Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tales of Indescribable Amounts

Friends and Family,

The past few days I have spent exploring the town, meeting the huge community of missionaries here, and learning about the many different ministries in Jos. I am working for a group called City Ministries. City Ministries is HUGE and it would take me forever to explain it all to you, we have a website, so check it out if you want to read about it . . .the website is posted on the right hand side of my blog towards the bottom. Anyways, it looks like I am going to be assisting Nicky, a missionary from England. She works everywhere, so Friday I got to follow her around and learn all about City Ministry.

The first step or goal with City Ministries is to get street kids off the streets. There is a huge population of orphaned boys here in Jos. Some have been orphaned by aids, some aren't orphans in the usual sense, they maybe have ended up on the streets because they have been abused by a step father, or grandparent or someone else. One little boy, about 7 or 8 years old, ended up at the first center on Thursday, because his grandmother tried to hang him, and praise the Lord a woman walked by and cut him down and saved his life. You can still see the rope marks on his neck from where the rope was cutting him. I can't even imagine.

When boys are first taken off the streets they are taken to Gidan Bege which means House of Hope. Here the boys get schooling, and discipleship, they have 'uncles' who take care of them 24 hours a day. The boys stay here for 6 months, and the uncles see if the boys will adjust to life off the streets. Some run away, some steal . . . so Gidan Bege is a trial period. If they make it the 6 months they are taken to Geyro, where I will be mainly working. Geyro is a town, 45mins outside of Jos. Here the ministry was able to purchase a large plot of land where they now house 70 boys and 13 girls. All the kids go to school, have discipleship and have 'aunts' and 'uncles' who take care of them.

Once the kids reach high school age, they are then taken to Transition House, a home in Jos. Here the boys go to high school and get internships to help transition them into life after school.

After high school, many of the boys, do internships, or go to Bible school, or join YWAM.

The ministry really aims at reconciling children with their families. So at any time during this process, the uncles and staff work hard at contacting and getting to know any of the family the children might have, in hopes of one day sending the children back to their families. This is only a fraction of what is going on in Jos, and as you can tell, it is amazing and important work.

Friday I was able to go to the Christian hospital called "Evangel" in Jos. Okay, want to talk about culture shock. Going to a hospital in Africa. Now for Africa, this is a really nice hospital, but I can't explain what it was like. I was over come with the need here where I walked into the hospital. For those of you who are reading a long in Matthew, the day I went to the hospital happened to be the day we read Matthew 11:4 which reads "Jesus told them, 'Go back to John and tell him about what you have heard and seen- the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf here, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him: 'God blesses those who are not offended by me." This verse really came alive to me, because there are lepers here, there are the blind, the lame, the deaf. To experience what Jesus was talking about first hand is a totally indescribable.

The need is so great here. I have really felt called to returning home and doing fundraising for this ministry. They are in great need of funds. They might not have enough money to pay the hospital bill for the boys this next month, which means if another boy gets sick, they can't take him to the hospital because they can't pay for him. It's overwhelming. Please pray about God giving me direction with this ministry and about possibly fundraising for the ministry when I return home.

Here are a few pictures from my adventures around town! Hope you enjoy! You are in my prayers! Lot of love!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

These Individuals are Amazing! Pictures of You!

Friends and Family,

I just realized that I had a few pictures from my going away party at the coffee shop. I'm sorry that I don't have pictures of everyone, but I am going to post the few I have. I love all of you! You are in my prayers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Touring In Africa

Friends and Family,
Today we had the opportunity to travel downtown to the market with Kauna our wonderful orientation leader. It was an awesome, fun, exciting, overwhelming and very African experience. You must barter for things. . . something that will take awhile for me to get used to. There are TONS of people and things everywhere. We first toured the Bature, or 'white person' market, where most items have a fixed price, for those of us who don't want to barter for everything.
We then toured the actual Nigerian market. Upon entering the first ally into the market, I was quickly approached by a man carrying 8 live chickens by their legs and asked rather forcefully, and excitedly if I wanted to by one. It took me off guard for a second and then I thought it was rather funny. The market was lots of fun, and I am excited to go back and do some more exploring. I bought some fabric, to get my own Nigerian clothing made! My two outfits should be ready next Friday, so I will post some pictures for you all to see! :)
It is the rainy season, so we have had many down pours or rain, and a few thunder showers!! :) I love thunder storms! Our power has still been very unreliable to say the least . . . it actually just went on and then off again . . . TIA.
I am getting very excited about the ministry work I will be doing here. I met with a couple more missionaries tonight, one of whom will be my mentor while I am in Nigeria. She was telling me that I will be working at Geyro, a town a 40 drive outside of Jos. I will be working with the youth there, and it looks like might have a few opportunities to stay at the compound in Geyro with the children, something I am really looking forward to. There is so much going on here, ministry wise, it is really exciting to hear about all that God is doing. Tomorrow I meet with the people in charge of City Ministries and will get more information about my job!

Thank you for all of your emails and support and encouragement, they mean so much! I miss all of you and you are all in my prayers!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taking In Africa

Well, I have finally arrived in Jos, after the more than 24 hours of traveling . . . we landed in Germany, in the jungle, ( a place called Malabo, if you know anything about it, let me know, all I saw was jungle, a rotting airline, 2 fighter jets, helicopters, old oil pipe lines and a few tanks, looked like something out of "Blood Diamond" the movie), and finally landed in Abuja. The next morning we drove 3 hours out of the city through the beautiful country side, (sadly I wasn't able to take pictures due to the several military check points) and finally arrived in Jos.
Jos is a much bigger city than I anticipated, lots noise, cars honking all the time, people everywhere and lots of motor bike taxis called "achabbas" (if i spelled that correctly).

We have a week of orientation, put on by the missionaries here. They are all so friendly, and I am looking forward to getting to know them. I am living at a compound here called "Challenge". I have my own apartment, with a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. I took a few pictures and will try and post them.

It is the rainy season right now, so it isn't too hot, it just rains really, really hard sometimes. Last night it was raining so hard it woke me up!

There are lots of cool lizards that run around everywhere, my goal is to catch one while I'm here . . . or at least take a picture to share with you . . . :)

Today we are going to go to the market. I'm a little bit nervous, you have to barter for everything, I'm not so good at that . . . but I am looking forward to getting to see more the city.

Most people speak at least a little bit of English as it is the national language of Nigeria, but the native language is Hausa (not sure if i spelled that correctly).

Thank you all for your wonderful emails! The power, called NEPA (which people jokingly call, Never Expect Power Again) goes out all the time, like multiple times a day, so if I don't respond to your emails, it's just because I couldn't get online or I ran out of power, but I appreciate reading them all none the less!

I love you all!!

"Keep on asking and you will given what you ask for. Keep on looking and you will find, keep on knocking and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives, everyone who seeks finds and the door will be opened to everyone who knocks." - Matthew 7:7

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Isn't Alarming . . .

This isn't Africa . . . this is America . . . Traveling Fact # 1. Don't fall asleep on top of your alarm clock. The draw backs of falling asleep on top of your alarm clock are as follows: You will abruptly wake up to "oh crap, it's five-thirty and we were supposed to leave at four-thirty." In addition to the rude wake up, you will be forced to wait in a long line for customers who are "full service, international flight, no confirmation code, no e-ticket and for those customers who fell asleep on top of their alarm clocks and arrived 40 minutes before their time of departure". As an added kick in the pants, you will be out $50.00, be slightly more stressed than you had hoped for and will no longer qualify for use of the "Expert Traveler" security check-in line . . . :)
Now, the advantages to mission your flight are that to relieve your fatigue and stress, you have the opportunity to purchase over-priced, bad coffee, and you get to sit on the cold tile floor of the airport for four hours and spend "quality" time with your amazing boyfriend who you won't get to see for the next six months. :)

Please pray that God would give me strength and that he would draw close to me as I deal with a great deal of change in a short amount of time.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9