Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sister Oresoa Visits Nativity:Nigeria

This summer, we have been blessed to welcome our Nigerian partners to the States, as they have each shared time with the Nativity:Nigeria family. Dr. Chris Isichei (founder of Faith Alive Hospital) visited Nativity earlier this month, joining us for both mass and the Shagali celebration. This week, Sister Oresoa (founder of Anawim Home and the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor) is visiting from Abuja. Sister Oresoa attended mass at Nativity this weekend, and last night enjoyed a night of food, fellowship, and prayer with past Nativity:Nigeria missionaries. Sister shared stories of the progress and challenges the Anawim community has faced in recent months, shared pictures and videos of the children and residents of Anawim, and offered her inspiring vision for the future. Sister Oresoa vowed that she will not stop in her mission to provide a home for forgotten children, abandoned mentally ill and sick, commercial sex workers, and young mothers in need. It was a fantastic night of encouragement and fellowship, and N:N team members were humbled and inspired by Sister Oresoa's amazing stories of hope and God's faithful work in Nigeria.

Sister Oresoa (Founder - Anawim Home) sharing her vision with Nativity:Nigeria 

Sister Oresoa and Past Nativity:Nigeria Missionaries

 Sister Oresoa showing video updates of Anawim

Sister Oresoa with Bob Barczak & Brian Crook of Nativity:Nigeria

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reflection from Shagali

Today's reflection comes from our partners at Faith Alive Hospital. We share Faith Alive Hospital's Dedication Declaration as an affirmation of our commitment to faithfully serve the Lord, united globally for the purpose of building His kingdom. The declaration was read at Shagali as a prayer to end the violence in Nigeria and seek God's protection of our partners there. 

"I am confident in God's promises. My past has been forgiven. My future is secure and God has a purpose for my life. I am committed to God's purposes with God's power for God's glory. I will value character over comfort, service over status and power over possessions. I am committed to God's people. We declare that unity in Christ bridges all differences. We are one in Christ. Standing side by side with my brothers and sisters, I commit myself to grow spiritually, love unconditionally and serve faithfully. To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, Whenever, Wherever and Whatever You ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes. I want to be used by You in such a way that on that final day I will hear You say, Well done, my good and faithful servant." -Faith Alive Hospital Dedication Declaration

Bill Baird (Faith Alive Mission Team '11) leading prayer at Shagali

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reflection from Shagali

As mentioned, we will be sharing some reflections from past missionaries given at this month's Shagali event. This reflection comes from Jess Brown, who spent time with Sister Oresoa and the community of Anawim Home last summer.

"There is humbling evidence throughout Nigeria that God's love and compassion shines through the simplicity of life. The daily works of Sr. Oresoa and the Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor are predictably modest and self-sacrificing. Without fear or compliant, the sisters live a meager existence, rising early each day for Mass, serving as best they can the needs of so many, and giving of themselves in every awe-inspiring way.

But it was in the eyes of the children, that God's grace was so evident. In some ways, their lives were so very different from mine. These children lived without the distractions of technology, without the comfort of regular electricity and running water, without the guarantee of a next meal. And yet, they smiled with dignity in the simplest of pleasures - receiving pencil sharpeners and erasers from our team, reading ethnically rich novels, playing soccer on the front lawn, performing daily chores, and merely sharing a conversation with someone who really cared about them in the moment." - Jess Brown, Anawim Home Mission Team 2011

Dr. Chris Isichei (Founder - Faith Alive Hospital), Kathi Rogers &, Jess Brown (Missionaries) at Shagali

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shagali: A Night of Praise

Thank you to all those who joined in the water fast last week. The feedback has been overwhelming positive, with countless stories of people who were encouraged, challenged, and enlivened from their participation in the week-long water fast for peace. Additionally, our partners have felt the love and prayerful support, as we have joined them in seeking God's provision and blessing over Nigeria.  

A special thank you to  everyone who attended the "Shagali: Partners in Prayer" event last week! It was so exciting to see over one-hundred and twenty five people come together in worship, prayer, reflection, celebration, and feasting. Dr. Chris Isichei, the founder of Faith Alive Hospital, was with us for the event and was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for our fellowship and longstanding relationship - which was so present that night. You made a difference that night. Through our strategic partners, our church is moving all around the world. We are rescuing children from the streets of Abuja, rehabilitating AIDS patients in Jos, and bringing water to school children at Hwol Yarje. And by praying and fasting for peace in Nigeria, you are making a difference, you are participating in a kingdom movement, you are making church matter.

And if you missed the event, you can still be part of the movement - Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some reflections, stories, pictures, and videos from the event here on the blog. Also, check out our Nativity:Missions Facebook page for more pictures and information about Shagali.

Monday, August 6, 2012

See You At Shagali!

We are now 5 days into our water-only fast! Thank you to all those who have been fasting and praying with us for peace in Nigeria. Our week of fasting will end at 6pm, on Wednesday. Don't forget to join us at Church of the Nativity for a night of worship, prayer, and celebration!

Join the conversation and share encouragement during the fast on our brand new Nativity Missions Facebook page.

May the Lord give might to his people;
May the Lord bless his people with peace
    Psalm 30:11

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What does Shagali Mean?

As we've discussed our upcoming missions event these last few weeks, many have asked: “Shagali, what does that even mean?” Shagali is a Hausa word meaning celebration. This sign of praise, jubilant festivities, and a joyful spirit defines our longtime relationship with Anawim Home and Faith Alive Hospital. Each summer, Nativity’s missionaries have experienced the joyful and prayerful celebrations of these communities, as they give glory to God and worship His greatness. We have used this phrase, which is known to so many within our partner country of Nigeria, to guide the spirit of this week’s fast and maintain a prayerful connection to our strategic partners in Nigeria. Shagali!

On Wednesday, we will join together as a community to celebrate in worship and prayer as we break the fast together. Join us at Nativity to indulge in your first non-water drink, enjoy some food and live music from Al Walsh and Three Flights Up, meet Dr. Chris Isichei - the founder of Faith Alive Hospital, and fellowship with past missionaries.

Shagali: Partners in Prayer
Wednesday August 8th, 6pm
Church of the Nativity

Friday, August 3, 2012

This Fast Matters

Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so."

But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, "Why could we not drive it out? He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting."
            Mark 9:17-18, 27-29

We know there is evil in the world. Our own life experiences tell us that, and the evening news reminds us of it each day. In this passage of Scripture we see Jesus teaching his disciples that there are different kinds of evil. He says explicitly that the type of evil with which this boy was possessed "can only come out through prayer and fasting."

There is evil present in Nigeria, and it's affecting people whom we care about very deeply. Our Nativity:Nigeria partners are tremendous, beautiful people doing the work of the Lord with great faith and boldness. Their efforts and innocent people's lives are being impacted by evil. We don't know what kind of evil is present, but we believe Jesus when he says some evil will only be driven out through prayer and fasting.

This fast matters. Your fast and your prayers matter. You're not doing this alone; there are hundreds in our community fasting along with you. We're all praying for peace in Nigeria, an end to violence and an end to Boko Haram. Let us continue to lift up Anawim Home Orphanage, Faith Alive Hospital, and all of Nigeria that God's peace would overpower the evil present there.


Remember to join us on Wednesday evening to indulge in your first non-water beverage at 6pm for Shagali! Dr. Chris Isichei from Faith Alive and past Nativity:Nigeria missionaries will be with us as we have a short prayer service to conclude the fast. Then our celebration will begin with live music from Al Walsh and Three Flights Up and lots of food, fun, and fellowship.