Monday, February 28, 2011

like sand in the hourglass and living purposefully for the Lord.

John and I are really going through everything in our home. Giving things away, throwing things out, selling a few items, but mostly just realizing how much we have and at the same time how much we don't have. The pictures to the right are of our little courtyard from when we first moved here and then again about a year into it and then the last three just yesterday.

Living purposefully for the Lord.

Time shows itself so evidently when faced with a photograph, doesn't it? And yet when sitting here typing this, I cannot believe we have about one month left, where did the time go? We are simultaneously preparing for a group, packing up our home, being purposeful with relationships to say goodbye, and transferring anything we "take care" of to others within the ministry.

Living purposefully for the Lord.

It is funny, I remember a soap opera when I was real young that started off with this saying, "Like sands in the hourglass, so are the days of our lives....." (Come on, admit it, you remember and you watched.....:)) Even though I did not watch this show, I cannot walk into my home here and not hear this phrase being repeated over and over again. We are leaving once again with less than we came. AND yet, honestly, it feels different this time. Really different.

Living purposefully for the Lord.

I am more scared this time around. Not sure why, but with each goodbye, something grabs my throat a bit. With each item not going back with us, I realize how much we don't have, tangibly as a family. Yet at the same time everything we are giving away, I realize how we have too much and why do we "store things" in case we need them later? People, places and things....... relationships, schools, and household goods.....

Yet, this phrase keeps entering my mind...
Living purposefully for the Lord.
I am praying each one of these friendships, each one of these relationships that the Lord has allowed us to cross paths with, even in Jos Nigeria, Africa have been by the Lord's doing and His alone. That living purposefully for Him means life is sometimes uncertain and scary and not sure where your next step is going or will be BUT, it is also full, purposeful and adventurous.

Lord, please I pray, give us the strength and the confidence to go home with no regrets and to continue living purposefully for you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the business of animals

Do you remember Sister Fidelia and her fish farm with OLA? Well, B2B (along with other people and ministries) has continued to help her finish the back area for a full fledge animal selling business.

To the right are the photos of the different animals you can purchase: goats, cattle, chicken, and still fish. When the kids and I walked back there, I was shocked with how complete it looked. What I love the most is that sister Fidelia has assured us that any profit that comes from these animals goes directly to the orphanage. Anybody want some animals?

Baby Lucky started getting heavy for my two youngest so they transported him in my bag.... I know, poor Lucky, right? I promise you he was loved on the whole time!

My children also brought their kites to let the kids have them. It was a blast seeing the older children try to figure out this paper air thing. It was the perfect windy day, if only we could remove the trees and the power lines they would get caught on. Oh well, I guess you do what you can with what you have!

Friday, February 25, 2011

exactly what was hoped and planned for

Many of you seen my blog and therefore have seen posts regarding the new education center in the village we minister alongside.

I wanted to give you an update to show you that this part of ministry is really going the "way you think it should." Most people understand that what you want to happen and what you plan to happen don't always happen, especially when you are working with individuals. I know that I am not the teacher of this precious school but it is exactly what we had hoped and planned for - orphaned children receiving an opportunity to further their education development.

The above picture is the six children in Theresa and Esther's first class (the two teachers, Theresa is pictured to the left). They are receiving their snack to begin their day. Theresa noticed early on some lack of attention and after further inquiries she realized, and learned that the students were hungry and not getting fed. She instituted a healthy and filling snack to begin the day and it has worked.

This last photo is of the first class waiting in line to use the restroom. To my understanding this has been a fun educational exercise as well, showing the village kids how to properly use a toilet. This first class is followed by another class with four students. It is nice to be apart of something and see it move forward in the way you pictured it in your mind. And by "be apart" of this, I definitely am not teaching and I didn't build the structure nor add finances to help this along, but I did pray and encourage and invest in my own way; therefore, I am apart of it and so are many of you. Thank you for your own investment in this whole process and for adopting the moments in front of you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

container fruit!

Good morning! Yesterday, as a staff, we all went to the Oasis Community Center (located in the village) with the intent to organize all the donations and items that came in with the container that SSE brought to us from the United States. I tell you what.... what a full day! It was amazing as we all realized what gifts had been given and the fruit of people's hearts overflowing with what they have to give to people who have not. It was a day full of blessing and good old fashioned hard work. When you receive much, there is much to be responsible for, and I believe as a staff team, we are up to the task. We are growing daily in our overwhelmingness with God's goodness.

The photo above is how my day started. I dropped the kids off at school and went directly to the village. Since I was able to be there earlier I had a wonderful time meeting with the Lord. And, of course, I love being out in nature, especially the nature I can view from the village rocks.

Then as the day progressed, we had lots of people willing to help sort, organize, clean and even start the process of giving away to those who live here (nigerians) who are themselves in need. I really had no idea how much it would entail to truly organize so much clothing! We were even willing to take anyone to help.... even little Daniel was put in a bin and helped organize shoes.... :) Yes, he is so stinking cute!

As we stopped for a great fellowship lunch, it was fun to see how the donations given and the timing of the container and the timing of all of us being able to stop our usual routine and schedule to come together to sort was God's timing due to the fact that as we are going through, one of our staff men, came to us with a need of a friend of the ministry (Beatrice, who helped with the block machine), his home had partially burned down and his two boys were in great need. Within five minutes, we had a whole suitcase full of items that were appropriate for them. I loved the idea of meeting such a need immediately.

In the end, we had lots packed up and ready to go to their appropriate places and things were organized and easily accessible to those who will need it in the future. What fruit!

Monday, February 21, 2011

child labor laws

If you thought this blog was going to be about me speaking out against child labor in Jos. Sorry to disappoint!

This is actually just going to be about all the things my kids have learned to do while living here. We were joking this weekend with the idea of "everything they have to do". I asked if they felt cheated in their childhood, and yet again, they know no different, so it is good, right?

Okay, in all seriousness, I am not for children working in unhealthy conditions for too many hours instead of being educated.... :) (Just in case there were any real concerns).

BUT, I really do enjoy all the things my children have learned to do and are now apart of their regular schedule. They don't even flinch when asked to the laundry, or hang it up to dry on the line. They are also great at washing dishes, putting them away, cooking and filling our ice trays.... (that last one is kind of a joke, because we don't get power enough to even have ice.... but it is really cold water with a hard film on top :)).

I asked my kids what their favorite chores are to do. Here were their responses:
Sarah - cooking
Gus - unloading the dishes from the drying rack
Sami - cooking or helping me cook

It appears that when we move back to the States, I won't need to
cook or do the dishes. I guess that leaves me laundry, huh? Oh well, I guess I can do something to help out!

I hope you enjoy your chores today!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

leaving well

Good morning (THIS IS JOHN)
I know you all enjoy Cor's blogs, but I wanted to jump in and give a small update.
Most of you know we are leaving Nigeria soon. We plan to start our home assignment on May 2nd in Cincinnati. We ask for your prayers as we prepare to leave Nigeria. It is one thing to move our things, but another to say good bye and leave well. We have developed a lot of great friendships here (as well, our children have also) so it will be a difficult process. One thing that I have learned from my wife is that she "pre-processes" things. Meaning she really focuses on going through the process of leaving before leaving or finishing something. So when she says goodbye, it is without regrets. We really want to take the time to say good bye well to friends, co-workers, and ministry sites. We are grateful for the time here.
As we transition to the US, we are looking forward to debriefing and working through what God has for us next. In the past, I have always felt an urgency to move quickly to the next thing where God wants as if I might miss the opportunity, but Im learning that I have often put my timing on His plans. We are prayerful and are trusting God's leading and timing for what he has next. We lean heavy on your prayers so please don't stop. We know that we are in this together even if we are miles a part. Thanks for your faithfulness.

The photos are from a hike I went on this past week with Jason, Will and Israel (remember Israel is a director of a children's home we call RCH). Israel is a great guy and easy to connect with. We hiked about 9miles. It was great to be out in the bush with men I respect and enjoy. I kept looking for cobras, but didn't get to see one.

I have determined that if I am going to die in Africa, the best way would be by Cobra. I guess God didn't agree. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

a sweet time

I am not sure of what the weather is looking like where you live, but it is beautiful here. So beautiful, in fact, that I would say that it is extremely hot!

Yesterday afternoon, some of us ladies got together for just an afternoon of fellowship. It was truly a sweet time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a safe haven

I love how much OLA has become a safe haven for so many orphaned or abused children. Do you remember baby Ibocuku? A family came to take care of her last week. They felt where they lived was safe again.

A couple of days ago, I met James. He is a little over one they are guessing. Pray for him as he will be here for awhile we are guessing. When I fed him a muffin it was the first time he had eaten since being dropped off. By the time we left, he was mumbling a bit. He is cute and has very tiny features.

I wonder what his eyes are saying? I pray he comes to learn of OLA as a safe haven as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

some old "ruts"

I am learning and realizing that it sometimes takes so much to change a way of thinking or a pattern of living. We all get in our own "ruts" and stay there because frankly, it can feel so tiring to get out of it. Now, even though I know this really is true for all of us, I am just going to be talking about me. I mean, who really likes to be told how they are, right?? I don't! So, for the sake of having everyone read to the end, I get in "ruts" and I find it hard to choose to use my energy to try to get out of those ruts.

Yesterday, some of the women staff went over to OLA to train the caregivers how to properly use and handle some new cloth diapers that were donated. They use cloth diapers now, but they are just rags tied together. Our hope and prayer is that they will learn how to use these, knowing in the end, it will help them with less laundry, healthier alternative for the child and some further education on caring for babies and children.

BUT, we know they have done things a certain way for years now (including for their own children) and to "upset" the current system for a new system is extremely hard to do. To create new ruts is not easy, nor fun. I, being on the outside of their "rut", see it as such an obvious choice. All I see are the benefits. But, isn't that the easy side of things. The side that just says, "make a new rut!", "it will be so much easier if you do it this way!".... The luxury of being on this side, right?!

The Lord is showing me some of my own "ruts" and knowing some people in my life have seen these ruts for awhile now and have been probably yelling in their hearts, "make a new rut!", "it will be so much easier if you do it this way!", etc... but with my own life, I don't have the luxury of being on that side, I am on the side of "Please don't make me choose something different.", "I am so tired. I will try to change next week/month/year." Not as much fun, huh?

Anyway, so as I look at these women who are true definitions of a servant in my mind, and we show them truly a "better way" I have deep compassion for where they are and know that this change might not be viewed as the best thing ever, at least not at this exact moment. BUT, I do desire to slowly encourage and help them find a new "rut" and I want to be willing to do my part to help create one for them, to make the transition as smooth as possible. Because I know I would want someone to do that for me.

This photo on top is of Linda with Emilee showing some of the caregivers how to even handle, care, use these new super cute cloth diapers. They were very attentive!

As well as the new cloth diapers, they received new cribs, mattresses, diaper pads, sheets and even some new crib toys. This baby is Ogice, she is really enjoying the new toy. To be honest, it was really fun to watch her try to figure this new "thing" out. She is precious.

Then there were new changing tables and organizing bins, new wipes, etc... You can only imagine what we all had as new mothers. We tried to create all the tools needed for them to best care for the children. We even went through how to use the changing tables, etc... Overall, it was a fun morning. I not only love these orphan children, but I am growing to see the caregivers perspective as well, and it is not an easy perspective to behold.

I pray you might find yourself helping someone out of an old rut and into a new one, but your help is with grace and love and encouragement.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

it's my blog

Just fyi....

All three of my kids are sick today and missing school with a fever and headaches..... ugh....

AND, track practice starts today as well, so I am back to coaching the long distance runners at Hillcrest, at least until we move after the school's spring break.

It's my blog, so I figured I could give random info. on it, don't you think, right?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

found wanting

I have been found wanting in the area of snapping photos of things of which I am participating. Please know though that John and I have been busy.

First to explain these two photos. At Miango Rest Home (where our staff retreat took place) we had a murder mystery party. Where I was not able to actually get a picture of just John and I, I was able to get one of our name tags. However, I was an excellent show girl and I am sure most of you can picture John as a convincing Elvis. Our two characters were in love and Elvis was going to propose to Lucy any day... :)

Then the snap below was of some beef that we had eaten while there. There is a butcher on site where you can purchase some of your own beef or pork if you so desire.

Some other things that have taken some time are John and I were on a dating panel for the Senior Bible Class at school. Will and Theresa joined us as well as a nigerian couple. It was fun answering their questions as to our dating journey. I think the hardest part for John and I was remembering honestly what happened over 16 years ago..... phew, the memory is the first to go, right? It was a lot of fun though to be a part of how this younger generation views dating and marriage. Especially in a culture that doesn't focus or promote it.

Then yesterday, Sami went to her good friend, Moses, birthday party. Her whole class was invited and she had a great time playing with her classmates. She was the only baturi girl there and it phased her none. I actually love these mom's in this grade. I went early to pick her up and sat there with most of them just chatting and laughing about our children and their age. I will miss this "set" of women maybe most of all. They have literally held my hand in this culture and helped me understand how things are done in "nigeria"..... for example... I was told when I went to the party that "this is Nigeria, you make enough food to feed the whole community, not just the kids. So, please, sit down and have a meal with us." as my friend proceeded to hand me a HUGE heaping plate of jollof rice, chicken, cake and a mineral. It was good, but they definitely don't take "no" for an answer.

Anyway, just some things that we have been involved in, culturally, yet no pictures to prove it. I guess you will just have to believe me. Have a blessed Sunday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I was not looking forward to the day when the children from OLA would know that our family was leaving.

Yesterday was that day. The week prior my mom and I had told a couple of the caregivers. Probably in hopes they would pass it on in the best way. For two years, the kids and I have pretty consistently visited every week. This courtyard is second nature to us and definitely an extension of our own home environment.

This whole time I was thinking about how they have become a part of our inner workings of life here. It just dawned on me yesterday we had also become a part of theirs. The younger ones might not understand until they realize we just stopped coming. The three older ones know and understand, but don't quite "get it" and not that I think they should. It is just hard for me to grasp all sides of this relationship.

I am still working on it, but in the meanwhile, please pray for these little guys. My prayer is they will see very physically, God's care and love in these next coming months as part of their landscape will be forever changed as well.

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you have become so dear to us." I Thess. 2:8

We truly love these children and are grateful for our time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

africa landscapes that I will miss

These are just the beginning of some photos that when I look at them and picture the real thing, I can feel super nostalgic.

I am not even gone yet but I miss seeing these everyday. Does that make me kind of weird? Maybe. Bummer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

far to go yet one of His own

I have been thinking about what pictures to bring your way or some deep insight that I could share that has been revealed to me, but truthfully, the only thing that has come to my attention over and over again is how far I have to go.

How far I have to go to grasp ministry in a third world country. How far I have to go in understanding relationships and how to serve those I care about the most. How far I have to go in the Bible of comprehending Old Testament characters and how my life can better bring God glory by gleaning truths from their lives.

BUT, with all this knowledge of how far I have to go, I end up coming to another truth and that is that Jesus loves me so much that He doesn't leave me at "how far I have to go" but brings me to my completeness and fullness in Himself so God only sees me as holy, refined and as one of His own.

Not only should I be living out this truth, but I should be believing this truth. There is a verse that has stuck out to me lately and I think it resembles where I am right now.

Exodus 33:15
"Lord, if your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from this place."

Yes, looking at this now, this verse seems random compared to what I shared above. The thing is that I feel compelled to cling to the Lord more than ever and I am distracted in my clinging. I am refusing to leave the place before I have truly MET with Him. I am at a place of seeing how far I have to go.... but I want to live in a place that I am one of His own. It takes me completely clinging at this season of my life to believe what is already true of me.....

Anyway, no pictures today, just thoughts. I never know whether to use this blog for ministry, personal and/or family.... so with that, here is today.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

staff retreat

We just returned from our first Nigeria, Back 2 Back staff retreat. We left on Thursday morning and just returned yesterday afternoon. The days were great, with a fun mix of meetings, relaxation and some fun activities.

You have heard me mention before about Miango Rest Home. That is where we spent our days. The picture below is of the two new horses they have added to this retreat center. Looks calming, doesn't it?

I will post more later as I gather my thoughts and photos of this fun weekend. Until then, I leave you with this horse photo. If the picture was not in context, you might think that we aren't even in Nigeria...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

the fellowship of women

Can I introduce you all to my last nigerian bible study with the women who have held my hand, in some ways, while living here in Jos.

From the left: my mom/Eileen, Rose, Evelyn, Linda, Emilee, Theresa, Planglan, Juliana and then on the floor is Stella.

They have become my fellowship of women who I trust with questions needing to be answered, with a deeper understanding of living with generations of crisis, trusting God with raising children and with just loving and laughing and crying and praying together.

We are studying David as our final time together (at least with me anyway) and how God had David "rub shoulders" with certain people to become the man he became later known as "A man of God's own heart." I strongly believe that God wanted me to rub shoulders with these ladies because He had things He wanted me to learn first hand from these Godly women. There were things in my life that have become refined due to these ladies choosing to walk beside me in life.

I thank God every time I think of them!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

baby Ibocuku

Part of me wants to say, "Here we go again!"..... But, that wouldn't be fair. I want to introduce you to a new baby at OLA. We met him yesterday while visiting the home in the afternoon. When I asked questions about him, I think the caregiver and I were getting our questions and responses confused. She communicated that he is five days old, but I am guessing he is not THAT young. His name is Ibocuku (eee bo choo koo).

His story is that his mother gave birth to him, didn't want him, gave him to a friend who didn't feel safe during the crisis to take care of a newborn. SO, Ibocuku is staying at OLA for only three months until the public elections are over and things have "settled down." When those months are gone, the friend will come back and get him and then care for him in safety.

Join me as we start another chain directly to heaven of prayer for another little orphaned life. The good news: he is healthy and already in the main care room (not the hospital), and God has perfectly knit this baby in his mother's womb and loves and cares for him more than we all do.
The hard reality: another little baby who is starting his life already with the circumstances that might follow him the rest of the days of his life.
Please pray for his life, safety and his future.


I just want you to know that officially, today, my children went back to school. It has been about six or seven weeks that they have been home from holiday break and election break.

Do you see that picture on the right? That is me, enjoying a brief moment all alone in my house. All by myself. Now some would not enjoy the silence of the alone time..... AHHHH, but ME, I love it.

Have a great day. Ah, bummer, I hear some people coming to the door.... gotta run.