New height: 7 ft tall

Dear Mom… I am now 7 feet tall due to all this stretching so please buy me some new clothes. Thanks! Love Becca

Two of the three church leaders conferences start next week. The first will be May 3-6 in Bo (5 hours away) and then second will be May 9-12 in Freetown, which is where I live, but still could be 2-hour drive depending on the traffic… yipeee!! These two conferences alone will include over 700 pastors from all different denominations. I believe this is the first Mercy Ships pastors conference that will include Catholics, Pentecostals, Anglican, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, an array of NGO’s and even some Muslims! Please be praying for these conferences. Everyday I receive about 10 phone calls and about 4 surprise visitors. Plus on the planning side of things my resume is being expanded i.e. writing invitations, making banners, finding hotels with running toilets, bartering meal prices from 7$ a head to 3$, writing up excel spreadsheets, doing budgets, figuring out how much a ream of paper costs with black and white ink and with color printing. Yep I am definitely being stretched…

The health teaching is coming along. I am being lengthened in this area as well. Last year when I did teaching it was every 2 weeks at a church with adults who were excited to learn and had decided to come to class. This year I am teaching patients who have not CHOSEN to get this education but instead have it forced (nicely) upon them. Each day that I teach I have students from age 5 to age 75. I have students that are professors and students who have never seen a classroom. Plus I am not a teacher at heart which means that everyday that I go out, I am being expanded. Sometimes I teach and I fail miserably (note to all future teachers: do not pass out measles coloring sheets until after the lesson unless you want a 75 year old grannie giving you the evil eye because you stole her pink crayon). But then there are other days that turn out amazing i.e. like when teaching on worms I saw a 30 year old college grad act like a pinworm and a 50 year old illiterate woman due the best roundworm impersonation I had ever seen. So yes this area is a challenge for me but I am definitely learning a lot as I research these topics but also brings me new joy especially when a lesson goes well and I see that they really get it.

Outside of work there are many other areas that are making my legs longer. Even though I technically work 8-5 my day definitely starts before that time and ends after. I may leave my ‘office’ at 5 but my phone continues and worse than that my brain continues well into the evening. My favorite phone call was at 1030p from a pastor asking me to help him put together a pie chart for his report that was due the next day (yes I tried to help and if you are ever in a similar situation just go to excel and they have some beautiful graphs to choose from). Relationally things are also challenging as, like I mentioned above, work definitely continues outside of work hours but also since I don’t live on the ship my catch up time and talk time with friends is limited. The traffic continues to be my biggest testing ground especially recently. I have been in Sierra Leone for 3 months now so my patience has been getting worn down and the excitement of people watching has ceased to exist. Also due to holidays and the upcoming 50-year S.L. Independence Day traffic is at an all time high. The other day my roommate and I left the ship at 930p figuring it would take us about an hour for the 3-mile drive but instead due to street dance parties, an unloading rice truck, and a traffic officer who is worried about job security, we sat in traffic for 2 hours. She actually calculated it out and it was 25 minutes moving 1 hour and 30 minutes sitting. No matter how good of a day I have had this traffic situation definitely rubs on my mood and patience.

I swear I am not trying to depress you I am just trying to give you a glimpse of what my life is currently like. But the other day I was doing a bible study with my ship little sister, Alisia, and it talked about how your perspective can affect your thoughts and the outcome of your day. “Well duh Becca” But even though this is a ‘duh’ statement it really made me start to think. What if instead of getting annoyed when a pastor calls me at 1030p when I am well into my REM cycle, I think of it as an honor that I can help him with his theology report. What if instead of seething about the fact that I am sitting behind a stopped vehicle because the driver has decided to go and buy some things at the market, I instead prayed for all those that pass by.

As I look at the 8 months left of this outreach I see that if I don’t change my attitude then I am definitely going to get burnt out AND get an F- on my report card

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Romans 7: 21-25)

As I reflect on this Easter season and all that Jesus has done for me, and the fact that he send the Spirit to live inside me, I realize that these verses above are SOOO applicable to my daily life. I know what I need to do, how I need to think. I know that this world is NOT all there is. But when tested, challenged, annoyed, frustrated, etc. this wisdom seems to float right out the car window. I need to keep my mind on these truths. I can’t rely on my own strength but instead rely on the strength of the one who frees me from these sins.

John 15:2 ~ Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit.

This is definitely a big pruning time for me. Branches are being cut off on my left and my right but I just pray that all of this pruning leads to bigger and better fruit. Thank you for all your prayers and please continue them for these upcoming days and months!