16 April 2015

16 04 2015

We are already in transition with only 6 weeks left in Nigeria.  We have two homes now, and leaving one for an undetermined amount of time is very emotional.  We are finding new homes for our animals and selling and giving away our ‘stuff’.    We are excited to be back on Camano Island, but all the goodbyes here have to happen first.

The government mandated school closure was extended until Monday, April 20th, so we have been out of school almost 1 month.  It has been the most challenging year for school closures, with Ebola and elections.  Fortunately, the students have been completing their school work through take-home ‘packets’ and on-line assignments, which has kept us on track for having enough school days.  We pray they have also learned their subjects!

Both federal and local elections are finished with mostly peace here in Jos.  We are thankful for answered prayers!  The future of Nigeria is very uncertain with major changes ahead.  Again, we are praying the changes will be positive for the people.

Thank you to our friends and family back home that have encouraged us through this amazing time of serving in Africa.  We couldn’t be here without your prayers and support.

As we return home we have two large, unique requests:

1st:  We are looking for a car/van until we can buy a vehicle, which we hope will be by the end of the summer.

2nd:  We are camping this summer, and also having my (Kimberly’s) mother visit.  We thought camping at 70 might be hard, so we looked into RV rentals which were quite pricey.  If anyone is interested in renting their RV to us for 3 days (June 26, 27 & 28) or knows somebody who does RV rentals, please let us know. Gary had 6 years of RV experience (driving, emptying, assorted maintenance).

We will be arriving at Rest Haven in early June and are looking forward to catching up with you!

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

29 12 2014

Merry Christmas from NigeriaMerry Christmas & Happy New Year from Nigeria to our friends and family! Click here to view the fun inspired by our Camano Chapel Pastors. Our January 2015 newsletter is also available here. Thank you for continuing to serve with us as you bless us with your prayers, support and encouragement!


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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13 July 2014

13 07 2014

GP & KP May 2014.pdfI am not a big fan of reposting things, especially not both on Facebook and here on our blog, but 10 Things Missionaries Don’t Tell You Enough is well written and expresses it better than I would! Thanks for taking the time to keep up with our lives and ministry over the 5+ years we have been here in Nigeria, and most especially for your ongoing prayers, support and encouragement!

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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31 January 2014

31 01 2014

After running the Toys for Tots run in December  (in 20 degree weather), the race director donated the extra t-shirts for us to bring to Nigeria and give out. It is so fun and rewarding to have these gifts be so appreciated! Our school maintenance workers asked us to take their picture after receiving their shirts! Thank you Arlington Runners Club!


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.