Friday, September 18, 2015

Scripture Engagement Team--Still on hold

Upon our arrival in Nigeria we met our group in a time of transition.  Most notably, the team we were coming to lead includes seven Nigerians.  In May all the Nigerians began an intensive time of Ministry Partner Development.  I also have been involved as a mentor in the process.  We were hopeful that by this month we would be seeing most of these Nigerians reaching 100% of their needed support and coming back to focus on our work as a Scripture Engagement team.  However, it looks like there still is a long way to go for all of us.

This raises a number of prayer items that we would appreciate continued prayer:
  • That we will have wisdom to know what to invest our energy into in this time of transition
  • As we grow tired, that we will also grow in love and unity... not a natural progression!
  • That God will continue to bring new Nigerian Ministry Partners to join us in this work
Also there are a few items of thanksgiving and praise:
  • Perhaps more than a thousand people around Nigeria (mostly in Jos) have heard about Bible Translation, many for the first time
  • Some Nigerians have eagerly seized the opportunity to become Ministry Partners.
  • John Azomo and I were able to share Izere and Hausa audio Scriptures on Sunday, and people eagerly took them
  • The Mwaghavul language project has continued to plan and host Scripture Listening and Reading Group training events--almost completely independent of our help

Monday, September 14, 2015

First Day of School!

Oh my, what unexpected tears as we prayed last night for Daso before her first day of school.  She is such a gem, shimmering and bright in a world that suffocates such beauty.  But this morning came and I couldn’t hide my excitement as well.  After she returned from a run with Uncle Zach I said brightly, “OK, go and get your uniform on!”  She skipped away with a big smile on her face and I’m sure a few jitters in her stomach. 
The four of us, Uncle Zach, Daso, and Mari wrapped close to my front headed for the road to climb into a keke around 7:10am.  I was in a tizzy because I had timed the journey and we needed 20 minutes to arrive at school by 7:30.  I forgot that in a world of public transport and event oriented timing, the first day of school would probably be more relaxed.  I was glad that we took time along the way to kosai (fried bean cakes) when we arrived at 7:31 to find the teachers in meetings, the students having the all too familiar opportunity for the children in the schoolyard  to stop playing and chattering to freeze at the sight of two white people on the premises.  I hope Daso wasn’t too embarrassed, but she did ask me to stay after we met her teachers, which I think was a good sign that though my presence caused a lot of extra attention being sent her way, she preferred that to being alone in her new environment. 
Being American, we were one of two parents we saw bringing their children to school on the first day, and we made sure to take lots of pictures.  She’ll thank us later, though her smile was not exactly enthusiastic.   We waited until after the singing and pledges of morning assembly before sneaking a wave in and heading out the door. 
I can’t wait to hear how it went! 

Daso’s prayers before going to school:
That I would stay away from bad friends
That all the children would listen to the teachers
That she would learn what they are trying to teach me

My prayers for Daso:
That she would find a couple of really good friends
That she would feel loved by her teachers and accepted in the school
That we would have a good routine in the mornings
That we would have wisdom to help her handle difficult situations

Friday, September 11, 2015

My New Assignment

Here she is:

Mari consumes so much of my time, and has also scooped up my heart with her smiles and dependency on her Mama. I didn’t know how passionately I would feel about this mothering job but now that I wake up to a needy little person who gives back in her own way, I find immense pleasure in this work.  To watch her change and grow, learning where her hand is, responding to the voice of her Mama, and wondering at the spinning animals above her crib is exhilarating.  Who knew?  If you’ve ever had a baby, you did, but it’s a whole new way of viewing my role and calling.
I now look for opportunities in my community to reach out to young mothers, and mentor them in this work.  I think more about the MK’s (missionary kids) in our group, and wonder how we can help them love their environment and renrich their experience living in Nigeria.
I am on maternity leave until mid-October.  Please pray for us as we consider what our ministry will look like after that time, and that I will truly cherish the time I have with my little Mari now.

Two, Three, Four!

--> We are learning to count up as our family expands.  Daso is now our little girl, on loan from Falaka and her husband for this term of school.  

I sat on the side of the pool watching Zach pull Daso and Salama (staying with us for the week) around the pool, teaching them to swim then escaping in time while they tried to catch him.  I held  Mariama in my arms as the bright Nigerian sun beat on my outstretched legs. For a first timer, Daso was extremely brave!  She jumped into the pool, practiced putting her head under, and trusted me to throw her into the air (though she didn’t let me do it again.)  Her laughter rang out into the air, making me giggle, as she tried to race Salama (Victoria’s 12-year-old daughter) across the pool, her legs and arms working hard to no avail in the chest deep water.
These are beautiful days as I take in the dynamic scenes of my little family.  Zach takes every opportunity to teach a lesson: “If each egg is 25 naira, Daso, how much will it cost to fill this crate?  Get the cuisinaire rods!” or “…feel this metal spoon, now this plastic one” (referring to his tea cup that he has filled with various utensils) …I don’t know if he ever did get to drinking tea out of it, but at least the hot water wasn’t wasted!   
To the question of do you know what a conductor is, Daso replied “Yes, I know, conductor, like on the bus.  He collects the money. (and in the same sentence) Can we go jump on the trampoline today?”  She knows she has to get that in before the next lesson begins.
Daso is to start school on Monday, the 14th of September.  Today her siblings start school where they live, and I know she is missing being there to go with them.  Please pray that God will help us make a home where she feels loved and secure, and that we will find ways to keep her connected to her family while making her part of ours.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Scripture Listening and Reading. . . at home

Daso, Mariama, and Zach
We teach others how to do Scripture Listening and Reading Groups in their own language.  But are we listening to the Scripture ourselves?

Christy, Mariama, and Daso
In an earlier blog post I asked for prayer that I would be having more Bible intake.  I just want to thank you for praying and share briefly what God has been doing.

Around the time Falaka and her two children came to visit, we started reading a Psalm each evening, talking about our highlights for the day and praying together.  Then a few days ago, we replaced the Psalm with listening to about half a chapter twice, interspersed with a set of reflective questions:

* What was interesting?
* What was confusing?
* What did you learn about God?
* What is God saying to the people in the passage?
* What is God saying to us?
* What will you do, now that you have heard?

Salama, Daso, and Zach at a pool
We memorized these questions by teaching them to ourselves orally and repeating them with hand motions (Christy's creativity at its best!)  Now each night we have been enjoying the sweetness of reflecting on God's word, often from the writings of the Apostle John.

Thank you for praying with us and keep praying that we feed daily on his Word!

P. S. If you want to do your own Scripture Listening and Reading in your home, you can get free audio Bibles online (e.g.,,, including apps for your phone that will allow you to download Audio Scripture.

Another community meeting planned

At the end of May we hosted a community meeting to discuss how we as parents could help make our neighborhood a safer place for our children.  Christy and I were thrilled at the topics the community chose to work on: health, children knowing the Word of God, and unity. 

Over the months that followed, we have seen small steps of effort to work on each of these issues.  For example, we built a water filter, had a demonstration on how to do oral Bible studies, and started meeting once a week to pray together.  Thank God with us!

However, all of the efforts also seem to be fizzling out.  We barely finished our first water filter, with only two of the initial seven volunteers showing up for the last two days.  We haven’t had any follow-up on home Bible studies, and assume that we are the only ones using it right now.  And although I am still impressed with the participation in the prayer meetings some of the members are getting discouraged.  Christy and I have intentionally avoided just pouring more energy into making these things “work”.  We want initiatives that will have impact lasting beyond our involvement, not ones that run by our energy and stop when we stop.

So, we are calling for another community meeting.  We want to facilitate a community reflection on what they have done so far and what they can do better.  Please pray for us as we plan this meeting, for wisdom as we plan.  Also, please pray than many parents will show up and take responsibility to keep working hard at the things that make a better community for their children.
Almost done with our first water filter (July)

Go Away!

T here were children. Always so many children. Our children are a magnet for other children and so everywhere we go, they follow us giggling...