Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's getting hot here!!

The flowers and bushes you see were a gift to me last year for my birthday and Mother's day! My husband's dad and wife were here to celebrate it with us and they even helped pick out and plant. I promised them I would take a picture every now and then and post it so they could see the fruit of their efforts. Sorry, it has been 9 months or so, but here they are..... growing, thriving in this heat.

I have to admit, in the midst of this heat and everything is turning brown in the area, these blooms are so beautiful to me. All of these pictures are taken around the house, so it can maybe also give you a good idea of our little compound. The second picture down, the one of the tree and three bushes, that is the one I am most excited about..... just picture it later on when they are grown and we put a picnic table back there and a huge umbrella (we found one here we could buy.... if John will maybe do it for my birthday this year and mother's day, it will take some persuasion).... Can you picture a little refuge from the heat.....

Okay, without complaining, just being honest, whewwww.... it is getting hot here. Did I already say that, oops. It has gotten to the point that we are sleeping on top of our sheets and the air seems stagnant. We have bought floor fans before, but with that you need power and the ones we did have burnt out.... (for the record, again, not a complaint - we are going on day five or six with no power). We are learning that we just need to get used to it, but I tell you what...... A little breeze would be nice. Okay, again...... I digress..... aren't the flowers pretty in their own way????

Saturday, January 30, 2010

off to church

Good morning! John and I and the kids are getting ready to go to church. This picture is the church we attend. It is the building on the right and the building on the left is the "parsonage" that the pastor and his wife live in. Where I am standing taking the picture is the grassy field next to the school. I will write more another day of the village school.
I look at this picture and I go sunday after sunday and I think the same things...... What can John and I do as a family to encourage this small flock, or what can we, as a ministry, do to move these people closer to God and His will for their lives. I am currently reading a book that is starting to help me better organize my emotions and thoughts. I want to help them, not to harm them and yet I am too aware of "americans coming in and pushing their agenda". We hear it, being missionaries here. Everyone has an opinion, but what is it that YOU want, LORD?

"The poor will see and be glad - you who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people." Psalm 69:32-33

What does this verse mean in light of the "captive"? Truly, I want to understand poverty and the orphan in the midst of it. I am living in it, in the midst of poverty, but not sure exactly what to do with it. Oh goodness, lots of thoughts being thrown around in my head.
I have far to go, but I know the Lord will bring me to His understanding through His Holy Spirit. So, for today, I am going to church (and we have invited some friends) and I will sit with these people who are beginning to become more familiar with me and me with them, and I will seek with those who are glad and we will learn to "live" together, and I guess that is a beginning.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Josephine Dolls

This picture to the right is of a woman I have come to know and care for a lot and feel blessed to call her a friend. This woman's journey has not been an easy one. Her name is Josephine and when she was born she had polio so she walks with a walker. Then Josephine was orphaned as a child and then she married and had two beautiful children. Her husband has since passed away and now she is a widow. If you could meet her in person, you would see that she loves the Lord and her spirit is so beautiful! She provides for her two children by owning a little souvenir shop. We do bring groups to her hut when they are in town to help her business out. She is gifted at making dolls. I would say it is her specialty. We hired her for a fieldtrip this summer, and we took some children of one of the homes we work with. We all came to her shop and she put on a workshop to teach the kids about doll making and jewelry making. It was such a fun afternoon. I pray for her and hope as many of you can meet her and see her shop for yourselves. She is holding in her hand two rolls of magnets that my mom had bought her as a gift for me to bring back. SHE was SOOO thankful. You would have thought someone had just given her gold. I believe her enthusiasm, in part, was the idea that someone had not forgotten her and wanted to "contribute" to who she is and is becoming in the Lord. Again, I am grateful for this friendship.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gidan Bege

One of the ministries that our ministry tries to support is Gidan Bege. It is basically a ministry that teaches and trains widows how to sow. They undergo a year of discipleship that teaches them the Word and trains them and gives them a place to stay and what children they may have. After that year, they are given the gift of a sowing machine and encouraged to go back their village to start their own shop. It is amazing what these women can do. Now, realize this is coming from a woman who can BARELY sow on a button. But, we all play our part in the bigger picture......hehehehe
We take groups there when they arrive to buy skirts, aprons, purses and bags, journals, etc... And they also make whatever you want if you come in with an idea. These ladies have personally made all of our curtains in our home and our throw pillows and whatever nigerian clothes we have, they have made. We are blessed by them in friendship and in their giftings and talents.
The pictures are of their working area (you will notice nothing is done with power) and their little shop where they sell their items and of their "office" where they keep extra material you can buy and where they store the items made until you return to pick it up. One thing I find interesting is their location where they are currently living, in past, was once a brothel. How cool is that this ministry bought it and has now redeemed what was once used as evil and is now being used for good. I love the idea that God can even redeem land. I look forward to when you come visit us, that you too, can buy something in this little shop.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Corrie's whole family

While we were visiting NC this past Christmas/New Year's, my whole family decided to get together. I have two other sisters and an older brother. We are all married with lots of children. Even though there are certainly moments of high stress with all these kids, it is always such an encouragement to be with family. In the end, I am ALWAYS grateful and thankful to be blessed with such a family as mine. We all love the Lord and count each moment as the His. I hope if my family is looking at this at all, they know I love them and miss them.

I know most of these blog moments will be about Africa, but the Lord has really been teaching me a lot about the Holy Spirit. With this teaching, I am finding my thoughts going to family a lot. Interesting, isn't that? There must be a deeper correlation than I know.

On a ministry note, please pray for our staff team as we have just started planning for summer. I believe that the Lord has something planned for us and those that come to serve alongside of us. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I want the Holy Spirit to lead us every step of the way.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

other family

Here is a picture of John holding Peyton. Peyton is about eight months old and she is the first child of Jason and Emilee, our director's here in Nigeria. She is super cute and almost everyday my kids try to overstimulate her with their constant affection and "love". This reminds us that the Lord provides other family for us even when our blood ones are not around. Uncle John thinks that the harder you pat a baby on the back, the better it is..... I think Peyton is finally getting used to him and is now liking it (at least I think so.....hehehehehehe), and she is too young to say otherwise.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trash talk

This is a picture two gates down from where we live and our neighbor burns his trash outside of his property (kind of a bummer) and so daily you can see goats, pigs or cattle eating from it. Just a bit of life for you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the leaving of a group

So, today is a day of another goodbye as Dr. Emmanuel Itapson's seminary students left to go back home. He had nine students taking a class that brought them here and while they were here they had lots planned. They were to meet different chiefs and engage leaders of three denominations, visit refugees, discuss with a panel of professors about doing theology in Africa, see first hand pastoral care issues, etc... However, as their week unfolded the conflict in Jos took place and it became more obvious that God was scheduling their days and nights.

What a blessing to have this particular group here while all was going on. They were able to filter all that was seen and heard and see "first hand" the reality of a third world country under duress and the effects that has on the people and has had on the people for generations. They were an encouragement to us as staff and to the people who they met. The bottom picture is of the group with our pastor and a couple of deacons. The top picture is of the dinner that was eaten last night. This time it is not goat, but it is lamb. I was asking the man who was preparing it about the process. Just so you know....... it was alive in the morning, they slit the throat and let the blood drain out, cut off the head and skin it (besides the tail that still had the wool on it - which the man told me he saved it for me personally), then sure enough, cut it up into pieces, grill it and you have yourself a wonderfully delicious dinner. It was a beautiful night as the sun shone with a nice breeze that surrounded us.

We had the privilege of hosting this group one night at our home and we were so blessed by conversation that was focused around what the Lord was doing in all of our lives. Gosh, people you only met a few days ago and yet we were all so raw in words and emotion and the Spirit was present providing energy that might have felt like was otherwise gone. Dr. Itapson ended the evening with having his students praying for us and again, we were humbled by God's goodness. If any of you are reading this, thank you for being here and serving God. For the rest of you, come and visit and taste something yummy on the grill yourself.

Friday, January 22, 2010

update of crisis

We continue to receive lots of emails of people praying for us, the community and the city. Thank you so

much. We are confident that they are being heard.

Things have quieted down tremendously and we are learning

that as quickly as

conflict rises, it settles just as fast. Yesterday as the curfew was

lifted to 1/2 day our family walked in our neighborhood to our director’s home and everyone was out in the street, greeting each other and smiling and glad to be out again. There was a strange feeling of community within our own little area. We knew we were all coming out of the conflict okay and no harm was done. People were genuinely kind and spirited.

I am aware that even though that is what we are experiencing that is not what the greater Jos area is experiencing. Although the streets may be quiet, people are scrambling looking for their loved ones. Their minds are trying to figure out why again did this happen. Families are trying to piece together damage that may have been done to their area. Hearts are concerned for where do we go from here. We received an article from the Red Cross that communicated there are approximately 25,000 displaced people, over 1,000 injured and the count of deaths is somewhere around 300-500. It is at this point, that the real work begins. This is the time for ministry. We have already heard of people coming to hand out blankets, water, mats and food. We don’t want to miss out! We have been hearing from the sites we serve, that as far as people know, no one has been harmed. We praise God for that alone! Continue to pray with us for wisdom and discernment and how best to use our time and resources. The need is great and there is work to be done.

The pictures posted are of some of the common scenes that we are seeing within a mile of our home. The one of the armed forced gentleman is Mr. Fire. We talked with him and he is stationed at this post, two minutes away from our home. He is kind man who prays to our same Lord Jesus Christ and we are glad he is here keeping our streets safe. The other is just a common road block. These are currently all over the city of Jos for random check points for the comings and goings of all. We are thankful for the measures being taken to assure the safety of the people.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

this little piggy went to the market.....

I know it might seem strange to some that I am going on with my pictures while all is going on, but the truth is, you adapt to what is happening, you minister where the Lord is leading and then you move forward with it.....
So, this is me moving forward with some daily things. For the record, things have quieted down a ton here and we were able to go out and purchase some fruit and vegetables and go to a little version of a grocery store that they have here. We were not prepared on the food end for the conflict, so it is good having some supply back in our store/pantry again.

The picture above is literally of the market that we buy our fruit. If you have eaten fruit in our house, it was bought here. These men are fun and spirited and know me well. If I drive up they run up to the car and will bring some fruit to me. I usually prefer to check it out before they bring it because the quality never seems to be the same twice. But, the fruit is wonderfully ripe (I am trying to be positive whereas the reality is by the time they get it, it needs to be eaten that day or the next or it will go bad), and I enjoy this market once or twice a week. I come here because they receive some hard to get items that cannot be found elsewhere in this city, like occasionally grapes or strawberries. Outside of those two items, things are cheap on the fruit end. I just had myself a pineapple and it was delicious. I must go and turn off our generator. Please think of us the next time you eat any berry because they cannot be found here (again, outside of an occasional strawberry) and I miss them.
God Bless!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jos Crisis

We have been getting lots of questions being asked of us about the crisis here in Jos. Here is what is going on around us personally, and the city.

First, our family is good and safe and so are the Munafos. We are grateful for the close proximity in which we live to them (We live right behind them). There is currently a 24 hour curfew in place that started yesterday and at this point, we don't know how long it will last (I am guessing for the next couple of days). Usually after the initial 24 hour curfew, there will be in place a 12 hour curfew, 6pm to 6am.

On Sunday, there was a disagreement between a man and a hired worker on receiving pay. The worker did not receive his money; therefore, hired men to come and beat the other man up. All of that to say, is it led to other rivalry and havoc. There has been rumors (that I do believe at this moment) that men were brought in from the North to cause riots within our city. This is becoming more of a religious issue at this point. The muslims are attacking and the christians are defending. There have been deaths and injuries (we are receiving mixed reports on this at this time). It appears that a group of men made their way from central Jos toward the southern part of Jos (where we live) during the last few days. Yesterday morning is when it hit our specific area. We were never in danger (we live in locked/gated little neighborhood) but our neighbors down the street were. There were some burning of buildings and yelling going on. At 8:45am, it is quiet all around. At this point, no one in the Jos missionary community has been harmed. We are grateful.

Please know, as a ministry, we have plans in place for times of crisis that allow us to take the appropriate measures of safety for our staff and for any visitors that may be here. The greater Jos mission community also has a great communication pattern to communicate with all missionaries in the area that help us all be able to communicate in a way that is productive and helpful.

Please do pray for healing in this area. As we all know who live under Christ, that crisis can be such a tool for redemption. We believe, fully, that there is work to be done and we want to be ready in and out of season. The battle between muslim/christian has gone for generations and generations. We know this, and our heart is to not only be able to serve those who need serving in Christ (on both sides), but to protect the Fatherless who get caught in these crossfires. At the end of the day, there will be more orphans because of this crisis and we need wisdom and discernment on how to care for them.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and questions. I do hope this can help some of you better pray for us personally, for our ministry and for this area. God Bless.

a crucified life

It is funny to me that I am blogging right now. I just spent a half an hour writing to you all about the crucified life and with that means removing my own agenda and my own will for that of what Christ has, etc... And I was waiting for a picture to be downloaded when our internet went out. So, as I was just talking about times of frustrations and we have them, but being motivated by more than that. When the reality is I just got super angry over a wasted 30 minutes. I had thoughts of “Why Lord, I just spent 30 minutes sharing the reality of what is going on in my heart and the growth You are showing and then you let the internet go away!!”

So, I can only assume that Christ wants me to learn in every area, my time is His time. I have so far to go.

Let me just tell you about the picture, it is of some of the children in Kisayhip “A” that we minister to. It is for these children that we live here and it is through these faces that I learn that my sacrifices cannot compete with their hunger of food, their hunger for relationship and growth and their hunger for understanding Christ.

“My life has been crucified with Christ and I know longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20

Why do we live here? Especially when Jos is so unpredictable? People ask us these questions a lot, but the truth is we know we are called here and it is hard to explain, some reasons are tangible, like the children above. Some reasons are intangible, yet more motivating in the long-term. I believe that there is something here in Jos that God wants John and I to grasp so we, in the long-term, will be more able to bring Him glory in all circumstances. Because it is His will, not mine that we want, right?

Monday, January 18, 2010

my african rock

I wish every single one of you could at one point in your life, sit under this rock with me. It is, for me, the epitome of Africa. I sit under this massive boulder that looks like it could tip over at any moment and I overlook the village in which we minister. I feel wildly a part of what God is doing here and at the same time, I feel completely insignificant yet aware that I am a part, in a small way when I sit underneath the shadow of the african rock.

I have at different times seen village women seeking shelter under this rock during rain storms and also sitting under here seeking shelter from the sun. It is really beautiful in my eyes. When you come to visit I will take you to it personally, so you can experience it with me. I cannot wait!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

around town

Good Evening!!
So, I am excited to show you today's pictures because they are real life for me and very common. okay, the first picture on top is (and I promise I am not lying) where all of our furniture in our home was made. If you remember yesterday's pictures of our home, none of that was purchased in a shop, it all had to be created by us and made by this super kind believing gentlemen named Goliston. He actually mentors older boys in the skill of carpentry and he is just a neat man who loves the Lord. We are grateful for him and for the ability to send work his way. There are these type of shops set up all over Jos.
The second picture is of government housing. Not government housing that we would picture in the USA, but for anyone working in the government (police, etc...) they get housing, and people are usually put in apartment style homes.
The bottom picture is just a common road scene that I took on our way to church this morning. You can see a clothing stand where anyone can buy clothing if you don't get it made (which we get ours made - it honestly is just cleaner and easier). There is also street vendors in that picture behind, but it is kind of a far picture. I will get better ones for you.
Anyway, just more life for you. Blessings!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a little bit of home

The top picture is of our main room, the next two are our kitchen (you will notice our "store" is full of bins - to keep the mice away) and the last is the kids bathroom. Nothing fancy, but we call it home.
This is probably a traditional city home. The Nigerian kitchens are smaller, so much more than those in the USA. In the village, of course, they live in huts that you might picture when you think of Africa. I will get some of those pictures on a different day.
Sorry to be so short, but I am helping the kids with their science projects. Ughh.... not my specialty.

Friday, January 15, 2010

some close by pictures

These three pictures just represent our street right outside of our gate. Actually one is of one of our guards (Hosea) and the guard shack they stay in while they are working for us. It is of meager means however they like that it has "light". They are grateful.
The other two pictures are right outside of our gate, one is as if you were looking directly to the left and the other is as if you were looking directly to the right. It can kind of give you a feel as to what our neighborhood looks like. It is not uncommon to see random cattle and goats feeding off of whatever remains (garbage and weed/grass) are in the road.
Enjoy a virtual (but not really) look into our road area....
I am going to try tomorrow to show you pictures of inside our house so you can imagine sitting at my kitchen table.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome Back to Nigeria, Africa!!!

Welcome Back to Nigeria, Africa!!

So, being away and back again has caused me to realize that our blog may be some people’s only avenue to experience and see Africa. So, one of my resolutions will be to daily (as long as we have power) post up a picture of things we see on a day in and day out basis. I did have many people tell me they wanted more pictures, so in an effort to do this, I will start doing one a day.

Now, I am not saying I will remove all spiritual insights that the Lord shows me, but I am saying that I will try to get you followers a bit of life here while at the same time adding other things too.

So, here is our first blog entry since we have been back to Africa and I hope you can start to get a feel of what life looks like living in Jos (the town in which we reside). My friend, Laura, asked me what is the first thing you see when you step outside of your front door. So, I thought I would start with that as my first picture. And, I tell you what..... it was a good day to start....

The bottom picture is literally what I see when I walk outside my door. The trash can to the right that is brown is where we have to burn our trash. You can imagine that when it is burning, it pretty much comes into our windows. Yes, that is fun. Okay the top picture is of a rat that was killed last night on our property by one of our guards (have I mentioned how much I like them?). As John and I were thinking yikes this is the biggest rat we have seen, he and the other guard were telling us that they were going to skin it and cut off the head and make "pepper stew" out of it. What was most interesting to me is that I have seen pepper stew offered on different menus here and I have almost ordered it thinking it sounded good. Thank goodness, I have learned what that really is now.

I hope you enjoyed this picture and a little bit of what life looks like. I am excited to show you more and more what we witness and experience. Oh, by the way, Gus could not have been more excited to see it and watch them skin it and put it up on our roof to dry. Our guard also said he killed it with a slingshot and that they are, and I quote, "these are found like the sand in our village, they are everywhere."