Friday, April 1, 2011

The Almost Last Blog

Hi Everyone, This is unreal. I started this blog this morning while still in Jos but all of a sudden people were coming to say "good-bye", so now it's 5:30 at night and we're sitting in our hotel room in Abuja. It's been a crazy few days and all our good intentions have gone out the window. I had visions of my writing a beautiful heart-felt "last blog", sharing all of the deep emotions we are experiencing right now with having to say good-bye and give last hugs to the people we have worked closely with the past year as well as all of our new Nigerian friends. But it's just not working out the way I had hoped. We have only an hour left of battery time on our computer, we're totally drained of all energy and emotion and we're really really tired. The Nigerian people love to give a proper "send-off" when friends leave to go somewhere, so the past two days have been filled with people stopping by to say good-bye, the ECWA church we attended giving us a wonderful send-off yesterday afternoon and all the B2B staffers having us over for dinner with many more good-byes. I have no more tears left. And we still have to say our final good-bye to Alphonsus when he takes us to the airport on Sunday. That's going to be a hard one - he's become very special to us. We originally weren't scheduled to leave for the U.S. until the 12th of April, but national elections start tomorrow - three consecutive Saturdays beginning tomorrow. We were STRONGLY advised by many many people that we should get to Abuja before the elections - so we left Jos this morning. Tomorrow is a "no traveling" day throughout Nigeria so we'll have to stay here at the hotel all day. Our plane leaves Sunday evening and Corrie and John's plane leaves very early on Monday morning. It's feels almost surreal that our time here in Nigeria is almost finished. It has been an incredibly FAST year hasn't it? We wouldn't change a thing about what we've experienced and/or learned. We feel so totally blessed to have been able to join one of our children on the mission field and to have met so many great Nigerians (and B2B staffers) and to walk alongside them in faith and ministry. At the church "send-off" yesterday, we were each presented with a Nigerian dress/outfit which we were told to put on then (they provided a hut to change into). I don't have the pictures of the day to share with you, but many of you will see Crist and I wearing our outfits from time to time (they're BEAUTIFUL!!) in the future. It was so encouraging to us to hear people's comments and heartfelt feelings about our leaving. It was like attending our own funeral - humbling yet so very sweet. And many at yesterday's "send-off" still came to the compound this morning to once again say their good-byes. So right this very minute it's almost six in the evening and we're just about ready to go to bed (I'm almost not kidding). We're all tuckered out!!! BUT EXCITED!!! We're coming home and now that the good-byes have been said - it's time to think of all of you and all of the "we're back!!!!" We can't wait to see each of you in the near future. We'll probably blog one last time once we've arrived somewhere we can recharge our computer. We love you all - thanks to many, many of you who allowed this last year to happen for us!! In-joy, Eileen and Crist

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