Sunday, February 27, 2011

Work Day At The Oasis Center

Hi Everyone,
This past week everyone on staff met on Wednesday at the Oasis Center and had a good old fashioned Work Day. Over the past several months, donations from teams that have come from the states, as well as things brought over on a container, have begun to stack up and no one knew where anything was anymore. We wanted to "start from scratch" and take almost everything out and then put it all back into the rooms - only this time organized, straightend up and labeled. In the picture above is Emilee and Solomon and Emmanuel. Solomon and Emmanuel work for B2B and they are such assets to the ministry (and hard workers too!).

Here on the left is Crist in another room sorting and putting away. This box to the right is a really cool story. As we were sorting through all the clothing that has been donated, it came to our attention that a Nigerian friend of the ministry - his house had had a fire the day before and his two sons lost all of their clothing because the fire was mostly in their room. Within a matter of a few minutes we had a large box filled with clothes in the appropriate sizes, shoes, toiletries etc. all ready to be taken to the family. We love it when God puts all the pieces together and fills a need.

And here is Corrie (three or four of us ladies were sorting outside through all the clothing and stacking the clothes according to gender) sorting through the donations. People from the states have been so generous in their giving and we know in the months ahead much of this clothing will be given away.

We broke for lunch and all ate together and then went back to work. We finished everything that was on the list to do and all returned home weary but happy to see everything back in order once again.
Wouldn't it be great if it would be this easy to clean up our hearts?
But the principle is the same, isn't it? We need to take the time and purposefully sort through all the "stuff" in our lives and prioritize, clean out and throw away so our "house/hearts" will be clean before the Lord.
Hope everyone is doing well. We'll chat with you again soon.
Eileen and Crist

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meet My Friend Ladi!

Hi Everyone,
This is my friend, Ladi. She is Pastor Dauda's wife and we've shown pictures of she and her husband before. Remember she is the lady that was hurt in the motorcycle accident probably six or seven months ago. She is still recovering from it. She very severely sliced open her left foot and she still is using crutches when she walks. She had a wound that they have been allowing to heal from within so it's been a laborious process watching the wound very slowly close up (somewhat). It's just about finished but I'm thinking that there is still alot of pain associated with it because Ladi is fearful of putting any weight on her foot. I really think she could do it, but it's a hard decision right now for her to make. Ladi speaks very little English and, of course, I speak about 5 or 6 words in Hausa so our times together aren't filled with lots of wordy conversation, but I love just being around her. She is the most upbeat woman you will ever meet and her smile is ever present when anyone is near. She is always wanting to hug and love on you. After church on Sunday, I had Crist take this picture above of the two of us. The dress she has on is an ECWA Womens' Fellowship dress. There were probably another twenty woman wearing the same dress on Sunday. The women and all other ECWA women in Jos last week had an ECWA Womens' Conference and so their dressing in the same dress was in celebration of that experience. I wish all of you could see the beautiful colors and patterns that are in the dresses that Nigerian women wear. They're gorgeous!

I value Ladi and our friendship and I know I will miss her hugs and smiles alot when we leave in a few weeks. I remember Michael W. Smith's song that says, "A Friend's a Friend Forever When The Lord's the Lord of them!" Amen.

Eileen and Crist

Sunday, February 20, 2011

OLA Training Morning

Hi Everyone,

Last week, Emilee, Corrie, Linda and I went to OLA with tea and muffins to help train the OLA caregivers to learn to use the new donated cloth diapers. Right now they use essentially rags as diapers and within minutes the diapers are soaked through and the babies' bedding and clothes are soiled and wet. In the picture above you can see Linda demonstrating how to use them. She is Nigerian so was able to speak in the native Hausa language. We allowed the women to ask as many questions as they wanted and we had them change some of the children's diapers while we were there to make sure they had the hang of it. It's not always easy to make changes to a routine you have had for a long time. But, we wanted the caregivers to see the advantages in making this change. Their wash load will lessen dramatically.

Remember in a couple of blogs ago I mentioned that I didn't have a current picture of the changing tables in the newly renovated baby room? Well, now we do and it's the picture up above. In the past the women would change the diapers in whatever bed was handy and many times would leave soiled or wet sheets behind. They really liked the changing tables and we also brought new sheets and waterproof mattress pads.

The picture up above on the left side is of our daughter, Corrie (she and family are here with B2B also - I think most of you knew that, right?) and she is holding the newest OLA child, James. He was brought to OLA just the day before. We're thinking he is between one year and 18 months but he could be even older - he's just so petite and small, that it's hard to tell. His mother is unable to care for him anymore and he was brought to the Childrens Home. Can you imagine how frightening that must be for the little guy. All of a sudden to be surrounded by new faces you've never seen before. See the woman in green to the right in the picture above - her name is Rachel (some call her Big Momma) and she is probably the oldest caregiver at OLA. I really like and admire this woman. She has a strong faith which sustains her daily. A few months ago her 35 year old son was killed in an automobile accident but she continues on - serving and loving. When this picture was taken, Rachel was suffering from malaria and she wasn't feeling well at all - but she came to the training to learn what she could.
It was a good morning of shared laughter, learning and fellowship. Corrie and I will be again going to OLA this week and we're excited and hopeful that the new diapers are being used and helping to make these women of OLA's lives a little easier. They sure could enjoy things a little easier.
Eileen and Crist

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Loving Home Improvements

Hi Everyone,
In the picture above is sassy little Hope from OLA. What a pistol she is and she LOVES posing for pictures. She's started school this year so we're sure some of her energy is being channeled, which is a good thing. grin Remember me telling you a while back when the teams from the U.S. were here how we had redone the small children's room? I don't remember or not if I had sent pictures to you showing you some of the improvements. I saw them in our picture saving place (I sound real computer savvy, don't I?) and thought just in case I had never shown them to you, now would be a good time to do that.
This room used to be blue and wasn't in horrible condition, it just needed to look brighter and more inviting and cleaner. Through a "baby shower" given in Indianapolis to raise funds for the renovations, we were able to just this week complete everything. We bought all new colorful (orange, red and purple - to match the colors on the walls) sheets, waterproof mattress pads on all the cribs, new cribs, new mattresses, two large wardrobers in the older childrens' room, a dresser with changing tables on top (the picture above doesn't have the changing tables on them yet - it was taken before we got the tables put on) and mosquitoe netting for each crib unit, new paint on the walls and the "Jesus Loves Me" letters on the wall.

Then, yesterday some of us staff women went to OLA and had a training session for the caregivers on the new cloth diapers that had been donated. I'll show pictures of the training in the next blog. I don't know about you, but through the years because of all the changes that Crist and I have gone through, I have found that we adjust to change pretty well. But we know for others it is not so easy. Let's talk about that next time. Hope you all are well and joy-filled. It's HOT here! Please pray with me about that, okay? Thanks!
Chat with you soon!
Eileen and Crist
"It is not that we are qualified to do anything on our own, our qualification comes from God." II Corinthians 3:5

Monday, February 14, 2011

Extreme Makeover

Hi Everyone,
Our B2B driver, Alphonsus, has been in the process of moving into a two-room (I don't know what to call it honestly) place to live. Crist and I care for Alphonsus a great deal and knew he would need some help as he has no car or finances to get his new place "up to snuff." In Nigeria, when you rent a new place, you have to give two year's rent up front to your landlord and you don't owe anymore until the two years are up. Alphonsus and Esther had a one room place they lived in previous to this. One room (and not a big room either) to sleep in, store all your clothes, etc. with no indoor plumbing or electricity. Cooking was done outside. The picture to the left is almost all of Alphonsus's worldly possessions (yep - that's it for a husband and wife of 15 years). The picture above (sorry, I have them out of sequence) is the "living room" after we had painted it. John and Corrie had given Alphonsus the electric fan you can see in the picture, but he hasn't been able to use it yet because he had no electricity. In his new place, we hope he will be able to use it since he will have electricity from time to time.
This picture below is of the walls when we walked in. They were all pitted with holes and cracks and there's no nice way to describe the two rooms.

The picture in the below right is the one light bulb they have in the living area. So, to make a long story short, Crist, Alphonsus and I began painting at 9:30 a.m. and finished both rooms by 1:00 pm. We tried to fill in the cracks as we went along and because we're in the VERY DRY season now here in Jos, the paint would dry almost immediately. We painted it on thick too so it would seep into the holes and all things considered, it didn't turn out too bad. A few years ago, Alphonsus had a fire in the place he was staying, so he lost any/all the furniture that they had. To now have TWO rooms and a place for he and Esther to sit - well, they are thrilled and so are Crist and I. I mean it! We feel so blessed to have been able to help in this small way.
We Americans have to stop complaining about all the things we think we need and want. Come to Nigeria and see what alot of the rest of the world has - and they're sooooo thankful!

Do you recognize the Jesus poster on the wall? It was one we brought from the states and we had it in our little apartment, but now since we'll be leaving in a few weeks, we thought Alphonsus and Esther could use it in their new place. I asked if we could get a couple of plastic chairs for him so that when they have friends over there would be a place for them to sit too. He told me that they don't do that there. The only friends they have are from church and it's not the kind of friendships where you visit one another (this made me feel sad). He was actually emphatic, that the room with the two chairs was going to be almost like a prayer room for them - a place to sit quietly and come before the Lord. We sure will miss this humble man when we leave Nigeria.
Psalm 127:1a - "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it..."
Eileen and Crist

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Prayer Walking

Hi Everyone,
This is Crist. I know, I know - Eileen ALWAYS writes the blogs, but since this blog pertains to someting I did, she insisted that I write it. So, here I am!
When we first moved to Nigeria and became involved in Kisayhip Village, I used to prayer walk around the village, but it's been a while now since I've done it and the Lord has been convicting me that this is something He wanted me to do once again.
Yesterday was a beautiful day - very hot - but with a nice breeze and no clouds in the sky - so a good day for a walk. The top picture is the village (or part of it) from a distance. I started out from the Oasis Center and began walking. The Lord provided me with lots of different prayer prompts. I passed cattle, goats, crops and some people along the way and I prayed for them all. The ECWA Church we attend most Sundays is in the process of building a larger church, and one of the pictures above is of their new foundation for the sanctury. I visited with Pastor Dauda's wife, Ladi (Pastor Dauda was away) and the Catholic church's pastor's mother, Olet (Catachist Simon was away also) - but these two women are great women of God and it was a privilege to pray with them both.
As I was returning back the way I came, I encountered this man on his roof doing repair work and I stopped to chat and pray with him and two family members of his. Further along the way I saw some men under a tree relaxing enjoying each other's company so decided to join them for a little bit and asked if I could take a "snap" (take a picture) of them.

I felt God's blessings on me as I walked along. I don't know why it took me so long to get back into doing what I enjoy so much - prayer walking!
For those who are reading this blog, we covet your prayers for Kisayhip Village. There is much spiritual warfare occurring and we want so much for them to be set free from the enemy's bondage.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Crist and Eileen

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Women of Faith

Hi Everyone,
I don't have a picture today. Corrie took a picture of all of the women in the Thursday morning Women's Bible Study, but I don't have it, so I'm just gonna share a little bit of what's happening within the hearts of our group.

There are six Nigerian women that come and four of us B2B staff members. We meet for 1 1/2 hours at Corrie's place each Thursday morning and we're studying the life of David; his anointing, his transformation and his redemption with a Beth Moore format of listening to a CD of the lesson and then discussion and then homework from a workbook we are each given. This morning was our third week and we have four more weeks to go.

Every single time we have met, the Holy Spirit moves me in some way. I am struck once again of God's love for His children. We women have all similar stories in regard to our families, husbands, ministries etc., but for the Nigerian women, they come into their faith journies with many cultural things against them. Men and women and husbands and wives here don't relate to one another as they do in the U.S. - conveniences we take for granted in the U.S. are not even in the picture here - finances and/or the lack of them are almost always something to deal with - legalism in the churches that keep you always feeling like you're not measuring up - these are things that our Nigerian women friends are struggling with and God is faithful with each and every one.

Each week I listen as they poignantly share their struggles and how God is uplifting them and encouraging them and how they are growing and their life situations improving. I feel so humbled to be a part of this group and to strive in my own life to become the woman of faith that the Lord is growing me to become. How dare I complain when my little petty inconveniences put me in a bad mood. Shame on me that I have made my God so small in my own eyes that I can't trust Him enough to find victory in a problem. My Nigerian friends struggle with things I will probably never have to experience because of my birth country. But each of us women, with whatever sin struggles we may have - we all serve and love the same Savior! I'm in awe of His lovingkindness!

"In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him Who loved us." Romans 8:37

Eileen and Crist

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Plans/His Direction

Hi Everyone,
Last Thursday morning, the entire B2B staff caravanned to Miango Rest Home/Retreat Center which is about an hour away. This retreat center was founded by missionaries in 1919 and many of its buildings we still used. It's not fancy but it's a wonderful place to get away - have someone else do the cooking (yippee!!), have good quiet times with the Lord and get some ministry planning accomplished. Where we live in Jos, there truly is no grass (or at least we haven't seen any) so to enter behind it's walls and see all the lovely trees, flowers and GREEN GRASS was wonderful!! In the early years of the retreat center, foreign missionaries did the day-to-day running of it but now it is completely directed and facilitated by Nigerian Christians. The town/village of Miango is right outside the gates and many of its people work now at and for the rest home.

Our first night there we had a Murder Mystery Party for the staff and what fun we had. We each had been given a "character" that we were to portray and we had to find clothes to support that character. The theme of the mystery night was a group of people in Las Vegas at one of the casinos when a murder takes place and someone in the room "did it." We each had to, within our character role, try to find the person who was the murderer.
My character was Jamie the Journalist and Crist was Sam the Security Guard. Corrie (daughter) was Lucy Legs (a showgirl) and John was an Elvis Impersonator. I had never been to one of these mystery parties before and Emilee and Jason had put alot of work behind getting things ready and I think everyone had a fun evening. Both Crist and I didn't figure out the murder (for your info - Ace the High Roller was the one murdered and his wife of one day, Hustling Hailey, "did it.").

Each morning we went up a hill where a gazebo was situated overlooking a wide terrain of a beautiful landscape of Nigeria. In the picture below, you can see the little village tucked there in amongst the trees. You could see people coming and going as we sat there worshipping God and His beautiful creation right in front of us.
We had planning sessions throughout each day and times to rest and relax. One of the meals we even had meatloaf - and for those of you who know Crist well - you can imagine how excited he was (he LOVES meatloaf!!).
It was great to get away, but for us of the older generation - it was nice to get back to our firmer bed. A church in Ohio was generous enough to provide the funds so that the retreat could happen - Jehovah Jireh - our Provider!! PTL!
Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
We made some plans during the retreat - but ultimately God's plans will prevail!!
Chat with you again soon!
Eileen and Crist

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Revolutionary Love

Hi Everyone,
Our B2B Staff Retreat was from Thursday through yesterday so that's why you haven't heard anything from us. But we're back and we'll share abour our retreat in a later blog. But this blog is about something we think is really neat in how God works His perfect plans in the lives of His children. B2B feels very strongly about not just handing out things to the people of the village. That's not what we're about - but we do very much want to respond when we see God working and there's a need. A couple of weeks ago at the Tuesday afternoon mens' Bible Study, several of the village car wash boys were in attendance and they happened to mention that because of some skirmishes that had been happening recently, people weren't "out and about" as much so the business at the car wash was down dramatically and it was really hard for them. Many of them were going hungry and since some support their families, that means their families were going hungry as well. Our B2B Community Development team met and decided this was something we could and should respond to. These young men were part of our outreach as they attend the Bible study.

Last Wednesday, many of the B2B men met at the Oasis Viewing Center to put together a bag of rice, oil, Maggi Cubes, sugar and Raman noodle packages. These pictures show the progress of that day. Measured rice was put into a bag, oil was put into empty coke bottles and other items sorted out and put into the yellow bags. The team then went to the carwash, where 30 bags were handed out to the young men there. It was important that these young men see that God had answered their prayers by His provisions.

This picture above is of the men that attend the Bible Study. I LOVE it when God shows up in a mighty way. Many of you, by your financial giving, were part of this love offering. Thank you so much.
Chat with you again soon.
Eileen and Crist

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Kind of Feet Do We Have?

Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to let everyone know that tomorrow we're leaving for a B2B Staff Retreat and won't be back until Saturday afternoon. So.....we won't be blogging. We're gonna be relaxing, reading, listening, studying, enjoying and practicing the presence of God!! Check back on Saturday, okay?

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7

Eileen and Crist