Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The Liberian National Flag
Does this remind you of any other country's flag? Look at our Liberian history page for clues as to why that is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Here, there, everywhere...

Life seems very up and down right now.

We were in Chattanooga over the weekend. Kyle had to come pick me up from the True Woman 10' conference that I attended. The conference was so refreshing and the Lord has really used it to remind me of who He is and to push me forward in my walk and obedience to Him. This conference (which I attended in Chicago in 08') has really been used by the Lord as a catalyst to greater spiritual growth in my life. I am so blessed.

Nonetheless, the constant travel has left me drained. Kyle had to leave out this morning for Charlotte. He will be there all week. So we will both be working on little projects in our spare time that have to do with our work in Liberia, except I will be here and he will be there.

When Kyle comes back we will be leaving out for Easter destinations all across the greater NC area! We will get the opportunity to share with several groups this coming weekend about our plans for Liberia. Pray that God would provide hearts willing to partner with us in this ministry. So the work continues...even in my weariness...I'm lovin' it.

Friday, March 26, 2010


#23: Amazing Savings

So you know how everyone says that they can't afford to buy organic? Well, in Asheville we have a solution. Would you expect anything less from us? Some geniuses (and I mean that with not an ounce of sarcasm) came up with the idea to combine your typical overstock/dented can store with an organic grocery store and the result is AMAZING, Amazing Savings that is! So on my grocery store circuit is usually a trip to Amazing Savings for produce, meat, some dairy, snacks and whatever else I might run across in the process. It really helps me stay within my budget and still get all the things I need and some that I want!

I have much to learn about Liberian food and grocery shopping. It will be part of the learning curve when we get there I am certain, but for now I will continue to enjoy the bountiful (and local) goodness that Amazing Savings provides. There are 2 locations in Asheville and a booth at the new Downtown Market off of French Broad Ave.

Visit them online here: Amazing Savings

This concludes the 25 Countdown for the week! Oh, what will #22 be? I know you can hardly wait...

Peace and Amazing Savings Friends,

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Sometimes the Lord puts you on a plane knowing that you are prone to anxiety. Sometimes the plane shakes more than you would like. Sometimes a sweet sister in the Lord that you didn't know before you sat in that seat will just happen to be sitting beside you. May we all be reminded that the Lord knows exactly where we are physically, spiritually, emotionally and more every second of every day. He gives us everything we need.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bird's eye view: Wordless Wednesday

Photo taken by NASA and found in the free photos forum on
Photo:The Liberian Coastline

Aren't you glad that God doesn't see us this way?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Stitch In Time...

Another weekend of travel! We made a quick trip to see Ma and Pa Hoover this weekend (otherwise known as Mimi and Poppi) and since we were the only children in town we got the pick of the bedrooms and the refrigerator. Kyle also got to show off his hula dancing skills at his home church's Chili Cook-Off. Although I (Jessica) have to say that he has nothing on his dad. I will not disturb your peace of mind with pictures. See what you miss when you don't come home other Hoover chillins?

It was such a joy this past weekend to get to share the details of our journey with folks from Kyle's home church back in High Point. I got to share with the ladies that are a part of the church knitting ministry (nicknamed the "Knit Wits" by one of the member's husbands, much to the chagrin of some of the other members!). These ladies knit prayer shawls for anyone that is suffering from an illness or loss of a loved one. These shawls can be used for warmth as well as a comforting reminder of being prayed for by others. I think this is such a Godly example of how we all should be using our gifts and talents to be a blessing to others! Kyle and I are hoping that they will knit some light weight shawls that we can take along with us to Liberia.

I shared with them about our heart for missions and the exciting work that the Lord has set before us. Many of these ladies received our letter a few weeks ago and said it was good to get to hear about our passion and excitement for this calling in person. It really blessed my heart to get to share with them and I think it was a blessing to them!

We are also excited because we were asked to fill in for the pastor at Kyle's home church on May 2nd. We will get to share with the entire congregation! Please be praying for us as we prepare for this upcoming opportunity! All in all it was a great weekend other than the expected case of the Mondays that Kyle and I both awoke with this morning. Nevertheless we continue on! Only 23 weeks until we hope to set sail (not literally, we do plan to fly) for Liberia!

Peace folks or Aloha for any Conrad folks that might be reading this,

Jessica (and Kyle)

Friday, March 19, 2010


The Folk Art Center: If you hop on the parkway off of Tunnel Rd. in Asheville and follow the signs you can find the Folk Art Center. The Folk Art Center is the flag ship facility of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. There are always wonderful exhibits as well as the center's permanent collection of historic folk art pieces. Demonstrators are there regularly to show off their skills and handiwork. The little shop has wonderful gifts/souvenirs from local artists and over our years here I have bought quite a few mugs from from the shop. My favorite mug was purchased there and has gone all over the country and out of the country since I bought it! Yes, I do plan on taking it to Liberia!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Upcoming episode of "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain

Some of you are probably familiar with Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel show "No Reservations" It has won an Emmy or two and is always good fun. Well, in my casual internet surfing, ok I accidentally happened upon it, I found a very recent blog from Anthony about his recent filming in Liberia for an upcoming show. Click here to read the blog post. Read all the way to the end for an exciting surprise. The "Dave" he talks about at the end is David Waines of the Waines' family. They are the folks that head up Equip Liberia's work! How cool is that?

Also, I am pretty sure that his account of Liberia will deter any of you from visiting us while we are there! Lets just say it didn't make his list of top 10 destinations in the world. I will let everyone know when I hear the air date. Should be interesting for us all!

Peace friends,
Jessica (and Kyle)

Monday, March 15, 2010


We are truly discovering that it is an overwhelming and humbling thing to rely on God's provision through His body, the Church. We received our first support summary this past week. We are very much at the beginning of this journey so this helped us gauge where, what and how we need to proceed with support raising.

A dear friend of mine reminded me on Sunday that approaching people face to face is going to be our best means of communicating God's work and our heart's desire for the people of Liberia. I agree and it is our desire that we would be able to share and encourage other believers with the work that God is doing in our lives as well as in Liberia. What she meant is that Kyle and I are an experience, best had in person not through a letter. I think our first letter was good, but she is right our heart, humor, and eagerness weren't communicated the same as in real life because we were trying to cram 4+ yrs of history and an explanation of the hopeful future into it! It makes sense that Kyle and I might get lost somewhere in the footnotes!

We saw Alice n' Wonderland in 3D over the weekend and it was quite the visual stunner. I think Kyle and I are kind of like that. We are best in 3D and our letter was 2D at best. So that is why in the coming weeks we will be contacting many of you via phone, email, skype, etc. We want desperately for you to hear and see our heart for missions, specifically the work in Liberia.

If you think your church, women's missions group, mission's committee, etc. would like to have a special speaker give us a shout.

Peace friends,
Kyle and Jessica

Friday, March 12, 2010


Well, we have approximately 25 weeks until we set sail for Liberia. In my blog ponderings I(Jessica) thought it would be nice to break up the monotony by counting down 25 of the things that we have most enjoyed about living in Asheville/Western NC.

As most of you know Kyle and I are not originally from the area. We are NC born and bred but hail from the East. However, WNC has welcomed us with open arms over the past 7+ years that we have called her home. Therefore I think it entirely appropriate that we pay homage to her in proper fashion.

I currently have a list of "final" visits and "must dos" before we bid farewell to these hills. I will insert those adventures as I deem appropriate. Take note of this list because if you ever find yourself in WNC you'll need it! Every Friday for the next 25 weeks I will let all of you in on a new favorite thing! Enjoy!

#25: 12 Bones- Restaurants are going to come up a lot on this thing...

Nestled away in the River Arts District of Asheville (which will get a ranking of its own in the coming weeks) is a little shack with a big smokehouse. Get there early cuz' you will wait in line, but it is well worth it. Their food falls into a category I like to call "The Heart Attack Time Machine". You will walk in with the arteries of a 25 year old and walk out with the arteries of a 65 year old man...who smokes...

However, don't let this deter you. It is well worth it. 1 out of 1 President Obama's agree (In fact 12 Bones is rumored to be the reason that his cholesterol was up at his recent physical). This is the restaurant Asheville showed off to candidate Obama when he visited our fair region on the campaign trail. Do not be deterred by this fact if your political affiliations force you to feel the need to write 12 Bones off for this reason. 12 Bones is a place where there are no party lines drawn. The food is reason enough to reach across the aisle.

So this is #25...Another reason to be excited about Fridays

Peace Folks,
Jessica (and Kyle)

P.S. A serious update is on its way!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Pygmy Hippo: The cutest animal on earth, no lie. Look it up on youtube
Oh, and they are native to Liberia!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Going viral...for real

This past weekend we had hoped for a wonderful weekend with our Church on a short retreat from Friday-Saturday. Well, it started out as exactly that, but unfortunately by 2:30 am on Saturday morning that plan began to fall apart. I will spare you all of the gory details, and say I (Jessica) got sick with a virus. The kind of sick that lands you in bed for several days moaning, groaning and contemplating making an addendum to your last will and testament. Don't you know it that I had just gotten done saying to myself on Thursday, "Man, I haven't been sick in a really long time. I am feeling super healthy!"...Insert old horror movie organ music here...because inevitably I got sick, nasty sick.

Kyle took me home after the morning session on Saturday. We were luckily only about a 1/2 hr. away from our house! I said to him when we got home "I hate being sick in an unfamiliar place" which then made me think about the journey ahead and how it is very likely that one or both of us could end up sick in a very unfamiliar place in the coming year. So if you are reading this, stop now and take a moment to pray that the Lord would protect our health as we make the journey to West Africa. We will be taking all the required shots and malaria pills, but Liberia is still Liberia so the chances of getting a nasty bug are somewhat likely. So all moms, grandmoms and aunts this is not a cue to worry but, a call to prayer.

Let me pause one moment though and brag about my wonderful husband who puts up with more than any of you know. I imagine it was a relief for him to go to work today. He has been patient, sweet and loving through my recent unpleasantness. He even made a valiant attempt to get me Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts only to find out there is not a single box of Thin Mints left in WNC. What a man...instead he got me some other Girl Scout cookie. Don't mistake me for being ungrateful. It is just that there are Thin Mints and then there are all other Girl Scout cookies.

I am feeling better now...weak, but better. I am anxious to be back at 100%. Most who know me know that I am not one to stay stationary for too long.

Liberia Update:
We are still waiting on our first finance report from Equip International. It should be in soon. We are continuing to plan speaking engagements so if you think that your Church, WMU group, Mission's committee, etc.. would be interested in the work that we will be doing in Liberia please let us know asap so that we can add them to our calendar!

We will keep the updates coming as we move through the end of the Winter and into the beauty of Spring. I think this Spring will be especially sweet for all of us!

Peace Folks,
Jessica (and Kyle)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...kind of...

Photo from
Click here to hear a World Vision report on some of the work that Equip Liberia is doing on behalf of women.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Face Lift...

So the blog got a face lift today! Hope you enjoy the new look. I think we are all needing a little color after the winter that we have had! If you haven't looked through our blog yet take this time to do so. We aren't too far into this blogging thing so you should be able to get caught up to speed rather quickly. You will find ways to donate, a brief introduction to us, easy ways to follow the blog, pictures of the current work in Liberia, and so much more!

~Kyle and Jessica
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