Thursday, February 8, 2018

Help!

She knew I needed help adjusting back to life, and Aunty Nnenna moved in!
 Please pray that in living together, we would all be blessed and encouraged. Aunty is also part of the Beautiful Me leadership team and the younger sister of one of my closest friends here. She too has become a dear friend.


She is creative, funny, and organized which this morning has paid off in having a very neat kitchen!

Strawberry shortcake!  We eat lots of strawberries during their short season in Nigeria.

Praise God for help when we needed it!

The Doctor, Fred, and Sunday

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“You have shown great faith.  You’re a true missionary.  Where many of us try to go to your country to have our children, you gave birth to yours here!” Dr. Edo affirmed me upon hearing through facebook that I had given birth to our first daughter in his country.  This was the same avenue I learned he had gone to be with Jesus before we returned to Nigeria.  I miss his big smile as he walked across the compound where our office is (he acted as a landlord for the Lutheran church who we rent from), his delight in my daughter, Mariama and her growing vocabulary in Hausa, and his faith, evident in every interaction with him.

I returned home to my husband meeting me at the door our first Saturday here.  “A sad thing has happened,” he said. “Uncle Fred has died.”  He handed me a bulletin with the picture of Uncle Fred on the cover.   Here children call every man an uncle, until he gets grey hair or walks with a cane, and then he’s “Baba.”  But Uncle Fred was not just any man. He was a child when our church was established, grew up in the community where we live, worked for an orphan ministry, was a passionate and highly effective teacher in the children’s Thursday Bible study, a mentor of one of my beloved boys in the community, a father of two young boys, and a committed follower of Christ Jesus. He was a treasure, and standing in the church on Sunday morning, a great sadness overcame me at the loss of such a special gift as Uncle Fred.

A week ago, Lydia went to her first village burial.  Sunday just finished seminary, and was the project coordinator for the Kuce language.  Kuce was my first assignment when I came to Nigeria, so many of my first memories in this country include Sunday, with his big personality and bright mind.  He elegantly introduced me to the community when I arrived 6 years ago, helping me feel the anticipation of the community as we geared up to do literacy.  I traveled to the village with other Bace who rallied around me during my first year in Nigeria, believing that Kuce was a language worth preserving for their children to read and write, to mourn the loss we are all experiencing in the “going home” of our brother and friend, Sunday.

A beautiful setting for remembering Sunday

My dear friends, from different generations, but standing together in hopes God's Word will come powerfully to the Bace.

5 weeks ago we arrived back in Nigeria.  We praise God for the people we work alongside, including those who get to see Jesus before we do.  As life and death mingle together, you can pray with us that we will reflect the truth that life wins, that the grave has no hold on us or those who are in Christ, and that our present and future are safely in our Father’s hands.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Phone Rang Again


We waited for the family we’d invited to arrive. Only 10 minutes after the scheduled time, we got a phone call from the gate guard.  The wife of the family, her cousin, and 10 children had arrived.  I was surprised by all the children that the father of this family is responsible for and realized I’d miscalculated on the food I’d prepared. Five minutes later the phone rang again.  It was another family who lived next door to the invited family.  This mother is a widow and brought with her 7 more children.  Happy to see them after a long time, I started wondering if we should eat quickly when the phone rang again…and again…and again until we had more than 30 people in our house and a very different gathering than we’d expected.

As Zach escorted the last two boys in, he asked them, “Is there a message  you’ve brought for us?” 
“We came to celebrate the new baby!”  
 “Oh,” he replied, “Welcome!”

So many lessons for me to take from this night!
1.     Community is something I don’t understand, but need to rejoice in when it happens unexpectedly
2.     There is always enough!  The rice, salad, and meat I’d made was plenty for everyone
3.     Relax and see the abundance of God as he brings people to love us
4.    Sometimes we think we've planned something, but God may have a better one!  

You can pray with us that we would trust God to provide enough resources (emotional, financial, spiritual) to help us thrive here when expectations, culture, and daily life are often a surprise to us!

Beautiful Me Continues


I stopped mid-sentence and teared up.  I looked at my dear friends who had come to discuss the continuation of Beautiful Me, “I’m so glad you’re part of this,”  The passion and sense of purpose that I was feeling at that moment of our planning meeting was like a friend you see after a long time, and it is not until you are filled up with the pleasure of their presence with you that you realized how much you missed them. 

We will meet on February 10 for the "Purity Olympics" where mothers and daughters will compete on teams to dance, jump, create, memorize, and balance to learn about positioning themselves well and helping each other stand strong! 

Please pray for Beautiful Me as we resume for our last three meetings with this group of ladies.  May they be inspired to love God, love each other, and be the woman God made them to be! 


Home


“I want to go to our Balloon House,” Mariama would say our first couple days back in Nigeria, referring to the little green parsonage in Holland, MI where we lived for two months.  Then there was the morning she woke up, and Daso was here.  She hasn’t mentioned the Balloon House since. (Though she did ask to go to Nana's house, (What we call my mom) after her nap yesterday and cried in the night for cheerios.)

Life has been full of a lot of giggles, imaginative play, and endless questions since then.  Mariama and Daso are so full of life and joy.  They breeze through the house with enthusiasm and have developed their own private jokes I get the pleasure of overhearing, “Why did you say bee?” asks Daso.  “Because I love you,” replies Mariama.  “Thank you.”  And then it’s the other person’s turn.  It doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t have to, because we’re home, and that is something you feel, not something your reason. 


Chosen Banquet

"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.   God decided in advanc...