Monday, May 31, 2010

Let's Take a Walk!

Hi Everyone,
Today because of the Memorial Day Holiday, we too had the day "off" so Crist and I decided to take a nice long walk around the neighborhood. All the pictures shown are within a mile of our compound. The top picture is the "furniture store" right down the street. There are many many shops like these and the furniture is made right in the yard; in the dust. Amazing. There is also a picture of five young men who are the furniture makers. They were very excited to have their picture taken. The younger men learn from the older guys and that's how it's passed down. Our son-in-law John said that this particular shop is better than most but they're also more expensive.

Also, in this mile walk we saw three totally different churches - each a different denomination. There are many churches in Jos and still more than these three right here in our immediate area. The church that is being built had on Sunday hundreds of people worshiping there. On Sunday mornings it's fun to see everyone walking in their bright Sunday attire, each to their own church. On our walk this afternoon, a lovely Nigerian woman approached us and introduced herself and she said she was a pastor of a church nearby (we don't have a picture of her church) and she saw us walking and Crist was holding my hand and she thought that was sweet (aw shucks!). She has a son in graduate school in Birmingham, Alabama. Small world, huh?

On our walk, we took some side streets to see where they night lead and, of course, they led to no where, so we had to turn around and walk back. We were sooooo tired when the walk was over. It's a hot and humid day out today but it felt good to both of us to just be outside.

Tomorrow starts a new week of ministry. We're gearing up for the "Open House" of the Viewing Center at the Oasis House. We'll have more on that in a later blog. God is supplying all our needs according to His riches in Glory - we can't ask for anything more. Saw in our devotions this morning this Scripture: Genesis 45:8 that says,
"So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God." Where is God sending YOU this week?
Eileen and Crist

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scenes from around Town

Hi Everyone,
Today is a lazy, hazy summer Saturday. I've done some cooking, preparing for the week ahead and I (Eileen) even took a nap. We're going to go out to eat tonight at one of the three or four restaurants that are trusted by the missionary community. As I was looking through our pictures, I thought maybe I would just show you a little bit of what we see on a weekly basis.
The upper left picture is to just show you a bit of the terrain here. Huge boulders pop out everywhere and with the rainy season beginning, things are starting to green up. Some of the countryside, especially out by OLA, is very lush and pretty while other areas it looks very stark and dry. What do you think the picture on the right is? The round structure in the middle is a "pantry/silo". Families have these in their individual living areas and they store their grain and food stuff. As you can see they're mud bricks but they seem to last for a long time.

These rooftops are what you see from one of the main roads in town. This would be more of the "city" part. Most people have tin/aluminum roofs because they're fairly inexpensive but they're not the best in terms of construction. Many homes are half finished or under construction - as you look around, there just seems to be alot of mess around. Even the people living in the city have a government structure around them. Each area has a "chairman" (like in the village) and people you report to and get protection from.
There is a new President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, and people are hopeful that he will make some good changes to the country. We are noticing our electricity is on a bit more lately - we're very thankful for that. We're finding at times it very easy to see all the things wrong in this country; and God continually points out our sin to us and we have to go back to the Cross for forgiveness. He loves the Nigerian people as He loves all His children. We want to be instruments in His hands for His purposes.
I Corinithians 10:24 says, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well being." That's our heart!
Tomorrow we're going to a Pentecostal church with our neighbors next door (remember my new friend, Dorcas?). We're looking forward to it.
Eileen and Crist

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Going To OLA

Hi Everyone,

At least once a week our daughter, Corrie, goes to OLA (the Catholic Children's Home and Hospital) and this is a ministry that Back2Back is coming alongside to help and encourage. Thought you might be interested in seeing (below) one of only TWO traffic lights in all of Jos. And these two lights are on the way to OLA. I want to share a little bit about OLA because you will be hearing alot in the days and weeks ahead about what we're doing there. This week, Crist and I both went to begin getting acquainted with the children and staff there. It's a special place and is in the countryside and many of the villagers around OLA go there for their doctoring needs. At present, there are maybe eleven or twelve children living there. Only Nigerians may adopt a Nigerian orphan and there seems to be more awareness now so the children in OLA are beginning to be adopted. Let me introduce you to just a few.

This is Joe holding little Mary. All the older children at OLA help with the caring for the younger children and there is a strong sense of family among them all. There is another Mary too. She's the cutie in the blue sweater and she's scared of me. Since this picture was taken, we've visited twice, so she's not as frightened anymore. This next picture is of our grandchildren surrounding little Hope (on the left) and Agnus on the right. We've heard that Agnus may be getting adopted and we're very sad because she and Hope are BEST friends. The Lord is swishing an idea in my head right now on ways that I (Eileen) can help at OLA. Playing with the kids is a given, but maybe there's something else I can help with. OLA's washing machine is broken, and there are always piles of dirty/soiled children's laundry to be washed. Maybe that's something that I could do whenever I'm around - ummmmm - something to think and pray about.

OLA is trying very hard to be self-sustaining. They do get help from the Catholic Church but there is never enough money to get the things done that need to be done. Back2Back is helping them with a fish farm where they grow the fish and then sell the fish at market and the money goes back to the Children's Home. Also we provided blocks for a chicken house to be constructed (it's almost done) so that there can be chickens for eating and eggs enough to go around.
There's always something to be done and God has a way of providing doesn't He!!?
It rained again last night - buckets and buckets of hard rain!!! But when it stopped around midnight - the air was cool and wonderful! We'll check in again in a couple of days to let you know what we're up to.
Eileen and Crist

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going to the Village

Hi Everyone!
What a busy yet fun day Crist and I have had today. My day started with having our next door neighbor, Dorcas (our landlord's wife), over for tea. She is a woman closer to my age, a wife, mother and grandmother and a wonderful Christian woman. As we shared parts of our lives with each other we were able to pray together and we even sang the song, "Jehovah Jireh, My Provider" together. It didn't matter that we were from two different countries, we share our common faith in the Lord - and that makes all the difference! I look forward to getting to know Dorcas better in the weeks ahead.
After lunch, we ventured out to the village with Daniel, a Nigerian Back2Back staff member. However, Nigerian protocol says we must first meet the "Chairman" of the village. As it turns out, he was not at home but we were able to meet some of his family members. The picture below is of me and one of the women living in the "chairman's" compound. We're not sure if she was his mother, aunt or wife but even though she was very shy, she very graciously allowed us to take her picture. The picture below that is of the Chairman's daughter-in-law and granddaughter as we are looking into their home. She was cutting up some green leaves to make a soup for her family. There were dogs and chickens scurrying around the area and although it was a very humble dwelling, everyone seemed very content and were very welcoming to us.
From the Chairman's house we ventured to the village doctor. This is such an amazing story. The above picture is of Crist and I standing with the doctor. He has no formal training but has been ministering to the village for many many years with great success. People from other villages come to be treated by him. His speciality is broken bones. We met a young man who had severely broken his leg. After only three weeks he was wiggling his toes and is able to stand and use crutches (there is no cast). The doctor is a Christian and he prays for each patient and allows God to direct him with each treatment. The blue curtains you see in the picture behind us are the entry ways to the rooms where a patient and his/her family stay. The rooms are small and everyone sleeps on the floor but the doctor believes that healing will be quicker when the family is there with the patient. Even without all the modern technologies we are used to, without the germ-free environment we think is essential, God is still using humble servants like our village doctor, for His healing purposes.

We arrived home this evening at 5 o'clock and as we were getting out of the van, the heavens opened up and it began to POUR DOWN RAIN. It is the beginning of rainy season so it might rain a little or a lot each day. It was extremely hot and humid today so with the rain this evening, cooler temperature arrived too which has been very appreciated. After a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches, and some leftover cabbage, we worked on this blog and now it's almost time for bed and it's only 8:10 p.m.
We have many more pictures to share but they will have to wait for another day. Bye
Eileen and Crist

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23rd - Going to Church, Nigerian Style

I bet as all of you were going to church this morning, you saw the Comfort Inn on your way, or perhaps some of the fast food restaurants; and, of course, all the lovely homes to your left and your right. The picture on your left of the cattle was what WE saw on our way to church in the village. There they were just grazing and lazing by the side of the road. Amazing!
The picture (upper right) is of the village school and it's also on the church grounds so it is used for when they have Sunday School. The rooms are bare, except for a few benches and a blackboard. But I imagine they are very thankful for the school. It was very hot in church this morning and it was crowded. Remember, when Grace Church started their building program almost five years ago; well, the village ECWA Church is also beginning a building program. Our son-in-law, John, is an "advisor" for them and their new church building will be still very simple but with many more windows and many more seats. God is adding new believers all over the world - how exciting is that!
The picture below is of Pastor Dauda and Crist holding our "welcoming gift". It's a LIVE chicken and is from his own chicken coop. How gracious he was to bless us this way and we felt very honored. Pastor Dauda came to visit us this past week too - a pastoral call. How humbling it is to know that Pastor Dauda gave out of his essentials while we so much of the time give out of our excess. This coming Saturday we will be attending a "planting celebration" by the ECWA village church for Pastor Dauda. Everyone will come together and help till and plant his field with the crops he will need to live on. (no roto-tiller either - just manual tools and labor).
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare fearlessly as I should." Ephesians 6:19-20
Crist and Eileen

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21st- Friday Chapel at Hillcrest School

Hi All,

Remember me telling you that on Sunday, Crist and I attended worship services at Hillcrest Missionary School? It's an excellent school K-12th (O3rd in the entire country of Nigeria) and twice during the school year, each of the elementary classes has to lead Chapel on a Friday morning. Our grandson, Gus's class had Chapel this morning and my daughter, Corrie, and I attended. Chapel lasts about a half hour and it's wonderful. You feel like you're in church. The class responsible picks Scripture, songs, a skit, a play or whatever the class chooses to perform for those present (all the elementary school children as well as teachers and parents.).

This morning's Chapel from taken from the Scripture from I Kings 18 where King Ahab and Elijah are each trying to show whose God is the true God. Some of the children were the Israelites, some the Baal priests and a girl student was Elijah and there was King Ahab. Our grandson, Gus, was one of the two narrators (he's the one on the right in the photo). They acted out the play with great enthusiasm and joy and it was so good! After that two students read their original poems they wrote about their thoughts on the Scripture and I found myself with tears in my eyes as I sat watching. To think I was half way around the world in Nigeria watching the Living Lord be proclaimed by a roomful of elementary school children from all nationalities and cultures. Only God can do something like that.

There's a picture of the empty auditorium because I wanted you to see what it looks like as the church sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Each grade has one class ranging from 15 children to into the 30's. We are very thankful that we will be able to be a part of the Hillcrest community during this next year.


Eileen and Crist

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20th - Here We Go!

Hi Everyone,
We're sorry for changing gears on you but we're hoping that using this blog will be easier for us and for you to access. We're still working on how to get pictures onto the blog, but it'll happen. Please be patient with us. Crist is in the village again today and besides being very very tired when he returns home each evening, he's enjoying the physical labor and getting to meet some of the villagers. This afternoon I'm going to OLA (the Catholic children's home that we come back2back with) with Corrie and the kids. We're bringing some disposable diapers and a few outfits so that for a while at least, the little ones will be clean and dry. Mary is the youngest baby there. I'll try to have a picture of her on the next blog. Many of you have been praying for my left foot - thank you! God is soooo good! Yesterday, after praying and telling the devil to take a hike, almost immediately I began to notice a difference. The healing has become. PTL!

Eileen and Crist

May 20th - Trying Out Our New Blog

we are trying

This is our first attempt at this blog site.