Patrick’s Wedding

It’s been a busy last few days. Since I shared the story of the Deanville church needing support to reach completion of a roof before the rainy season, donors stepped up and we raised $1,330. Thank you so much for responding so quickly and generously. Here I am presenting the funds to Sumo who is both principal at GLTC and vicar at the preaching point. The community is so happy and thankful for the generosity as they thank God for answering their prayers through all of you.

(Just to set the record straight since I seem to look the same in every photo…I have not been wearing the same shirt for a month. I have about 6 identical Thrivent T-shirts.)

On Saturday I was invited to attend the wedding of our teacher Patrick to his fiancé, Helen. Unfortunately I missed the traditional Liberian ceremony that was held on Friday which would have been a unique experience. This was a more traditional church wedding format. When I arrived with Annie and Amelia as my accompaniment, we were ushered into the church and brought to the front row where members of the choir were asked to move to allow the three of us to sit in the first row as honored guests — opposite the parents of the bride and groom! I was hoping for a back row seat, if only for the better ventilation. Liberians like their speaker volume cranked to 11 (Spinal Tap fans will understand the reference). I had to discreetly stuff my ears with tissues to avoid a case of “screacher auditoritis” (aka screaming preacher deafness and tinnitus disorder). For some reason this preacher and his assistants liked to yell everything into the already amplified system. The sermon was an ear-drum-numbing 45 minutes long. On a more positive note, Helen looked like a beautiful bride and Patrick appeared like a nervous groom. The service was a mere 3 hours in 90+ degree heat with no fans.

After exiting the church, the crowd gathered on a grassy area for photos. Again, I was summoned up front, this time to have my photo taken with the happy couple. A reception was being held in an adjacent building with chairs set up in rows like an auditorium rather than a banquet hall with tables. The wedding program included the agenda for the reception, which appeared to me like another ceremony. I opted out just as a family member was attempting to get me to sit at the head table. I was honored, but I prefer a little more anonymity in situations like this.

I’ve been packing little by little and today even more earnestly with scattered interruptions of requests for support: a palm oil machine, money for a passport, work boots, overalls, a portable DVD player. And then there’s the employee issues that waited until my last full day to bring up. I spent time as mediator again as the security guards and Sumo had disparate understandings of the work involved with keeping the campus clean and “brushed” (grass and weeds cut short with cutlasses). We also discussed an ongoing issue pertaining to needing a substitute guard on standby should one of the main guards become ill. This was discussed a year ago and a plan was put in place. The issue is that the plan wasn’t implemented so the same problem exists. More clarifications were made and a new deadline set…we’ll see.

I head to Monrovia about 7:00am tomorrow so we can do a few errands, get a minor truck repair done, grab lunch, then drive to the airport. Moses asked if he could come at 6am to give me a letter for Auntie Kathryn. I strongly suggested that was a bit early for me. He’ll probably be there early anyway!

Here’s a farewell shot of our teachers, classroom caretakers, registrar, janitor, and driver (with Baby Jon in the foreground):

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