Hi Nigeria friends from Timonium, MD. We have had two back to back blizzards this February. Here is a photo of my children playing during the second blizzard. We are all dug out now and the snow is melting. Has it been a year? It is hard to believe. A year ago, I started to post stories of my 2008 visit to Jos, Nigeria. I have had the privilege to serve at Faith Alive for the past two summers and then in the ministry at home for the Advent Project. It is time to say goodbye on this journey. A new team will be chosen soon to go this summer. I know they will have a very special experience too.
The Nigerian people and images are always in my mind. I miss you my friends! I went hoping to give to you but you gave me so much more. Faith Alive is a family - a community of faith. Our church is creating a community of faith. We now are opening ourselves up to more people at Crowne Plaza, our small groups and even just stopping in the cafe after worship. I love knowing that this is not for just now, but that this is for our families' future. I have a picture of Nigeria that will not go away. But what I am thinking now is that the picture is going to be my model for being a better person in my community as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Oh Beautiful Nigeria !
You are our brothers and sisters.
Your children are our children - only wanting a chance -
a chance to live a safe healthy life - to know You, Lord God and know they are loved by You -to have a relationship with You.
I see your beautiful smiles, but I feel your pain and have heard your cries.
I see your hands raised in the air to God, your children wanting hugs.
I smell the diesel fuel burning in the air for cooking yellow corn bricks,
I see the dirt streets winding around,
I hear the unrelenting rain and the beating sound it made on the tin roofs,
I see the blue skies after clearing and the low hanging white clouds.
I feel the fierce humid heat,
I remember the markets streaming with vendors trying to sell their wares,
the beautiful hand-made cloth and wooden objects
A woman begging for money with her child at the foot of one of the doorways.
I see the hope in the faces of the multitudes of people when they would see the Faith Alive van.
When we would get out, how you run up to touch us.
We prayed for you.
We played with your children, running and running around in a circle.
We sang with you and heard your beautiful voices.
We heard your beautiful music.
We praised God with you.
You fed us - we ate with you.
You gave us shelter - we stayed with you.
We grew to love you.
We will never forget you.
We have been changed forever.
Oh beautiful Nigeria, our heart beats for you!