It's been overwhelming this week.
Not the amount of homes destroyed, but the giving, the giving has been overwhelming.
In a matter of days the total given reached over $10,000.
That may not seem like a lot when you consider how much it costs to replace American things (not even enough for one family, right?), but this is not America, and people here can carry all they own on their backs.
And so tomorrow Kenneth leaves for a neighboring town. He'll find a lorry (big truck), load bags and bags of food, piles of blankets, jerry cans, basins and cooking pots, and he'll bring them all back to give out to the families in need.
If only every problem were so easy.
We visited the home of the now-motherless children this week. The grandparents piled them in front of us, dirty and half-clothed, the baby snotty-nosed and sick with an eye infection, the others covered with ringworm. They've been motherless for only a few weeks, but they sit in the little shade they can find, listless and uninterested in us. Maybe they are sad or maybe they are only hungry, sometimes they look the same. And I wish, so much, that I could give them more than food and blankets and cooking pots. I wish I could bathe them, one by one, put cream on their ringworm and clean clothes on their bodies. I wish I could snuggle the baby and make him smile. I wish I could give them back the mother they lost.
But this, this help we're offering, this is the best we've got. It's not enough, it will never be enough for these children, but it will have to do for now. I am still grateful we can help, grateful we can, in some small way, show them how much the Father loves them.
And I pray that someday they will know Him and His love for themselves. That He will be enough to meet those needs we can never meet.
For those who have prayed or given or written us encouraging notes, Thank You! You have blessed not only them but us with your faithfulness. We are so humbled by your responses and so overwhelmed by your generosity!
Now, please stop giving!
But don't stop praying.
We will post pictures later this week!
It's been five days since the fire in the village next door destroyed over 30 homes. Since that time we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our friends back at home. We are encouraged that so many are responding and helping us help them!
We have joined forces with the local church to visit villages and get an accurate count of how many households and individuals were affected by this fire. During this headcount several other villages within a 5 mile radius were found to have had fires in the last week, raising the number of people now homeless to over 400. The community is coming together to help these families rebuild by donating grass for new roofs and sticks for new fences, but very few are able to help beyond that. Still, it's encouraging to see all of us, mzungus and locals alike, joining together to help.
We have already ordered supplies for the families and are planning to have them brought on Monday of this next week. As things stand now we have over $4,000 in donations pledged, and are ordering things for every family affected, trusting that God will provide the rest of the money needed. So if you plan to give but haven't yet, please do! We will more than likely stop taking donations after next week.
Please be in prayer for one family in particular. They live in the village of Lominit, the same place my son was born. As the fire took over their storage hut the mother rushed back inside to rescue the little money she was hiding there and was severely burned all over her body. She was taken to the local health center, but her burns were just too severe and she died the next week, leaving 8 children behind, one of them still nursing. Please lift up these children and their father as they try to rebuild their lives without their mother and wife. It is always difficult for children to survive here without a mother, but God is good and in control of even this, and we trust that He will use this for His glory.
Please check back next week for an update on the distribution of food and supplies for these families. We are so grateful for your donations and prayers! We, along with the families here, are so blessed by your support!
The sound of crackling woke me up this morning. It was too close and too loud for comfort. We gathered beside Elise and Camille's hut and watched the flames lick at the dry sorghum stalks just outside our fence. As the shepherds beat at the flames with branches the fire slowly died down, leaving only blackened earth in its wake.
It's fire season around here. As the snow falls back in our home state we who live among the Karimojong watch our grass yellow and wither away. The land as far as I can see is hazy with dust and smoke and patches of black stretch to the right and left, little ribbons of trail still winding, white and bare, through the ash.
This week a fire got out of control. It came on the wind, they say, little tornadoes of flames that flew from hut to hut and fence to fence, destroying everything it touched. In the end 32 families are left with nothing, bare ground, bare walls and burnt circles all that's left of their homes. Their stores of food, meant to last until harvest season in the fall, are black and charred.
This kind of disaster in our country brings out the best in us as people and as fellow Americans. We give generously and take trips to help with clean-up and disaster relief. We take people into our homes, if needed, and gather donations of blankets and clothes. We give, give and give more. After all, they are our friends and neighbors.
But what about disaster in a place like this? A place where neighbors don't have enough for their own families, much less those whose food is now black with ash. A place where people own only one blanket, if that, or one pot, or one set of clothes. How do they help? They'll try, I know, but there is not enough to go around. The families who lost everything are sleeping outside on the burnt ground as they beg for help. They are grinding their charred sorghum and maize and cooking it, anything to fill their empty bellies.
And so today, because these people are now our neighbors and friends, we beg you, our neighbors and friends across the water, for help. We have never done relief work on any scale, but this time we feel compelled to try and help. Maybe help will come from organizations here, eventually, but they can't wait.
We are planning to bring a truck from a neighboring town with bags of sorghum or maize, blankets, cooking pots, jerry cans and basins for each family. This is barely scratching the surface of the need, but it's a start, a start that leaves room for our local community to help as well. So please, if you are willing, give! There is a donate button on the right side of our blog if that's the easiest way for you to help, but make sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know that money is designated for fire relief. Otherwise, checks can be sent to:
P.O. Box 65147
San Antonio, TX 78265
Please add a note (NOT on the check) with our name on it.
Thank you in advance for your help! We are always amazed by the support we feel from our friends and family back at home. Please join us in praying for these families as they struggle to rebuild their homes and their lives.
Would you consider partnering with us financially to serve Liberia?
Kenneth and Kristi Williams
The Williams Family
Kenneth and Kristi
Nevaeh, 20 years old
Rikot, 19 years old
Ezra, 19 years old
Zion, 17 years old
Izzy, 16 years old
Selah, 13 years
Acuka, 12 years
Benaiah, 9 years
Jubal, 6 years
Jireh, 2 years