Friday, June 27, 2008

Headline - Update - and more info

Hello from Liberia again. We are all okay - our internet connection has always been iffy but now for the last few days completely gone. We will update more when we get re-connected. Right now I am posting from the AOH offices.

We do however have some important news to relay to all. For family and friends and those of you that care and those that actually read our blog.

And now for the headline: The Felando family, after much prayer and very much heartache, has decided to move the family headquarters back to the United States of America. There are myriad reasons for the decision but the greatest and most important is my love for my wife and children. To give you a little more info, below are email excerpts and added info.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


As usual it has been busy around here, even though we only had a few guests recently, life keeps on going. Without going into gory details we had another case of malaria (Desiree) which we battled successfully. Then came an abscessed tooth (David (little)) which was also successfully removed. Currently we are addressing a serious case of eczema (Ela) , three cases of non-healing skin wounds (David (big), Dominique, me) and a case of a somewhat mysterious skin fungus/strep infection (me). All being treated by doctor mom with enough improvement to keep me from worrying too much. Thank you God. As far as David’s area of expertise is concerned, he obviously has been busy fixing our ever failing computer equipment. Occasionally he catches a mouse or two (no kidding). And overall he keeps us safe in this house - he protects us being electrocuted by the challenging wiring in this house and he takes care of minor and major floods that occur because of the wash machine or because of rain pouring through the roof at night.
That's basically it in a nutshell.........

In the meantime we have tried to get settled somewhere to start our farming project. By the beginning of this week however we realized that this hope will be unfulfilled.
My eyes are getting watery as I type right now because I am sad but at the same time I am joyful. Okay I know I don't make sense but hey - I am a girl.
Please bear with me while I try to explain, though I am sure my words won't be able to explain it all. But I am hoping I can give you a little insight.
I am sad because the vision I had for a life in Liberia has been erased. This country is such a beautiful place and God has placed some of His most magnificent creation on this land but the truth is that man makes it ugly. I know that anything else I will share with you about my experience here is not 'Liberia' specific it is 'human nature' specific.
At first glance you don't see the deep rooted depravity that has affected all areas of society here. Again, this is nothing that you wouldn’t find around the rest of the world as well. But for some reason lawlessness is the chosen life style here. Again, so it is in the rest of the world. But here a mob will form within seconds and they will beat a guy to bits. If you try to tell them (like my brave (or maybe crazy) husband did) that they are doing the wrong thing and that at this point the country of Liberia has laws and law enforcement and the authorities one block away should be handling the 'criminal' , the mob will yell at you "we don't care, we don't want the police, we will 'handle' this ourselves, this is Africa not America we don't want police, this is Liberia". So you see aside from the daily lies and deception that are part of every conversation here, aside from horrible environmental damage and the damage to human life that is inflicted daily, there is utter disregard for any form of law or legal system. I don't know how things will turn out for Liberia....'improvements' are popping up daily, the roads are being fixed, new expensive stores are opened, etc. I do know however, that I cannot function here. Another realization I had is that the USA really is the land of the free......this probably sounds quite cheesy but I do miss my freedom, my freedom of going to the store and parking my car with out being surrounded by a dozen of so ex-combatants wanting money from me. Yes, I am called to give to those in need - and I have - but here I wouldn't dare drive to the store without Dave because I’d be surrounded by all these men.
Getting back to buying land.....that's another story. After talking to many and taking everything with a grain of salt this it what it boils down to. The land will have to be surveyed to make sure exactly where the boundaries of the seller’s land are. So far nothing out of the ordinary. But let's say you’re looking to buy land next to a lagoon - you better make sure that the land is surveyed when the lagoon is full with water - otherwise they will add the dry acreage that is usually under water in wet season, and sell that to you as part of the property. Let's say you bought 10 acres with a lagoon, you might end up with only 5 or 6 acres of usable land. Then after you have squared away the surveying you have to make sure that no one else has a claim to the land (other then the seller). For example Lucy bought a plot of land from Bob. Bob had all the proper deeds to prove that it was his land and he had the rights to sell it. So Lucy bought the land. A few weeks later Bob's older brother Joe shows up at Lucy's and told her that Bob didn't have the right to sell the land. Since Joe is the older brother only he has the right to do so and that she needed to get off his land. Now Lucy had to spend a bunch of money and time in court to prove her case, she did it to keep the land, and as of today no one has harassed her by showing up in the middle of the night threatening her and her family with machetes and spears. This is another common practice around here. Another place Dave just checked out had this occur with 40 men armed and threatening the patriarch of the land. Also, recently there have been reports that a senator and another man got into a land dispute and if you search the internet you can see more of the gruesome details. This story is not the reason for our decision but to give you an insight of the dysfunction and lawlessness that prevail in this country, which prevent us from making Liberia our home.
There are many, many, many more stories like this but I will leave it at that. My intention is not to 'bash' Liberia but hopefully to draw somewhat of a 'reality' picture. A reality that we have been confronted with, and after prayers and tears is leading us to pack up. As you know we came with a bunch of suitcases and two sea containers with things of our old life and FULL of the new things and the visions of the new life here. Well, only suitcases can come back with us so our 'lives' will have to stay. Which reminds me to tell you to watch out what you ask for - I remember sitting in my huge Texas home thinking how nice it would be if lightning would strike (of course while I am not home) and get rid of all the 'stuff'. Now there, I have it, We will have to start from scratch!

Now, I do want to tell you that I am very grateful for 'my life' in Liberia, however long or short the stay. And yes, I did get the monies .....Benetta will get her teeth fixed as soon as the Dentist opens in July, Oretha's son David will be able to go to school starting August and Alice will get Taxi money to come see her mom. Thank you again for all your support and your e-mails. I will try my best to continue supporting our Liberian sisters once we are back in the US.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for your kind words, yes it's been a hard decision to leave everything behind. (Other then a few suitcases). I am hoping one day I get my mind clear enough to put my experience down on a piece of paper. At this point I don't know where to start because life in Liberia is so 'complicated'. I think there is no other place like it on this planet, for that reason it is difficult for me to find the right words and explantations. Liberia is so beautiful and so ugly, it is so full of hope and so full of depravety. Sounds like the rest of the word but it's not - see I don't have the words to describe it, it's 'complicated'. Honestly, I think you have to have lived here to fully understand the inner workings of this country and her people. I am very greatful that God has allowed me this experience, the land, the people, the heat, the rain, the skin diseases, the raw sewage, the malaria, the only pediatrician in the entire nation, the ladies that work with me, the orphange, the Acres of Hope nannies and office guys, the parents picking up their children, the Liberian food, the palm wine, the beach, the markets, the roaches, the mice, the days without electricity, the days at the public adoption hearings at the captiol, the beggars in the streets, the police officers pulling us over for whatever non-existing traffic violation, the women who want me to take their babies to America, the children that just wanted to touch my white skin and my funny hair, the wood carvers, the dress makers, the taxis, the motorcycle drivers transporting mattresses and mirrows with out worry, the Lebanese store owners, the UN, the Indian pharmacists, the British cough syrup, the Chinese doctor, the peninsula the new orphanage is being built on, the Chinese and Liberian workers that are building it, the bush and eating bush meat, the dirt roads, the pot holes, the gasoline and it's price........all of it is a small part of those few minutes of my life that were spent here. I praise you Lord for the time here and I praise you for allowing me to leave with a greatful heart and a lot less luggage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you read above we are very grateful for our ministering time here. Our life’s mission of being a Godly family has effected many, we’ve been told. The children and I have had many opportunities to share the gospel of the kingdom of God with strangers and friends and share the teachings and call of Christ Jesus to obedience and to honor and glorify God the Father. Search the word of God for some time with God - John 17:3-4, 6-8; Matt. 6:33, John: 15:10, Matt. 7:21, 24-27; 1Jn.3:5-6, 1Jn.2:3-6, 1Jn.3:4, Luke 4:43


I will be sharing much more pictures and some video of our brothers and sisters and friends here and the witness to this people that my wife, children and I have been blessed to be. Stay tuned for more soon.

If you would like to reach us here our number is 011 231 6420082.


Godspeed

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was saddened to read this, although given how you described it, I can see how you came to your decision. We have been and will continue to keep you all in our prayers. If there is anything you need, please let us know. You know where we live.

Glenna Price (and family)

From Five to Eight said...

Bless you Ferlando family in whatever God leads you to next.
May you all heal...heart, soul and body.
Tereas Cechota

Donna Barber said...

You did a beautiful job sharing exactly what is going on in Liberia. The pictures are breath taking.

I know how long you have waited and planned for ministering in Liberia and it too saddens me to see you take a leave from this. I wish you the best on your life journey and look forward to more updates with your family

C and C said...

David, I just read your post. Wow. "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." That's the verse that comes to my mind. We pray and plan and strategize and pray and God opens and closes doors. We proceed and believe and dream and pray some more. And then God changes our course. But he has not changed the effect you have had on the lives of those you've touched in Liberia, nor has changed his mind. Though our lives seem like shifting shadows at times, God is above this and in control and using our energy, time, resources etc, for his glory as we serve him and our neighbors. My short 7 days in Liberia was greatly affected by you and your family. As I witnessed your passion for Christ and your joy to be with your kids and your love for your wife and your compassion for the people of Liberia. If you had planned to go to Liberia for 6 months and now you were leaving perhaps you would think wow, we did great, we accomplished what we wanted etc. But perhaps you lived differently because you had the intention of a long term relationship with the country and the people and perhaps that is where God needed you in order to maximize your lives there. Maybe you don't and I pray you don't think of this as anything less than nine lives affecting and being affected for the glory of God in a country so desparate for the gospel. Dave and Claudia thank you for your example to me and to so many others of a selfless life whether lived in Liberia, Texas or Pluto (the planet). God bless you all, Christian Lindsay

julie said...

David and Claudia,
I too, was shocked to see that you are all leaving Liberia! I agree with Christian, you are a great example of selfless love and I had a great time at the guesthouse with your family. Thank you for ministering to traveling families, your family and to the many Liberians who I am sure have seen a difference in your lives because they see Christ being lived out. Liberia will be losing a wonderful family! God bless you along this journey......wherever you may end up.
Julie

Thomas Umstattd said...

I am sad to hear how it didn't work out. It will be good to have you back in the states. Don't think your time was wasted though. You children will remeber everything. I still remeber watching my parrents share the Gospel in Russia and Turkey.

-Thomas Umstattd

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave, I am a stranger to you but a friend of Liberia, a brother in Christ, and engaged in farming. I would like to see this farm near Monrovia with the makeshift greenhouse. Is there someone who could lead me there? I am in Liberia from the 16th till the 25th of July.
I understand why your coming home. It is very difficult. We go back and forth for exactly that reason. God bless you as you heal and seek His face. I would like to contact you. my conatct is fullquiver09@aol.com Grace and Peace in Abundance, Jim

James and Aimee Reed said...

Claudia!
Hello, I miss you! I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you and your beautiful family have been through. We have kept you in our prayers and enjoyed reading of your wonderful adventures. We know you are doing God's work and He has great things in store for you wherever you are.
When are you coming back? If you need a place to stay we can squish you in! :) Give all the kids a great big hug and kiss!

Love you tremendously,
Aimee :)

Carolyn said...

I'm sorry I won't get the chance to meet you. We'll be traveling later this summer to pick up our kids. I have heard many wonderful things about you and your ministry to the guest house families. We're praying for your healing and your future.

Carolyn

The Lew Crew said...

Felando Family,
So sad to see you are leaving Liberia but I truly understand your struggle. Ryan and I were so blessed to have you there during our time of joy and great despair. God blessed us with your presence.
You will all be in our prayers as you transition back to the US.
In Christ's Love,
Steph Lewellen

Jgrover said...

Hi I'm Jacob Grover and i was adopted by acres of hope in 04 from petiful Liberia. Thanks for your hard work.

sara faulk said...

Dear ones,

We have not ceased in our praying for you and you have been pressing in on my every thought lately, so I finally came to your blog...how the Spirit moves to cause us to increase our intercessions when we know not the need. He is powerfully at work in yoru lives, is using you in ways you know not, will continue to do so. We pray for your way to be made smooth, for HIm to continue to go before you. You are loved and many are at the foot of the cross on your behalf....please let us know if we can help in physical ways now that your direction is changing. He goes before and knows all the days and ways He has for each of you, none of this comes to you except through HIm and He is already making provisions for each step. We love you and are deeply moved by your love for our Lord. love, all the Faulks
Whats ours is yours, please ask....