Sunday, October 31, 2010

it's been a long time

Good morning! I was thinking about how it has been 11 months today since we have been home. For John and I that is now the longest amount of time since we have stepped foot on American soil (the second longest time was when we moved here and then traveled home last Christmas). We are not sure when we are traveling home next, at this point. Maybe that is why it is hard. Who knows, but when we have these seasons of feeling the time away is long, I keep reminding myself of some of the things I LOVE here.

I found myself really grateful for three things:
1. I love our family time here. I love that literally at about seven at night, the world kind of dies down and people all go home. When we first moved here, it was a harder thing to get used to, a slower schedule and not much going on at night, anywhere.

I tell you what though, it is probably my most favorite thing here now. We have gotten used to the idea of being together and I think it is wonderful. We have so much fun together and I feel blessed for this time with my children and husband.

2. The second most favorite thing is Hillcrest school. Education in a third world country is interesting. Because Hillcrest is such a good school, and education is so valued due to the lack of opportunity elsewhere, it is truly a place where studies are top priority. Yes, every school has its downfall, but here there isn't the usual teen pressure. Due to finances and no where to go, there is literally no drinking, drugs and relationships are kept at a friendship level because families (nigerians) place education at a high level. Relationships can wait until after university is a common thought here. My kids are going to a great school and I am so thankful.

3. Thirdly, I love going to the village. The wide open spaces, and the breeze is my favorite place to have time with God. I could spend hours there reading my Bible, playing with the kids, hiking between the boulders. It is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!

So, when I start to feel a longing for home, I think about some of the things I enjoy here and I feel so blessed to be here, right now. God is good!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

children's games and things to do

Okay, I am laughing as obviously I have not done the correct thing with these pictures to have them real size.....But, if you can see them, these are some photos of games that kids play.

And below, is something you can do if you want to be in a band here. Personally, I have tried the top game and it is harder than it looks. And, I have played the instrument below for about two minutes one day and the music that I made could not compare to the beauty of this man's rhythm. I might need a bit more practice.

Sorry about the size and I hope you can enjoy some games of your own today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

more reminiscing photos

Again, just going through all the photos we have collected in our time here and here are some thoughts.

I wonder where these two boys will be in ten years?

Cool tree amidst the rocks, huh?

At the end of a day!

Kids just joyfully waiting their turn for oranges!

"Aren't our hands so pretty!!"

"Do it again, Joe, do it again!!"

Follow the leader done pretty well, probably the best I have ever seen it done with this many kids.

Well, just some of our thoughts of our memories.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not many words today, just some pictures with brief descriptions.

This is what we call bature music. Last Sunday when we went to the village church it was pouring so the service started later to let people get there (95% walk to church obviously). My mom and Gus wanted to see what it felt like to play, "nigerian style". They were not near as good as the women fellowship, but they tried. :)

He is so cute! This is Lucky, he is getting so big, isn't he? My mom and I saw a new baby that was just brought to the children's home. His name is Joseph and he is about 4 weeks old. His momma died right after child birth. Please pray for him.

Little Mary is supporting her KY roots!! The last group that just left gave this outfit as a donation. They are from KY of course!! She could not look more cute in this little sweat outfit.

And then you have big Mary. She reminded me of our Mexican roots as she was dressed in such traditional mexican wear. I had to snap a ton of little photos of her. Gosh, I love seeing these children.

we're back

that didn't take long, did it? I was ready for a couple of weeks, but my husband is fast and is a quick responder to our family. I am grateful.

Let's begin with how big our kids are getting. I am having a nostalgic moment. We, as a family, have always enjoyed hiking. We love it, really. So, this is just showing time and places for our kids. They have hiked in OH, KY, NC and other USA locations, and they have also had the privilege to hike in MX and Nigeria. I pray they realize how blessed they have been. I love God's creation and I love them and I love that they enjoy hiking as much as John and I do (or at least we have never given them an option, hee hee :))

Friday, October 22, 2010

no more internet

One of the signs that you live in a foreign country is that for whatever reason they can choose to turn off your internet whenever they want. It can be hard at times living in a third world country for various reasons, but there are also so many good things, like spending time ministering with my children to those whom the Lord loves. Going to bed at the end of the day exhausted because I physically and emotionally and mentally and spiritually gave all that I have to that day, and knowing God worked through me and in me.

I am sending this blog to let people know that we will for a little bit (we have no idea) have no internet service. So, if you don't hear from us or we don't respond to your emails it is because we have no way to get onto the internet. We will try next week to go to an internet cafe service.

Have a blessed week.
Yesterday was a great "corrie" day.... I am guessing it was the last full day of rain for the season. I could be wrong and I am sure we will still see some brief moments of scattered showers; however, it was an amazing pour.

Th kids were able to get on their rain boots and rain coats and play in the street (yes, good parenting, I know :)). They had fun and I just enjoyed the sound, the feel and the smell of the whole day.

To top it off, we spent some time at OLA in the later afternoon. It is always good to see Kenny run up to sit on my lap.

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants."
Isaiah 44:3

Thursday, October 21, 2010

have a nice day

On our way running this morning, we found this sign in the road. Theresa and I just chuckled since it is telling us to have a nice day. However, this is very typical here. I was driving once and someone cut an electrical line but gave no warning to the passersby and so it flew and got caught in one of the motorcycle drivers tires. So dangerous!!

Theresa's birthday was on Tuesday. Her first one in Africa so we took her out to lunch to one of my favorite restaurants. It has great atmosphere and I enjoyed celebrating with her and the other staff women.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

the Word is living and active

The other day, Theresa, Will and I went to the Oasis Community Center. Theresa and I went up on the rocks and we each had our own quiet times.

As I was on top of the rocks, I saw some of the villagers drying corn on top of their rooftops. They do this so they can then grind it to make cornmeal. I thought it was kind of cool to see.

I think the thing that struck me the most about this day was that a lot of the Fulani children followed us up the rocks and were just kind of hanging out with us, holding our hands, going where we were going, etc... As Theresa and I separated to do our own thing, the kids all proceeded to follow her (no surprise, kids just know other people who LOVE kids, and Theresa LOVES kids). Anyway, as I started reading the Word out loud (Isaiah 43 and then I Peter, chapter One), some of the children finally found their way back to me.

The older boy, picked up my Bible, realizing what it was, put it down but got all of the kids to leave me. You see, the Fulani are Muslim and it would not be in good standing for these children to be hanging out with me, listening to the Bible being read. They all left me with the older boys persistence. Except for one little girl. She is the last photo on this blog.

I don't know what all transpired. I am not sure if the little boy was scattering everyone to get out of there for fear of getting in trouble from his parents. I don't know if he recognized my book as the Bible. I don't know if the little girl was aware of what I was reading out loud to her. But what I DO know is that for about ten minutes, this little girl did not leave my side. She heard the Word of God, that is Living and Active, being read to her soul. With a Holy Spirit that knows no language boundaries.....

I don't know what happened that afternoon, but I loved each and every moment of reading to her. I also loved that she heard the Word of God and it will not return void!! Amen and Amen. She is cute, isn't she? Please pray for more of these moments with her and pray that the Holy Spirit draws her in....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Peter Bible Study

Hey all, I hope you had a great weekend. I just returned from our new staff women's bible study. We are studying the book of the Bible, I Peter. So far, it is great. We have just been beginning with studying it inductively. It is hard to initially get going with the steps to be diligent and faithful to the responsibility of being in the Word. However, I know that in the end, it is worth the fruit of obedience and what is really in each book is amazing!

Anyway, my heart is that as women we leave ourselves with no excuse to not be in the Word ourselves. We cannot blame a ministry or a church or someone else for not handling the Word of God correctly. Because, if we have the Word, we are able to dig into it. That is what I want all of us women to leave this study with. Through the Holy Spirit we are able.

I usually lead a nigerian study, but this time, it is just for the staff women. I am going to be doing a nigerian study again in February on the life of David. But, for now, I am ready to absorb as much as I can out of I Peter. I consider it an honor to study next to these women. I pray you have your own circle of friends that you can be real with as you pull apart Scripture and struggle to find the truths in each verse.

Friday, October 15, 2010

monkeying around?

I would love to say that there are monkeys everywhere here, but that would not be the truth. Which is why when I was pulling into our neighborhood yesterday and saw this man with his pet monkey (on the leash) I had to stop and "snap" it.

The kids are on fall break right now, so we are leaving in the next hour for Abuja with another family. We are going just for a couple of days, to get away a bit and enjoy some swimming and maybe a movie... have a great weekend yourselves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

staff fun

Some of us staff went to OLA a couple of days ago and we decided to bring some legos and toys with us. It was fun to have the children be creative and enjoy all the pieces.

Of course, this is little Mary to the left. When we showed up we were so surprised to see her standing up in her crib. This is new for her. Her body has in the past, been stiff and in just a couple of positions. Wednesday, she was crawling, playing and so much more flexible than ever before. We were thrilled to see her improvement.

These children are all becoming a part of our family. The ups and downs, the joys and discouragements of growing up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

update ed center

Here are some updated photos of the education center that John has been managing and working on in the Bassa area, next to the Kissayhip Village. I always feel like it takes a long time to get moving and then when it reaches a certain point, the walls go up and it looks real to me.

Do you remember the water barrel being on the ground? Well, it finally went up and the towers are in working condition!

The picture above is of the front of the center. I cannot believe it is actually happening. It has become real, the education part of this ministry, especially with Theresa here. We are so excited to see what God is going to do.

This photo is of the left hand side of the building. Well, that is it of the tour for the moment. Who knows? Maybe you will be able to come visit and see it in person someday! I have to put that in there. God Bless!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My thoughts on some africa photos....

I was going through some photos last night with my kids (Gus and Sami) and there were just some we stopped and talked about or laughed at.....

Here is that compilation and our thoughts on them:

Jesus surrounds us and protects us!

Just hanging out on a lazy, Sunday afternoon.

Obviously, I am in charge, not the other two! Just wanted to have proof :)

If I could choose to be anywhere, this is where I would want to be.

We were curious as to what is she really thinking, right now? And, we all decided that she was very beautiful in her time.

"Yes, I think I got something!!"

Have a great day reminiscing about your pictures in your own life. Be blessed.

new apartments

I just wanted to give you some quick updated photos of the two new apartments (in duplex form, kind of) being built by John on the ministry compound.

First, the photo to the right is of one place where John gets some building materials. Coincidentally enough, it is called "Building Materials". Basically it is a row of small building shops that you can purchase screws, nails, door frames, windows, lumber, etc... anything you might need to build yourself an apartment. It is about 20 minutes away from where we live.

These other two photos are just some new pictures. The inside picture is where a new living room and kitchen and dining room will be eventually. John is hoping to have these complete by the end of next month. I think both families will enjoy a new home.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

cultural differences

Good morning everyone.

I just had one little funny thought today. You know how we as women, more than men it seems anyway, say "Oh, I forgot to turn off the oven." or "I left my curling iron on"......

The other day, Linda, a friend of Emilee's and mine came into Emilee's living room and said, "Oh my gosh, I think I forgot to put out the fire". You see, here, most women use fire pits to cook over for their food verses an oven..... and I kind of chuckled to myself thinking how women are the same everywhere, but what changes are just the cultural circumstances....

Linda called her neighbor and asked her to check her fire and if it was still going, to put it out. Isn't that crazy? Thank goodness for neighbors everywhere.

This photo is picture of our pastor's kitchen....

quiet time rocks

On the last morning the team was here, we took them to the village rocks to spend their last focused, time with God while in Africa.

I still cannot think of anywhere I would rather be than up on top of these rocks and just look out and see all that God has created.

We talked about what God was doing in us and through us and then we all found our own space and just allowed ourselves to be quiet before the Lord.

For the first thirty minutes it was perfect environment for solitude and then near the end of our time some children in the village spotted us and they proceeded to climb up the side of the rock mountain and play with us. I personally think the team wouldn't

have wanted to end their trip any other way. "Let the little children come..." Jesus said that, didn't he.......

The first picture on top is where I was sitting. I don't know if you can see the tops of some of the children's heads in the fields, but it was beautiful. Then you have our staff member, Will, with one of the boys that he and Theresa connected with when they came for a visit last year. Near the end, the team was swarmed with the children laughing and playing. Probably their highlight. The last picture is of one of the women on the team having her time alone with God. These rocks are truly beautiful. I hope you can see that.

Have a great Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

last full day

Well, yesterday was the last full day with the team. It is always a bit sad when a team leaves. You become accustomed with their personality and the way they add to the "bigger picture". I know however that the Lord will continue to use them as they leave different than when they came and go home different; therefore, them leaving actually adds to the testimony of who God is.

This top picture is just of the tribal dancers we hired. I don't know if you can tell but they did this really cool acrobat type of thing and I have to admit, I was impressed.
The group photo is at the children's home they served at yesterday morning. They worked hard all week, played hard all week and then we shopped hard as they searched for items to buy to remind them of their trip here and to thank those who helped them get here.

This last photo is of our souvenir shopping bus ride. I know it looks as if I am photo shopped in, but I promise I was there and enjoying every moment.
Have a blessed day.
FYI, the kids, we just found out have no school tomorrow as it has all of a sudden been declared a holiday because the president of Nigeria is staying in Jos this weekend. Maybe we will get to see him??? We do know where he is staying......

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

it's a battle

Last night in debriefing, the team and I were talking about "Ah Hah" moments. I was sharing one of my defining moments with them that took place about 16 years ago. A time when the Lord literally grabbed my face and changed the course or direction of where I was heading.

I wasn't able to sleep last night as I started thinking so much about that time in my life (summer in Albania showing the Jesus film) and how God was opening my eyes to New Testament, Acts church type of christian living. My mind kept drifting on and off to the idea that life is a spiritual battle. Maybe I am oversimplifying it by communicating it so matter of factly; however, isn't that the truth?

Here, or in any third world country, it can seem more apparent because there is nothing to mask the battle, it is a real, felt need daily. When I lived in the USA, I know the battle was just as real there, but I was not able to see it sometimes for I could cover it up.

I don't know why I was up thinking about it, but I feel an urge to realize this in my own life. The enemy is out to seek and destroy..... and the battle is real..... and I need to be armed in the spiritual realm.... by the Word of God.... Amen and amen!