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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08 September 2013

9 09 2013

As we got ready to post another blog update, we discovered we hadn’t posted anything for many many months.  Ooops!   I could give a bunch of excuses…or just move forward… So, we hope to post several times in the ‘near future’ to summarize the past semester at Hillcrest.  After living in Jos for 4+ years it is hard to know what is interesting to post about.  Daily life at Hillcrest and around Jos seems ‘normal’ now yet we know our ‘normal’ has changed.  Since we have been home on Camano Island for 3 months now we have had discussions about what ‘normal’ life means for us.

The girls started public school for the first time in 7 years.  For those who didn’t already see on Facebook, their ‘2nd day of school’ pics are below.  We are very thankful for a smooth first week, knowing their transition into large schools and already formed friendships can be hard on mission kids.  Please pray with us that God will bring good experiences and good friends into their lives.

Also pictured below are some exciting events that occurred at our school.  Isabell was Raggedy Ann for the 5th grade Christmas Play called ‘The Christmas Gift’.  She was sooo nervous but did an amazing job.

The school had its second annual Sadie Hawkins dance.  Jordan asked her good friend Jimra and had a fun time.  We love the fact that we live on the same compound and can keep an eye on everything J!

I, Kimberly, took on coaching middle school soccer this last year.  It was a huge step out of my comfort zone but a great experience.  It was quite a challenge to find other middle school girls teams to play but we had about 4 games and one against the Hillcrest middle school boys.  I resisted the pressure to play only our most talented players, but gave everyone equal playing time.

That’s plenty for now…. thanks for keeping up with us.  We are home at Rest Haven to connect with family and friends so we would love to see you!

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23 March 2012

23 03 2012

It has been a long time since we posted on our blog.  Lots of stuff happening here, both good and bad, exciting, yet stressful .

As many of you already know, Nigeria has been in the news and various areas are experiencing terrorist attacks and violence.  Jos has also experienced some of this and it has been difficult.  We purposely do not post details or comment on what is happening for security reasons.  We have an amazing community here for support during the tougher times.  We pray without ceasing and are listening to what God has planned for our family’s future.  For now, God keeps us here.  We welcome your encouragement and prayer.

Activities…as usual, we are keeping busy with life surrounding school!  Jordan is doing track.  She enjoys running and is quite speedy.  She has many opportunities to use her piano talent playing for the school worship team and for occasional Sunday services.  She was thrilled to be asked by a senior to accompany her singing for the yearly talent show.

Cypress has an amazing Korean violin teacher.  She doesn’t speak much English but it doesn’t seem to matter.  She played intramural soccer and loved it (her first time playing soccer).  She wants to do intramural running, but there may not be a teacher for that.  I said I would volunteer if no one else did but running after school when it is 85-90 degrees  will be tough.

Isabell gets a lot of attention from high school students who think she is adorable and also from our next door neighbors who are elementary teachers.  She is a very social girl and always wants to know who is coming for dinner.  We have regulars in and out of our house at dinner time.  The school musical is Annie and she gets to watch the practices since they take place right next door.  She knows all the songs and will most likely know all the lines very soon!

Jordan and I volunteered to help teach in a literacy program in a nearby village once a week.  It has been an amazing experience for both of us.  We just got word of it being postponed due to security and difficulty traveling on Sundays, but we hope we can continue in the near future.

Gary continues to keep busy with the library, running sound, and playing music. March has been busy with outdoor events requiring sound and background music, and this coming Sunday will be the second Worship Night he has organized, providing  an hour-long time for students and families to gather together for worship and prayer.

We have more to share, but this has gotten a bit long.  We will post again next week ….yeah….really!!

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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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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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5 October 2011

5 10 2011

Last week was a time of celebration here: Along with  celebrating Nigeria’s 51st year of independence (1 October) , we also celebrated a birth! On Monday (26th), Kuwi, one of the young women who works for us, gave birth to a daughter. Her English name is Lois, after Timothy’s grandmother in the Bible. She also has a tribal name which I won’t attempt to spell here. Since this Monday was a public holiday in celebration of Nigerian Independence Day, we took the opportunity to go meet the new baby. Fortunately for me, the naming ceremony was held on Monday morning prior to our visit, so I was allowed to join Kimberly and the girls on their visit, rather than just being the driver! As you can see from the pictures, Lois was bundled up quite warmly in her beautiful handmade sweater, blanket and hat, even though it was about 80+ degrees outside. They believe that babies need to be kept warm while they are small, which is sometime hard to see when we are sweating in the heat!

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