DISCLAIMER: Peter reads and approves all blogs before I post them. Just so everyone knows. J
Peter and I went to a Portland Timbers game this weekend. It’s been a dream of mine to surprise him with tickets to a Tottenham Hotspurs game (his favorite English team….don’t worry, I’d never heard of them either). His birthday was last week and since I couldn’t give him Tottenham tickets, I did the next best thing. Timbers tickets…..? Not QUITE the same, but I was excited just the same.
The game was so fun! When I bought the seats I really had no idea where we were sitting but when we arrived and I heard all the chanting behind us I thought “Oh that’s fun! We’re sitting near the ‘crazy fan section.’” Then I realized we were sitting right in front of the OPPOSING TEAM’S “crazy fan section.” Oops. The Timbers kept them pretty quiet though, with a final score of 3-0. My job during the game was to google all the black players and see if any were from Sierra Leone. No Sierra Leoneans, but a Liberian and Nigerian so…some good West African representation. Peter was pretty vocal during the game and would occasionally yell things out in Krio. I always love watching people around us watch us while trying not to look like they’re watching us. J I always want to lean over to them and give them my stalking secret. Sunglasses. You can look anywhere and nobody knows!!
After the game we stopped off at the hotel before heading to dinner. We used a gift card we got for our wedding which is my FAVORITE because I love eating for free!! I love it so much that, even though we were heading to dinner, I begged Peter to let us stop off at the hotel restaurant where they were having a “managers reception” with free appetizers and free drinks!! I just can’t pass up free Diet Coke!
It ended up being a good thing because our wait time at the restaurant was over an hour. Thanks Free Pre-Dinner!!! About 30 minutes into our wait, Peter looked at me and said, “I don’t know if it was the medicine I took or what, but I’m feeling really tired.” I asked him what medicine he took and he told me he took the cold medicine….the nighttime one, since it’s evening time now.” Ha! There’s 50mg of Benadryl in that medicine!! He was wiped!! I told him we could just go grab dinner and take it back to the room but he wanted to press on. J Conversation during dinner was….not lively. At one point I asked him a question and it took him 3 seconds to come up with “yyyyeeesss!” You could almost see the neurons trying to connect through the fatigue. We went back to the hotel where he walked straight from the door to the bed and was out in 2.7 seconds. At 9:15. I spent the evening watching HGTV….and am going to get to hold this one over him for a while! J
The next morning at breakfast I commented how much more talkative he was when he wasn’t all drugged up and he kept shaking his head and saying he was never doing that again! J Later we got to have lunch with some good friends who were actually in Sierra Leone soon after Peter and I started dating. (Shout out Stephen and Pasha). Steven had had the mission while he was there to “scope this guy out” and get a guy’s perspective.
What happened at the end of our weekend is really why I decided to write a blog. This was just my really long way of getting there. A friend of mine works with a Sierra Leonean woman and she called Peter to tell him about a special prayer time they were having for Sierra Leone in Portland. It was perfect timing because we were already up there. We spent an incredible 2 hours worshipping the Lord together and praying about the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and the rest of West Africa. There were probably 30-40 people there and they were from all over Africa. At the beginning of the meeting the pastor called up several people who were NOT from West Africa and had them each pray in their own language. He remarked that while they weren’t from West Africa, their hearts were still burdened for their friends and were calling out to God on their behalf. It was beautiful. These people understood. They too are far from their families and friends, watching the suffering from a distance. I shed tears for Sierra Leone, for the people who are suffering, the people that are interceding, and for my husband.
I got to watch Peter worship in his own language, sing songs from his own country and become instant friends with people he just met. I am intimately acquainted with the loneliness that can come from being so far from home, but was always so blessed to have a community around me from the United States. My home culture. Peter hasn’t had that. And his country is in crisis. So although I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Sierra Leoneans, speaking Krio (although I was ashamed of how bad it’s become) and sharing stories, my favorite part was watching my husband enjoy it. J After the service we were invited to a woman’s house who had made a staple Sierra Leonean dish (cassava leaf or “green glop”) that I didn’t even know we could get in the States! Peter was in heaven!! It was the perfect end to an incredible weekend and as I drove home I marveled at how much God had blessed us and how incredible the Body of Christ is. Thank you so much Jesus!! Thank you for stretching us, and thank you for encouraging us!