Sunday, August 5, 2007

Festival of Hope

We were privileged to attend the "Festival of Hope" this weekend at the Acres of Hope campus in Mason, Wisconsin. It was awesome to see so many adoptive families who have their children home and are where we want to be. They brought in some Liberian drummers and it was just a great celebration.
Kim and I bought a drum while we were there, because we didn't want to have to carry one of those home all the way from Liberia. Besides every child at the orphanage learns how to play one, so it will be something familiar for Josiah and Gabriella when they get "home" to Wisconsin. I got to talk at length with one couple who picked up their 3 children in late May. It was so cool to see how well their children have attached to them in a relatively short time period. They have 3 grown children and adopted 3 siblings under 6 (their daughter Siah is pictured above eating a cracker). One of the workers from the orphanage in Liberia shared "his story" of how he came to Acres of Hope Liberia, and some of the difficulties he's witnessed living through the Civil War. The stories of families abandoning their children for survival was very difficult to hear. But the orphanage is bringing hope, and the children are the hope. One of my purchases from the African store was a bullet shell made into a cross. You can see from the picture above that in some places bullets litter the countryside. Patty Anglin, the director of AoH, pays youth to pick up the bullet shells, not only to help clean up Liberia but to turn destruction into hope. They make them into crosses (like the one I bought below), angels, and other symbols to help people to remember to pray for Liberia.

At the conclusion of the festival they gathered all the children together for one group picture. It is very important to the Liberian government and to the families of Africa to know that their children are doing well and not being sold into slavery, or abused, or worse. Below are just some of the kids.For every child helped, there are hundreds less fortunate that still need hope. And Patty Anglin's (founder of Acres of Hope pictured above) vision is to see a Pediatric hospital built in Liberia. The adoption ministry is just a small part of what Acres of Hope is doing. So if you'd like to become involved or someone you know has a heart for Africa please check out their website (http://www.acresofhope.org/ ). Wish you could have been there.

P.S. I learned some facts about Liberia this weekend that I did not know previously:

Liberia has a population of 3.5 million, but 1.5 million of them live in the captial of Monrovia which was designed for about 400,000. Most have no water, sewer, or electricity so many families have many children because many will die and they need them to support the family.

The infant mortality rate in Liberia is 130 dead for 1000 live births. That is in the top five in the world. (compare that to the US which is about 5)

Life expectancy in Liberia is 47 (compare that to the US which is about 78)

80% of the people are unemployed and thus below the poverty level. (compare that to the US which is about 5%)

3 comments:

Tama Covert said...

Thanks for that update! I so wished we could be there and will certainly plan on it next year with our kids in tow! But we were praying for you all weekend!

Campbell's Hope said...

I love your blog thanks for the up date of the festival....

Robin
campbellshope@blogspot.com

Jill said...

Hi Kim and Dale!
I love reading your blog and being part of your adoption journey! What a grand day that will be when you bring your children home. I hope to meet them. Maybe in my travels, I will stop by. I will schedule a visit with you first, knowing your busy schedule. :)
You are always in my prayers!
Jill - ECFA