Prayer Update – 7th April 2014

Every now and again something happens and we come crashing back down to earth about the realities of life where we are living.  We haven’t experiences much hassle in our time in Nigeria if we are honest.  We haven’t been broken into, we haven’t experienced material loss and our lives haven’t been threatened.  I’m sat in meetings in Kenya as part of my new role to learn about crisis preparedness and contingency planning.  This morning I opened my email to find the following- [I edited a bit].

******WARNING – It is a little graphic in places ********

 

On Monday night, after closing the shop, Tony went out in Tim’s truck. (Tony is the Nigerian mechanic who repairs our car). He came back around 930 and stopped off somewhere to relieve himself. It was within the vicinity of his shop. As he got out of the vehicle at “tall, huge man” asked Tony to give him the keys to his car. Tony refused to give the keys. The guy said he would kill him and Tony realized he had a gun. The guy shot the gun, but somehow missed Tony. He said he heard it hit a fence behind him. Tony hit the guy and managed to get the guy away from him. Then Tony realize there were 3 other guys with him.

One of them then stabbed Tony in the lower back with a knife and left it in. Tony removed it and He was bleeding quite badly. Tony managed to send the guy rolling away, somehow but in the course of the fight he was stabbed 7 times.

He was on the ground, but realized if he didn’t get up, he’d likely die there. It sounded like they tried to get him a couple more times, but he was able to keep them from getting the keys, and to send them scurrying away in the end. He called out, “Theif! Theif!” but no one came to his aid. He decided to try to chase them in their car, but when he started seeing double and triple, he realized he needed to get help.

He drove to a compound nearby with a hospital, but the gates were closed. He said he was honking and honking for them to open the gates. From there he doesn’t remember anything. He found himself in the hospital after being unconscious for a day or two.

However, the story doesn’t  end there. Apparently he somehow got through the main gates and drove into a second gate. I saw the gate and it was in rough shape. Then I saw Tim’s truck. It had basically been totaled [written off]. Both airbags had been deployed, the front end is totally mangled even the back windshield had been broken. One can really only speculate on how the damage got there, and how Tony got in. However, what is clear is that God had his hand on Tony through the entire ordeal.

 

This is how the car ended up. 

 

 

Probably the end of that one. 

 

PRAISE: for Tony’s survival

PRAY: for his continual recovery

PRAISE: for insurance (though I haven't heard back from them yet)

PRAY: for quick resolution for recovering the car and the property.  Paying for damage to the gate/fence and purchasing a new car (not as simply in Nigeria as in other locations). 

Prayer Update – 19th March 2014

Greetings from a slightly less desiccated Jos!
 
We have had our first rains for many months.  The kids were running around outside in excitement, and if I’m honest so was I!  There is an amazing smell that comes with the first rains and then a freshness in the air.  The banana plants no longer look exhausted and dusty but bright green and thriving.  It will probably still be quite a while before we get really regular rainfall but rainy season is definitely on its way.
 
This past weekend, extending on into Tuesday, we had our annual Nigeria Group Spiritual Retreat.  Tim was busy with organising it once again, planning it to a T and making sure that everything ran smoothly while we were there.  It was a great time for our whole Group to be together, strengthening relationships with each other and with our LORD.  Our theme was God of the Impossible. One of the talks that particularly challenged me was looking at the passage in Daniel with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  The speaker pointed out that although they knew that God had the ability to save them from the furnace they also accepted that he might choose not to and that with that knowledge they were still willing to serve Him.  It encouraged me to remember that even if situations do not work out the way that we think is “right”, we can still glorify God by our attitudes and our continued trust in his good plans.
 
Tim is currently being energised by new responsibilities.  He has been asked to step up and and take over some of the responsibilities from a colleague who along with his family have decided to remain in the USA and take an assignment there.  A big loss to us – but the opening of a new door.  Tim is now the Operations Directors for Nigeria Group, currently covering IT and finance, but eventually also facilities.  Pray for wisdom and clarity as he jumps in to learn the ropes and get to know the team.  Also be praying for some good solutions to the 6 positions that are either open or soon to be open on the teams.
 
Thank you so much for your faithful support and prayers.  Without you, we could not be serving God here!
 
We would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to pray for us . . .
 
Praise
A great Spiritual Retreat, a time to set aside our work and focus purely on growing together in God
The first rains have come!
 
Prayer
Rejuvenation for Tim as he recovers from the intensity of his work at Retreat
Wisdom and selflessness for Tim as he takes on his new role
For Dan who in the last 24 hours is unwell and not keeping much water down. (he is doing okay now) but Ali may have picked it up!

Prayer Update – 20th Feb 2014

Hello from Jos!

Tim got back safely from Nairobi and we are settling back into the usual term-time routine of work and school.

The large junction right outside our compound is still under construction and changing daily. Of course in the UK we would not be allowed anywhere near it but here people wander through, right under the noses of the diggers. In fact, the last couple of weeks I have been walking Daniel and our neighbours’ kids to school, and we also walk through the construction site, but we do try to steer clear of the diggers! Our route through has to change on an almost daily basis as the work progresses and new areas get dug up. Our road now terminates in a trench so our first challenge in the morning is to clamber down into the trench and then to weave our way along.

1-IMG_0082We were a bit concerned about our water supply when they first dug this trench (right through where we believed our city water pipes to be) and it turned out we were right to be. One morning we arrived at the trench to discover that it was now a river. The city water supply is only switched on intermittently and that morning it had been switched on and the pipes that had been broken during the digging were spewing water everywhere. When you are in the middle of dry season and there has been no rain for 3 months that feels pretty criminal! As a result of the broken pipes we have had to order a tanker of water to refill our compound tanks, we are praying they will fix the pipes soon! I am guessing this may be hard to imagine with the massive over-abundance of water many of you are experiencing at the moment. We are praying for you!

Over the last few weeks there has been an increase in the number of robberies in Jos. We don’t feel in danger but please pray for wisdom and protection for us.

If you can spare a few minutes, please pray for us . . .

Praise
Tim was able to contribute well at the meetings in Nairobi and really benefited from the experience
Dan is doing better, feeling less exhausted by the end of the day

Prayer 
Protection and peace for all of us
That our water situation will not be a source of stress

From imagination to creation.

There are a whole lot of languages in Nigeria – 512 or thereabouts – and only a handful of those have Bibles. Some have New Testaments and there is plenty of work in progress.

Every now and again, there is a real sense of excitement in our office at the prospect of a dedication. From the moment someone imagined translating the scripture into that language, to the moment a person opens up that book for the first time… In between those moments, there are years and years of work, thousands of combined man-hours by people often on multiple continents. They’ve all been part of the process to get that New Testament or Bible printed.

I was lucky enough to attend one such celebration last year and Wycliffe USA has just written a brilliant piece on the last part of the process.

Peter,* a member of the Fulani translation team in Nigeria, couldn’t understand why Heidi Rosendall wanted him and the other team members to sign her copy of the new Fulani New Testament. After all, they aren’t famous.

But to Heidi, those signatures are more precious than any celebrity’s. They represent the literal blood, sweat, and tears that Peter and others have sacrificed so that the Fulani could have God’s Word in their own language.

As a typesetter living in Jos, Nigeria, Heidi works with local translation teams from several language groups, putting their finished translations into printable formats—or, as she puts it, “making Bibles beautiful.”   (read the rest here)

Heidi’s office is about 4 doors down from mine. There is a constant stream of people going there, trying to get past the final hurdle, each with amazing stories of overcoming obstacles and confusion in order to see lives changed through the translated Word of God.

Prayer update – 23rd Jan 2014

Greetings from Jos (and Nairobi)!

Dan’s first week at school seems to have gone well.  He is however getting very tired and we are praying that this is just the adjustment back into busier and more structured days.  Getting homework is proving a challenge because he is so exhausted when he gets home. 

Our Danish neighbours returned over the Christmas break and Dan is delighted to have his playmate, Jonathan, back.  They spend pretty much every spare minute together, riding their bikes around outside, planning new “clubhouses”, playing with lego or on the Wii.  Jonathan is in the grade above Dan at school and we are so grateful for the way they get on so well together.

My first week back at the office has also gone well.  I have been working (on and off) on an Access database to help us keep better track of our language information for a couple of years now. It has been something that keeps getting put off because other, more urgent, things crop up but I have finally decided that the “other” things will just have to wait.  As a result it has made huge progress over the last week and I am hoping to have a working version up and running by the end of the month.  I am sure it will still require plenty of tweaks but it will feel like a triumph to have it populated and in working order!

Tim left Jos early Sunday morning to start his trek to Nairobi.  You might not think that it is such a long way (it is still in Africa after all!) but as he left Jos at 7.30 am and did not arrive in Nairobi until 11.15pm (1.15am Nairobi time) it makes for a very long day! Tim is mostly enjoy the interactions and chance to understand more about how the organisation operates at a higher level. 

Praise

Safe travel for Tim to Nairobi
Good start to the new year for Dan and Ali

Prayer

More energy and stamina for Dan
Productive meetings and good energy for Tim

Prayer Update – 17th Jan 2014

Happy New Year!

cheeseChristmas can be a hard time when you are away from family.  However, we have felt very blessed this year by being surrounded by friends who have become like family.  Together with our upstairs neighbours we – okay, okay, to be honest it was really mostly Tim – masterminded a Christmas Day feast with five or six courses (depending on how technical you are in your definition of these things!).  We had 12 of us sat around the table (s) and I think I can safely say that a good time was had by all!  We interspersed courses with Bible readings reminding us what this was really all about.  Then we rounded up the day with some entertaining rounds of “Balderdash” – one person picks a very obscure word from the dictionary and everyone has to write a (reasonably ridiculous but hopefully convincing) definition.  The definitions are read out, along with the genuine definition, and people vote for the definition they think is the real one.  Points are gained by people voting for your definition and by you voting for the correct definition.  My favourite word was borborygmus – definitions on a postcard, please! 

Boxing Day we had a couple of families join us for a barbeque – definite advantage to living closer to the equator!  Then, after a few days to recover, we launched into our New Year’s adventure.  This involved a whole pig (well, minus the head, trotters and internal organs), a big hole, lots of rocks and several banana trees.  You guessed it – we had a luau-style affair!  Look out for a blog post with more details at some point!

January 2nd we headed off to Miango (a retreat centre about 30-45 mins drive away) for the SIM retreat.  SIM is probably the largest mission in Nigeria (used to stand for Sudan Inland Mission – now Serving in Mission).  They had asked Tim to help with the youth sessions and his inner youth worker was delighted to agree.  In fact he ended up co-ordinating the whole kids’ and youth programme as well as leading the youth sessions and drumming for the group worship times – what can I say? – he is multi-talented and likes to be kept busy!

Dan had a great time with all the kids sessions and hanging out with some of his SIM friends.  I enjoyed some down-time after the busyness of Christmas and New Year and it was nice to get to know some new people and hang out with others that I don’t often see a lot of.  I particularly enjoyed not having to even think about cooking or washing up!

We arrived back home on the afternoon of Tuesday the 7th.  Tim got stuck straight back in on Wednesday, giving a seminar at NBTT (Nigerian Bible Translation Trust) to language project staff on “Fundraising methods for good project management”.   

Tim is excited to have been invited to join some Africa Area meetings in Nairobi (19th – 30th Jan).  They will be working on future strategy and potential changes to our planning and funding models.  

Dan headed back to school on Thursday and I will be heading back to the office.  I’m still getting used to the idea that I will not be teaching this semester, but really looking forward to having a bit more time to get stuck into some data archiving tasks that have been dragging on.

I hope you can all look back on this Christmas past and see God’s blessings and look forward to the year to come with anticipation and hope.

 

Praise

A peaceful Christmas season in Jos.

Good times with good friends and good food!

A chance for Tim to scratch his youth-work itch at the SIM retreat

Prayer

Tim will not crash after all the action and highs of the last few weeks

Tim will travel well and have good interactions during the meetings

Dan will start the new semester well and continue to build strong, godly, relationships at school

Good progress with my data archiving work now that I have more time to devote to it

 

God bless,

Ali (for Tim and Dan)

Prayer Update – 27th November 2013

It feels strange to be in the run up to Christmas when the weather feels more like a beautiful August in the UK.  I definitely still have not adjusted to the different seasonal cues here.  On the subject of holidays, we are thankful to be sharing an American holiday with friends this evening – Thanksgiving!  One of the many benefits of living in a multi-cultural community – you get to partake in each other’s special occasions. 

1-school4

We are approaching the end of the semester at Hillcrest [International School] and my students are now deep in their final burst of projects.  The subject that I teach (Computer Applications) is only a single semester course and does not need to be taught again next semester.  As a result I have decided not to teach next semester.  I could take on a new subject but the preparation time required (when I would probably only teach it once) is just not worth it.  I have plenty to do at the office and I am hoping that the extra time I will gain there will mean that I can finally complete some of the things that have been on the back burner for a while.  The main thing that I am desperate to get finished is our Nigerian Languages Database which will help to more efficiently keep track of what is happening in the different languages around Nigeria.

Our Director (Ian Hollman) is currently out of the country and so Tim is adjusting to a slightly different way of working.  He skypes regularly with Ian and is working closely with the Acting Director to keep things running smoothly.  The Hollmans are expecting a baby in about a week’s time, please pray that everything will go smoothly for them and that they will be able to return on schedule in February.

If you can, please take a few minutes to pray for . . .

Praise

Opportunities to be thankful with friends!

Approaching the end of another peaceful semester at Hillcrest

Prayer

Safe delivery for the Hollman’s baby 

Good communication between the leadership while Ian is away

Effective use of my extra time at the office next semester

Prayer Update – 16th November 2013

Greetings from Jos.

1-IMG_0082The large junction right outside our compound is being pulled apart and reconstructed, they have been working on it for several months now and still have a long way to go!  So we are basically living on the edge of a construction site.  The noise is not too bad, much better than the constant car horns we used to have anyway!  Over the last couple of days they have expanded their site further along the road and this morning Dan and I had to clamber around a large pile of dirt that blocked our path to school.  Not too much of a big deal really, until we realised that there was a large digger adding dirt to it as we were trying to squeeze around it!  Health and Safety here is certainly is not the restrictive beast that it is in the UK.

Tim and I both had a fairly busy weekend last weekend, both of us on very different “retreats” that happened to have been organised for the same weekend.

Mine was for Hillcrest Staff and it was very relaxing with plenty of time to read and enjoy good food. 

Tim’s retreat was much more work orientated.  There is a group of leaders from different organisations involved with Bible Translation that meet every two months or so and share what they are up to.  There was a desire to push it beyond just sharing reports and to try and actually talk about strategy and how they can better work together.  So they set aside this weekend to spend together and have more time to discuss partnership, strategy and build relationships.  Tim came back very energised (at least emotionally if not physically!) and excited about the progress that had been made.  We are praying that it will have an on-going impact in the way these organisations work together.

In many ways it was a massive answer to prayer.  Tim was remembering back to a meeting 3.5 years ago when he was visiting Nigeria with Kent Anderson, before we had even considered moving to Nigeria.  That meeting was supposed to be a gathering of the Bible Translation organisations to talk about partnership but it didn’t really have the desired effect. To have come from that to the groups spending a weekend together and talking seriously about how they can better work together is amazing and clearly shows God at work in these organisations.  This is God’s task that he has allowed us to have a part of!

On Monday we had our Wycliffe World Day of Prayer that Tim was organising for our group.  The idea is that all over the world, the Wycliffe Groups gather together and pray on that day as a reminder of how fundamental prayer is to our mission.  We had a good time praying in small groups and large groups and individually for the work and for the country.  Tim did a great job of organising it and keeping it varied and interesting.

Dan had to present his Creative Arts Fair project to his class at school on Wednesday.  Last year he wrote a stand-up routine which brought the house (or maybe I should say the school) down.  This year lots of people were asking him if he was going to do the same thing again but he opted to do a family tree of the Greek gods instead.  He has been enjoying reading a series by Rick Riordan that is kind of the Greek gods in modern day and that has got him interested in Greek mythology.  We haven’t heard yet if he will be presenting again in the main chapel (if you are British, think assembly) as well.

I hope you are all well, please do let us know if there is anything that we can pray for!

If you can, please could you take a few minutes to pray for the following:

 

Praise

A hugely encouraging weekend for Tim and beyond that for Bible Translation in Nigeria!

Dan enjoyed presenting his Creative Arts Project

Prayer

That the ideas shared and commitments made over the weekend would bear fruit

That Tim would be able to rest well and recover from all the hard work he put in

Prayer update – 8th November 2013

Greetings from hot, dry and dusty Jos.

We are definitely easing into dry season now.  We have had no rain for almost a month and things are starting to dry out.  It is quite warm with clear blue skies every day without fail, the nights are nice and cool though, making it easier to sleep.

Last Saturday we hosted a bonfire night on our compound.  I know, it was on the wrong date but a Saturday night is so much more convenient than a Tuesday!  As we sat around the fire in our short sleeves enjoying the blaze I did think of all those of you who will be celebrating in many layers, complete with scarves and gloves.  There are definitely some advantages to the weather here!

The last two days Tim has been attending the local video cast of the Global Leadership Summit.  The original one takes place in America and then recordings of the talks are presented by local facilitators all over the world.  Fourteen people from our group were able to attend and learn more about how to “Lead where you are”.

This coming weekend (8th-10th) Tim is helping to facilitate a retreat for leaders in Bible translation organisations in N1geria.  They are hoping to spend some of their time looking at the strategy needed for them to work together to promote and support Bible Translation.

I am going to be on a short retreat this weekend for Hillcrest Staff, it will be good to have the opportunity to get to know some of the staff better.  Now, some of you may have noticed that this leaves Dan on his own!  Fear not, he is going to spend Friday night with friends and I will be back to collect him on Saturday afternoon.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for Dan, especially during his Tuesday afternoon Art class.  He seems much more settled in general and he reports that there have been no further incidents in Art class.  Please do continue to pray for him, especially that he will learn more about how to be a good friend to others.

Praise

Dan is feeling more settled and happy at school

Opportunity for Tim to attend the Global Leadership Summit

Opportunity for Ali to attend the Hillcrest Staff Retreat

Prayer

The strategy discussions between the different organisations will be productive and unifying

Dan will learn the skills he needs to befriend the other members of his class without compromising who he is

Prayer Update 28th October 2013

Greetings all!

Daniel and I have had a fairly quiet week at home as Hillcrest has been on holiday. Tim took one day off during the week but apart from that remained busy at the office.

Some of our activities last week have included:

• Watering our ever-expanding butternut squash plants 
• Evicting a large toad from the radish patch where he had buried himself
• Dealing with black hairy caterpillars that were trying to eat everything in sight
• Admiring a snake that Dan had helped to kill
• Attempting (with marginal success) to make marshmallows and honey roast peanuts from scratch
• Visiting the abattoir, preparing and mincing 4 kg of beef and 2 kg of pork for the freezer and curing another 2 kg of bacon
• Reading the fourth Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett – I Shall Wear Midnight
• Reading Fahrenheit 451 for the first time – scarily recognisable in places
• Watching all three Lord of the Rings movies back to back with some friends in a movie marathon extraordinaire
• Keeping an eye on my e-mails and dealing with a few urgent jobs

A pretty chilled out week, all things considered!

So now it is back to work, it is really good to be back in the office, catching up with friends and getting stuck back into the nitty-gritty. We read a passage from Habakkuk this morning in our office devotions which included the verse that says that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth. Sometimes when times are hard here and people seem to be suffering so much we forget the reality that this is coming. It was a great encouragement to picture this golden flood of the realisation of God’s glory just completely coating the Earth with no part left untouched. In the meantime we work on our little area to bring a taste of His glory as people receive His Word in a language that really communicates to them.

Tim is currently getting stuck into helping rework and organise our Nigeria Group strategy. Not a job that I would enjoy but it suits Tim down to the ground! It is vital that we have a clearly worded, God-inspired, well organised and presented strategy so that we can focus our energies in the most productive way possible. He is also tackling how this should link into the Africa Area strategy and how it will adapt to possible new funding strategies. Needless to say he is enjoying getting his teeth into something big.

If you can, please take a few minutes to pray for us . . .

Praise
• A relaxing break from routine for Ali and Dan.
• A fun day watching Lord of the Rings together with friends.

Prayer
• For Dan’s relationships with his classmates, that he will be open and not defensive.
• That Tim’s work on the strategy document will reflect God’s will for our organisation and be helpful in moving us forward on the right path.

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