“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.