Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet Lydia

Hi Everyone,
The picture above is of Lydia, a widow from Jos who had an accident and is now under Dr. Zamani's care at the Doctor's compound. We met her for the first time a few weeks ago when we took a team there to pray with the patients and to give them a live chicken and some food. Diane and Rashell were the two that went in to pray with her and got to know her better. She told them that she took all that she had to come to the doctor's for treatment and she wasn't sure what she would do when she returned home since she had nothing left except her place to stay. She was thankful to the Lord, however, for His provision and her beautiful smile radiated to show proof of what she said. She was so grateful to have women to pray for and with her.
Some in the team pooled some money together and last week I was able to stop in and pray with her and give her the money that the Lord had provided for her. She was speechless, thankful and smiling from ear to ear.
Yesterday at the village church, who should we notice coming down the aisle (on her crutches) during the offering but Lydia with the biggest smile on her face. She had walked down the dusty, rocky road from the doctor's compound to the church (about 1/4 mile Crist thought) with a thankful heart. We are humbled by people like Lydia - they have so little by this world's standards, yet like the widow in the Bible who gave her last coin to the Lord, Lydia, with a thankful heart, is His treasured child and is being blessed by God for her faithfulness. Maybe our "huts" in heaven will be close to each other. I like that thought!
Eileen and Crist

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life in the City and in the Village

Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to show you a few pictures of the differences between the village and the "city." In reality, it's not much different than in the United States. In the city of Jos, it's hustle/bustle, lots of noise, ALOT of traffic and people everywhere.

In the villages, you step back in time. People are walking where they need to go and there will probably be no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. The huts have no furniture and the children have few toys or none at all.

Life is at a HUGELY (is there such a word?) slower pace. I would imagine that it would be very similar to the American Indians of 100 years ago. Crops are planted, meals are cooked outside, life is hard, and there is little hope of things changing. As we experience these two types of living styles in the relationships we know here in Jos, there is a sadness we are finding in both. Whether you are rich or poor, there is no meaning to life without Christ's peace and hope. There are many many churches in this area but few who are living victorious Christian lives. This makes me sad but allows me to see even more how important it is for our lives to be intertwined with the lives of our Nigerian friends. I'm not really expressing clearly what's in my heart - I'm feeling in a very reflective mood this afternoon, so I'm sharing from what I'm feeling I guess.

We want sooo much for our Nigerian friends to truly feel the Presence of Christ in their lives and to know without a shadow of a doubt how much they are loved by the Creator!!
Below is a quote from John Piper from his book, "Don't Waste Your Life." It struck a cord with me.
"What is the one passion of your life that makes everything else look like rubbish in comparison? Oh, that God would help me waken in you a single passion for a single great reality that would unleash you, and set you free from small dreams, and send you, for the glory of Christ, into all the spheres of secular life and to all the peoples of the earth." This quote really got me to thinking. What is my passion? I think I'm gonna be praying about this very soon.
Chat with you soon!
Eileen and Crist

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Children Of The Kingdom - Igmin Kibe

Hi Everyone,
Okay, all of you work teams that have come and worked on the Education Center - doing painting, cleaning, hammering and more painting - feast your eyes on the finished product!!! Yahoo!!!

The Igmin Kibe (Children of the Kingdom) Education Center was opened for teaching on Monday, January 24th. Everyone is so excited that this day is finally here. Alot of hard work and prayer has allowed this day to happen and we're very thankful to the Lord for His provisions. At staff meeting yesterday, Theresa shared that as she and Esther were taking the children around to see the entire place, the children were VERY excited about the two bathrooms. There is boys and girls room with a toilet, sink and a shower (with a blue shower curtain). These kids don't experience bathrooms - much less one with a shower and shower curtain.

For the first few weeks, Esther and Theresa will be teaching in the same classroom as Theresa will be doing some training with Esther - but in a few weeks, Esther will get her own classroom.
The first picture up above is of the "Reading Nook". Isn't it colorful and adorable! Thanks to the N.C. team for providing the bean bag chairs.
Pray for these ten children below. Pray that the Father will give to them all His good gifts of love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, peace, faithfulness, gentleness and JOY!
There hasn't been alot of of this in their young lives and we so want them to know His love and see His perfect plan for each of their lives.

In the Book of Isaiah, it is written that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning (key) of wisdom." Father, we pray for these ten children and the plans you have for each of them. Thank You for Your loving kindness, for the Education Center, and for Theresa and Esther. Use them to instill wisdom, knowledge and hope into their lives. Amen
Eileen and Crist

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Such Fun From So Little

Hi Everyone,
I'm not going to "chat" much in this blog. We just wanted you to see the beautiful faces of these children as they posed with their "glasses" on. I wonder what was going through their minds? You can tell by looking at the children what 'stations' they had been to. Some have face painting, some have coloring books clutched in their hands.

Unless we become like children, we can't enter into the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 15:13a says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face." Is your heart joyful today?

"The eye is the lamp of your body." Luke 11:34a

Chat with you soon!
Eileen and Crist

Don't you just want to hug them all?!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Dedication, The Celebration and The Fun Fun fun!

Hi Everyone,

Well, it's back to the Education Center Dedication/Celebration we had last week. The two work teams plus all the B2B staff began working early getting things set up (putting the ribbons around the posts, setting up the benches, getting the food ready and setting up the "fun" tables). We wanted to start promptly at 10 o'clock with different "fun" stations for the children to go to before the actual dedication began. We had a nail polish station, a pipe cleaner station, a coloring book station, a jump rope station and soccer for the older kids and, of course, the swingset all ready for use.
It was a chilly morning but people came out in full force and everyone seemed to be really having a good time. Rachell and myself were the "nail polishers" and we were busy for an hour straight doing children as well as some mothers' hands. The kids LOVED having their nails done. We even had some glitter we put on top of the nails and some little stick-ons that go on the nails too. Many of the boys wanted their nails done too but we told them no - there were soooo many little girls that needed to go first and we were running out of time.

The pipe cleaner station was a big hit also because for the most part, everyone wanted a pair of glasses fashioned out of the pipe cleaners to be made. So for the rest of the day, you could see many, many little children walking around with these colorful pipe cleaner glasses that they were very very proud of. (We'll have a blog tomorrow on some of these delightful little faces!)

Then after an hour of playing, we began the dedication ceremony and right after the dedication we had Nigerian traditional dancers that came to dance for the crowd. It was so much fun to watch the expressions on the faces of most of the Nigerian men, women and children. I would imagine that for most of them, this might have been their very first time to see for themselves some of their own native dancing - and they so thoroughly enjoyed it all. And towards the end of their dancing, they had people from the audience come into the circle and dance with them.

In the picture below, you can see Pastor Bobby Hallyburton from Connelly Springs, N.C. dancing up a storm. I think he rather enjoyed himself, huh Bobby?
After the dancing, came the eating and then we all pitched in and cleaned things up and home we went. A fun-filled day for all!

Hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures of our special day. We'll chat with you soon!


Eileen and Crist

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alphonsus's Own Story of God's Transforming Power

Hi Everyone,

I know I told you that we'd have more blogs on the Education Center's Dedication Celebration.....but......Alphonsus gave the below testimony to Crist this morning and we just had to share with you all. Alphonsus is our ministry driver and he and Crist have been meeting weekly for Bible Study and prayer. He has become a trusted friend and we care about him deeply. Here in his own words is what he gave to Crist this morning:

"One of the benefits of getting older is that you can look back and see just how far you have come since your youth. Looking back on my life, I would have never thought that I would be where I am today. I come from a broken home; an alcoholic, womanizing father who was violent towards my mother and his children, a mother who was depressed, and siblings who coped by taking drugs and doing other wrong behaviors.

My relationship with Christ has dramatically transformed my life: I am not the fearful, complaining, and unloving person that I once was because of my childhood. The Lord has washed away my fear and replaced it with confidence as I have learned to trust Him for tomorrow. He has taken away my complaining spirit as I have seen His care and his desire to sanctify me through the circumstances of my life. And finally, as I have become aware of the grace He has poured out on me, my desire to serve Him and love others has increased.

Seeing the changes the Lord has accomplished thus far in my character, I am hopeful that in another forty years or so, Christ will at last present me spotless to His Father, my Father."

I don't need to add a thing except "Amen!"
Eileen and Crist

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feeding the 5000 (Or What Seemed Like 5000)

Hi Everyone,
Talking and sharing about the Education Center's Dedication/Celebration is going to take several blogs. What a day we had!!! We wanted a special day for all the children of the village so we planned an almost "carnival" type atmosphere for the day. It was "guesstamated" that about 65% of the entire village turned up for the dedication. The ten children above were the children picked to be our first students for the Education Center's tutoring program. They were so proud and excited to be the center's "first". In the picture above, Theresa, our B2B staff member will be the lead teacher and Esther is the Nigerian woman on the left back row in the picture. Remember that wedding Crist and I went to a couple of months ago? Well, Esther was the bride and now lives in the village and has a degree in education. She will be teaching the second class. There are two classrooms at the center.
We cooked for 200 (having no real idea how many would show up). We had rice joloff (rice, tomatoes, diced up green beans, carrots and peas) and some beef chunks that were cooked at the ministry center and transported to the celebration. As we saw the crowds beginning to arrive we began praying for the Lord to multiply the food and He did. We were able to serve all the children (344 children) which was our main concern. As we realized we couldn't feed the entire crowd, we limited it to just the kids. The Chairman of the village came to help cut the ribbons for the center and gave a very heartfelt and gracious speech to all. Theresa then introduced the ten students and a few more people gave little speeches (with an interpreter) and then the ribbons were cut and the celebrations began!!

I'll share more on the next blog about some of the things we had going that day. The picture below is of two of our work team members that came here from Wyoming. They are Jeremiah and Jo Jo and they were married three months ago but waited for their honeymoon. They wanted it to be serving with B2B in Nigeria. What a great couple they are and we're so excited they wanted to start their life together with all of us here at B2B. God bless you both!!!

Chat with you all soon!
Eileen and Crist

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Work as Unto the Lord"

Hi Everyone!
Have the past two weeks gone by already? We had two work teams from the states come and help us in ministry and work projects and they left yesterday and it sure seems quiet around here. I told you in my last blog that the next few blogs would be about what was accomplished while they were here.
We worked at OLA redoing the baby room. The dirty/drab walls were painted bright Nigerian colors and wooden letters crafted and painted that say "Jesus Loves Me." New curtains were hung and we're having new cribs made and mosquito nets were put up over each crib. I'll send a "finished" picture when it's all put together. Everyone worked really hard and it's so rewarding to watch a project come to completion.

One afternoon, several of the men measured, drilled, glued, cut and stained three new pieces of furniture for the Education Center. These will be filled with books and school supplies and we'll show more on that as the school begins to operate.

We had an absolutely wonderful day last week as we dedicated the new Education Center. After many many months of building, painting and cleaning, we had a day of celebration and from beginning to end it was a day I think that the entire village enjoyed tremendously. I could spend the next month showing you pictures of what happened that day! So stayed tuned - there's much more to come!

While you're battling snow and ice, we're having sunny days with not a cloud in the sky. Jos is in the Plateau State and we're the highest state in the country of Nigeria. This means that the weather is different from every other state. Many Nigerians look at Jos as the "cold" state. Not to Crist and I - we're LOVING IT! We're in the 'winter' month now and within the next two weeks, Jos will enter into the 'summer' months - the HOTTEST three months of the year.
Well, we'll chat with you soon. Bye, Diane, Bobby and Jim - we LOVED having you here and miss you already!
Eileen and Crist

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"We're Back!!!!"

Hi Everyone,
It has been SO LONG since we've had a chance to sit down and share with all of you all that has been happening the past two weeks. We've had two work teams from the states here and it's been really busy - fun/hectic busy - but still almost every minute accounted for. So.....over the next few blogs, I will mostly be showing you pictures of the various outreaches and work projects that the two teams have accomplished.
These first few pictures are of the team going to the Doctor's compound and visiting with the patients and praying with them and also bringing them a live chicken/oil/rice for them to have some extra food while they are patients there. This lady above is Lydia and she is a widow with a foot injury and she asked for prayers regarding God's provision for her once she goes home. She spent her last resources to get the treatment. (NOTE: God did provide for her with a special donation given by some team members - we LOVE how God puts the Body of Christ together!!)

The picture above is of my friend, Diane, from North Carolina who wanted the opportunity to present the chicken to one of the patients (she actually was one of two people that prayed with Lydia). Diane was amazed at how calm the chicken was. She thought the chicken would be flapping and struggling to get free - it didn't. It was very passive.
Another project while we were at the doctor's compound was to have some of the team members paint the pit latrine that has recently been constructed. Crist and Daniel (our Nigerian staff member) were in charge of the crew below (Maria, Daniel, Jo Jo and Casey). Everyone played with the many children that arrived and we handed out little boxes of crayons with a small coloring book. These children were delightful - one little girl looked up at the group as they were passing out the books and said, "God Bless You!" She was so sweet.

It was a very windy day and actually was chilly. But all of our hearts were warmed as we played, prayed and worked. It was a great day!! More pictures will follow of other work projects and of the groups. Both groups were awesome - friendly, hardworking and filled with the love of Jesus!!
Chat with you soon,
Eileen and Crist

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reaching Out....Up.....and Over!!!

Hi Everyone,

Well, the second team came two days ago and things have picked up another notch as we continue going into the village, OLA, RCH and the Education Center. Yesterday was a wonderful day as both teams loaded into the bus and we headed out to the Education Center to do some last minute painting and cleaning, getting it ready for the dedication on Monday. Then mid-morning, we had another widow outreach.

We invited the widows to come to the Oasis Center where we had a seamstress ready to take their measurements as we are having a Nigerian dress for each of the widows made for them. The widows who have children or grandchildren that they are taking care of, were then taken to another area we had set aside that had benches filled with childrens' clothing that they could pick out clothes for their children.

After they had finished, women from the U.S. team would then pray for that widow. And as the morning went on, more and more children from the village kept coming and coming and pretty soon we had at least sixty children there, just playing and wanting to see what was going on. Diane's team had brought 150 little coloring books and small boxes of crayons, so they were handed out to each child and within ten minutes of giving them the coloring books, you could look out all over the property and every single child was sitting down somewhere and was coloring in their very own personal coloring book. Such a small thing for an American child, but here....a very big deal! Very soon, the dresses will be finished and we will deliver the dresses to the widows. What a great day!!! I'm finding that I'm really beginning to love these elderly women of the village. They all walked - many with staffs in their hands - and with smiles on their faces they receive whatever comes their way. We're so very very thankful that we were able to send a new dress their way yesterday! I suspect for most of them, it's been a LONG TIME since they've had any additions to their wardrobe (of maybe one or two dresses). Thank you Lord for Your love and provision for these women and that You allow us to be a part of Your plan for their lives!! Amen

Eileen and Crist