Monday, September 22, 2014

Why Are You Afraid         
“And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” “
Mark 4:40

This is in the context of the story of the great storm that was taking over the boat that Jesus and His followers were in.  Jesus was asleep in the boat when the storm became very fierce and the disciples woke Him up and asked if He didn’t care that they were about to drown.
Then He calmed the storm with a few words.

Why did He rebuke them after calming the storm?  They came to Him in their need.  It was a genuinely fearful situation they were in.

This night in the boat followed the feeding of the 5,000.  They had just seen Jesus miraculously meet the needs of 5,000 people!  Why would they think he couldn't take care of them in a storm?

Maybe He rebuked them because they needed to learn to wait for Him to take care of things without panic, trusting that He did know the situation even though it appeared He didn’t.  

Many people are amazed that we are returning to the 'storms' of life in Nigeria.
They have asked us if we are afraid.

We are not afraid.  We're excited to return to our friends and the ministry there and have peace knowing this is the journey God has for us. We know there will be stressful storms that will be out of our control. But we also know that Jesus is 'in the boat' with us.  He knows what is ahead and can take care of us.

Do I trust Him when the storms come?  Do I call out to Him in fear and desperation or do I call to Him in faith and confidence in His power and wisdom?  He is not surprised by my storm, He is waiting right beside me to help when I call out to Him. 

He doesn’t always calm the storms and seas around me.  But He does tell me to ‘Be Still and Know that I Am God”.  He always holds my hand through the storm giving me strength to endure.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Changes from Crisis

The Jos crisis brought many changes for us in the month of January.

The SIM office was closed for a week due to a tense situation in and around the city of Jos so Brenda did not go it to work. When she returned after three weeks of Christmas break and one week added there was a lot of catching up to do for travelers and immigration. It is now good to be back on a regular schedule.

School was postponed. The governor of Plateau State called for all schools to postpone the start of classes until Feb. 4 due to the tensions here and to give residents the opportunity to register for voting in the upcoming elections. Voter registration was taking place at schools and other locations around the city. Hillcrest school did petition to allow our upper classmen to return on Jan. 17. They were granted this exception and Jacob was happy to return after a very long Christmas break. He also enjoyed the shorter days and quieter campus. Other students returned on Feb. 1 so all is back to a normal schedule at school.

Jacob's senior class trip to Egypt was cancelled due to the crisis there. This was a disappointment for the class and they are now making plans to go to South Africa.

Rick is now in MN undergoing many medical tests. He began experiencing shortness of breath and extreme fatigue early in January and the cause could not be determined here. Our medical staff thought it was best for him to travel back to the States to get this checked out and taken care of. So he is there and enjoying his time with family amid many Doctor appointments.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January in MIANGO

We began the month of January at our SIM Conference Center in Miango for our SIM Spiritual Life Conference Jan. 5-9. It was a great time of sessions, study, and relaxation together.

We also ended the month of January at our SIM Conference Center as we held a memorial service at Kirk Chapel for one of our fellow missionaries.

Anne Burke, our SIM guest house manager in Jos, died suddenly on January 18 from a leaking aortic aneurysm. Her death was a shock to our entire mission community. Her funeral was held on January 22, a very sad day as we laid to rest one of our own in our cemetery here. But it was also a day of rejoicing in the life Anne lived for the Lord. We were all blessed as we heard testimonies from many Nigerians of the way her life had touched them and how thankful they are that we all are willing to make a sacrifice to come here in obedience to Christ. It was a two and a half hour service of tributes, singing, and a message to remind us that those who are in Christ mourn in a different way because we have HOPE. And that even as we mourn we can be a testimony and light to the lost as they see our HOPE.

Please pray for Anne's husband, Peter, as he has now returned to Australia to spend time with their daughters. He is our SIM finance and projects manager here and we look forward to his return in a few months.


I kept meaning to write about Christmas here but things have been crazy since then and I have not taken the time to sit down and do it. Where do I start?

We enjoyed a special Christmas service on Dec. 12 at Hillcrest Chapel called Nine Lessons and Carols. Nine scripture passages were read in nine languages...Hausa, Tiv, Zulu, Danish, Indonesian, and Arabic to name a few ad a Christmas carol was sung after each one. This evening truly reflected the diversity we have in our Hillcrest Chapel family.

On Christmas Eve we again met with others for a service at Hillcrest Chapel of singing Christmas carols around a blazing, crackling fire and listened to a special Christmas story one of the missionaries had written. We had invited a few friends to join us after the service at our house for more caroling, goodies, and coffee. The house was decorated and ready for the guests before we left for the service but we never made it back home that night.
just as the service at Hillcrest ended a friend and member of our mission security team told us that we should consider staying somewhere for the night as reports were that two bombs had gone off in our neighborhood. We called one of the hospital staff and they confirmed that bombs had gone off and they were treating many casualties. They recommended we not come back home that night as the roads were blocked and there was a lot of chaos on the street. So we joined others of our mission community for a soup supper and then stayed the night at our SIM guest house in Jos.

Christmas morning we were invited to join a few others for a brunch and then went to a missionary friend's home for lunch.. It was a nice morning but we were anxious to get back home. We decided that by late afternoon all seemed quiet so we returned home at 4:00pm. We enjoyed the evening together opening gifts and chatting with our kids in the States.

It is our tradition that we go to the hospital pediatric ward on Christmas Day to sing and pass out gifts to the patients. We were not able to do that this year but we did go on December 26. The kids were very happy to see us and although we decided not to sing our small gifts brought joy to the faces of all the children. There were many burn patients and w pray that they will heal well with no complications of infection.

So as you can see our Christmas was quite busy and VERY different this year but God was in it and blessed us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

From Anguish to Joy

As I was reading from the book of John this week a verse struck me in a new way. John 16:12 says, "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the JOY that a child has been born into the world."

This of course reminds me of the birth of Christ and the pain that it brought Mary but then what JOY the birth also brought not only she and Joseph but many others as our Lord grew and ministered to multitudes through the love and power of God.

This verse also has brought to mind the pain and anguish that many couples here in Nigeria feel as they see their friends and family members give birth to tiny babies. Yet year after year they remain childless themselves. But when we place a baby in their arms we see the anguish and pain replaced with JOY because of their new child.
Many have asked us how we can care for and love a baby for several months and then give that baby to someone else. They see how we embrace the baby as our own and love them deeply. We tell them that it is because we see this as a ministry to bless these couples who desperately desire a child but can not have their own. We do see the JOY that the baby brings them as we hand the child over to them and pray God's blessing on the new family. Yes, we feel a loss for a few days as our house is much quieter but we are also filled with JOY, knowing that God is using us to bring His JOY to couples in Nigeria.

The daddy of our most recent placement, 'Aaron' who is now named Joshua, told us last week that although they had wanted and waited for a child for many years, he was a bit fearful and apprehensive on the day we came to bring their son. "I knew it was a big responsibility", he said, "and I was not sure I could really love this child as my own and as I knew I should". But he said, "I soon found God gave me a changed heart and a great love for little Joshua that I never knew existed. I am sure I could never love a child of my own flesh any more than I love him. " Now when people ask him about this adoption and his son, he shares with them of his changed heart and love for little Joshua.
The pain and anguish of this couple has truly been changed to JOY!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas party for Babies

We were busy last week as we prepared to host a Christmas party for 'our babies' and their new families. We made special foods, decorated the house, and wrapped some special gifts for these families. It was so much fun to see how these little ones have grown and to hear what a blessing they are to their new families. One family could not attend so we are expecting them to come by at a later date. We also enjoyed meeting the Pro-Life directors wife and two small children.

Here is a photo of us with Liah, Joshua (Aaron), Sarah, and Destiny (Elizabeth)

I now have a cookie exchange to bake for, a ladies meeting to attend, and a Christmas fellowship time to organize this week. Normally things are much quieter here for Christmas but this year it seems that we are involved with a few more groups of people so there are more events to attend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weddings & Babies

Yes, once again we have been caring for a newborn! It seems that as word gets out more about the Pro-Life ministry at Evangel Hospital we are seeing more women in crisis situations bring their newborns to us for care and adoption. Some of their stories are very sad.

One of the babies that came in two weeks ago is a two month old little girl who is an orphan as a result of HIV. Her father had died a few months ago and her mother has just died leaving three small children. The family is able to care for the other two children but do not have the means to care for the infant so she is now in foster care with a missionary. The family is still looking for a relative who may be able to take the baby but it is very likely they will need to place her in an adoptive home. She was quite small when she came to the center but is growing and gaining weight well now.

The baby we are caring for was abandoned. Someone found this little wrapped bundle by the side of a road and brought her to the hospital. We are thankful her mother placed her where she could be readily found. She was maybe one day old when she was brought in and seemed quite healthy. They kept her on admission for two weeks to observe her but we brought her home on Oct. 29. She is a sweet little thing that we have named Adaliah, Liah for short. Because we don't know the HIV status of her mother we have started her on drugs and will have her tested in six weeks. We are praying that she will be HIV neg.

There is also another woman who came to inquire about leaving her baby last week but she has not returned. We pray that she has found the help she needs or will return soon.

We have three lab staff weddings this month to attend. Weddings here are an ALL day affair. We enjoyed two nights in Abuja this past weekend to attend one of the weddings. It was a long hot day but we had a nice time and were the only missionaries there so her family appreciated our presence very much.

The next two weddings we will attend in Jos. For most of these occasions we have had matching 'lab uniforms'. It is very common here for groups of people attending a special event to have outfits made of matching fabric. The lab staff have been appreciative that we have chosen to do this with them. We were given the fabric and then had a tailor make the style we wanted.