19 August 2014

19 08 2014

“Summer” is officially over for us, although the sunshine and warm weather are never finished here!  School is now in its second week while many of you back home are still enjoying your final weeks of summer break.  We had a fabulous summer break in Nigeria and wanted to share some of the highlights:

We organized the 3rd annual “5K for Jay” run to raise money for a former Hillcrest student and missionary teacher who is suffering from ALS.  Our 5K mirrored the 5K held for him in the U.S.  He is remembered and well-loved by many who were impacted during his time in Jos.

We made a 10+ hour road trip (550 km/350 miles each way) to one of the largest orphanages in Nigeria (300 kids between 2 locations!).  We met missionary friends bringing a small short-term team in Abuja and traveled with them to the orphanage located in small village in central Nigeria. Kimberly and the girls helped mainly in the nursery (40 kids under 2) while the older kids went to school, and Gary helped with maintenance needs.  It was an amazing experience to see how a place like this could be run so well with great leaders and care givers.  God’s love shined through the many aunties and workers and the kids seemed genuinely healthy and happy.  If you are ever looking for a place to donate to orphans we highly recommend Ministry of Mercy. As with any journey in Nigeria, our road trip also had other adventures: car break downs, rough roads and road construction, crazy driving, various types of checkpoints, daring eating, and lots of prayer (see pictures)!

Finally, we had 4-year-old Selnan stay with us for 10 days while his orphanage parents took a rest.  Jordan, Cypress and Isabell were awesome big sisters while he transitioned from a loud home with kids everywhere to our quiet, teen girl only house.

As we close, we humbly share that we are in financial need.  Living expenses here are much higher than when we began living here (50% cost of living increase in 5 years),  various items that are simply wearing out from the harsh environmental conditions here and need to be replaced, an we try to donate and loan money to our Nigerian friends whose needs exceed our own.  Kimberly is also trying to attend a ‘Thrive‘ Woman’s retreat in October to seek counseling and rest from ministering in a high stress environment.

If you feel  led to support our family monthly, or with a one-time gift for Kimberly’s retreat  and/or other “one-time” expenses, please send a check to Camano Chapel with ‘Payne family‘ designated.  They also offer automatic monthly giving.  Thank you to everyone who has sacrificially and consistently supported us for years beyond expectations and for the many other ways you encourage and support us.  If you have questions about our needs, or want more details, please feel free to contact us!

As always, God is so good and we trust in His provisions.

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29 January 2014

31 01 2014
Sarah wears out the young boys who live at Grace Gardens.  Their future has brightened because their mothers made a commitment to change their life and follow Jesus.

Sarah wears out the young boys who live at Grace Gardens. Their future has brightened because their mothers made a commitment to change their life and follow Jesus.

After several years of not having time or energy to see the tough ministry my friend does weekly in the brothels of downtown Jos, God has given me the time, courage, and willingness to help evangelize to these women in need. Today my eyes were opened to a huge industry and the dent we can make in it by helping even one woman (or teenager) make a decision to leave prostitution. Unfortunately each weekly visit does not have the women flocking after us to change their lives. More than anything else I was struck by the bondage they are in. A few seem like they want to change their life but fear, money, and I am not sure what else, keeps them from actually doing it. I would have thought that they would jump for a chance to live somewhere more pleasant (the ministry of Grace Gardens), to learn a trade such as hair dressing, sewing, or jewelry making, and to experience the love of God. But the spiritual battle at hand is huge. After visiting 3 ‘hotels’ no women wanted to come with us and see how their life could be different. However, we prayed with them, shared the gospel message, and gave them the phone number to call if they changed their mind. It is my prayer that we will see changed hearts and lives in the future.

19 December 2011

19 12 2011

It is Christmas break and we are excited for some down time.  My mom is here visiting over Christmas and New Year’s and I can’t describe how excited we are to have her here to see our work and daily life.

We visited a local Fulani village recently.  Only 20 minutes outside of the city, this tribe lives a very simple, rural life; growing their own food, raising cattle as their livelihood, and only a few of the kids attend school if they are lucky.  They were very welcoming and excited to see us.  They wanted to touch Cypress’ and Isabell’s hair.  (pics on this blog update & last one too)

This semester I have been tutoring at a Nigerian school once a week.  It has been an eye opening, difficult, yet rewarding experience.  Many kids in Nigerian schools are advancing from grade to grade without learning the basics in reading and math.  This school was started and is overseen by an American missionary, yet the principal, teaching staff and children are all Nigerian.  Her goal is to make sure the kids are learning their basics and have a strong foundation in reading and math.  This school offers a good education to many needy children who would otherwise not go to school at all.  Many are orphaned or HIV positive.   I am tutoring middle and high school students with their basic math facts and it is slow going and hard work.  It is difficult for them to do homework with power issues, getting their basic food needs met, and fitting school into their work/chore load. Their life is so different from the life of our children; it is humbling.    At the end of the semester we were guests at the school closing ceremony where the kids sang, danced and demonstrated their math facts.   They were so animated and excited about showing their accomplishments.

Back at Hillcrest, we finished the semester with Christmas programs, band concerts, recitals and final exams. It has been a full semester as the Hillcrest board and community adjust to changes now and in the future.  Security is a constant issue and many steps have been taken to make our campus as safe as possible.   We have adjusted to school uniforms and the kids look sharp.   We are wanting to fill openings in our elementary teaching staff.  We also need a superintendent and elementary principal.  If you know anyone who might be interested, the Hillcrest website has the information (http://www.hillcrestschool.net/).

I never stop missing home, church, friends and family.  Checking in on the Rice family blog has been a  blessing.  It has helped me to know how to pray.  Jon’s words have touched me deeply as he walks a road that is hard to imagine, yet the Bible verses and lessons he is learning and sharing apply so much to other difficult experiences.  We continue to lift up Dianne and the Rice family to the Lord’s mighty hands.

We wish you all a peaceful and Merry Christmas.  May the truth of Jesus’ purpose in coming, humble us and inspire us to love and serve Him.

Love, Kimberly for Gary, Jordan, Cypress and Isabell

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27 November 2011

7 12 2011

Nate and Heidi came from Germany for our Spiritual Emphasis Week, using break dancing, rap, and graffiti  to share the message of God’s love and encouraging the kids to “Shine like stars” (our theme this year from Philippians 2: 15-16). They ended up staying on campus and often hanging out at our house during the evenings after their busy days, so we enjoyed the opportunity to take them back out to visit our friends, Israel and Katharina.

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9 October 2011

27 11 2011

We are excited to get opportunities to get out of the city for a while to enjoy the quiet(er) countryside. Our friends, Israel and Katarina (and their daughter, Jihra), recently invited us to come out to visit them. God has given them a passion for helping children, and for the past several years they have been working on finding property and building a big house that will be used to provide a home to orphans. Hillcrest students have gone out to help them work on the road into their property, and several other mission ministries have come along side them to help and encourage them as they are nearing the time when they will be ready to fill the house with children.

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Pool Party!

25 01 2011

Just before our Christmas break we tagged along with our friends at Back to Back Ministries and took a group of kids from a local orphanage to the swimming pool for swimming and lunch.  We had received a  gift from friends at home that sparked the idea for this fun afternoon.  The water was freezing, but the kids were brave and had a great time splashing around.  Planning ahead,  B2B had a bag of donated swim suits for the kids.   A delicious lunch was served, giving the kids had a chance to eat something different besides what they usually receive at the orphanage.  These kids need so much love and attention it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.  Jordan, Isabell and Cypress  had a great time hanging out with them.  At the end we gave them stuffed animal presents donated by our kids from their stuffed animal families, telling them how much Jesus loves them.  It was precious to see how much they loved their gifts, and we enjoyed seeing the reaction in the girls to how much their gifts were treasured.  It showed them in a very real way how blessed we are and that we can make a difference to people in need.    Our hearts were touched hard by Suzanne who had recently arrived at the orphanage from a traumatic experience.  She hadn’t talked yet, but she held on tightly to our hands, and by the end of the day she was smiling.

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12 Sep 2010

12 09 2010

Returning to Jos after a fabulous time of resting and visiting was hard! It has taken us awhile to adjust being back in a routine, and has taken me (Kimberly) weeks longer than I thought it should to adjust to being back in Nigeria.  For awhile I was lethargic and listless, wondering what I was supposed to be doing here.  Time with God has been exactly what I needed and I have felt strengthened as my focus changes from ‘doing’ to ‘abiding’ and allowing Him to work through me no matter where I am.   Then, a friend from an orphan ministry asked if I wanted to join her for a few orphanage visits.  It was perfect timing to lift me out of thinking about myself and showing God’s love to those with huge needs.

The first weekend in September we attended the annual Hillcrest Staff retreat held out at Miango. During our 2 days there, we were reminded how much our students need us as teachers to meet them where they are at, see beyond their faces and actions to the past they bring into the classroom, and once again let God work through us to love them unconditionally.  We were also reminded of the huge spiritual needs of many students, and the opportunities we have to plant seeds, guide and be an example to all students, and encourage each other as a very diverse group of teachers and staff.

This past week we experienced the harsh reality of living without access to the same standard of veterinary care we have in the U.S.  We inherited our neighbor’s dachshund and recently discovered she was pregnant.  She was old and tiny and we had no idea who the male dog was.   She proceeded to grow extremely large for her small frame and we struggled to watch her move around.  During her final days she had trouble breathing and finally died when her heart gave out (before giving birth).   It was traumatic as it all happened in front of us.  We had 2 vets look at her and say that there wasn’t anything to do but wait it out.  I asked about a cesarean and was told the chances of mom and pups surviving were low.  It was a reminder of how much we are separated from suffering and death in the U.S. where here we are surrounded by it and can’t put a filter up for the kids.  We acknowledged that this was just our pet and how many people in the world go through watching loved ones die without access to medical care.  Another life lesson learned in a third world country.