Saturday, October 10, 2009

Amos Toye

Amos Toye. You’ll see his name inscribed on a concrete plaque as you enter Faith Alive Hospital describing the hospital as a temple. He was instrumental in re-designing the architecture of the three-story building after the big fire in 2006 which gutted it all. Recovering and rebuilding from such devastation is always daunting, and even more so for this organization, considering they rely purely on donations. On the other hand, they are also blessed with people like Amos who offers his services for free without expecting anything in return.

Amos is an architect by trade. He also teaches at the local university in Jos, although during the time we were there, the professors were on strike which apparently is a common occurrence due to undercompensation of their work. He lives in the faculty compound where Dr. Chris and his family live too – very humble and simple housing facilities.

Our team first heard about him when we visited the farming community in Hwol Yarje. We learned about the school site where they were planning on building a permanent structure for the children who live there. When we asked who we should talk to about the physical plans, the staff said, “Ask Amos, ask Amos. He’ll give you a better vision.” As we come back to the Faith Alive premises, who do we bump into at the front gate but this tall friendly man with a distinct deep voice… it’s Amos! We were introduced by Erika, one of the American missionaries who have been there before. He graciously accepted our invitation to join us for lunch at the guest house and before we know it, he was sharing his story with us.

Several years ago, Amos was involved in an accident that left him with more than half of his body burnt. You can still see the scars and contractures in his hands. But he survived. Not just physically but spiritually. After miraculously coming out of another horrible accident as the lone survivor, he has since offered his life to God. He has surrendered himself to praise God and work for his glory. He has offered his architectural expertise to different churches as they build their own temples of worship. He is very grateful that he has been blessed with life and talent and he is able to continue God’s work through his hands, albeit scarred. As he shared his past, he showed his passion in what he does and for whom he does it. We are all humbled by the commitment he has to his work and to God and were inspired by the vision they have for the Hwol Yarje School – 13 classrooms to house primary to secondary levels, a courtyard as a center of activities, a teachers’ communal room, or perhaps even a dormitory for the kids. They envision a ten-year plan of building a temple of learning where the youth are afforded a good Christian education for a better Nigeria. It’s great to be able to dream big and be blessed with people to help them pursue it. With God’s grace, as they say, it can be done.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am a Nigerian architect who lives in Baltimore and am overwhelmed by what Nativity: Nigeria has been able to achieve. It is amazing!
I just had to drop a note when I read this posting because I know Amos...I went to school with him over 20 years ago. Wonderful to know he is still the same, humble God-fearing man I knew him to be back then. May God continue to bless all of you for what you have achieved.