21 Mar 2010

21 03 2010

We started out the week with a torrential rain storm, complete with thunder and lightning; winds that knocked branches out of trees;  rivers of red muddy water overflowing the concrete drainage ditches and flowing 6-12″ deep down the streets in places. Everything comes to a standstill during storms like that!  Then we had two more days of rainstorms before we awoke to the thickest harmattan (very fine dust from the Sahara) we have had this year. Even with the windows closed, it seeps into the house and coats everything with a layer of dust. After you wipe up the dust, it will look like you haven’t done anything within about 4 hours! For the past few days, we have avoided running, since it will make your throat sore and cause you to cough the rest of the day. It does bring cooler weather, which has been a relief from the heat we were having. It’s amazing how quickly the weather/temperature can change here.

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Pix 21 Mar 2010

21 03 2010

14 Mar 2010

14 03 2010

Sometimes it is very hard to convey in words what we want to share about serving in Nigeria and this is one of those times.

Jos is still ‘in crisis’ meaning that the city is tense, people are angry, frustrated, discouraged, and as the news has reported, some are dangerous and violent.  However, please remember that the media does not take the time to get the complete story for any number of reasons. Instead you are getting reports which almost always point to religious differences as the culprit, which is a very simplistic view of a complex, deep-rooted situation.

It is often through challenges and tribulations that we most clearly see God working in amazing ways. One of the most recent examples was this past week, when a women’s peace march drew hundreds of women from throughout Jos. They marched 10 km (6 miles) from the state government buildings to the governor’s offices, passing in front of Hillcrest School.  It was a powerful statement of how people are feeling. They sang songs of both praise and mourning, and expressed their point peacefully through signs and tears.

We are so thankful for all the prayers and encouragement coming our way! We definitely are in need as it is hard to experience these things up close and personal.  We know some of you are worried and wonder why we are still here.  We have asked ourselves the same question at times, but we still feel very strongly that we were (and are still) called to be here.  We are not trying to be tough, courageous, or examples for anyone else.  We are listening and praying, and believe we will also know when/if we are called to leave. God does not call us to lives of comfort and peace, but to lives of obedience and trust.

Pix 14 Mar 2010

14 03 2010

2 Mar 2010

2 03 2010

The past few weeks have been eye-opening as we are part of a city trying to get back to normal after a crisis of with loss of lives, injury, destruction and displacement of many people.   There are relief groups taking action and opportunities for donating.  We are hoping to get our school involved in a donation effort.

After the physical violence was curbed by the police and military, the next phase of ‘the crisis’ began…accusations, blame, threats and rumors from all different sides.   During this time missionary organizations and compounds, including Hillcrest School, were named as being threatened.   The US Embassy asked Hillcrest to close down for 3 days to play it safe.  We are finally back to a more regular schedule, trying to make up for 13 lost days of school and rescheduling some school events and activities.  There is still a dusk-to-dawn (6 pm to 6 am) curfew throughout the city, so it gets very quiet in the evening (which we enjoy!).

It has been said many times that when life gets hard, we lean on God more.  We have been leaning long and hard, and He has been there for us!  In the midst of all the chaos around us, trust in God kept us calm and able to get through the days.  We have been reminded in Ephesians 6: 12 that our struggles are not flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We have been very aware of being covered in prayers from afar, and are thankful!

On a lighter note, we are nearing the end of the dry season and it is HOT!  It hardly cools down at night. It’s hard to watch the kids  do P.E. and after school sports in the mid-day sun.  We get up early (6am) to walk the dog and get our run in before the sun is up high and it gets too hot. And have we mentioned how Nigerians keep their babies fully dressed, often with knit hats and booties, and motorcycle riders are bundled up in winter coats and knit hats?

Pix 2 Mar 2010

2 03 2010