Friday, October 30, 2009

Multi Cultural Day in Nigeria

Can you see my children below?  Hehehe....

Today was Multi Cultural Day at the Kids school.  I think it is their version of a fall festival.  No hayride or candy or dunking for apples or pumpkin patches or hot cocoa, but it was fun anyway.  It started off with all of the children wearing their home country's clothing (whether it be a president, sports figure, colors, etc...) and then their was a presentation of different songs and dramas representing all of the countries present.  Then afterwards we saw some Tiv dancers.  They are dancers that represent a specific tribe here in Nigeria.  There are a lot of tribes and villages within the Jos area.  At lunch, each child in each grade brought a food that represented their home country.  It was kind of fun because when I asked my kids what foods they wanted to bring, Samantha and Sarah immediately asked for Mexican foods.  By the way, both girls also chose to dress up in Mexican clothing too.  Gus, I guess is my only american boy.... Anyway, Sarah made Quesadillas, Samantha made Pica de Gallo with tostadas and Gus asked for Banana Bread.  They then had to explain how each one was made and why they chose it.  
Mary and I went and thoroughly enjoyed all the food options presented before us.  Imagine if you will, three grades we went to and at least 7 different countries represented.  We had pounded yam with egusi soup, Zaka, chocolate chip brownies, macaroni and cheese, banana bread, chips and salsa, cupcakes, maui maui wrapped in banana leaves and some other interesting items.  It was great, but I find it amazing that my children remember Mexico more than the USA.  I know I have mentioned this before, but it still surprises me when Sami tries to tell Mary that she misses the restaurant Subway (which isn't even a restaurant) but she then said that Mary doesn't know about it because it is only in Mexico.  Anyway, I guess with us moving there 5 years ago almost now, it is truly their memories of their earlier years.  There teachers were understanding and thought it was fun they wanted to represent Mexico.  I don't know if I am doing my children an injustice by not forcing them to claim the USA as their own.  I guess in time I will see how their views might change.  
Overall, it was a great morning/afternoon and I am really enjoying experiencing all the different cultures in one small city.  We have the UK, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Canada, USA, Nigeria, Mexico and I might be missing one more.  God is truly not boring and very creative.  But, just for the record.  I still think the USA has cornered the market on all things cheese and chocolate......

Monday, October 26, 2009

a fine line

Here is a picture of Mary and I in our "Nigerian wears"  
It is funny how a little effort goes along way.    The people in the village church were so thrilled that Mary was going Nigerian that there were lots of comments and congratulations and hand shaking, it was cute.  One small step towards them and yet leaps and bounds relationally.   

This has been something I have been struggling with a ton here in Jos.  There really is a gap, as in the USA also, between the younger generation and the older generation.  With that gap comes different ways to minister and reach out.  I struggle daily with the idea of this.  There are so many opinions out there, truly, you have the opinions of the older nigerians, the younger nigerians, the muslim nigerians, the christian nigerians, then you for sure cannot forget the opinions of the missionaries (those tend to be the most vocal), the missionaries from here, the missionaries from other countries and of course, you then have the voices of the Americans, who don't live here, but have a thought to it.  From every angle and side I hear of, I can see their "point of view."  It makes sense, but where does that leave me and the way I minister?  Being a foreigner,  the decisions I make are more "out there" for judgement and opinions.  I am learning to be okay with this, the idea of being above reproach in all circumstances so not to be a stumbling block to any is a huge concept.  But, the reality is that at some point those two thoughts might collide.

I am in a bible study right now studying the Beth Moore study of the Psalms of Ascent, basically, Psalms 120 through Psalms 134.  Anyway,  I am learning that so often we learn an idea and eat the seed of it instead of Sowing the seed and reaping a harvest.  Does this make sense?  Can you follow it?  She shares of a story in Africa (which I can relate to and I see it) that a man communicated to some americans that were there on a mission trip, "One of the most frustrating things is that in villages where they receive seed, they often eat the seed rather than planting it and bringing forth the harvest."  This happens all the time to us as followers of Christ.  We get excited about a biblical truth and even cry over it, but we don't take the time to make it a truth in our own lives.  We eat it, verses, sowing it.  This is huge for me.  I see this in my own life.  I have been really praying that the Lord shows me how to trust that He is my audience.  The whole concept of "Audience of One".  ANyway, if I have been praying for that, why wouldn't I be put in scenarios that show themselves to be "controversial" so that I learn to recognize God's voice in the midst of so many others.  It is not just clothing that I am talking about.... it is ministry, how can you truly help and serve the kids that are within your ministries reach?  Which direction do you go to further the ministry?  How many other ministries do you observe until you have hit the one you can glean from?  So many options.... in ministry, in relationships, in family and the list can go to every single aspect of my life.  

The Lord has a plan for me and He has a direction for me to go in, I think it is valuable and important to seek out the counseling of other Christ-centered followers, please don't hear me say that it is not important, but I have been truly praying that the Lord puts in my the trust to follow him, no matter the opposition.  I am guessing to learn trust, I might need to start sowing the seed of trust so that I may, down the road, after long hours of weariness, harvest and reap the fruit of trusting My Lord and My Saviour.

I know it is worth it, I just don't want to grow weary in the meanwhile, or if I do, not to give up hope that the harvest will indeed come.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

relationships and ministry

So as of lately, I have been feeling a little down about Nigerian living.  Nothing huge, but just feeling a bit dry, even in the midst of relationships and ministry.  There really has been a lot going on that is so good and I am grateful, but while life is moving forward I am finding it a struggle trying to "keep up" with things.  
We haven't had power for about a week and a half, and that really is not an exaggeration.  I don't remember it ever going this long in the past.  It just makes it a challenge to do laundry, etc...  Jason and Emilee have been super gracious but even after awhile I kind of feel that we are inconveniencing them as well.  It's not their fault we don't have power, you know.  I think this is a stretch for me, truly having to rely on the "community" for daily tasks.  It is one thing for me to choose to work together with others and it is another for me to rely on others to get things done.  I wish there were easier ways to learn reliance.  It really makes me wonder how much I truly rely on God?  Do I really?  Or do I rely only when I choose to because of the benefits.  I want to put myself in a place of need to rely.  Shoot, God is, isn't he by my no power.   Look I am answering my own thoughts.  Ughhh.....  It can be so uncomfortable for me to have to do that with others that it makes me think I am not in good practice of it.  If I relied on God more, would I start relying on others more?  Or will it always be an uncomfortable feeling "needing" others to get daily tasks done.  And really, who cares, right?  I am learning.......

Okay, the pictures I have pictured here are as follows:  
The top is of a couple who came to visit here for a week and they were in charge of games with the children at CLAPAI at a birthday party.  It was a lot of fun and we learned that "honesty" isn't always something that comes naturally when winning a game with kids.
The last picture is of our friend, Mary, and she is holding a baby that was dropped off at another children's home called OLA.  Her story is a sad one, but I am grateful for the moments we get to love on her and hold her and give her kisses.  Mary did a great job with all three of those while we were there.
The middle picture is our family having the pastor and his wife from the village church we attend, over for lunch.  It was a sweet time of fellowship as he and his wife shared their testimony of God "calling" them into the church ministry.  They are a wealth of knowledge of growing into the person who God has created you to be.   Anyway, there you have it.  
Please pray for our ministries and that our power would return.
God Bless.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gift of Pain

pain is used for several reasons:
1. to remove pride
2. more obedience to God's word
3. opportunities to forgive others
4. compassionate towards others
5. you become a model for others who suffer through pain
6. to depend on God, not others
7. kinship with Christ and his sufferings
8. restore us to correct strength

As a child runs to its mother when hurt; so should we run to our Father when we feel pain.

This was a sermon given to us at church on Sunday, and I wanted to send it out to my friend, and you know who you are, and know that my prayers are there beside you, even though I don't live through what you are living through.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The moon is blue

When John and I first started dating he would walk me home and say goodnight in front of my sorority house door and above the door hung a lit, blue, neon crescent moon.  It was the symbol of my sorority and he would look up and say, "Hey Corrie, the moon is blue" and then I, in return, would say, "No, I don't see a blue moon."  This went on for weeks and months.  It was just his way of seeing where I stood with him, emotionally.  Well, one day, John walked me home in the evening and he didn't say anything and I looked at him and all of a sudden I realized that he liked me.  I mean, HE REALLY LIKED ME and I could trust him to protect me in whatever circumstances may lie ahead for us.  So I said to him, "John, did you know the moon is blue."  He just smiled and said "Yes it is, isn't it."  Anyway, I probably went into too much detail about our little early romance, but we still use those words to describe where we are with each other, emotionally.  If I am frustrated, I just look at him and say that the moon isn't even close to being blue or if he is thinking I am not trusting him he might remind me that the moon is still blue, etc....  You understand what I am getting at, right????
Okay, here is the real story for you.  SO, the other day John and I were running in our neighboring area about 6:15 in the morning and a HUGE HERD of cattle (and when I say cattle, I mean big, gigantic longhorn cattle) came charging at us.  It is not abnormal for you to see a herd of cattle roaming down our neighborhood street or down any street in the city for that matter.  They kind of roam anywhere.  But, not often do they take up the entire street and the ditches on both sides and I have never seen them running before.  So, I look up ahead and I notice that these cattle are coming straight for us and I kind of panic and tell JOhn that I am going to run behind him because this is it, we are going to die or at least get some punctures.  I almost wanted to curl up in a ball and look big and strong (because I am sure the cattle would see me and be scared).  Anyway, John proceeds to run in front of me and he starts flailing his arms all about to scare them off our little path.  I was so scared.  Well, they run right by us and they didn't run into us, on us, over us or even knick us a bit.  And I looked at John and said to him, "You know what babe, the moon is blue" and I loved that moment.  He truly was going to take some cattle head on to protect me.    I wish there were some pictures for you to see, but of course, no camera while running.
As a few days have gone on, Mary and Emilee and I have gone to see the kids at CLAPAI.  This past week was their first week back from the break and I realized again about God's protection and his shelter over these kids, whom I have grown to love and desire to protect them as well.
There are times when you recognize God's protection over you and there are times when you don't always see it, but you know it is there.  But, in a huge way, I think one of the biggest lessons I am learning (in a small, slow but steady pace) while living here in Nigeria is that God protects.  He protects me, these small kids, my marriage, my family, my friendships, he protects me from sickness and death, he protects this ministry and its relationships.
He protects His family and no matter what form that takes, whether I see it or not, He is protecting.  I am so thankful that I can trust in it.  The bummer is I am the unfaithful one, not wanting to see God's moon for me as blue if I don't agree with Him. But Blue it is and blue it will always remain because of who He is, not who I am.  And for that I am glad this is the lesson being taught to me, even if it is cloudy and I don't even see a moon at all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This past Sunday, we had some friends of ours celebrate their one year anniversary.  We truly have enjoyed and treasure their friendship.  The woman, Evelyn, is a part of the bible study I lead and the man, Daniel, works for a computer/website company that the ministry has used.  They both love the Lord and have come alongside of Back2Back in outreaches, helping in the translation but also have come alongside the ministry by their friendship.   Again, we feel blessed to call them friends.  They asked some close family and friends to come over and join them in a time of remembrance and prayer as they welcome in another year of marriage.  Here are some pictures that were taken that night.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I just wanted to see if anyone was out there?