10 Oct

Robinson Ministry update – 10th October 2016

Hello from Jos!
The rains have more or less stopped and opinion is divided as to whether we will have any more rain this year. This is always the time of year when all my plants in pots die because I forget that they need watering again now!

Thank you for praying for the workshop that was held a few weeks ago. It was a success! The workshop trainers and attendees joined us for office devotions each morning and on the last day we spent some time singing songs from each of their languages. It was such a special time, each person teaching the rest of us a worship song in their language. They also shared about how much the workshop had encouraged them. One lady in particular only joined the workshop at the last minute because no one else was available and before she came she was not convinced that it was going to be worth wasting her time on. She praised God that she had come anyway and said how much of a blessing it had been to her and how determined she was to go back to her language community and put all she had learned into practice.

A couple of weeks ago Tim had an opportunity to preach at the Hillcrest chapel that we attend. Saturday morning he got a text from the pastor saying that he was not feeling well and asking Tim if he would be able to stand in. Tim, always up for a challenge, said yes. Lots of people commented afterwards that they really appreciated what he had to say. I still maintain that he does not so much preach as chat at people. The kids definitely appreciated his style and so did many of the adults, at least all the ones who came up to us afterwards. 😉

October the first marked the start of the new financial year and as a result our finance department is busy closing up last year’s books as well as making sure that this new year’s books are in order. Tim has a number of overseeing roles to play in this so please pray for him and the rest of the team that they will have strength and wisdom and attention to detail.

Thank you for reading and praying and supporting!

Successful workshop

That the workshop participants will be able to apply what they have learnt
Successful transition from one financial year to the next

18 Sep

Robinson Ministry Update – 17th Sept 2016

Greetings from our dark house. We had a lightning strike on Sunday afternoon that took out part of our battery back-up system. As a result, unless the city power is on, which is only the case maybe for a third of the time, or we are running our generator, we have no lights. Not usually too much of an issue but cooking by candlelight is pretty interesting. Did I just add paprika or cinnamon to the chilli?
Finding a replacement for the bit that blew up is proving rather tricky, please pray that God will provide what we need.

Tim had a busy week last week with the Africa-wide Finance guru, Claire Hollis, in town for a visit. Lots to think about and some changes to implement in the finance system as a result. It is always so helpful to have people come and visit, both for us to benefit from their expertise and also for them to see what the situation is really like here.

The office is going to be turned upside down next week with a large workshop going on involving 7 people flying in from all around the world – USA, Philippines, Tanzania, Cameroon, Chad, Thailand as well as lots of our staff and several people from partner organisations here in Nigeria.
The aim of the workshop is to train people to train members of language communities to work with their community to decide how they want their language to be used in the future. Do they mind if their language dies out? Do they want it to be used by their children and grandchildren? Do they want it to be written? Do they want audio recordings in their language? And so on. The desire is to empower language communities to make these decisions for themselves, rather than having an outsider telling them what they need.

On a more domestic note, we have found a supplier of fresh milk! We get a delivery to a friend’s house once a week. The milk does have to be pasteurised, still working on getting that technique refined. Well worth it though as it tastes delicious and creamy and is a lovely break from milk powder!

Thank you for all the ways that you support us!

Good visit from Africa Finance Co-ordinator Claire Hollis
Real milk!!

Replacement for the lightning damaged parts of our battery system
A successful workshop next week and safe travel for the participants.

04 Sep

Robinson Ministry Update – 3rd September 2016

Greetings from your long-lost missionaries!
Contrary to indications, we have not dropped off the face of the planet. Sorry for the crater-like hole/gap in our communications, we went on holiday and all routine went out the window. For some reason it did not fly back in through the window once we returned. Very inconvenient.
Anyway, routine is now peeking its head around the door in an attempt to get back into our lives and I am trying to listen to it. So, here goes with our first update for months . . .

CodIXjOVIAAq7C7We travelled to Canada (an adventure in itself, involving 5 countries and 3 continents in less than 24 hours) in early July for a proper holiday. Some really good friends of ours, the Barnhoorns, (Canadian missionaries also based in Jos) are on an 18 month stint in Canada and invited us to visit them. In reality (and knowing my husband) we may well have invited ourselves, but they kindly went along with it! They live a couple of hours northwest of Toronto, Ontairo in a small town called Palmerston. The Barnhoorns have 4 kids, from Dan’s age on down. We all managed to squeeze into their house with a certain amount of re-arranging of sleeping arrangements. This included their youngest, Esther, sleeping in the closet in her parent’s room. Thankfully she was delighted with this arrangement and it was more or less the first thing she told me when we got there! I think Dan reckoned the Barnhoorn’s house was pretty close to the perfect place to live with both the library and the open air swimming pool only about 2 minutes walk away (not in quite the same direction in case you are picturing shelves of books underwater).Cm3m2ZQWIAAknGB

During our holiday we went on a jaunt (with the Barnhoorns) into Michigan and camped for a few nights near Lake Michigan along with 3 other families that we had met while we were in Nigeria (Munafos, Becks and Winklers for those who are curious). Going to the Lake Michigan beach was a little surreal. Sand dunes, sandy beach, waves breaking on the shore, water as far as the eye can see (and a good deal further) but also fresh water, ducks walking past and no need to worry about the tide coming in. Weird.
Having returned from Michigan and had a one day turn around (mostly taken up with doing laundry), we all headed off again in the opposite direction towards Maine. Having driven for about 13 hours and gotten caught in the edge of what we concluded must have been a hurricane, we finally made it to the “camp”. Apparently, in New England, if you have a cabin by a lake you call it a camp. The camp belongs to the wider family of our SIL Nigeria director’s wife (Crabtrees) and we were able to spend almost a week hanging out with them by the lake. Such a beautiful place and very peaceful, even with 6 adults and 5 kids compressed into it! We actually had a couple more adults for one night as some other friends of ours from Nigeria (Mark and Emily Gaddis) joined us.

All in all we had a fantastic time, busy but refreshing. If any of you are really interested in a blow by blow description of the whole adventure I am working on a rather more detailed version available on request 🙂

rain2We got back to Nigeria with a week and a half to get sorted before Dan’s school resumed. He has now been back for 3 weeks and is settling well into his second year in middle school. He decided to take on an extra class this year which will stretch his organisational skills as it is an independent study class. Thankfully it is Independent Reading which he does anyway, he just has to remember to write down what he has read and hand the sheet in at lunchtime once a week. Taking Independent Reading like this means he can continue with Band, in which he is now playing percussion. I had never realised before quite how penetratingly loud a glockenspiel can be!

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support! If you can spare a few minutes, please do pray for us now.

–Rejuvenating holiday with great friends in North America
–Smooth start to term for Dan
–Finally getting an update out!

–Having a lot of issues with our servers and internet at the office which has a massive impact on our work
–That Ali will be able to prioritise better both at home and at work!

26 Jun

Dan’s Book Report – The Magician’s Nephew.

This is the first book chronologically in the Narnia series written by C.S Lewis. I think it was actually the 6th one that he wrote. It is about two children, Diggory and Polly, who witness the creation of a new world and accidentally release an ancient evil into it so they then must protect the world. The world that was created is Narnia, Aslan created it and it is my favourite part of the book. On the other hand, I really dislike the part where Diggory hurts Polly in Charn because I don’t like it when people argue.

It is a classic fantasy book suitable for people aged 7 -15.

I would give the book 8.5/10 because although it is a good book and overall I enjoyed reading it, there are a few things I don’t like.

If you would like to read it – you can find it on amazon. The Magician’s Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1)

Book read and report written by Dan R
If you would like a report written on a specific book, please get in touch.

21 May

Robinson Ministry Update – 21st May 2016

Obolo man reading his Bible for the first time.

rain1Greetings from a soggy but greening Jos. The rains have come in earnest with a pretty good soaking almost every day. The cooler temperatures are nice and even being caught outside in a massive storm can be kind of fun (provided there is the prospect of warm, dry clothes and a mug of hot chocolate at the end of it)! We also had a hailstorm this last week with hailstones almost the size of golfballs, the biggest I have seen in Jos so far.

The last couple of weeks have been busy but productive for Tim and I. Tim has had a lot of work to do on the budgets for next year. The system is quite complex and he needs input from a lot of people. This year the system is also changing so a lot of new tangles to work out. It might sound like a mundane job that is very far from missionary work but the reality is that our mission can not continue without a clear and effective system of funding. Unless someone is willing and able to work on that, nothing else can happen!

I have also been working on something these last few weeks that might appear mundane on the surface but is actually essential to ensuring our work continues to be available to the language communities in Nigeria. I have been training SIL Nigeria staff on the basics of Intellectual Property including copyright, licencing and SIL’s policy on how to handle this in our work. For those who are curious, Intellectual Property is any “creation of the mind” that has “tangible form”, this can cover anything from an audio recording of a translation of Luke’s gospel to materials for a literacy workshop. Much of our work falls under this definition so we really need to know how to handle it! If we don’t handle it well then the language communities we are serving may lose access to the materials, including scripture, that they need.

rain2Dan is almost done with school for the year. He has less than a week to go with end of semester exams starting tomorrow. He is coping very well with the pressure and the exams don’t seem to phase him at all (I keep telling myself that that really is a good thing!). He will have just over a month of break here and then we will all travel to Canada for a real holiday! We plan to be in Canada for just over 3 weeks and then we will head back to Nigeria and into a new school year.

The Budgets are coming together despite various challenges
Successful training of SIL Nigeria staff on Intellectual Property
Dan heading into exams with a positive attitude

The Budget process will be completed successfully
I will be able to manage my time well between Dan and work once term ends

10 May

Robinson Ministry Update – 7th May 2016


Morning all!
So I hear that the UK has experiencing unseasonal snow. We, on the other hand, are experiencing quite seasonal heat. The thermometer is staying fairly steady at around 30o C inside our relatively cool house. The rains are still rather stop-and-start and have not settled into their regular daily downpour yet. Once that does start, the temperatures will drop significantly.

We have been having a bit of an issue with the system sending out these e-mail updates so although I have been writing them, you may not have received one for a few months. To take a look at what you missed, go to http://www.robinsonta.org/category/prayerupdate/

Tim’s trip to the UK was hectic but fun. He managed to see a lot more people than I had expected given that he was only really there for a week. The wedding was cold but a great celebration. Tim ended up acting as the second Best man (not second-best you understand – at least not in my eyes!) as the Best man had suffered a heart attack in the weeks leading up to the wedding. It was a real pleasure for Tim to be able to support Andy who has supported us for many years!

The SIL Nigeria Spiritual Retreat was a great blessing to me and Dan. We had a great speaker who spoke on the Walk of Faith. He really challenged me to think about whether I always make decisions and react to situations based on my faith in God or on my faith (or sometimes lack of faith) in myself or others.

Retreat was also hard for me as my grief at the death of Dan’s godfather (Tim Pickering) and the moving of our closest friends (Hollmans) back to the UK finally caught up with me. As a missionary kid I finetuned the ability to “move on” and pretend I had not really lost anything when people I was close to left. Having to do some un-learning of that now, proving painful but healing.

Another mixed blessing at Retreat was that Dan lost his ripstick (kind of like a two-wheeled skateboard). He really loves it and rides it at every opportunity (including around the house!). But when it went missing he was able to pray and tell God that if God was taking it away from him for some reason then that was OK with him (but that if possible he would really like it back!). Seeing him trust God and put his faith in God’s will over his own was such an encouragement to me.
STOP PRESS – The ripstick has been found! Praise God for his generosity to us!

Thank you for all that you do to support and encourage us, we really appreciate it!

Tim managing to see so much of the family and several friends while in the UK.
Encouraging and challenging retreat for Dan and Ali.
Managed to book very reasonable flights to Canada for the summer (with Ethiopian Air!).

Getting back into routine post Tim’s trip and the Retreat.
Tim catching up on work and having peace with all the difficult things that need to be dealt with.

11 Apr

Firm Foundations


I am not a runner. It may seem that I do a lot of running, but I don’t love running. I do it more out of necessity, to keep the happy hormones flowing, to reduce the spare tyre from around my waist, and mostly, because well, I like eating. I run because I eat. Over the past few years I have learnt a lot about running, what to do and what not to do, how to avoid injuries and how a cold beer is a great source of much needed chromium. One thing has remained especially true all this time, if you are running, your feet need to be landing on a firm foundation in order for you to retain any forward momentum. This was hammered home the other day when I was chased by possibly rabid dogs. Dogs here aren’t pets, they are guard dogs, occasionally they will come out of a house or compound to make sure you keep on going past and not in. On this occasion, they kept coming at me. First I thought I’ll speed up, make sure they know I am just going past. I growled and hissed a bit and the first 2 ran off. But then they came back with 4 friends and were eyeing up my heels. They were getting much closer than I was happy with. Being bitten by a dog is something I was DESPERATE to avoid. So as one got closer (close your ears all you dog lovers out there) I had to kick him in the head. He scuppered off and took his friends with him. Phew, I thought, I’m not going to be bitten today. Then, next thing I know, I have hit the ground with my knees and not my feet. Yes, I tripped up. WHY did this happen I asked myself. Well, basically, I was completely distracted by the threat of the dogs coming at me. I looked at the dog as I kicked him and in so doing I took my eyes off where my feet were going to land. IMG_0680I was running fast, missed the firm ground, hit a bit of muddy sand, tripped up and fell over. Adrenaline pumping, I jumped up, saw ANOTHER dog coming at me and ran harder to get around the corner. The end result was a pounding heart, blood mixed with mud and the desire to puke, all because my feet didn’t hit a firm foundation.

As I was thinking about this later in the day and it hit home that this incident was as much about my spiritual life as my ‘running’ life. We need to take our steps based on a solid foundation. It isn’t okay, nor is it a great plan to just simply head out there and see what happens, pick up whatever mud hits us on the way. Our spirituality needs to be based on something solid, a firm foundation. God’s word, the Bible, Scripture, however you prefer to refer to it, IS that solid foundation. It is easy to get distracted from it when trouble is biting at your heels, it is easy in my life to look at the times when I have been grounded in the Word, but dipping in and out on special occasions – the results were the spiritual equivalent of bloody knees.

We are privileged in English to have so so many different versions of the Bible. It is possible I believe, to find one that you are able to read and understand well enough, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the content can change you. For millions of people around the world and Nigeria, they are yet to have that version of any scripture at all, they have no foundation to base their life on.

05 Apr

Ministry Update – 5th April 2016


Morning everyone,
Let me set the scene for you . . .the Frangipani is blooming and spreading its sweet smell around the compound, the grass is a faint green haze as it starts to grow after the first decent rains. It is fairly warm, sitting at 27oC inside our relatively cool house at 10am. God is good!

We had a quiet Easter with a few people over for lunch on Easter Sunday. No Easter eggs to be found in our house, but that is not necessarily a bad thing! Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Easter eggs per se (who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate now and then?) but I certainly don’t miss the commercial eggs-and-bunnies aspect of Easter in the UK. Hard to imagine anything further from the harsh reality of a horrific death on the cross than brightly coloured eggs and cute fluffy bunnies. And frankly they also seem a watered-down joke in comparison with the incredible joy and promise of new life we gain from the resurrection. Sort of seems like the world (Satan?) wants us to throw out our glorious technicolour reality in exchange for a cheap, faded fake. Sorry, rant over.

Tim is heading to the UK in a week or so for a very brief 10 day trip to celebrate the wedding of a friend of ours (Andy Kach) who generously offered to pay for Tim’s travel. As it is such a short trip it is unlikely that he will see any but a small handful of you but please do pray for safe travel for him and protection for Dan and I while he is gone.

While Tim is away we will have our annual SIL Nigeria Spiritual Retreat (15th-19th April). Please pray that it will be a time for all of us to draw closer to God and therefore closer to one another as a team.

Thank you so much to all of you who support us in prayer, financially, emotionally etc! We appreciate you and consider you co-workers with us.

Safe and restful (along the lines of “a change is as good as a rest”) trip for Tim to the UK
Peace and protection for Dan and I while Tim is away
Blessed Retreat for Dan and I and the rest of SIL Nigeria

Serving a living, glorious, technicolour God!

10 Mar

Robinson Ministry Update – 10th March 2016


Greetings from a slightly sweaty Jos,
Hot season has arrived in force! It certainly makes me more grateful than ever that we live at altitude here on the Plateau so don’t have to suffer through the severely high temperatures the rest of Nigeria is experiencing. This time of year always feels like a waiting game, when will the rains come? We had about 5 minutes of light pattering a few days ago, the first rain in almost 6 months. However, the serious rains probably won’t begin for a while yet.

It feels like life is slowly settling back to normal after a very busy few weeks. The Director and his wife made it back safely, for which we are very thankful. We had a week-long visit from the head of the SIL Language and Culture Archives and his wife (Jeremy and Janell Nordmoe) last week, which kept me busy!

A large chunk of my job is working with the Archives to make sure that all the work produced during a translation project is not lost and is also widely accessible to both the language community and to others who might find it helpful. I had a reminder the other day of how vital this is. I was talking with a member of staff of one of our partner organisations and he told me about a translation project that had translated several books of the New Testament and then had to stop for a few years due to a lack of staff. When they got ready to resume the project, no one could find the books that had already been worked on! They had to start again at the beginning. My desire is to help make sure that this never happens again.

2-IMG_7430At the end of last week we had an Open Day at the office (really more like 2 “Open Afternoons”, but that is just not as catchy!). Our Nigerian Missionary Staff were able to invite their supporters to visit and learn a bit about the work we are doing. I would have loved to invite all of you but I guess the distance would have been a little off-putting! Our estimates are that we had over 100 people come and visit the office over two afternoons. One man told me “Now we really understand what this is all about, you are doing a great work!”.

I am sorry that none of you really have the opportunity to see the exciting and vital work that is going on here first hand and I am so thankful that, despite that, you are willing to pray for and support us! Thank you!

If you have a few minutes, please do pray for us.

A successful visit from the Nordmoes
A encouraging Open Day, especially for the Nigerian Missionary Staff.

That our Director will transition back easily and have the capacity to get back up to speed quickly
That we can help our Partners to develop effective processes for archiving

28 Feb

I now realize that I misunderstood

Bob Creson the Director of Wycliffe USA posted about the Dukawa project where David Heath works. David and Carleen Heath are part of the team we are supporting here in Nigeria.


Studying the Bible in a language you’re not very familiar with complicates understanding and could compromise the message. The Dukawa people of Nigeria tried to use the Scriptures in the “trade” language,* Hausa. But though Hausa was the language of the marketplace, it wasn’t the language of their home or their heart. Now God’s Word is being translated into their own Dukawa language, and many are surprised to find out what it really means.One man, a pastor for eight years, said, “I have recently compared my understanding of the Hausa Bible with the Dukawa translation, and I now realize that I misunderstood what the Hausa Bible was saying almost all of the time.”

As pastors and lay people alike understand the Good News for the first time, many are turning their hearts and minds over to Christ – 340 in October 2015 alone. Churches are multiplying. When translation advisers David and Carleen Heath first went to Nigeria in 1995, they only knew of two churches with Dukawa pastors and a majority of Dukawa worshipers. There may have been more, but not many. Today there are over 200.

Read More from the original post here.

*A trade language is a language used to facilitate commerce or trade; it allows people to communicate with each other when they don’t share any other language.

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