On the days and weeks after my trip to Nigeria; people were constantly asking “What did you do?” Puzzled and overwhelmed at the thought of such inquiry my response would always be “Not Enough”
This statement still holds true today. I could never do enough, because when you find love in the truest and most pure sense, you can never do enough…
From the moment we landed in Nigeria until the day we left I was completely surprised by love.
In the poorest of nations, where people are suffering and dying from lack of food, clean water, and disease; one would think that you would be met with despair and heart break, but is stead we were met with love…the unconditional kind.
Nothing was ever asked of us, all they wanted to do is just give.
Never in my life have I experienced such an outpouring of generosity; it was quite stunning. Yet what surprised me all the more was the abundance of faith. Our friends were joyful, alive and thirsty to know how God transform lives, of their own and of those who have traveled so far to meet them.
They wanted to know “our stories”, who we were, where we came from, and how we came to know Christ. This longing to know us was critical to them; and as the days passed on our visit to Jos, we found ourselves facilitating their desire by leading worships services and prayer meetings. As the requests for us to do more of this type of Evangelization grew, the more we became transparent. For some of us, this came quite naturally and for others, opening up in such a fashion was different. Yet everyone managed to rise to the occasion and again, we were surprised by love. For not only were we sharing about our faith and our lives; we were creating relationships and building intimacy through our love for Jesus.
After the prayer meetings, the staff and many of the patients would come up to chat. I cherished those moments because it was in those moments that bonds of friendship were formed. We will never truly realize what kind of impact we had in those moments. It is a secret that only our Creator will know for sure, yet I am blessed for the glimpses He reveals, as they are a gift of knowing how His love works though us.
His name is Segun [ Shegwin] Adeyanju, and in a crowd of small children, you’d never recognize him. He is a tiny little man, with a big heart and a humble spirit. Segun works at the Faith Alive Hospital in the Administration Department as an advisor of Children’s Services. He is the kind of person who gets lost in a crowd, small, quiet and shy. Segun accompanied us on visits to the Hwol Yarje School and the orphanage. On those first trips I didn’t even know who he was…he never said a word until after a prayer meeting at the hospital one rainy afternoon.
He came up to me and said “Are you Marina?” Surprised that he knew my name I said “yes”. He replied and said” I need your help.” Feeling as though I could never do enough, I fervently agreed to help. We set up a meeting for the next morning to discuss the details of a project he was working on.
Segun was working on a children’s outreach program that would provide support and counseling services to children who are affected by HIV and AIDS. The Faith Alive Hospital had received a donation of materials and supplies from AIDS RELIEF to launch the program but it lacked structure. The resources allocated to them for this program were very scarce and limited. Through quick thinking and organization, together we were able to develop a program that would increase the demographic to include teens and utilize the small resources that were given to be sustainable and renewable.
Dr. Chris named the project” The Faith Alive Angels” The program launched August 30th and on September 3rd I received an email from Segun. The program was a huge success with over 300 hundred families enrolled in and around Jos. He mentioned that other hospitals were coming to Faith Alive to learn and received training about the program so that they can implement the curriculum in their locations.
His message to me was filled with enthusiasm and gratitude and as I read and download the photos he attached, I was filled with so much joy and so much love. I had no idea what an impact this program would have and that he thought of me to share the success was humbling.
I often felt like the “Little Drummer Boy” in Nigeria….repeating the mantra in my head, “What can I bring to them? …What can I give?” and always feeling that it was never enough.
Upon returning all I could think of is how much I was blessed by the people I met. My friends in Nigeria changed me and they changed the way I look at life and living. They poured mortar on my foundation of faith and changed the structure of my path, narrowing the road towards home.
They never asked for anything only friendship and what we received in return was nothing but love. A love that was reciprocal.