Wednesday, July 28, 2010

best english

So, this is the party thrown for Daniel and Esther. I know that you already saw pictures of Esther's graduation. What none of us saw was Daniel (the boy pictured with Sister Fidelia and Esther) receiving an honor for best english in the class.

Sister Fidelia was explaining to me that she was not aware that he was to receive an honor in front of his school and that when he returned home with it, she felt saddened by the lack of people there to cheer for him.

So, she asked our staff to come and help celebrate the both of them and to speak words of encouragement into their lives. I loved every moment of it. I cannot get enough of her heart that she has for these children. I am super grateful for her life.

On another note, they received yet another baby boy, named Lucky. They now have a count of 5 babies.... lots of need for hands to help them just hold them all.... Here is a photo of my mom and my three helping out with the process.

FYI, we are taking Jessica to Abuja today so we will be offline for the next few days so if you don't hear from us, that is why....
ALso, if you are Anna Stein from the comment the other day, can you please send me an email, I would love to email with you and catch up a bit to see how life is....
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a bug's life

Since we are in the thick of rainy season, I just wanted to show a few random bug's that are showing themselves (that usually are hidden from our sight) all over the place.

I think the coolest bug's for me are the snails.... They really are huge and look just like you would imagine. They are all over our compound. I had the kids run around it yesterday with the camera and they probably found at least ten of these huge guys.

The next photo is of a hairy caterpillar. You touch them and you within minutes get a rash that lasts for a couple of days. Kind of gross, but they, in person, are kind of cool. Gus tends to see these a lot and get these "hairy caterpillar" rashes.

Well, that is it for today. Think of us when you think of the African rains coming down every single day almost all day long now. I still think that it is beautiful.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I hope that one day you might want to take a trip to Jos, Nigeria and experience the rains with all of us here. It is unbeatable.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 26, 2010


It's quiet in the house right now, peaceful. Everyone is asleep (okay, except for John, but he is in the other room). This picture for me represents peace. I feel that way right now, a quietness that fills my heart with the Lord's Peace. I am grateful that people have visited and nourished my heart and soul. Jessica, our friend, leaves in just a couple of days. I cannot believe that this month has almost come and gone.
I have been realizing that I almost rarely have the thought anymore of, "oh my gosh, I cannot believe I live in Africa!" That is surreal in and of itself. As I drive our friends around, I look at what is familiar and not foreign. I see my neighborhood or my kids school. I think with this season will come a new relationship with the Lord. I am actually surprised how long it took for me to get here. I guess living in Africa takes awhile to get used to. BUT, now that the newness has worn off, I believe the Lord wants to do a new work in me.
I am not sure of all that it will entail, but I do know that I am really enjoying, at this moment, the peaceful rain outside and quietness of my home. Not a bad way to start a new day and a new season. Quiet before the Lord!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Have you ever caught of vision of something....? Something bigger than yourself? Maybe you even got a panic feeling at the same time a moment of exhilaration?

Yesterday morning/afternoon I experienced all those emotions after Esther (from OLA) graduated from secondary school. I was feeling them not for Esther, but for Hope, Daniel and Joe who were there as well watching Esther go through the ceremony of graduation.

I was so excited for her and for them to be able to see the fruit of what hard work and diligence and perseverance can produce. At the same time I became a bit panicky of the statistics stacked against them; being poor and fatherless, being behind in their schooling due to lack of supervision with their studies, education alone in Nigeria is not high nor is it easy to come by just because of how it is run by the government.

I quickly realized that for more success stories to take place, God will have to step in and intervene for them; through funding, through mentoring, and through tudoring. I also realized that me alone, or even Back2Back alone could not tackle this gigantic task. It is for the body. A body of believers who are committed to the orphan child. Believers who are willing to lay down their life for someone else. People who are interested in considering others better themselves and worthy of all that can be offered.

Sitting through the ceremony yesterday I felt choked up because these Nigerians truly celebrated the moving forward of each individual and child. They are proud of where they are coming from and even more proud of where they could be headed and where God might lead them.
Esther can make a difference, not just because she is educated, but her education will give her a platform to be able to reach more people and she will be able to use her God given mind to discern what is God's perfect and pleasing will for her.

Daniel, Joe and Hope saw Esther celebrate a new season and stage of life. A new beginning and my prayer is that as we were all sitting there, they were becoming inspired to take another step forward, no matter how daunting the task is for them. We are all a part of the body, the body of Christ that can together raise another generation of believers are willing to move forward.

Just for note: the pictures starting at the top are of Esther's class (she is in the red shirt, black suit).
Then it is her classroom. My heart still breaks to see what materials they have to offer to help in their education.
Then it is Esther in her graduation ceremony dancing. Her hat blew off and I thought it was just a cute one of her personality.
They showed all of the guests some tribal dancing, which still blows my mind watching little kids move their bodies in a way that just doesn't seem natural for me. :)
Then Hope is sleeping with me during the ceremony (I am sure she is being inspired through osmosis:))
The last is most of us who went to watch Esther graduate. We were all so proud of her accomplishments.

Friday, July 23, 2010

close ups

While Jessica, my mom and the kids and I went and had sooo much fun with the kids from OLA, John lovingly worked on our bathroom problem from yesterday. This 5 gallon bucket is full of you know what..... ughhh.... I am so thankful and grateful for John and his wisdom on how to fix everything.

This is Mary and Jessica. I think Mary has at leat 100 different facial expressions. Each one of them more precious than the other.

This is the older Mary and she learned to walk this past week. I felt so excited for her beginning steps. I couldn't tell who was more excited: her or me....

Kenny decided this week that Gus was his favorite. It was sweet as he started crying and scooting to where Gus was and when he got to my son, he buried his tears in Gus's lap. Man, we cannot get enough of Kenny as a family.

Lastly, Joe. It is just he and Daniel left, as the older children. I am thankful they have each other, but still feel sad for their age and life's circumstances. I think I will start praying more diligently for Joe as he starts entering a new season of his own life. He is ten.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My kids are standing with a man named Sunday. For those of you who are familiar with the Mexico ministry site, this man might be someone in John's life similar to his Celso in Mexico. We will see. So far he has been great for John to have for the cultural side of building as he has been working with him on the apartments that are going up on the SSE ministry compound. We are grateful.

Also, this is a photo of my mom and I getting our first African manicure and pedicure. They come to your home and there you go.... They said our feet are "softer" than a nigerian woman's foot... I think they were being kind that we are wimpy... For both the manicure and pedicure, it cost $7.50... not bad, huh?

Do you remember as a child, building forts? I do. My siblings and I would
get out the stools, the encyclopedias and the extra sheets and blankets and spend so much time making the perfect fort. Well, I was telling my children about it in the morning and they had a fun idea to try it here in Africa..... So here is the fruit of their two hour labor. They moved all the furniture in their bedroom (they are all sharing right now with company here and they love it) around and went to work. They then slept in it last night. Truth be told, not much sleep was had, but they watched a movie in there and then tried to sleep. They are currently putting it all away, etc... I love my kids.

Don't they look peaceful? I remember when they were all babies and the days seeme
d so long and tiring. OR, I felt the entire day was full of discipline, etc... BUT, I would go into their rooms at night while they were sleeping and it seemed that all the stress of baby care would go out the window and I would be refreshed in that one second moment to start the next day all over again. Too bad we cannot do that with everything that might cause stress in our life. You know what I mean? Look at it in the wee hours of the night and that stress would look peaceful and we would feel refreshed to start the next day all over again?

Right now we have a broken bathroom. I mean the toilet, the shower, the walls are all seeping gross water. It really is not a pretty site. John has had some full days lately fixing electrical sockets, open spaces in doors, power issues (we haven't had any for about 2 days now) and now we have a monster of a bathroom project that he will tackle on Saturday. Not fun, but we still try to look at it and close our eyes to open them again and wait for the peace to take place that refreshes our weary souls... Oh well, maybe we will try again tonight...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a hunger

We had a staff meeting yesterday and we discussed a couple of days of bible study from the Hunger study that various staff of Back2Back put out for visitors this year.

We talked about a hunger to serve....

This is Esther, she is graduating from our version of 8th grade on Saturday. She is holding a newer baby Ogice, both are precious sweet orphan girls. Both of them living at one of the children's homes we serve alongside.

I am not sure what it really looks like to serve these two...
to serve because of a need.
to serve because ultimately it brings God glory.
to serve because I know it is right.

I am not sure, but I am sure I want to serve God.

Our family is currently living in Jos, Nigeria, after living in Monterrey, Mexico because there is a need. God is teaching us so much about our own thoughts of service verses maybe more of His thoughts about service.

We thank you for helping us along in our own life road. So many have come alongside of us to serve us, to help us, to encourage us and for some reason I think that role must be harder at times than what we are doing. BUT, does God really view things like I do? I am so glad His ways are higher than our ways...

Esther and Ogice (I am pretty certain I spell her name differently with each entry she is in, oops, sorry) have needs. God sees those needs and for whatever reason He has seen fit for our family to be here in Jos to be a part of serving these two specifically. I am grateful I have the gift of serving a God who takes pleasure in our family doing the best we can. I promise we really are doing the best that we know how, however small it might seem on some days.

Thanks for letting us serve with you. God bless your day of service to the world's needs around you, whatever they might look like.

Monday, July 19, 2010

rock formations

This picture is from our rocks. This shows one part of Kisayhip. It is where the chairman lives.
Here are just a couple of pictures that show varying rock formations. There are no two alike and yet, Jos is full of these boulders piled high on top of each other.

They are pretty aren't they?
Just like our new look? Come on, don't tell me you don't enjoy the Africa on the right hand corner????

hostel living

So, I have never actually stayed in a hostel before but when traveling to Abuja, we stay at a place called the Baptist Guest House. It is basically a hostel (or from what I have been told) and a really nice couple run the home when people are there.

While we were dropping of Ruby this weekend, Jessica and John and I joined in on the trip to Abuja just for a night on the "town".

I really do laugh because it really felt like we were traveling to the big city to see all that is new in the world. It was so fun going and catching a movie and a restaurant or two and plus we did some city food shopping. You can definitely find things there that are not in Jos, but you have to be willing to pay for it. Which sometimes we are and sometimes we are not....

We are so grateful for the time with Ruby and her stay. She breathed life into me and my children and thanks Ruby for taking the time and resources to travel so far to see what all is going on in the ministry. Now, we have Jessica and this week and a half will go so quickly that I am already starting to feel the absence of good friends (I know, I am a preprocessor).

Since life has been so full lately, I really haven't taken the time to share all that is going on in my heart and within the ministry, in full, but I will make the time soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

coming alongside caregivers

Most of the day yesterday was spent serving and loving on the women who care for the orphans at the OLA children's home we serve alongside.

Manicures, pedicures, small gift bags, light talk and lunch were all on the menu during our time. I am learning that things don't really turn out the way you imagine or want, but I with that, I am learning that most of the time they turn out the way they should.

My girls helped watch the babies in the home while us ladies pampered on the caregivers.

The picture of John and two of my children is a just because (he had said something about not being in here much....:)) Maybe I can convince him to start writing some entries on the blog and he can make sure he is posted more.... we will see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

african luau

Yesterday was great as we cooked all morning for an outreach that we have today and then we went to the Jos Wildlife Reserve. Many animals and elephants and monkeys, etc... But at the end of the day, we had to prepare for an african luau...

So we did our best to dazzle up the luau theme and go for it... It was so much fun because when we went to the ministry house, Emilee had servers lined up to take our orders on an unusual menu filled with terms we had no clue what they were.

It was great ordering and seeing what showed up and enjoying the company of the larger B2B staff team and having fun in a moment of fellowship. These pictures are of different women who were bedazzled for the event.

Then Gus with his grandma. My mom did an excellent job with a fruit basket. I was proud as this type of thing doesn't run easily in our family, but maybe after Africa, there is hope... :)

And then again, the group photo..... We miss you all and wish you could have joined us as John had to eat with his fingers some particular food items, and that is always a great way to end any good day.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

captured moments

Yesterday we had another full day with trying to get some last minute things done before Ruby leaves. Jessica is remaining for another two weeks. We ran some errands in the morning (Gidan Bege, Evangel hospital for a physical check-up, out for some Chinese) and then ended up in a hail storm on our way to OLA. I am overwhelmed with the true family I feel with these children. Here are Sami, Gus and I with the babies and Daniel. Aren't they precious?I couldn't resist this one with Ruby and Mary. Mary has such a unique personality. We are all trying to figure out who or what she reminds all of us of but she is something else. She is as skinny as can be and so just petite, and when we walked in on her yesterday from their naps, she had her two itty bitty legs propped up on the crib rails and she is always swaying back and forth with a tune in her head... I love her.
The day ended with a sleepover with my children and Ruby and Jessica. My kids were so excited to have this "special" time with them. They are playing a game to get the night started, not sure how it ended, I haven't gone out there yet.... and don't know if I will at all today! Okay, just kidding, I am pretty sure they only offered for last night.... heehee
We have a full day today, so I guess I will get up now, but I pray that your days are blessed and full as ours have been.

a full day

Yesterday was a full day for all of us. We went to Miango Rest Home (a retreat center about 45 minutes away). On the way, we stopped at a local "Kodak spot" and then returned home for a brief moment to just turn around and go to the center of town to purchase some World Cup Soccer Jersey's.... nigerian style.... Here are my photos to capture the moments...This guy ran all over the streets looking for some Nigerian team jerseys.... nice man.
This is the front of women in the fellowship at church. They are the musicians of the bunch. The music is absolutely beautiful with a rhythmic beat that fills my soul each and every time.
I forgot we played some cornhole on Sunday afternoon and wanted to show you how good we all were. This was actually a gift from jason, thanks Jason!!! It is perfect for our small yard.
We stopped on the way to Lava Falls (or called Flip flop falls). This picture does not do it any justice but this is showing thousands of flip flops that have been accumulated through the rain and falls....
This is on the other side of the falls, they are truly gorgeous and created by a volcano not too far from here. That is pumice stone all around it and you can see the flip flops in the bottom right hand corner of the water.... do you see them?
This photo was taken at Miango Rest Home. There is a quaint chapel there and we are just sitting out front of it.

Thanks for walking through these last couple of days with me.... It is feeling like a whirlwind with our friends and fellow staff members here, but I know it is short lived, Ruby leaves this weekend and then it is just the last two weeks with Jessica..... gosh, amazing, how time truly flies.