Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Tomorrow I begin the long trek back to Michigan! Please pray for safe and uneventful travels over the next 48 hours. :) I have so much to blog about, but it will have to wait until I am safely back in the US!

To hold you over until I am able to write a nice long post, check out Corrie's blog! She recently shared about Esther's graduation that we went to last weekend! CLICK HERE to read!

Adios Amigos!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cheerful Giving

Each time that I have attended the village church, the time of offering has truly been the highlight of my day. Today was no different. It is a time of joy, singing, celebration and dancing and so different than anything that I have seen in the US! Today the people brought the first fruits of their tomato crops of offer before the Lord to thank Him for all that He has blessed them with. I wish that I had some video to share with you! But, since I don't, try to image it with me... it is a small, humble building. There are rocks piled on the tin roof so that it won't blow off in the wind and the rain. The door stands open to let in the light and the breeze. The entire room is bursting with the vibrant colors of patterned dresses and head wraps. Songs of jubilee and praise can be heard for miles around! The singing is joined with the beats of drums and everyone begins to clap their own rhythms, which blend together in perfect harmony. With sheer delight people begin dancing to the front of the church to present their offerings before the Lord. Everyone is out of their seats, dancing, laughing, singing, worshiping God with all they have in them. This is a picture of true beauty and generosity and it goes on for 20-30 minutes as people repeatedly dance to the front of the church to give their gifts.

Wow! Needless to say, I quickly felt convicted about the way that I give and the way that I view the things that I have been given in life. I have been so blessed, and I find that it is easy for me to get possessive of what I have. Today was a vivid and clear reminder that nothing I have is my own. Everything that I have is a gift from God and ultimately belongs to Him alone. The people that I met today have so little and yet they pour it out with such joy! I pray that I will have this same spirit of joy in generosity and laying all that I have at the feet of Jesus. I want to go dancing before the throne to pour out all that I have and all that I am. Because is it really even mine to begin with?

The Church is on the right and the pastor lives on the left...

Inside the church before the service started...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beauty in the Simple Things

Welcome to Jos, the Plateau State Capital! Please enjoy some of the sights and colors that have brought me great joy this July! Overall this time of year in Jos is quite overcast and a bit dreary, but I have found that if you look closely there are beautiful splashes of color all around!

Take some time today to enjoy the beauty of the simple things in life! :)
Joyful Blessings,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dear Nigeria...

Dear Nigeria,

It would be really great if we could get some power soon so that I could update my blog.

Thank you,



Ok, we are now entering our 3rd day without power. I know that I owe all of you loyal blog followers a good update since I am 2 days behind, but sadly it will have to wait a bit longer. I am able to connect to the internet right now because we have the generator on, but even with the gen the internet has been touch and go. Hopefully it will be stronger tomorrow becuase I have been taking some beautiful pictures of the colors of Nigeria that I am very excited to share with you. In the meantime, please know that I am safe and even though I feel very worn out, it was a truly wonderful day with the kids at OLA. Have I mentioned how much I love them? I will leave you tonight with a precious picture of sweet Ogice (O-gee-chey).

Monday, July 19, 2010

A World Apart

There have been a few moments over the past 2 1/2 weeks when I have felt very far from home. When I have smiled to myself and thought, "I'm not in Kansas anymore..." One of those moments was my trip to the hospital. (Don't worry, I was only a visitor and not a patient!) This was one of those experiences that made me realize once again how many blessings I have in the US that I often take for granted. Now don't think that I am trying to click my heals and get back home any minute sooner than I have to. At times this may seem like a different world, but it is a world that I am quickly growing to love!

Join me on a quick tour of the hospital. Most places would not have been appropriate to try and snap a photo, but I tried to sneak a few for you!

The Hallways...
The hallways are rather beautiful with all the greenery. You can't see it in the pictures, but the lawns are covered with people cooking and doing laundry. The hospital does not provide food for the patients, so family members camp out to care for and feed their loved ones.

An Operating Room... Anyone can enter at anytime and watch a surgery. Please note the laundry drying on the grass :)

The Maternity Ward...

Picture of the day: The Filing System...

Shelves much like this one are scattered throughout the entire hospital, and one can never be sure where their file will be located! Many people reccommed taking your file home with you so that it will not get lost.

So I am not in Kansas anymore... but that's ok, I'm happy to be right where I am! Let's just pray that I am not in need of an emergency surgery any time soon! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

I am happy to report that we have made it safely back from Abuja! Praise the Lord for clear weather and safe travels.
I have had some questions about the weather here in Jos, so today I am pulling on my galoshes and my rain coat to give you an updated weather report. There is 100% chance of rain today and there will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day... It is the rainy season and therefore each day around 3pm the rain comes in. It is like clockwork, you could set your watch to it. Last week we were on our way to OLA, and 3pm was upon us. Like most afternoons, the rain began. Only this afternoon in particular was a bit different becasue within 5 minutes the traffic was at a stand still, the roads were flooded and it was hailing! Up to that point in my life, my picture of Africa did not include hail, but it seems that I still have alot to learn! I took some pictures from the car while we were waiting for the traffic to creep along. I would like to point out that 5-10 minutes prior to these pictures being taken the ground had been completely dry.

As I share about the daily downpours in Nigeria, I would like to remind everyone to continue to pray for the people in Mexico as they continue to recover from Hurricane Alex. Check out the Back2Back Blog for continued updates on the recovery in Mexico.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A New Part of the Journey

Hello friends! It is hard to believe that my time in Nigeria is already half way done. So much has happened in the past 2 weeks and it has been a joy to be able to share pictures, thoughts and adventures with you! Today Ruby, John, Corrie and I are driving 3 hours south to Abuja to take Ruby to the airport. Please pray that we will have safe travels to the city and are able to return back to Jos without any delays or problems.

While I have been in Nigeria I have focused on sharing events and ministry details with you, but I have not spent too much time sharing what God is doing in my heart, so I would like to take a few moments to do just that! One of the reasons that I came to Nigeria was to see if this might be where God is leading me to teach after this next year in Mexico. Leading up to the trip, my constant prayer was that God would use this time to open my heart to the work that He is doing in Nigeria and make it very clear to me if this is where he wants me. For the past year I have been making plans and dreaming about moving to Africa to begin a new adventure. My plan was to come here, fall totally in love with it, feel complete confirmation that this is where I am supposed to be and then have a teaching position fall right into my lap! Am I an optimist and a planner? Maybe a little bit! :) Well, I can't believe that after a lifetime of God showing me he usually has a different plan in mind, I am still surprised each time that my plan does not pan out the way I anticipated. You see, I have come here, I have fallen in love with the children, the country, and the culture, I have a teaching position to apply for... but it didn't take me long to realize that this is not where the Lord is leading me next.

"Lord, what is going on here? I thought this was the plan! It was a good plan, I mean come on, I had it all figured out!" Haha and just when I think I have it figured out I realize that I really have no idea what is in store. I am beginning to wonder how long it will take me to really learn that the road God chooses for us is often not the road we except... but it is always so much better! Not always easy, but always good if we allow him to change us and grow us as we seek him from right where he has us.

So I don't know what is next for me, but as my supporters, friends, family and people that I care most about, I feel compelled to share that I have no idea what the future will hold! Haha and I will try to stop being surprised each time I learn that I can't tell the future! Whatever is next is going to be different than I would have ever imagined. It may not be an African Adventure, but I am confident that a grand adventure awaits, becuase each day is an adventure when we are seeking God from the location that he has us! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Few New Friends

Meet Mary. She has the most gorgeous smile and big beautiful eyes that make your heart melt.

Meet Kenny. He has such a joyful spirit and it just as cute as can be! He only has one leg, but that never stops him from flying around the home with a smile on his face. He has learned to crawl and I believe that this boy will always be able to do anything that he sets his mind too!

Meet Hope. She is a ball full of energy and always ready to play! I have yet to see her without that infectious smile beaming from her face!

Meet Mary ("Little Mary"). I love watching her becuase she makes the funniest, most adorable faces. She is very quiet, with the sweetest little spirit.

Friends come in many shapes and sizes! ... For instance...

Meet Ellie. Yesterday we went to the wildlife refuge and I met Ellie the Elephant, haha original, I know! Ok, so she is not one of the kids from OLA, but I did really enjoy her and wanted to post about her somewhere! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dress Shopping in Nigeria

Buying a new dress here in Nigeria, like most things in Nigeria, is not as quick as one might think. Although it may not be as simple as popping into Target or the mall, trying on a few options and making a purchase, it is a lot more fun! For the steps of dress shopping in Jos, we are headed back to Gidan Bege, the widow's ministry that I shared about last week!

Step 1: Pick out your fabric... so many beautiful choices!!

I decided to go with this lovely blue fabric. Here I am with Sasa, Dress Maker Extraordinaire!

Step 2: Create your design!

Again, so many choices! I was looking for something that I could wear while still in Nigeria, but that would also be good life in Mexico and in the US.

I explain to Sasa what I have in mind. She draws a quick sketch and I love it!!

Step 3: Getting Measured

Step 4: Wait... :)


Step 5: A perfect fit!

After a week I returned to Gidan Bege to try on my dress! It was well worth the wait!

Step 6: Accessorize!

While out in town I bought a beautiful necklace to go with the dress!

Step 7: Enjoy! :)

The completed look before heading out to the "African Luau" themed staff dinner! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day with OLA

I had another wonderful day with the kids from OLA! The original plan was to take them swimming at a pool in town, but due to some rain we had a slight change of plans and took the kiddos to the Oasis Center for a movie instead! It was such a fun day! Have I mentioned yet how precious these kids are?! :)

Watching a movie!
The whole group!
Then the day cleared up and we all went for a hike!
Hope and I enjoying the view!
Ruby and I! Check out the beautiful Nigerian countryside!
Another group shot after the hike!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Yesterday we went to visit Hillcrest School. I have looked at Hillcrest's website many times, so it was very surreal to actually be there! The campus was much bigger than I expected and I loved seeing some of the classrooms and hearing about all the school has to offer! Let me give you a short virtual tour...

The High School Building

Science Classroom for High School

Middle School Building

Upper Elementary Building

Hillcrest opened over 60 years ago and started much like SMCA (where I teach now in Mexico). Here is a picture of the original school, which is now used as the music classroom.

The campus is also complete with staff housing, a track, soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, a volley ball court, a football field, and an auditorium. See, much larger than I thought!


Today was a wonderful day spent with the kids from OLA! I can't wait to tell you all about it, but it will have to wait because I am exhausted right now and am looking forward to a good night of rest! I pray you are having a blessed day!