Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Well, this is it! Our final day in Jos, Nigeria Africa! This is the reason for the new look. What do you think? I don't know, I am not settled with it yet, so we will see. The photo below is of most of our furniture being delivered to another ministry. I am sad.

I have had a few people ask me to keep blogging even when we return to the United States, to be able to keep up with our repatriation. So, I will do that. It will be harder to share struggles when most of you reading this will be "next door" but I think it will be healthy for me to have an outlet and maybe some people reading this from other countries will catch a glimpse of one family's transition back to american living and the effects of being a third culture kid even in the States.

Just for information, we leave from Jos to go to Abuja tomorrow morning. We stay there for just a few days while waiting out the election and then travel to London. We will be there for about a day and then head to Chicago then Cincinnati. We arrive in Cincinnati for just a couple of days to head to FL for a bit of a vacation, then visit some family off and on as we head back up north to OH. John starts working beginning of May in our home office and then we will see what happens.

I don't know the consistency of internet for the next month, but we will start our new blog with it's new purpose within this time. Thank you, all of you out there, for your encouragement and support.

Here is the latest Guckenberger family photo. The new Guckenberger's, the ones who have lived in Africa for a couple of years and therefore, are different. Praise God for the ability to live an adventure that He has called us to. It is for Him and through Him we do what we do!

24, diet coke and friends

I really cannot add to the title for this photo. Except in the midst of teams, drop ins, guests visiting and packing up our has been a small but rejuvenating pleasure to end some of our days watching 24 with some good friends while drinking diet coke.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

drop ins

It is customary when someone is moving away to drop in to say your goodbyes. Our last few days has been just that. Lots of nigerians making their way to our front gate to communicate friendship and safe journeys. There are stories with each one of these pictures, but for the sake of time, just know that these friends that are photographed here (and more that we didn't think to get their picture) are our friends and we are thankful!

Monday, March 28, 2011

last ola

We went yesterday to say goodbye to the children of OLA. Kenny is gone now (his mom returned after finishing school), living in Lagos. And there is a new boy Benjamin.... constant change. And I think our camera is dying....

Needless to say, I was sad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

no regrets

John and I had a conversation with our kids a few weeks ago talking about leaving with no regrets. We all talked about what it might mean to leave Jos with no regrets. Of course, it was and is different for all of us.

For me, it is definitely about relationships. So, the Lord has really allowed me to have moments to say goodbye in ways that are real and tangible to my heart. I am so grateful. Here are just a few snaps to reflect some of our goodbyes and some of our heartfelt relationships.

The top picture is of John trying to tease the camel for the food he had. (Yes, I do believe John would have won if the camel hadn't booted him out of the space). We had the joy of having three girls over that we just love. The Payne's (they have been in our blog a few times) have been such an answered prayer to our family and their children have been so much fun to have stay with us. We took them to our local zoo, the next photo is of all of the children together by the gorilla cage.

The hiking rocks that are on our property are also a favorite, so we packed a lunch one day and had another family join us and we hiked up to the top and enjoyed a lunch, but mostly enjoyed friendships and conversation and landscape of the village. Unbeatable!

On our way home, I wanted to say goodbye to my good friend, Sasa. She runs the widow's ministry that we take our groups to called Gidan Bege. But, to my surprise, when we got there, she had all the ladies singing an african song communicating thanks. They were clapping and welcoming me into their shop one last time. They had also made me a skirt (note the yellow skirt in the photo) and a purse. To say that I was touched and speechless was an understatement. The last photo is me in the midst of all the african prints and colors that I will miss when I return to the monochromatic USA.

Here is the thing. I realize that most people aren't interested in my last days in Jos, Nigeria. BUT, it is part of my process. I recall the first days learning about the christian/muslim differences and now I don't process that anymore. My end days (which by the way is less than a week) are not of the intrigues of a new and foreign land, but they are of the deep felt gaps that might be evident if not closed well and sincerely. They are of people who have changed me and I want to say thanks. I will be forever different because of them. This land is no longer foreign and it is no longer full of intrigue. It is a home that I am having to say goodbye to and will forever miss. I appreciate all of you giving me the space to process. I will leave Jos and I will leave with no regrets, the Lord willing anyway :).

Friday, March 25, 2011

a full day

The team has come and gone and we couldn't have ended better.

I had the privilege to be on the last complete day. It was a full one. We started with visiting a future bridal shop, then we went to a prayer dedication service for the aquaponics test model that I was telling you about earlier. I was not into the details of this project, but I was really impressed with the outcome.

Literally, as they were pouring the fish into the small pond they had set up, they explained the process of how these two systems will feed itself and produce healthier vegetation and fish. These pictures hopefully can explain better what I cannot.

After this time of dedication, we went souvenir shopping, came home for lunch and then ended with a birthday party for the children of OLA. I loved it! Thanks to a friend from an earlier team, we were even able to attain a jumpy castle and they kids couldn't have been more thrilled. Thanks Bobby!

I couldn't have been more excited to be a part of this team and this day. To see these men spend time with these particular Fatherless brought tears to my eyes. Each person was assigned a child. They made sure "in the moment" they were their complete focus. So, as the kids opened up their birthday gift, they immediately had someone to play with or be excited for them. What a joy!

P.S. On a little side note, Kenny from OLA (Do you remember him? - about two years old?) was finally reunited with his mother who has been in Lagos completing her education. He left the orphanage on Saturday last week. As much as I was heartbroken to not have said goodbye, I was thankful that his mother, even if she could not visit over the last two years, truly did return for him when she was able to care for him in a way she desired. Praise God!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

one last celebration

With the team being here this week, we once again hosted a celebration night with them. It was fun as Emilee changed it up a bit with having it at a local hotel/restaurant. This is the whole group (minus our children, not sure where they went).

A festive bunch, eh?

Today I am with them all day long as we will be souvenir shopping and having a birthday party for the children of OLA. It will be so fun to get these business men to an orphanage. What a gift it will be.

Have a great day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

a prayer to become fat

Evangelical Church West Africa, Kissayhip B village church. This has been our home church for the past two years. It hasn't always been the deepest sermons and it hasn't always been the most comfortable, but it has always been the most joyful, alive worship experience that I, Corrie, have ever (in my entire life) experienced.

We, for the last time, brought our team there this past Sunday and listened and fellowshipped with these humble people. The way they worship the Lord through song has changed me forever. Tears strolled down my face as the fellowship women sang about Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel and how they refused the king's food, but committed to the Lord to eat His food and the others watched them become "fat". While they were singing, they were also dancing their way around the church to the front pulpit offering to the Lord the vegetables of their land.

I sit here writing this wondering how will I return to the churches of my home? I, once again, feel as if I am going to have to go through another culture shock. BUT, I do know of the Lord's faithfulness. He has shown my whole family over and over again that He has much more to do with us, He has much more to teach us and He has many more ways to draw me to Himself. I guess I will have to take what I have learned from this church and move forward with the Lord's leading.

And who knows, maybe I will become "fat" in the process.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

beginning of the lasts & another random ending

Does it feel like I have been saying that for awhile now? Sorry.

BUT, the truth is the three ladies in that first photo were at the last track meet, so I won't be at Hillcrest anymore. My kids had their last day of school, I had my last track meet and Sarah had her last sleepover with her friends.

When her friends said goodbye to her, I overheard a Psalm prayer blessing being recited to her and then they prayed over her. Gosh, I tell you what.... it is in these moments that I praise God for the surrounding of good girls who love my daughter and love the Lord!

We have our last team here (they arrived yesterday) and our furniture is slowly being removed from the house.

So, with all of that being said, I wanted to bring up my younger sister, Jodi, to everyone in my blog world. She is my favorite of my sisters (sorry Kelley, she made me say this, but we know the truth :))! She has helped John and I for the last six years being on the mission field. She has taken care of so much on the home end and we are so grateful for her willingness to be a part of the bigger picture of John and Corrie Guckenberger. Without her, our ability to stay focused would be strained as we would be dealing with details of home.

Not sure why I wanted to bring her up except maybe I just felt led! I love you Jodi!

She is going to be mad that I used this photo because it is over a year old and she was pregnant here... hee hee....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SSE & the team

Yesterday as my mom and I were planning for our day with the team, we stopped in the new chicken coop and the beginning stages of the aquaponics test model.

SSE is our ministry that we partner with here in Jos. It stands for Self Sustaining Enterprises. They do an excellent job creating positions for those in the village that will actually benefit the village in the long run. The top two photos are of the new chicken coop (located in the same vicinity of the education center). Solomon is the main care giver for these chickens. He does so well.

The last two photos are of the test model of the aquaponics system. The team that is arriving today will be putting this together and they have actually done the research and another test model in Cincinnati.

This is a fish pond and a vegetation garden. The idea of this is that the one will feed the other which will create better nutrients for both. Pray for the set up here because our materials are different. We are grateful for the team arriving today because they have done the legwork and the trials and they are bringing some materials to help us be successful as much as we can on our end. If this achieves the goals we think it can, it will be such a blessing for this village on a larger scale. The fencing that you see around the pond is our version of fencing to keep the monkeys out of it. We hope anyway! We are really thankful for SSE and this team because their efforts benefit the village,
which in turn, benefits the orphans living in this village.

And all glory is the Lords!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

family dinner

Last night, we had our staff over for dinner. It felt like family to us. Let's just recap some of the traits of our staff that we have had the chance to work with:

passionate, Peter-like, strength of conviction and character, unconditional, faithful, discerning, alive, part to whole, including of others, intentional, loving and respectful, willing to go against the flow. BUT, even though all of these traits are a gift, I think most of all, they love the Lord and desire His will above their own.

Monday, March 14, 2011


On Sunday evening, some of our closer, missionary friends here in Jos got together and had a fellowship dinner for us. I am getting worse at actually getting some good photos as I am trying to be "all present" with these things.

It was a blessing as well as a challenge to try to communicate what these past two years have meant to John and I and our family with each one of them. We truly have been gifted these friendships that we don't deserve, but we need desperately. Each of these families represent some aspect of who John and I are and who we have become due to their impact.

I actually am getting choked up thinking about it. Needless to say, goodbye's don't get easier. We are grateful for the ways the Lord has decided to extend His favor to our family and pray that we have been half of the blessing that others have been to us.

P.S. On a side note, yesterday was my last track practice and they had a huge card and photo and everyone wrote something very kind in it, ready to give me at the end of the practice. I was very touched by each of the students as they took the time to encourage me. Again, humbled by the Lord's grace and mercy towards me.

i love these kids

I don't have much to say except that I just returned from a morning at OLA and I love these children. I love them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


There are some weeks that life here just seems like normal life anywhere: how you spend your time, being a mother and friend, etc...

Lately, that is what has been going on. Even though we are getting ready to move, we are still prepping for a team, going to birthday parties, helping people move and taking one day at a time.

Here are just a couple snaps of the last week (except one): top photo is of this year's track team, well half of it anyway. The Seniors were gone and some other class meetings were happening, but these students have been filling my Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons.

Then, we watched Peyton yesterday morning while our friends and directors moved from the ministry house to finally, their own place. Okay, so it is still on the same compound, but at least what they use is theirs. She is super cute and we always enjoy getting some time with her (especially Sarah knowing we are leaving).

The last picture is of baby Daniel and myself about 9 months ago. Truth is, he celebrated his one year birthday party yesterday and bummer, I forgot my camera. BUT, you have to believe me when I tell you that he is precious to me and I will be praying for him for years to come. Anyway, that is it for now. Nothing major, but life, still taking place in Jos.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

vow of community

Last week I had the opportunity to help one of the sisters at OLA get to town.

It was the one I knew the least and she was going to have to take a taxi. Her name is Sister Filemon. It had been a hard day for me up to that point. No real reason, I was just feeling down and a bit left out. It was exactly what God had prescribed for me.

The sister and I were talking about how living in community can be hard, but is well worth the practice of it. When they "sign up" or feel the call of being an actual sister, they must make three vows: the vow of poverty, the vow of chastity and the vow of obedience. She then made an interesting comment about how she wishes they would add a third vow to their ceremony - the vow of

community. Her thought was this is where all three come together.

My whole point of mentioning this is because as I once again took the 8th grade girls (remember love in high action) to visit the OLA children, I saw a change in the atmosphere. The first time I took them, it was a bit awkward. They were 7th graders, first time doing anything like this and they enjoyed the children. Then again in October, the second time, they felt more comfortable so they loved and played hard, all good stuff. Then this last time I realized that there was more of a depth of affection and more of a desire to be apart of these children. This time these girls went and we swept the entire orphanage, not just swept, but really got under things swept and organized, and they loved on the kids. I even found out that one of them had taken her family over Christmas to spend time with them.

I kept saying, "this was great, this is the best time ever," but I couldn't put my finger on the exact reason why. Then as I looked around, big picture, I realized these girls had formed a community with these children. It was no longer their community serving the other community, but it had become one community serving each other out of the affection of Christ. It was an overflow of what was already established. Gosh, what an amazing thing to be a part of, and I am so grateful for the community here that has allowed us to serve alongside of them as it is a vow that is taken seriously in each of our hearts.