Thursday, December 31, 2015

If 2015 was a . . .



Celebrating our last meal in 2015 with cauliflower, chicken, and apples!
Have you ever played the game “iMAgiNiff. . .”?  In this game you draw a card that asks you to imagine if one of the other players was a store, or a name, or a vehicle, etc. which would it be?  The game gives you six choices to choose from.  On this new years Eve, the big player on our minds is the year 2015.

If 2015 were a store manager which store would it be?

Zach: Home Depot. Christy’s Dad and I fixed up our house, including a new rain water-catching system (this required a few trips to the market equivalent of Home Depot here).

Christy: Home Depot. Because together Zach and I have built a home and a family, we are under construction, and we have to keep going back and finding out how to do this thing, we have to keep figuring out how to equip ourselves, our hoe, our hearts, our worldview, for the challenges of parenthood, and living in community.  Sometimes you have to break down in order to reconstruct.  I feel like that is what we are in the process of doing.

Zach: I knew your answer was going to be deeper and more holistic than mine.  What I was thinking at first was something more like Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery, but that wasn’t on the list.

If 2015 was a female name, which would be best?

Christy: Olga. When my sister and brother were younger they would go up to each other and grab each other around the neck and say “Olga!” “Shmolga!” and they would kiss each other grandly and heartily in the air three times!  I feel like this year has been a year of a lot of saying Hello to a lot of people we have missed and missing memories like that with people that are familiar.

Zach: Summer.  Partly I chose it as a joke, because there is no summer in Nigeria (instead we have rainy season and dry season).  But really I chose it because the name Summer makes me think of warm and friendly people and times of rest.  This has been a year of seasons of busy-ness working hard with good friends, but also seasons of rest, both planned and unexpected.


If 2015 was a special vehicle, which would it be?

Christy: Parade float.  Birthing a baby in Nigeria has put me on a sort of stage every time I walk through the streets, or everythime I exit my gate, it is one greeting after the other.  “Hi Mariama” “Where is her hat?”  Wave-Wave, Smile-Smile, Coming in close, “Wow I like your shoes!”   “Wow, she is fat! Are you doing baby friendly (i.e. 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding)?”  “Did you birth her here?”  “You will give her to me for my son” “She will not go back with you, Oh!”  And my parenting is on show all the time.  People wonder at the baby crib in my living room and wonder where I got it.  There are surprised I don’t bathe her morning and night.  They are surprised I carry her on my front and allow her to nurse as I walk along—and wonder why I don’t always carry her (the easier way) on my back.  My response (that makes even the most serious critics smile):  Ina da nono a baya?  (Free translation: Can she nurse on my back?)   And finally applause when I am carrying her on my back.
Zach: Tank.  Although I would prefer to answer Parade float (because of the great celebration surrounding Mariama’s birth) or Ice Cream truck, because of our two girls (one of whom is a sweet-tooth),  this year has been significant in that I am coming to realize, and perhaps even accept, that life as a Christian is a Spiritual battle.  I have always believed it in some sense, but this year I have been learning a bit about what it means to stand firm in my faith—both for myself and others around me.  Sometimes the adventure and hard work of clinging to Christ and shining his light in this world is exciting and invigorating—a challenge I am grateful for.  Other times, I remind myself that one day this struggle will be over and we will all go Home to celebrate and rest with our Father forever.

If 2015 was something to sit on which would it be?

Christy: Lap.  Through our children, I am learning about what parenthood from a Father’s or  Mother’s point of view looks like, which helps me to know how my heavenly father feels about me and how much he loves to feel about me.  (See my devotional for teenage girls with further reflections on this.  It is designed as a booklet, if you print it front and back.  See also devotional, part 2)

Zach: Sit ‘n spin.  We’ve been in Michigan, Indiana, France, Nigeria; a couple, parents of a newborn, parents of two;  worked on Scripture Engagement, worked in our neighborhood, worked on partnership development, and I’ve worked at learning how to help others get their work done (administration).

If 2015 was a punctuation mark, which would it be?

Zach: Parentheses.  From around April to October my primary role was something completely different than I expected.

Christy: Question mark.  It led me to asking lots of questions.  Some of which I am still asking. 
I ask questions of administrators about my role,
I ask questions of parents about how they raise their children,
I ask questions of Google about some strange phenomenon with my child like a pulsing head,
I ask questions of husband like our future, raising our children, what he wants to eat for breakfast,
and lots of questions of God for what is this season in my life supposed to look like, or is there no supposed to?  Is it true “He never does the same thing twice” (as Aslan says to Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia . . . somewhere)

When you don't hear from us . . .



It has been about a month since I last wrote a post. I wish I had written more often, but what do you think and pray about when you pray for us at times when you haven’t heard from us
recently?

If I were you, at first I would keep on praying for the most striking prayer request that I prayed for last time I got an update any time it came to mind.  Then, it starts to feel repetitive, so I pray less and less.  The busy world around me catches my attention and other pressing needs of immediate life takes my attention, both for prayer and action.  I assume I’ll get another update, soon, especially if there are any pressing needs.

But the reality is that when I should write the most, sometimes I don’t manage to write anything at all.  Maybe I am so busy that I keep saying “I’ll write a prayer update in the next couple of days.”  Or maybe I am feeling a bit down, and it is hard to come up with the right words to inspire faith-filled prayer.   Or maybe I’ve become distracted from the things that are most important—like prayer . . . and prayer updates.  Of course, at these times of silence, I need prayer all the more!

I don’t need, or expect, all of you reading this to commit to pray for us every day.  But some of you have told me that you do pray every day, or once a week, or otherwise regularly for us.  For those who do, here are some ideas for prayers (and actions!) when you don’t hear from us.

Pray:

  • For wisdom and Christ-like humility at home, in our community, and at work
  • For courage and hope to keep on pressing on, regardless of whether I see the fruit of my work for the Lord
  • For focus, to keep on working for the Lord, not to be tempted by distractions.
Contact us!

  • Write us and share about your own life (including how we can pray for you)
  • Ask how you can pray for us today
  • Call us to greet!  In Nigeria I have learned the joy of a phone call just to say “hi”.  It doesn’t even have to last more than two minutes.  If you use Skype or Google Talk, you can call our Nigerian phones us for quite reasonable rates (and we don’t pay anything!).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Asabe is home!

After 6 nights in the hospital, Asabe was sent home yesterday looking happy and healthy.  Thank you for praying. A lightness swept over me as I left the hospital yesterday.  Praise God!  More about the daily visits and the experience later.

Translating the Bible without writing anything

 "We are hoping to translate the Bible into 1000 languages worldwide."   We sat in a circle under the mango trees behind the SIL o...