21 Nov 2009

21 11 2009

Delays are a normal part of Nigerian life and culture…”go slows” (traffic jams getting around in the city, driving in monsoon-like rain (all but impossible!), wading through government processes of any sort at all levels (I am still waiting for my permanent Nigerian driver license, a process started in May!)…the list is ongoing and seemingly endless.

For the past 4+ months the teachers at primary and secondary schools in Plateau State and the lecturers at universities in all of Nigeria have been on strike. The universities are now finally back in session, but the primary and secondary schools are still not all in session. Private Nigerian schools (primary, secondary, and trade/academic colleges) are an option, but even though the cost for those schools are much less than tuition expenses for private schools in the United States, is it still more than many Nigerians can afford. As I have been reading the news, and listened to the growing frustration of parents of younger children in primary and secondary schools, and university students wanting to begin, continue and/or finish their college education, I am also struck by the impact these strikes have had on Nigerian society. Immediate impacts have been felt through the large number of young people without jobs, stuck in the midst of their education, waiting around, and losing hope in their future.

The past few weeks have been filled with all sorts of school-related activities, along with adjusting to life (and less sleep) with our new puppy (Echo), and the change to dry season, and the sneezing, coughing, and runny noses caused by harmattan (the dust that blows in from the Sahara desert 500+ miles away)!

November 9-13 was Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) here at Hillcrest School. One week per semester, the middle/high school chapel meets every day, and the elementary school usually meets three times during the week. Sometimes outside speakers and/or mission teams come and lead for the week, but this semester we did it “in house,” with the HS praise team leading worship every morning, and our school chaplain leading services with the assistance/participation of students and other staff. Thursday was the “high point” of the week, with a focus on sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, and opportunity for students and others to commit/recommit their life to Christ and “nail” their cares, concerns, sins onto one of three large crosses constructed specifically for this service. Needless to say, it was intense and emotional. One of the long-time security guards (a Nigerian) approached me later and said that it was one of the best services he had experienced at the school and had obviously had a huge impact numerous students. Please join us as we pray for students to continue to be impacted by the messages of SEW.

November 14 was the bi-annual PTA International Food Fair. The school community comes together for an afternoon of food and entertainment from all the cultures represented within our student body. The possibilities were seemingly endless…Korean, Ethiopian, Indian, North American (US/Canada), European, Lebanese, and of course, Nigerian. The school band and choir performed, and there were impromptu dances from various groups as they brought me selections of music representing their culture to be played on the sound system we set up on the basketball courts.

And this past week has been the dress rehearsal and 3 performances (the last one tonight, Saturday) of the annual play produced, directed and starred in by the senior class. I have been running sound for them this year. I have been helping to upgrade our sound booth and sound/light systems, so we now have 10 wireless mics available for theater productions. It has been a fun challenge since it never seems to go quite the same way twice and we have  to keep up with light, music, sound effects and mic level changes!

And as I am writing this post, I am listening to Christmas music being played over the school PA system for the annual craft fair sponsored by the junior class. Community craftsmen, mission organizations, and the junior class all have tables of all sorts of items for sale. It seems a bit odd to be sitting here in the warm afternoon listening to songs about winter and “folks dressed up like Eskimos”!

It’s hard to believe that we have been here in Nigeria for 10 months already, and that Thanksgiving is approaching this coming Thursday. It is not a holiday here in Nigeria, but is celebrated among the American mission community. We will be gathering with two other missionary families and will be giving thanks for the many ways you continually bless our lives with prayer, encouragement and support.

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9 responses

13 12 2009
Virginia Sears

Dear Payne Family, I am so glad you were able to be with the missionary family’s for Thanksgiving. Tim was working so we had a lovely dinner at their home on Wednesday before. Now we are looking at Christmas in just a few weeks, the year has gone fast. There are so many blessings every day. That dust must be very hard to deal with it seems everything is very extreme there, Thank you for doing what God has called you to do even in extreme conditions. Please give each other hugs from me.

Love & Prayers,
Virginia

26 11 2009
Lori Fekkes

Happy Thanksgiving, Paynes! Really enjoyed your latest blog entry. Thanks, Gary! I like the learn the details of your daily life there. God bless you guys!!

25 11 2009
Kris Kramer

Payne family, Have a great Thanksgiving! We really miss you guys, but are thankful you are being used by God.

25 11 2009
Muggs

Gary and family,

Happy Thanksgiving. Your friends at SVC are thinking about you! Gary, I sent an email to your Joslibrarian email address and then saw many of my questions were answered here. I remember you all in my prayers! Hope you are all breathing ok, just the thought of that dust makes me cringe!

Muggs

24 11 2009
Cyndie Hutchison

Happy Thanksgiving Gary, Kim, Jordyn, Cypress & Isabel!!
We all have a lot to be thankful for no matter where we are!
It was great to hear from you. We will continue to keep you in our prayers!
Love,
The Hutchisons

24 11 2009
buck nunn

Hi guys, hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Can you get turkeys there?

We dropped off a couple turkeys at church this morning for the food bank. They put us to work helping with the food baskets. Don & Carolee Moesch cooked a couple turkeys and served about 60 people a beautiful lunch with all the trimmings. Then passed out 70+ food baskets for people. The pantry has really grown with all the people out of work. I know the unemployment here is nothing like it is there but it doesn’t make it any easier for those in that situation.

We will be putting up the trees at the church the 30th & 1st, then decorating the 2nd.

love ya’
buck & jo

22 11 2009
Christy

I am still amazed that the dust blows that far!! WOW! Thanks for the update, miss you guys like crazy!! Have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! Hugs to all!!

22 11 2009
Paul Kukowski

Gary and Kimberly, We think of you often as we work on bringing the Perspectives class to Camano Chapel in January next year. You are out in the field in the work of completing the Great Commission in the part of the world known as the 10/40 window. I expect we will mobilize more people from the Chapel to go to that part of the world in most need of the Word. May God continue to be with you and protect you and your family.

Paul and Mary Kukowski

21 11 2009
Clem family

Hi Paynes! Thanks for the great re-cap of what’s been happening in your lives lately, I can just picture it. 🙂 Am curious if Kim’s still teaching full-time. Will miss you tonight at study! 🙂 love from the Clem clan




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