Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"it" happened

SO, this morning, it finally happened.  I wake up and I see Sarah (my oldest) wearing my shirt to go to school.  Since when was she able to fit into my clothes???  So, she then proceeded to ask, "I wonder what other clothes would fit me mom?"  Ughhh.... She wouldn't have even known except my mom who is here visiting with us was folding our laundry (which I am grateful) and she thought the shirt was Sarah's so she put it into her pile.   I cannot believe I have a child old enough to wear my clothes.  Sami (my youngest) started taking my hair things about a year ago, but that was different, not clothing.... is anything sacred anymore to a mother?  As I write this though I think about how cute my two girls are and how much I love them and I just want to smile.
Also, today, we had four nigerians over for lunch and we just took some time to tell them how much they have become like second family to us and how grateful we are that their lives intertwined with ours.  It was our Christmas with them before we leave.  It brought such joy to have them sit with us at our table.  We laughed over Christmas traditions (one of the men's villages has a huge wrestling tornament) and told them we would miss them but will be glad to return in January.  It was just good and I am thankful.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and a few of us as Americans are getting together and making a big Thanksgiving banquet.  My parents are here which will feel somewhat normal, but the rest of it will be "let's take it as it comes".  But, as we are packing up to go back home real soon, I cannot help but look back over the last ten months and feel every bit thankful for what God has done inside of me, to my family and our circumstances.  What we once took for granted are now special occasions and what we once overlooked we now see with new vision and appreciation.  It truly is a time to be thankful.  I pray for all of you to have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

village church

I wish there was an easy way to describe the village church we go to here in Jos.  It is neighboring to our future compound site and I just love it.  If there was no other reason to come to Africa (however, we really know there are several reasons to visit.....), worshiping with the village people on a Sunday morning, is reason enough.  It is amazing!
John and I first decided to attend there because that location and those people will be our focus as a ministry and sometimes if I don't create reasons to get out there and be with these villagers, I might not get there to the extent I need.  Anyway, so we started attending and our experiences only grow and increase in understanding, excitement, and overwhelmingness (I know, probably not a real word) of how many ways to worship God there are.  There are some pictures here that I have attached that show the humble exterior and interior of this precious church.  Oh, and the other picture is just of a squatty potty that was used by yours truly while at a borehole (clean water well) ceremony.  Someone else was with me and experienced the same thing, but SHE will remain that picture is just for fun!
Anyway, they have a youth choir, a children's choir and a woman's choir and they are all  how you imagine a village church being (lots of instruments, joy, lots of singing, standing and dancing, etc...).  The woman's choir just went to a women's fellowship retreat and there was a competition for worship and style of dance and our little humble church in the middle of Jos, won first prize (I told you they were good).  It has been a joy to worship alongside these men and women.  I really am gaining a deeper understanding of the culture by our Sunday service attendance, they translate the sermon for us, which is kind.  I have a richer context to pull from when the Old and New Testament talk about harvesting and borrowing/lending and the "Good Samaritan" with division within tribes and people groups.  I also have a deeper understanding of what my own prejudices have taught me to believe is right and wrong.  
I am growing to love and I am growing to hope for a people that I had no idea existed (in reality anyway) before moving here.  I like the idea of changing and internally growing, but it can be so frustrating at times.
Either way, my eyes are being opened and my vision is getting stronger and I am learning to use squatty pottys.  Can I hear an AMEN?!

Friday, November 20, 2009

too much going on in the background

These are some of the women in the bible study this past fall.  There are three ladies missing that I wish I could have in this picture, but it was a great study of the Psalms.  We have completed it and will resume in the spring or late winter.  I am already excited about the next study....
Today is John's birthday.  He is finally my age (we go through this every year, my oldness compared to his young spryness).  We have made his favorite chocolate chip cookies as his cake and we will celebrate tonight with the kids and my parents.
Here is the thing::::::  There is music going on in the background and my parents are talking to John and there is just too much for me to sit here and blog about something real.  The truth is I have been heavy of heart lately and I don't know why and I had lots to say about it, but another time.
Just know, we leave in a week to return to the States for about 5 weeks or so and there is much to do to prepare: kids homework assignments, ministry closings, hosting, cleaning, packing, lots of closure things basically.  We look forward to our time home, yet I cannot help but think it will be a "full" schedule, which is okay as long as the people I cherish feel the cherishment (is that even a word?) from me.  
Well, I must sign out, thanks for the listening mind....
God Bless,

Monday, November 16, 2009

it is a response

We do what we do because of what God has done for us, not out of our own sacrifice, but out of His initial sacrifice.  I think it is easy to get this backwards.....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

life keeps moving

So today John is in Abuja, he dropped off our friends, Mary and her dad and another new friend, Scott.  Now, he has picked up my parents and they are on their way home as I write this.  I haven't seen my parents for about 10 months or so and I cannot wait for them to see our life here, firsthand.  
This is the end of our first season of living here.  We leave with my parents for a short (or at least it is appearing shorter and shorter) trip home.  There is lots to do here and lots to do at home.  It can overwhelm me if I stop to think about it, but that is my nature....easy to become overwhelmed.  I am learning to just absorb today as it comes and then settle on tomorrow, tomorrow.  
I am starting to process (more than usual anyway) my first ten months here, and trying to really figure out what it is that God is doing in me and what He is doing in my family and what He is doing here in Nigeria.  I am starting to see a list forming of things learned, things pruned, things working through, etc...  I think it is good to truly debrief seasons and moments.  It is far too easy for me to move forward without learning what needed to be learned in that time.  I do want to become different because of living here in Jos.  I know I have, but I want to experience the change to the fullest.  Maybe when I see some of you when we get home, you will see it.  Maybe if you do see it, let me know, whether it is for the good or for the bad, because I want to be aware....
I can tell you one of the bad changes in me and I am not sure what to do with it.  My family, in general, growing up, has always enjoyed food.  I like to think about what the next meal is and what my friends are making for their meals, etc...   It has always been a focal point, to a fault.  Well, just thinking about going home, I am already forming a list of things I want to make sure I eat before returning back here.  I am not kidding you when I say food isn't easy or yummy here (ok, this is an exageration).  Isn't that crazy that I am even mentioning it on my blog?  It is, I know it is....  SOOOO, there you have it, my little secret about going back to the USA....  I am, as of right now, going to give it to the Lord and then keep giving it because I know gluttony is a sin.  Ughhhh.....
Anyway, I am excited for my parents to be here.  I must go because they will be here in about three hours.  YAHOO!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

are you weary

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galations 6:9


The other day, I woke up weary, went running weary, started bible study discouraged and weary and went to bed just as weary.  The Lord has shown me that lately, I have become weary in doing good.  I am learning that sometimes, and for me especially, the weariness of doing good comes in the hard decisions of what that “good” looks like.  Does that make sense at all?  I realize that the context of this verse comes in the idea of encouraging all believers, but even Jesus didn’t heal everybody.  If he didn’t though, it is because he had all humanities “good” in mind.  Maybe there was a lesson for us to glean from or maybe it is for a greater testimony later, but either way, He clearly was committed to this verse as much as we should be now.


When a parting of ways must come between people for the “greater good” (amicably, but still a parting), that makes me weary.  When difficult conversations must happen, that makes me weary.  When hosting a bible study and people show up an hour late, that makes me weary.  When knowing obedience is calling me to a life that is not as easy as I probably wanted (even though I don’t REALLY want ease), I become weary. 


Now, I want to pause here because when the Lord showed me this verse, my weariness turned to a promise that is “in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  That promise is real and I do believe that it can sustain me through the seasons of weariness.  So, today I don’t want to become weary in doing good, I want to know that sometimes doing good isn’t what I imagined, but either way, it is the Lord’s harvest that I will be reaping and with that comes another day of “doing good” and today the weariness is gone.  Yahoo!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stepping Up

Good Morning!
This morning I have 9 other ladies coming over for our 5th week of Bible study.  We are studying the bible study by Beth Moore, Stepping Up.  It is a study based on the 15 Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120 - 134).  The truth is I wasn't looking forward to studying the Psalms but I had a shorter time frame to have this study since John and I and the kids are going home in Dec. and I needed a shorter one verses her traditional 10 week.  Anyway, so this was chosen.  At first I enjoyed it but wasn't "feeling" it.  But I tell you what these past couple of weeks have been amazing for me.  
The Lord is really revealing things to me and I am amazed at how I choose something out of convenience but the Lord was still guiding my ways.  OR, does it not matter when studying Scripture because Scripture is the Living Word and I will always have a ton to learn , no matter which "study" I choose.  I guess it doesn't really matter because what does matter is that I am moving forward with my intimacy and walk with Christ.  For that I am grateful.
Please pray, the ladies that are in this study, for the most part, are the same ones from the last one and I truly desire to walk through life with these ladies and go "a mile deep" verses a mile wide with lots of ladies.  There are years and generations of sin and misunderstandings brought to the table every week and it overwhelms me.  I think it is what the Lord wants and it brings him glory, but it is strange for me to be soooo out of my understanding.  It is like them bringing their stuff to the table ultimately ends up revealing my stuff and having it brought to the table as well.  All good and if there is any eternal change in any of us, it by God's grace and His alone.  I just know that I am learning that the more I am sooooo out of my understanding, the more opportunities for God to show up and be my Saviour.  I think it is so cool that He can work that way and yet so oddly strange that He does at the same time.
Anyway, please pray..... and thanks for your prayers.... they show up in one hour..... yikes!

Monday, November 2, 2009


So this morning, John and I got up to run, as usual, and it was absolutely beautiful outside.  On one side of us was the moon and on the other side of us was the sun coming up.  Absolutely breathtaking.  Rainy season is gone (which was declared at church on Sunday, which kind of makes me chuckle) and the Harmatan is upon us.  The Harmatan is the season where the Sahara desert winds come blowing into town, basically.  
Anyway, during this season, it is super windy and cloudless and just an overall good temperature.  At first, while running, it was nice, a cool breeze, cool temperatures and it was great.  Well, after awhile, that cool breeze felt like a ton of bricks and the cooler temperatures just felt clammy to me.  What started out as a taste of freedom ended up being a burden to run in.
It was funny to me as I was aware of this thought going on in my mind about how fickle I can be and how much it can parrallel our spiritual life.  What maybe feels like freedom at first, you know, being in a different decision-making mode - tired of the same old routine, so you choose to spice it up a bit with some wrong choices.... but it feels nice because the wind is in our hair, and this view is so beautiful....  Does this strike a chord with anybody?  BUT, the truth is, after awhile, that view becomes a burden and now there is sand in your teeth and you cannot breathe because your nose is clogged and you are tired and crabby because of this irritating Harmatan winds.... ughhh....  It never pays to go against God, even in the Christian sense, when He leads us somewhere but we really don't want to reach out to that person or take that much time for that commitment, etc...  I am sure all of us can name our area/s that we choose to go our own way.  
On one hand, the Harmatan winds intrigue me that I am actually experiencing the Sahara desert sands in my living room, on the other hand, I can get pretty annoyed, pretty quickly with the little sands everywhere.  Interesting, living in Africa with their different seasons verses Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.....

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I was looking through this booklet that someone gave to me this past week and it has this idea of presumption.  I want to share it with you because I have found it to be true of me, and I wonder if you would find it to be true of you, in some regard.

"Poverty and oppression in developing countries are met by a variety of presumptions.  Some who hear of the tragedy presume that the people have learned to live with the life they have always known, it's what they expect  (THIS IS WHERE I HAVE ALWAYS FALLEN SAD TO SAY).  Some when confronted with the suffering, turn away from the vastness of the problem and presume there is nothing they can do.  Both presumptions lead to inaction."  

This is so true of this nation.  The problem is so huge, more vast than my comprehension and it overwhelms me now that I am living here.  But, for John neither of these presumptions seem to be true of him.  I was learning about Nehemiah and how he was in a position of ease, power and safety.  He had a job and was doing it well.  But, he also heard about the remnant of Israel and how they were not doing well.  The Israelites had learned to withdraw and retreat when ridiculed about trying to rebuild the wall.  They were turning away because the problem seemed too big and there was nothing they could do.  Nehemiah left his good job and went to become a part of the solution.  He would not give in to either presumption.  He then motivated and worked alongside of the people to rebuild the wall, working with one hand and then defending with the other.  Do you think Nehemiah ever regretted his decision to leave his position of power for his position of serving?  I bet not.  I think John feels this enormous task yet wants to be a part of the solution.  One block at a time, trying to not give in to either of the ideas that poverty is a way of life nor there is nothing that can be done.  John wants to not see the enormity of the task as much as he wants to see the enormity of His God.  I am his wife, I know these things of him....

Psalm 74:21  "Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name."  

How cool that we, as a family, get to live here and be a part of living alongside a people who are learning, as we are, to praise the name of Jesus.  I am slowly adjusting my mindset to not give in to either presumption as well.  The problem is huge, but just because it is big doesn't mean these people are choosing it because they think it best and it is who they are.  No!  That is crazy, they have just been told that for decades.  It is also so big that I want to be a part of the solution, one person at a time.  Thank you for all of you who have also chosen that choice as well by your support of our family.  Thank you for also fighting off the presumption of the poor and oppressed.  I don't regret ever leaving the life we had known for this one, but I am realizing that my view of God has to change and it needs to become larger.  I know it will as He shows me bit by bit.