave came to visit us. That requires plane tickets, shots, and vacation time, visas, passports, and $100's of dollars in bug spray and wet wipes. All just to survive 100 degree weather, freezing cold showers, crazy drivers and amebas. He packed lightly because he wanted to have enough room to bring the two checked bags stuffed absolutely full of AWESOME gifts. He gave us updates on friends. He jumped out of the car to join me on the corner of a busy street to haggle with a women about large buckets for our laundry room and then jumped in to buy them. He was patient when it took till 9:00pm to make dinner or till 10:00am to make coffee. He worked in the heat sanding down the metal corners on a piece of furniture we had built, wrestled a king size bed into the house, and as per usual had us laughing most of the week. His presence reminded me how much I love his wife and her italian cooking and super kind heart. She also gave up vacation time and single parented for a week and a half while her husband was here. As I type this he is probably in the air flying home. He will be quickly getting things for our container and then shipping it the next day. What could I possibly say to all of that? I am afraid nothing comparable. But geez I really love them! I feel so simplistic saying this but THANK YOU Dave and Amber for serving us and daily caring for us. I kind of feel like Jack Nickelson in the movie 'As good as it gets' when saying this, but you make us want to be better people. The other person that we want to thank on this blog post was also a visitor this week. We met him and his wife in college at Harding. Then our paths crossed again just a few years ago when they came to Harpeth Community Church and joined our small group. I liked them immensely from the beginning. Brad and Lindsey Conner are hilarious people with huge hearts that beat for the same things that ours do. Lindsey and I are what people in the south refer to as 'cut from the same mold'. So she's awesome. And Brad is an amazing carpenter who makes really beautiful things and is extremely knowledgable on anything to do with homes and how they work. They too have been involved from the beginning with our mission and have worked so hard to help us get to where we are. We rent our house because it did not sell before we left. So he volunteered to do any repairs needed while we were gone-for free. Lindsey gave up many a Saturday with her husband while Brad came over and helped us prepare the house for our departure. He patched walls, fixed leaks, put a lock on our attic, painted and I don't even know what else because that last couple of weeks before we left is such a blur for me. Then he and Dave told us to just leave anything in the garage that needed to go to the container and leave the mattresses we slept on the last night at our house where they were. When we left they went in, got our mattresses and everything in the garage, and loaded up Brads trailer with all of our container possessions. They packed and palletized all of it and stored it away until time for the container. Because of my forgetfulness I have had Brad get things out of our attic twice in the last few months-he is probably sorry to have that key! He came to Sierra Leone last week specifically to do projects for us. We e-mailed him the list of items we wanted to build and he spent untold hours getting the right tools and etc. to prepared and packed for that. He also spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, visa's, passports, and shots all to wood work in the super hot African sun with several kids surrounding him asking what the buttons did and kicking up sawdust clouds. He even skipped the monkey sanctuary outing because he insisted on getting work done. Here I will insert that laundry takes up so much time here. Not only because we are now a family of seven but also because it is a more complicated line of events. There are lots of dirt stains and piles of muddy clothes from the water discharge pipe when the machine shakes all over the place. But no more. Brad made a platform for the washer, added a platform to lay folded clothes on and cleaned out the entire garage. We put the said buckets in place and I now have one for towels and sheets, one for lights and one for darks. All with lids to keep the stink down. No more muddy clothes! No more digging in piles of cloths and having giant African cockroaches scurry up your arm. He even put up two clothes lines in the garage since it is the raining season and we can't hang our clothes out to dry right now and are at the mercy of unreliable electricity. It is SO fantastic. He fixed the door frames(it is really nice to be able to close all of our doors), fixed our couch, and put hooks up to hang the cork boards and mosquito nets. He made us a king size bed. He made nine large rolling bins for our boys to have storage under their beds. He made three fishing poles for our the boys and they are now awaiting a beach day. The boys are so excited. I am so amazed! He did all that in only a week! His wife also single parented for a week and a half so that her husband could come here for us. We woke up one morning and everyone left to go to the monkey sanctuary with the team that was here-except Brad who didn't want to go so that he could work on projects. Really late that night we found out that it was his birthday AND his wedding anniversary. And again, what words could possibly mean enough to compare to all of that? So again, THANK YOU for all you have done for us!!! You really are so encouraging to us and make us want to be better people. We love you so much!!! I singled these two families out because they just visited us but we also want to say that we owe a huge thank you to so many of our friends. We just are so blessed and couldn't be more thankful for all the gifts and time spend doing errands and time serving at yard sales and shopping for items on our list. We are still in such shock and awe at the Fannie Mae type relationships we have. We are so far in debt to you that I don't know that we could ever repay it. Therefore, we daily thank God for you and pray that each of you would be repaid 10 times over for all you have done for us!