10 Jul

Cost of being a missionary – safety and security

I have bumped this post forward a few weeks because of a conversation I had on Friday.  While we were preparing to come to Nigeria, we received 1 retraction probably more than any other.  I’ll admit that after a while it was an irritation, but for the people asking the question, it was the obvious question and although I had answered it what felt like a hundred times, for them, it was the first chance to ask.

The question: WHY on earth would you go to Nigeria, people get kidnapped there and they blow stuff up all the time.  Let alone the corruption why would you want to go there?

Our answer: 2 reasons, all those thing you think are reasons not to go there, are exactly the reason we need to go there.  The answer to the unrest, the thing people strive for is peace.  The Bible is referred to as the gospel of peace, those violent people need a bible in a langue and a form they can understand. The people who are involved in corruption need some higher moral understanding, they are only going to get that form a Bible they too need it in a language and a form they can use and understand. The second reason is that we believe god has called us to go.  He knows the state of the country and the risks involved, but he also has the freedom to do what he will with us, because we gave our lives to him.

Nigeria is in the news more than I would probably like it to be for all the wrong reasons.  Most recently arsenal have cancelled their trip here siting the inability to agree on conditions for the team.  If I was the coach, I wouldn’t want to bring my team to a major sporting even where there is a risk of being blown up.  No joke, it is a real risk.  While police stations and embassies and media headquarters have been targeted in the Capitol, I would want to bring my team here either. Jos where we live has plenty of tensions. Parts of town we don’t go to, and a security force who check every car and sometimes every person on the way into church on a Sunday morning.  In fact the past couple of morning we haven’t been to a local church because of threats that have been made on the city.  Why do we stay? Because the same reason still exist as when we were deciding to come here 2 years ago, noting has changed except our understanding of how desperate this country is and how needy this country is to see a change.

There are things here that aren’t safe to do.  The conversation that prompted the change of timetable for this port was information that some our of colleagues in the country for a workshop were on the road travelling to said workshop when they were held up at gunpoint and robbed.  I’m not too included to go to that area at the best of times but it is the first such incident that I am aware of since we arrived, that involves missionaries.

We have a gate gaurd on our compound, you can’t get in unless someone inside opens up the gate.  It is normal practice here, and all the bar wire too.  We have a gate on the front of our house that we padlock up every night.  Im not too keen driving around at not, but to be honest the main roads have traffic and planets of police and army out at the moment that popping up the road for dinner isn’t too bad.  But when bombs go off in town on Christmas morning or on other Sunday mornings and gun shots can be heard on the road out side your compound, every back fire and every car tire blowing out (we live near the main road) for a while is questionable.  We have got use to the cars now and it doesn’t take more than a second to realise it is a car, but interesting that we hear probably 50 cars a week, yet for a while our assumption was that it is the worse case scenario of a bomb.

It doesn’t always feel safe.   It isn’t always secure, but we do have plenty of things in place to make sure of both, but it is a cost we pay to be missionaries out here.   Most of the time we do actually feel fine about living here, i guess we ave adjusted to the norm of road blocks and threats.  We don’t’ feel personally under any threat but still, every time things happen, I am more convinced that these people need God and a Bible in a language and form they can understand.

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