Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Independence Day Nigeria!!

Today is Nigeria's 50th Independence Day!! Hillcrest put on an amazing celebration that was about two hours long. I have to admit by the end of it, I was choked up at the pride in the room held by the Nigerians. So much so, that I thought why have I not experienced that same amount of pride and excitement while living in the USA. I am not saying that people don't have it, it is just that I have not seen it, personally.

The day started with the entire school and parents meeting at the school flagpole as we had a flag raising ceremony. Yes, that is my son Gus raising the Nigerian flag. He did such a good job.

We all moved into the auditorium then for a brief teaching on the history of Nigeria and then a super fun fashion show of the different traditional tribes that are represented. I wish I could have gotten some great photos of this because the only word I can think of is, "amazing!"

Then three speakers motivated all of us to "be all that we can be", music and worship and then cake for all!! Very much my kind of party! Everyone needed to be dressed in Nigerian and then bring nigerian food for the feast that followed. I have to admit, I can be pretty insecure cooking nigerian food for a bunch of nigerians... so I did what any good, respectable american, my kind of woman would do.... and I ordered it from a restaurant and picked it up and took it to school. Everyone loved it! Hee Hee Hee.... my nigerian friends knew better, but encouraged me anyway. That is why I love them.

Okay, pictures are as follows:
1. Sarah and some of her friends in her middle school classroom eating some yummy celebration food.
2. Gus raising the Nigerian flag with his good friend, Katwal
3. Some in Sami's class all dressed up.
4. and lastly, my good friend, Hellena, and I showing off our clothing...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

cute kids

It is more rare to get John with these children, so I thought this was a great one. He is a natural, isn't he?

Thanks Brian B. for these photos. These children are from OLA. Cute kids, huh?

Tomorrow is Independence Day here in Nigeria. 50 years independent from the UK. There is a huge celebration going on at Hillcrest all morning. Lots of food, celebration and dancing. I will show you some snaps tomorrow. But, for the record, I am completely nigerian today, dressed and bringing food to share.... you wouldn't even recognize me until you saw my face!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

friend crashers

So we have this staff couple with us in Nigeria. John and I and our kids have actually known them awhile, but it is a new kind of joy having them serve alongside of us here in Jos.

So, we just wanted to show you all the ways we are trying to crash their life.... little did they know, huh, what they were really signing up for? :)

I crashed their dinner with my parents last night and then they joined us for lunch on Sunday after church and then finally we took a picture of them with our kids.....

They will read this and either find this encouraging or a little scary.... we will see.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

a great hike

Good morning! This top picture is of my oldest daughter, Sarah, playing twister at her party. She had such a fun time and she won a couple of candy bars....

Yesterday, our family went on a great hike to a place we have never been to before. This was our first time going with a group of people who I think hike to different places on different days to random spots. We were grateful to have been invited and to attend. The people were great and it was beautiful. It also reminded me how much I love being outdoors and in nature. It is almost as if someone shoots a little bit of adrenaline in me.... another Corrie takes over and for the most part it is fun.... but I can only imagine how I might get on others nerves maybe just a tad.... :)

For example, the group photo I made everyone stop for and they graciously allowed me to snap the picture... However, maybe not everyone was as thrilled as I was to be a part of this exact "kodak" moment.

The rest of the pictures just show you the one hour hike in to a beautiful spot with rocks, waterfalls and beautiful river flowing down a rock/hillside. The group stopped and ate lunch and some swam. There is a picture of our new staff woman, Theresa, and I. John likes to refer to it as "preparasite"... he wouldn't get in because you just never know what is swimming in these African waters.... :) Too bad because it was a beautiful swim, but I will let you all know if we get sick :).

Overall, it was the most fun we, as a family, have had in a long time (outside of a group) and it was much needed for our weary Africa souls. We enjoyed the fellowship and conversations of those we hiked with, we saw a beautiful spot of Jos and we swam in cool, waterfall waters and we exercised and breathed in fresh air. You just cannot beat that combo.

Hopefully someday soon we will be able to enjoy another great hike. I would guess it is our family's favorite past time. We had just forgotten.

Friday, September 24, 2010

lots in one day

Yesterday was a full day with lots of different activities taking place.

Here are just a couple of the things that happened:

1. Gus's 5th grade class was responsible for the chapel service at school. He was the narrator (I find he asks for this so he doesn't have to act :)) and he was one of the "motion leaders" for the songs. That is his class (last picture) this year.

2. Then, you guessed it, it is field day team planning once again!!! So the 2nd to the bottom is my new "team yellow".... I think it will be a good group. We will see.

3. Okay, then John and all the guys of the ministry went over to Daniel and Evelyn's new house (they moved in down the street from us - we are super excited to have them so close) and they did work projects there almost all day. Just to help them make it more livable. I think that they mostly worked on getting running water to the house. It was also his birthday so some of the ladies cooked and we all had lunch together...

At the end of the day, Sarah had her first middle school party. I will show you pictures of that at another time, the theme was the 60's..... She had a great time and she is really getting so old, I cannot believe it.

It is days like this that I enjoy so much. Lots of different things going on, not really connected but by the end of the day, we all come together and we look back and realize the blessings we have been given..... The Lord is good!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

OLA day being just right

The kids and I and my mom went to OLA a couple of days ago. It feels like it has been awhile since it was just us visiting. I loved it. Nothing spectacular happened, but it was just "right" being there with these children.

I like it when a normal day can feel good. Not needing the rush of ministry to encourage the moment, just a natural inclination to love and serve and be changed in the process. Truly this is 90% of what life is really made up of, right? The normal day in and day out stuff....
Either way, here are a couple of photos of that normal, but just "right" day.....
Have a great day yourself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the team

Here is last week's team plus almost our full team. We are missing Daniel and Evelyn and we are missing our new staff that showed up the next day. We are super excited to see God grow this ministry with more hands.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

education center

As many of you know by now we, as a ministry, are working on building up a ministry center in the Bassa area of town. We took the team there a few days last week and one of those times, some of us women decided to go on a prayer walk. We walked the outer perimeter of our future site and took some children with us. It was so fun to see them pray with us as we poured out before the Lord our heart for the ministry that could take place by God's leading. We also prayed for some of the hindrances of relationship with the village and some of the hindrances in getting the final paperwork all figured out, etc... As we read Scripture and prayed, these girls joined with us and it was one of my most favorite days of ministry.

This picture below is of one of the girls who partnered with us in prayer. As you can see the responsibility that the young carry is large. This young girl's name is Mary and she pretty much takes care of her baby brother all day long. We are thankful they could join us.

My dad and Brian were involved in digging of ditches and then putting water pipe in to start the final process of the water towers that have been put in place to make the education center more functional. All I know is that I am glad I didn't have that task. They both did a great job though and we are grateful. They look joyful anyway, right??

This final picture is of Andy, one of the team members as well. He received the fun task of entering the actual water barrel itself before it was lifted up. He attached everything that needed to be attached and helped lift it up. I can only imagine being inside of that barrel with the sun beating down. He had his own personal sauna service..... Again, I am grateful he was a good sport about doing anything that needed to be done. AND, this needed to be done.

It is fun to see how a "larger" project comes together. This group really focused on water towers this past week. Not just in this site, but in another one as well. They became professional water tower hooker uppers..... not always the most glorified task, but it is part of the bigger picture of ministry and they saw it and wanted to help. Thanks team!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

geyro walk through

My mom wrote a blog yesterday in regards to the group being here and how when there are more gathered, the work can get done quicker, with more accountability and with joy...

One of the areas we were able to minister in was the area of geyro. It is a village where there are some orphans being educated and that live in hostel style type of homes. We had heard that they had not been eating much protein so when the group arrived with chickens and eggs the kids were ecstatic.

One of the boys that was holding the chickens communicated that he was going to wait until Christmas to eat it. When asked why wait until then? He said that is when they receive such special gifts is during Christmas. I cannot begin to tell you what a joy it was giving to those children who had so little and what a joy to give with a group who had chosen to give of their time and resources to make a Christmas gift happen in the middle of September.

These pictures are from our visit in Geyro. Different homes receiving goods, their main kitchen area to serve the school kids. The picture of Africa is painted on the side of the wall of their school building. And lastly, that is Emilee drawing water from the well to help one of the girls out. I am not sure if you can tell by these pictures, but the chickens are alive and kicking when given out....

One of the ways the girls chose to thank us was by song. I wish I could download the music for you. We have a couple of minutes of songs that were sung and it was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. It was not rehearsed or programed into their day, it was just their natural overflow of thanksgiving and as they sang, I teared up thinking someday their will be a great multitude of hosts singing praises to our God and King.... and I imagine these girls being at the front of the choir!

Praise God for the workers as we know they are few and the harvest is ripe and ready. I consider it a pure joy to be counted among the few.

emotions that took place this past week

refreshed, revived, encouraged,
inspired, motivated, energized,
restored, laughed, enjoyed,
and reminisced of days gone by of ministry!
for the record, so much more, but this list is just the beginning of what took place in mine and John's heart.

FYI, our internet provider is down... we are receiving emails at other locations (right now I am at a friend's house). So, due to this inconvenience, I will be posting as much as I can depending on the circumstances. have a great day....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

beautiful people

We went yesterday to the safari here in the neighboring state and the closest we came to anything fierce was this lion print.... bummer, huh?

But, even though our lives weren't in danger, we had a fun time with each other and I realized people are just beautiful.....

This last photo is of some of the beautiful children at OLA.... We are having so much fun with our brother and sister.... sad to see them leave tomorrow.

I will write more once they are gone.
Have a blessed day with your beautiful people...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

yes I can

It has been awhile and I must make this short because we have a group here and not only a group, but family...
We have been having so much fun spending time with all of this group that I just wanted to show a couple of photos of life so far this week.
And for the record, yes I can carry blocks on my head!!!!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

repeat, but let's look again anyway

I know I have shown you this picture before, but really, can you imagine doing this daily to make your own fire for you to cook the food for your family????

John and I leave today to pick the group. We cannot wait to see more family!!! Have a great day!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

please meet the children of OLA one by one

I recently took these photos of each child to give to my sister-in-law for a baby shower that they are throwing to raise funds for these precious children. And I decided that I talk about these kids enough that maybe you all should meet them one by one.

I am excited to see them dwindle down in number as more are finding homes to live, but these ones that are left behind need your prayers.

1. Hope is the first girl, she is starting school in one week and she is five years old.

2. Sister Fidelia is next, I have mentioned her before as she runs the entire OLA orphanage. She is amazing to work alongside. We are blessed by administrative skills with these children.

3. This next photo is of "Big Mary". She has been at OLA as a newborn and she is about 1 1/2 years old.

4. Lucky is about 4 months old and he has been there since birth.

5. Kenny is almost three and he has always been there as well.

6. "Little Mary" is the same age as "Big Mary" but looks so much more petite. We wonder if there is something else going on with her.

7. Joe is next and he is ten.

8. Abigail and she has been there long enough that we sometimes go to her verses the caregivers to ask about what is going on with each child. We joke saying she is the one running the place. She will always live at OLA and she is a blessing.

9. Ogace is about4 months old as well and she is Gus's little girl.... :)

10. Esther just graduated from her schooling and she is on to her next phase of education. She is becoming a grown woman in her physical, but has a slower mental growth. She needs your prayers.

11. Claire has many, many physical and emotional scars. Please pray for her whenever you think of her life. She spends most hours alone in her crib and cannot speak, hear, move and we also think she cannot hear. God loves her.

12. Last is Daniel. He is ten and is one of the biggest helpers in this home. He is such a smart, helpful and kind and fun boy. It is hard for me to see his childhood be robbed of all he does to assist everyone in who walks in this home.

Okay, here is the truth. I just read this in the posting format and you cannot tell who is who. Sorry, but with our slow internet, I don't have the time to move things around tens of times to make it more complete looking. Sorry, but try your best to follow child by child, if you can. Sorry.

There are the children of OLA. Thanks for taking the time to get to know them.
Have a great day!