My itinerary says I arrive Monrovia at 6:30pm via Freetown…well after doing this for six prior trips I expected that was the norm for reaching Liberia. But this is travel to Africa so be ready for a plot twist. This time Brussels Air went direct to Monrovia so I arrived 2 hours earlier than expected. Normally early arrivals are great but I had to wait anyway because John 2 was still en route from Gbarnga when I called to say, “Surprise, I’m here!” Fortunately, he left early so I only waited about 45 minutes after claiming my checked bags. I used the time to make phone calls–scheduling meetings with the Peace Corps whose office is about three blocks from LCL, the Bishop’s wife Linda for whom I carried a Shutterfly book that she ordered in the States, and Romeo at Liberian Shipping Lines who finally has the 16 boxes we sent from Providence about 3 months ago (this includes 60 Good News Bibles donated by Kathy’s parents, Bill and Marie).
We slogged our way through “commuter” traffic and made it the LCL compound where I dropped off my belongings and headed for a bite to eat at the Royal Hotel. As I ate I made notes about tomorrow to maximize my short time in Monrovia. Before finishing my chicken Caesar wrap, I received an email from Bill Oehlkers that connected me with a woman, Lyn Gray, who is Country Director of “Liberia Reads!”. I hope to tap her organization for both training for our teachers and adult literacy for our grant-funded project next year.
With 26 hours of travel behind me and a full schedule scrawled down for the day ahead, I’m ready for bed. As I read my email devotion tonight, it quoted a perfect theme verse for this trip: “I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide … directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch. These are the things I’ll be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute’” (Isaiah 42:16 from The Message translation). As Kathy will tell you….when it comes to my direction deficiency, it’s nice to know someone is navigating.