Sunday, February 2, 2014

Turning the Corner

Posted by Joni

It’s always difficult that first week back in Liberia after spending time at home.  No matter how much you know you are supposed to be here, that first week of transition is hard.  You know your surroundings, the people and the projects, but that odd realization that nothing stops even though you are away.  That transition of turning your “work brain” on, when your mind is still trying to figure out which continent it is on can be tough.  Some transitions are better and smoother than others.  This one, for me, was a bit tougher.  I had spent an amazing time at home with family and friends, and was ready to begin the new year with our team.  I knew it was going to be a different beginning to the year, after the sudden passing of our finance manager, David.  My first day back in Liberia was David’s memorial service held at our office.  It was a beautiful service with our staff, providing an opportunity to share about what an amazing man he was, and provided the avenue we needed as a team to mourn and process together. 

Overwhelmed with jet lag, grieving a co-worker and friend, and trying to play catch up on everything I purposefully ignored during my break led to a small emotional breakdown for me.  I am so grateful for my friends both here and across the pond, who encourage me, especially during those times.  It took me a few days, but I soon turned the corner mentally on wanting to be back in Liberia.  Of being ‘all in’ on everything taking place here.  Because if you allow yourself to ask the tough questions during that time, it is easy to lead your mind down a path that is not helpful at all.  Do they even need me here? Am I even useful? Should I even be here?  If you choose to believe those questions are true because of transition and exhaustion, you will be miserable for a long time- not only for yourself but for your team, and paralyzes you.  I am thankful that I was able to turn that corner rather quickly.

To my surprise, and I am quite sure it is because of you praying, I turned the corner mentally about running as well!  I have never enjoyed running in particular, and when I agreed to do the London Marathon to raise funds for SP Liberia projects, it was more of a  ‘if Kendell does it, I will do it” type of attitude.  But in the last couple of weeks that has shifted significantly.  Long runs do not haunt me for days beforehand- in fact, I even look forward to them!  Committing to the marathon doesn’t make me run to the bathroom full of nerves, but brings a feeling of excitement instead.    

I have heard it said many times, how life on earth is like a marathon.  Each run I have teaches me more about it.  Some days are good- I feel great and I want to go faster and faster!  Other days, I drag myself out there knowing I need to get my run in, but also knowing my body is tired. Some days there is physical pain that makes me question what did I do differently?  How do I treat it? But the difference now is, instead of trying to justify quitting, I have mentally chosen to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what may cross my path- even during the lowest of lows, I will keep on moving.  Thank God for the strength that He gives me to do that in life as well, no matter what may come my way. 

Boy am I glad for both of these attitude changes!  As the picture says, it is a beautiful transition when I know that I can do this.  Five hours of pain is nothing if it means providing thousands upon thousands of people reliable health care and clean water, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

I am excited to run a marathon (did I just write that!?) but I am MORE excited about what will happen as a result.  Will you be a part of my team?  Please pray for us as we train- pray for no injuries, and the strength to make it through no matter what may arise.  And that is my prayer for you, as well.
If you are from the UK, my fundraising page address is:
If you are from the US/Canada, my fundraising page address is:
Kendell and I on our ten mile run this morning.  It was hot-o!

Ten miles, done.

Nice work team!

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