“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Corrie Ten Boom

Karen and I decided to meet for an hour at a local restaurant in Kelowna. Our one-hour planned appointment in late November turned into four hours filled with conversation.

We poured over photos of the children, youth and adults of Liberia and the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana who had become such a part of Karen’s heart and life over these last seven years. I listened to stories of transformed lives – hope flooding in where hope had not lived before; smiles replacing tears; bodies becoming healthy through medical care and food; a chance for an education – and, oh yes – MIRACLES – and lots of them!!

However, among all these wonderful, joyful stories of rescue and renewed hope were the stories which brought tears to my eyes. The child, the youth or the adult who had passed away due to many and different circumstances. Life is hard in Liberia and in the Buduburam Refugee Camp. I know that Karen felt each loss personally and grieved with the family members.

When I was driving home to Vernon, the faces of the children became etched in my heart and in my mind.

During the next few weeks, before Christmas, Karen and I met to get our Visa applications for Ghana and Liberia prepared and ready to submit. I started my round of vaccinations, beginning with four right away – Tetanus/Diptheria/Polio, Meningitis, Twinrix for Hepatitis A & B, and let’s not forget the one for Yellow Fever. Oral Typhoid capsules were part and parcel of the mix. Anti-malaria pills – all 62 were added to my medical kit.

The purchase of a mosquito net, Deet, and summer clothing – in particular summer dresses and skirts (not easy to find in the middle of a Vernon winter) was accomplished. I contacted my friend, Selina, who had toured through parts of Africa and asked her if she could send me a list of items/clothes she took, wished she had taken and items that she found unnecessary. Selina’s list was definitely helpful!

Family and friends purchased ‘The Story of Henrietta Caterpillar’ books to tuck into my suitcase, to give out at the schools where I would read ‘Henrietta’ and to children in the communities and at the refugee camp. People donated funds to help with my expenses. From my heart to each and every one of you – Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Our planned departure date from Kelowna was January 26, 2011. Elaine, a retired RN from Dallas, Texas would be meeting Karen and I in Frankfurt. Elaine and I got to know each other through e-mails – by the time we met in Frankfurt, I felt as if we were already long-time friends.

As I prepared for this trip, God was preparing my heart. I felt my heart being filled up to overflowing with His love, compassion and concern for the people of Liberia (and the Liberians still remaining in the Refugee Camp in Accra, Ghana) even before I met one of them. I was filled with an excitement I did not understand at the time, but would understand as soon as my feet stepped off the plane and on to the Liberian soil.

Prayer…..never leave home without it! Karen, Elaine and I had wonderful people commit to pray for each of us, and for us as a group, for the whole time we were away and for a period of time when we would arrive home and go through a time of adjustment back to life in Canada for Karen and I and back to life in the U. S. for Elaine.

And now, we were on our way . . .