Year One Update!

Today even as I type this I recognise so many things have changed in the last year. First of many is that I'm sitting on my couch in Sierra Leone wearing a long sleeve shirt.... BY CHOICE!  

In all seriousness, we have seen an overflow of the Lord's goodness this last year co-existing with some of the most difficult moments. I've come to learn that in the midst of the ugly difficulties life brings we see the goodness of the Lord shine through the most.

We came to Sierra Leone not exactly knowing what we would be doing. Charles came to assist some of our local staff in starting The Roots Project. The Roots Project began as an idea to create a domestic adoption program within the country of Sierra Leone. Throughout the beginning couple of months Charles' research led him to believe, even if a domestic adoption program would be possible one day there was still a group of kids that wouldn't be served. That group is becoming more widely known as "aged-out" youth. Kids ages sixteen and up are no longer eligible for adoption. Charles and the management staff here have created another facet of the Roots Project. The Roots Project will now include a transitional home for up to eight kids, as well as skills and educational opportunities for the kids. If you'd like more information about the Roots Project please email Charles at charlescurrie@therainingseason.org.

Since the slight change in mission our time has looked different too, we've spent a lot of time with the older kids, hearing their stories, listening to their dreams and talking to them about plans for their future. Its been deeply rewarding to get know these kids. Their stories display the ugliness of sin and deep reach of Christ's love in the midst of it all. I can't tell you how the Lord has grown our faith through their joy. We know if nothing else our time spent building these relationships has been worth all the energy and resources. 

I (Ally) have also taken over a role inside of The Raining Season, as the travel coordinator. This again was something not on our radar but we've seen the Lord provide through it in many ways. We've had the opportunity to host and share life with all the travelers who visit The Covering. It's been a privilege to introduce many people to our world and life in Salone. 

Our last year has been full to the brim. We've hosted eight mission teams, helped rent and furnish a large home to begin the transitional home and continue to build relationships with our friends and neighbours. Life looks really different from when we first moved here and that in and of itself is bittersweet. We're so grateful for all the people who gave to us, our church who visited us, and those who have joined this journey with us.

In just a few weeks we will be welcoming six kids into the transitional home where we will serve as house parents.  We are so excited (and a little nervous) to see what the year will hold and how the Lord will continue to teach us more about Himself in the midst of the parenting story we are about to begin.

If you are looking for ways to help please visit our 'Take Action' page. We are attempting to raise $35,000 for the coming year. This total includes: Charles' salary, flights to the States for the holidays, and airfare for a respite trip this spring. We are so thankful for how the Lord has already surpassed all our expectations and we are starting off the year with $12,600. Last year the Lord really grew our faith by His presence showing up in our effort to raise funds. We have seen the Lord provide through you all and want to open up the opportunity to join us in our work in Sierra Leone again this year. 

If you so feel led to donate to us please do so HERE.We are so thankful for each of you and how you've all played apart in our story. 

Ways Unknown

In 1999 my (Ally) mom came back from a mission trip to Brazil. It was the first time she had gone on an international mission trip. I remember seeing the sparkle in her eye and her ever growing passion for the nations. I was only 9 years old when I was first introduced to the idea of international missions. While my opinions of global missions have matured and grown over the years, my mom’s love and passion to see the nations come to know Jesus stuck with me.

 In 2012 my mom was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. We were told then it would be terminal. It’s been 5 years since she was originally diagnosed and my mom has continued to beat the odds; living days, months, and years past what any of the doctors predicted. When Mom was first diagnosed there was a temptation to stop doing anything normal but as time went on and life didn’t stop, we continued to function normally. Our family celebrated big events like marriages and babies and job changes. Life has a way of not stopping for illness and my mom followed suite, continuing to work full time while being on radiation and only taking a short break for chemo. Her likeness to Wonder Woman is uncanny, sans the jumping and kicking.

In the last two weeks, my mom has rapidly, and shockingly, declined. She has moved in with my sister and gone on 24/7 care. I say this not for pity, because she would not want any of that, but because it has a real impact on our date to leave for Africa. My mom has always supported our desire to move to Sierra Leone. When I told her of our hopes she responded with, “I’ve been waiting for the day you’d tell me this.” I have never felt the need to explain leaving my mom with cancer for 90+ children who are my family too, it made sense to my mom and it’s always been clear to me.

However, our leave date is approaching and her condition is steadily declining. People have continued to ask me, “What are you going to do?” Charles and I have wept, paced, wrestled, and cried out for hope in these days that seem clouded with a foggy darkness. As I was processing with a friend and mentor I told her, “I don’t think I have an option on what to do, I just need to do what is right in front of me.” Right now, my mom needs the combined care of my sister and I. She needs both of her daughters to be present and willing to care for her in what will inevitably be her last days. Even as the doctors tell us the months are few, I know my mom has continued to beat the odds, in her illness and her personal life. But right now, it’s not our place to know the time but to be faithful in the unknown.

Charles and I hold our calling to Sierra Leone with a closed fist knowing that the Lord has indeed called us to that place. However, we now hold our timeline with an open hand, knowing that the Lord will make clear the month, day, and hour we will arrive on the shores of the country that has claimed our hearts and has been feeling more and more like home every minute we’re away from it.

Since the beginning of our thoughts and plans to go to Sierra Leone the Lord has continued to bring the story of Abraham to our mind. In Hebrews 11, verses 8-10 we see,

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

We’ve taken much solace in the fact that, we like Abraham, will reside in temporary homes unsure of where we are going,  or how long we will be there until the Lord says otherwise. We are thankful that this time of transitioning into places and spaces we don’t know is teaching us to be ever hopeful for the day we can be unite with our Savior forever. For now, the concept of home has become fluid, and we know our only place of rest and renewal comes from being with our Father.

Charles and I wanted to post this to update all of you who have been faithful to pray for us, to give your resources to us, and to continue to encourage us towards the calling we are certain the Lord has for us. We are thankful for the continued generosity of our friends, donors, and complete strangers. We will continue to keep you all updated on our plans for leaving and how the Lord chooses to work in the coming days and weeks.

We long for the day when we can walk on the red dirt roads of Freetown, hugging and holding all the little ones our hearts ache for. Just as deeply, we ache for cancer to be no more and sickness to be defeated. We hold desperately to that hope knowing one day they will both be true.

Fundraising.

14+63=77, 100-77= 23

“Who wants to give us $23”

Oh great we got $100! $100+ $5,463= $5,563

Only $14,437 left!

 

This is what our home sounded like every day, multiple times a day last month. I think I used my calculator more than I used any other app on my phone. I don’t know if that speaks to how many times I did that, or how bad I am at math.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I would want to include on this blog. I’ve got a lot of feelings about how fundraising has gone, and for a person who spent the majority of her life not giving value to her feelings that is a scary place to be.

I felt like it was important to document this process and share it with all of you for a couple of reasons,

  1. I know that remembering is an undervalued discipline in my own life/ the life of our family as Curries. When 2017 started Charles and I talked about that being something we really wanted to prioritize continuing forward, we want to be people who recognize the work of the Lord as His work, not as mere coincidence. We want to be people who thank the Lord in the midst of His good work, not after it. We know that Christ continually tells His people in Scripture to remember His miraculous works. Remembering grows our faith in His promises, reminds us we are NEVER forgotten, and helps us follow a commandment the Lord set before us. I want to look back in 5, 10, 50 years and remember the Lord fought for us; and, where He plans, He provides.

  2. It’s humbling to sit in this position. This month has been one where the Lord has continued to point out to me that I’m not that smart, and that He has a perfect plan that outweighs my most well thought out attempts. I won’t pretend that this process has been smooth or easy. Giving up our home, our dog, and many of our possessions have left me crying in the corner on my bed many more times than I’m willing to admit. Trusting the Lord to use people, some we’ve never even met, is pretty terrifying. Coming from a girl whose juggled multiple jobs at a time since college, and who is married to a man who works harder than anyone I know, to sit and depend on other people to pay your salary is extremely gut wrenching. We’re juggling thoughts of  “do we deserve this,” “do people believe in us,” etc. It’s pretty humbling to hear the Lord lean over and say, actually no, YOU don’t deserve this. And no, people don’t believe in YOU, they believe in ME. What a relief to know its not about our work but it’s about what Christ has done for us.

  3. I honestly can’t think of a better way to say thank you. You people have blessed the souls of Charles and I so deeply. You may have given us $1, or you may have given us $1,000 but you’ve all preached the Gospel to us. You’ve reminded us that it is not within our power to make anything happen. You’ve reminded us of the work of the cross. You’ve reminded us that Christ cares about family happening in the tiny country across the globe. I can not be more thankful to those of you who have believed in the Lord and then stepped out in faith to give to us.

 

We’re not done fundraising yet, and to be honest I find myself more terrified as we continue. We’ve got $10,000 left to go before we hop on that plane on July 29th, (tentatively) and that money will only happen if Jesus wants it to. But I have learned, He never brings His people somewhere just to leave them.

Our next phase of fundraising will include Tshirts, letters, and monthly sponsorships. We need just 15 people to commit to $50 a month. If you think you might want to support us monthly but can’t do $50 a month that’s COMPLETELY fine. Anywhere from $15, $20, to $50 a month can work. Follow the links below, click recurring donation, put Curries in the notes and you are good to go. We’d love for you to commit with us for a year but you can stop at anytime. We're also still accepting one time donations. Follow the same link and instead choose one time donation. Anything helps!

Thanks for taking time to stop by and read my words and being invested in the work the Lord is doing in us, and in Freetown.

 

WE'RE MOVING!

That's right, you heard correctly! In the summer of 2017, Charles and I (Ally) will be quitting our jobs, packing our bags, and leaving on a jet plane to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

We want to take this opportunity to share with our friends, family, supporters, and maybe strangers what lead us to this decision and ask for your help to jump on board.

I'll will be writing this post, but in the future you will have many opportunities to hear from Charles as well. 

I'll do my best to be thorough but brief about the story that lead us here. By October of 2015 Charles and I had been married 7 months. We both felt the Lord really leading us to take a trip to Freetown, SL with a nonprofit based out of Spring Hill, TN called The Raining Season. Several families, whom I lived with, in college were adopting or sponsoring kids through this program. I knew the Lord wanted us to go meet our extended family; their kiddos. The families I lived with in college showed me a lot about marriage, as well as commitment to church and family, and I felt very strongly that Charles and I should go that summer to meet the kids being sponsored by our friends. Soon after that, the Lord showed us through a series of very cool and divine dreams and interactions that we were supposed to start sponsoring a set of triplets. We worked on carving out some room in our budget and began to take on the responsibility to sponsor them. Charles and I take that task very seriously. Every family may view it differently, but when we began sponsoring S, M, and A we took on the responsibility of advocating and interceding for their souls. We love them like they are our own family and are thankful that the Lord is allowing us to visit, laugh, play, and dream together. Their laughter and light have brought healing to my soul on the darkest of days. I know that it is not them who are blessed by us, but truly the other way around.

We traveled to meet our sponsor 'littles' as I call them, in June of 2015. I remember coming home from that trip and just looking at Charles and saying, "hey, what if we moved to Sierra Leone?" I thought I knew what his response would be. I had always wanted to live overseas and saw myself living and working in that capacity but Charles never really had. We talked about it a lot in our relationship but ultimately promised each other and the Lord we would not attempt to go ahead on His plans but be active listeners to the Lord following His response for our lives. Charles response to that questions was one I didn't expect. He said a simple, "I could see that, we should put it on the table." The Lord let us both return to Sierra Leone throughout the year and we began to feel that call coming from a whisper in the backs of our heads to the Lord clearly saying, "this is the way, walk in it."

Over a series of months we have seen our motivations move from us as a nuclear family wanting to be united, to grasping the significance of EVERY child having the opportunity to have a family. When the Lord makes His calling clear, He makes His path clear too, and we've seen that through this opportunity to partner with TRS and The Roots Project. TRS is an INCREDIBLE organization and one we are humbled and honored to get to partner with. Charles will be going to work with a new program called The Roots Project (click on the link and watch that video, its worth your time!) and I'll be jumping on board to assist around The Covering (the 24/7 childcare center)! We are so excited to be coming alongside of the work the Lord is already doing in Freetown. We know those kiddos are already in the most capable of hands and are excited to be joining forces with some of the most beautiful people we know to help see kids join families in the country of Sierra Leone and beyond. 

Our ultimate prayer is that, through adoption, these kiddos will see the work Christ has done on the cross to allow us to be family with Him. 

Our prayer for these kids is that of Isaiah 61:

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,the oil of gladness instead of mourning,the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness,the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities,the devastation of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;you shall eat the wealth of the nations,and in their glory you shall boast. 7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;they shall have everlasting joy. 8 For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong;I will faithfully give them their recompense,and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations,and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them,that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord my soul shall exult in my God,for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

The heart cry of Charles and I is to see these kids as who they are, in the eyes of God, as oaks of righteousness planted so that the Lord can be glorified! We long to see their chains of past shame fall off and see them leading the change for Christ in Freetown, SL.

We are so grateful to be able to partner and get behind the vision The Raining Season set forth in The Roots Project and have the support of our local church, City Fellowship. We hope you too would consider joining us in this journey! If you want to join us in financial support click on the Take Action button and it will lead you to the proper steps. If you can help us through partnering in prayer or just want to be updated on the work in Freetown please leave your email in the comments below!