14 May 2014

14 05 2014

It is strange knowing that Nigeria is regularly in the international news. The fighting, kidnappings and terrorism have been going on since we arrived in 2009. It gets worse in different areas of the country at different times. 276 girls taken at once is horrific and deserves international news and we are so thankful that help is coming from other countries. However, it will take God’s miracle to change how the government, military and police operate here. I don’t want to expand for obvious reasons but it can easily be discouraging when we look at changes needed on a grand scale. Fortunately, God shows us that we are here to share the Gospel and God’s love one person at a time. He has had to remind me of that countless times when I am ready to throw in the towel and get on the next plane home.

For those who ask about our safety, we are in constant prayer for staying safe, and knowing when it will be time to leave. Jos is in Plateau State in the middle of Nigeria, bordering the north/south division. Northern Nigeria has had the most problems with terrorist activity. There has been no activity in Jos since 2011. Fighting among tribes and villages over land and religion has been ongoing in Plateau State for many years and we are constantly being updated on areas to avoid. Ironically in January, one week before returning to Nigeria, Stanwood High School had a lock down because a previous student showed up on campus with a gun. It made me realize we are safest in God’s hands and His will for our lives no matter where we are in the world. We are soooo appreciative of your prayers and encouragement!

While this difficult stuff is going on we try to carry on as normally as possible. Although at Sunday’s monthly worship night, led by Gary’s worship band, we all held hands and prayed for the safe return of the kidnapped girls to their families.

Jordan attended the yearly long-awaited Junior/Senior Banquet and Cypress attended her 8th grade Banquet. Isabell celebrated her 12th birthday with a fun party, and will be performing with the middle school band at their concert on Friday. There are only 2 weeks of school remaining so Gary is busy with AP tests, library system changes, sound for the many end of year events; concerts, baccalaureate and graduation.

I have been continuing to venture to the downtown prostitution hotels to talk with the women about God’s love and His better plan for their lives. It is soooo sad and difficult. Many have children and families they are trying to support in a village. Expectations on the first-born child to take care of their parents and their own children are huge. Their desperate need is heart breaking and they are fearful of stepping away from the money. Some become drug and alcohol addicts and some have become hardened after being in the industry too long. We go in the morning hours to avoid busy working times, but alcohol is abundant and men are coming and going in the run down, closet size rooms as we talk to the girls. It can be discouraging when we don’t feel we are making a difference, but we are reminded that we are bringing Christ’s light into dark places. We pray with them and hope that one day they will find the courage and God’s strength to choose differently.

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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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Dec 2009 Music Recital

15 12 2009

Jordan and Cypress have been taking music lessons from high school students for the past few months. On December 9th, there was a recital after school by many of the kids who take lessons from various music teachers in the community.  Jordan’s piano teacher (Jordan!) is accompanying Cypress for her violin piece at the recital, and Cypress’ teacher is one of his younger sisters.

Pix 13 Oct 09

14 10 2009

Last weekend we had the opportunity to spend a few days @ Miango Rest Home (MRH) with other missionary families to start off the Fall Break. On Saturday while the girls enjoyed activities with the other kids based on the “Wild West” theme, Kimberly and I enjoyed hiking out along the NESCO aquaduct again. It was a restful, relaxing, fun weekend, filled with delicious food (including apple pie & ice cream…yum!), games of all sorts, square dancing, line dancing and en evening of western music, “Hee Haw Style!”

ECWA Kibbyah Village Worship

3 07 2009

Last Sunday, June 28, we were invited to attend church in the village of Kibbyah where our friends with Back2Back Ministries are working. It’s about 15 minutes outside of Jos, back off the main road on a dirt road. The church service is mostly in Hausa, although parts of it (including the sermon) were translated into English for us. The church  is a small, simple building without electricity. We were warmly and officially welcomed by the pastor at the beginning of the service, and John was asked to introduce us. It is amazing (and powerful) to be part of a church worship halfway around the world and realize that we are among God’s family no matter where (or how) we worship! FYI…in Nigerian churches, their are typically multiple offerings, each for a different church group/ministry, and each one is accompanied by singing, dancing and music as people come forward to place their offering in the baskets. At the end of the service, John was asked to pray for rain for the crops, and it rained long and hard later Sunday afternoon and again as we headed out on our week-long adventure to SE Nigeria.

Tudan Wada Worship

3 07 2009

On Father’s Day (June 21) we attended ECWA (Evangelical Church of West Africa) Gospel 1 Tuden Wada,  a Nigerian church that is not far from Hillcrest campus, ECWA Tudan Wada. It’s definitely a bit different thatn we are used to, but was enjoyable to experience! Since it was Father’s Day, there was a celebration for fathers that included some (recorded) music (although we couldn’t understand it) and impromptu dancing. The video is a bit blurry, but you can get a feel for some of our worship experience.

June 24

24 06 2009

Our “new” car has arrived.  It is a 1999 Toyota Sienna.  We are very happy to have seatbelts for everyone,  airbags, and a good working engine.   It was interesting buying a car here.  You decide what you want to spend, describe what you want and give the money to ‘the broker’ in cash.  He went looking for our specific requirements in another country (Benin) and came back with the car.  It took about 5 weeks.  This car actually originally came from the U.S.  and still had a registration sticker on the windshield that expires in 2010. There is a good market for used U.S. cars in Africa, especially Toyotas and Hondas.

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