Dear all who are near and far.
As we prepare to head to the capital in order to fly ‘home’ tomorrow here is the link to our latest newsletter. If you would like a high resolution print or email copy – let me know!
Dear all who are near and far.
As we prepare to head to the capital in order to fly ‘home’ tomorrow here is the link to our latest newsletter. If you would like a high resolution print or email copy – let me know!
Greetings from a joyfully damp and cloudy Jos!
The rains have come! Thank you so much for praying. The day after we sent out the last update asking you to pray for rain, it came! Every afternoon since then the sky has been pregnant with rain and most day the waters have broken (did I just take that analogy a little too far?!).
We are in the middle of the mad transition period of finishing up work key jobs at work, sorting out the house and finishing term prior to heading to the UK for the summer. As a result this is going to be a very brief update!
Please do pray for us during this transition, especially for Tim as he has several really important jobs he has to get done before we leave.
Please pray for me that I can also finish well here and start to look forward to there.
Pray for Dan that he can finish term well.
Tim, Ali and Dan
Greetings from a parched Jos,
Somehow the rainy season still has not started. It is really about a month overdue now. The last rainy season trickled to a stop around 7 months ago and water is now becoming increasingly hard to find. We are blessed to have a well on our compound that, although getting close, has not quite dried up yet. The city seems to have stopped providing water through the pipes and many people are really struggling to find enough water for their families. Please pray that the rains will start this week, they are desperately needed, not just for people now but also for their crops to provide for them for the rest of the year. This seems to be a problem across West Africa, not just in Nigeria. So, here is an opportunity to do that rather unusual thing and pray for rain!
Tim’s meetings in Kenya went well, thank you for praying! They were intense and he has come back with a bit of a backlog of work, but overall it was a positive time. Dan and I did fine, but were very happy to have him back safe and sound.
We are now in the final few weeks of Hillcrest term, school ends for the year on the 21st of May and will not resume until the 6th of August. We are also in our final few weeks of preparation for coming to the UK for the summer! We will leave Nigeria on the 25th of May, a few days after the end of term and plan to be in the UK until the 1st of August.
We hope to meet up with many of you who live in the UK while we are there! Once we have a better idea of where we will be when, we’ll let you know and hopefully you can fit us in! One big need we have for the time we will be in the UK is a car. We really can not afford to hire a car for the whole time but we need to do a lot of travelling around to see you all! If you happen to have a car you could lend us or know someone who might be willing to do so we would be hugely grateful. If you do not have such a thing at your disposal then please could you pray that someone else will! We know how powerful the prayers of God’s people are!
This is a collection of stories that was shared with our group back in November. I re-read and got re-excited about the things that are gong on!
In Nigeria, our vision is “Seeing Nigerian communities have access to Scriptures in their own languages and be using them to transform their communities.” Through Scripture Listening and Reading Groups (SLRGs), this is exactly what we are seeing God do in the various language communities of Nigeria. The structure of the SLRG is simply listening to Scripture in the Mother Tongue, followed by discussion, and marked by prayer at the beginning and end. We teach people how to facilitate their groups through five discussion questions:
1. Can someone retell in their own words what they understood from the Scriptures we have just listened to?
2. What struck you particularly from what you heard? (e.g. something you liked, or were surprised by.)
3. What did you learn about God or Jesus from what we heard?
4. What is God saying to the people in what we heard?
5. What do you think God is saying to us today in what we heard? What should we do in response?
Training has taken place in five language communities with about 170 people trained to lead discussion groups. Six people have been trained as trainers. Here are some of the impacts we have seen from this initiative:
1. Literacy: In Mwaghavul, the participants follow along in their Mwaghavul Bibles as they listen to the recording. One man was literate only in Hausa and English, but he learned to read in Mwaghavul through the SLRG training. Now when he attends any gathering in church, he is the one people call on to read the Scriptures in Mwaghavul because not many have that skill yet.
2. Answered Prayers & Increased Faith: One elder, Isaac, meets regularly with the youth in a Mwaghavul community, facilitating a Scripture Listening and Reading Group. The youth were so excited about what they were learning that one of them prayed, “God, may you protect this man, make him to live long so he can continue to teach us your Word in our language.” A short time later, the man was in a collision with a truck carrying firewood. Surprisingly, it was the truck that got damaged instead of the small car Isaac was driving. The elder testifies to God’s protection in answer to prayer and is passionate about continuing his ministry with the youth.
3. Real Understanding of Scripture: One woman in a listening group realized what the word of God really says. She explains, “I am seeing for the first time that before, we were not actually following God, we were only following men of God to understand. Because of our mother tongue audio scripture, now I’m hearing from God myself.”
4. Evangelism: In one of the SLRGs, a woman in the group believed the facilitator when he affirmed, “If you have problems in your homes, God will use you to solve these problems.” She started praying that God would bring back her husband, who had left her many years before. Two months later, he came back. As he knelt and asked her to forgive him, she forgave him and led him to Christ.
5. Increased Interest in Mother-Tongue Scripture Products: During the SLRG training in Kuteb land the participants got very excited. Seeing the power of using Scripture recordings in this way they asked, “When are we going to get these on SD cards, CDs, and mobile phones? We want to invite our people from all over to a launching of our Audio Scriptures so that everyone can have this!”
6. Increased Demand for Translation: A man from the Obanliku language group attended a Church Leaders Scripture Summit. There is currently no published Scripture in his language. After listening to a presentation by the Scripture Engagement team on SLRGs, he asked with excitement, “How can we get the Scriptures in our own language?” SLRGs are sparking excitement among language groups where work is still needed!
I mostly love the impact that technology is having on our ministry and work. YES computers go wrong and cause huge headaches at times, but every now and then something happens that restore my .. umm ‘faith’ in the tech.Here is a note that my colleague Jonathan sent me about what he has been up to.
Waci language development has been slow because there has not been much linguistic analysis done on the language. As a result, translators have always struggled to write their language consistently.
Bruce is a linguist who resides in Canada, but has recently started to work with the Waci language to unravel its secrets! For three days, two Waci translators came to Jos to meet with Bruce. We met over Skype for the 3 days. Bruce directed the conversation to ask questions related to his research. Once he was comfortable that he understood the words, we would record them. When Bruce asked for a word, Baba Peter would recite the word twice and hum it twice. They would then move on to the next word.
Once the words had been collected into a recording, I would drop the 200MB file into a folder on the network, and Bruce would upload it to his computer using a syncing program.
It was a headache to figure out the uploading of such a big file. It had to be done overnight in Nigeria so as not to use ALL the bandwidth during the day. It slowed the process down for Bruce and the team. Several people were involved in finding the solution, but how amazing that Bruce who was unable to visit Nigeria at the time, WAS able to help the Waci team in such a significant way!
Greetings from a peaceful Nigeria!
We are thankful that we serve a powerful God who is alive and active in the world today. The presidential elections here in Nigeria were conducted peacefully (for the most part) and most importantly, concluded without major controversy. I think the biggest contributor to this was the fact that, even before all the votes from all the states were in, the current President (Goodluck Jonathan) called his opposition
(Muhammadu Buhari) and congratulated him on his victory. As one of my Nigerian friends put it, “This means that if anyone causes trouble now, they are doing it on their own behalf and not on Jonathan’s behalf so no one will listen to them.”. All this may not seem like that big of a deal, but you have to bear in mind that this is the first time that a sitting Nigerian President has been defeated in an election!
The State Governor elections were held on Saturday 11th April and again all went smoothly. The representative for the party that is normally considered a dead cert for our state (Plateau) did not win, but there was plenty of celebrating and everyone I have spoken to so far seems delighted with the outcome!
We had a great Spiritual Retreat with the rest of our group. There was good spiritual input and food for thought, time for contemplation and time for building our relationships with others (i.e. sitting around chatting or playing sport 😉 ). Dan’s highlight of retreat was the Skit Night in which the Brits of the group tend to feature quite highly. In fact Dan managed to end up involved in 4 of the skits, much to his delight! Thank you for praying about our concerns of people arriving at different times and just the whole uncertainty over elections during retreat – God really answered your prayers in a big way!
On Easter Sunday we hosted a big lunch for the three families on our compound and ended up adding another family of six to the gathering less than 2 hours before we sat down to eat! As always Tim masterminded it brilliantly and pulled off another epic (as Dan would say) success. We interspersed the courses with some surprisingly thoughtful video clips where Lego characters acted out the Easter story. Easter Lunch[/caption]There were some interesting discussions with the kids including an insight from one of them that maybe the darkness when Jesus was dying was because he is the light of the world.
Tim is on his way to Nairobi for 2 weeks of meetings, please pray that they will be encouraging and that all those involved will be able to keep their focus on our common goal of language communities having God’s Word in a form that they can really understand.
Massive praise for the peaceful presidential elections
Huge praise for a refreshing and re-envisioning Spiritual Retreat
That we serve a living, loving God!
Productive and inspiring meetings for Tim
Protection and peace for Dan and I (Ali) while Tim is away
Greetings from a hot and dusty Jos,
March is pretty much the hottest time of year here. We are blessed to live on a plateau at around 4000 feet above sea level. This means that while most of Nigeria is sweltering in excessive heat we are only slightly hotter than is entirely pleasant. The rains should arrive imminently. We had a teaser of a rain a couple of weeks ago but apart from that, nothing since October. I do love the dry season, I think partly because I can leave laundry on the line and not worry about it raining! However, I am also looking forward to seeing the garden come back to life and smelling that amazing smell of rain on dry ground.
You may not have heard the great news that the missionary, Phyllis Sortor, who was kidnapped near the end of February has been released! Praise God!
Things have been quiet here since I last wrote with no more trouble in Jos, for which we are very grateful. Thank you for praying! The government has ordered all schools to close at the end of this week in preparation for elections on the 28th of March and again on the 11th of April. Hillcrest won’t open again until the 15th April. This means that once again Hillcrest students will be doing ‘School @ Home’. This is always a challenge for teachers preparing for it, parents implementing it and students having to actually do it!
Work has been really busy for Tim over the last few weeks. He is generally coping with it well but please pray that he can still rest in the midst of the busyness and not end up crashing!
We have Nigeria Group’s Spiritual Retreat coming up at the end of next week, starting on Friday the 27th. We will be staying at a retreat centre in Miango, about 30 minutes drive from Jos. We are looking forward to a restful time to get to know each other better and hear from God.
Retreat coming soon!
Kidnapped missionary released.
Good times during School @ Home.
Peaceful and fair elections where God’s will is done
True rest in God over Retreat
One thing that we notice living in Nigeria is the need to be flexible. Plans often seem to change at the last minute. Our most recent experience of this has been the elections that were to be held a couple of weeks ago. The election process for president of Nigeria was then postponed for 6 weeks to Saturday the 28th March.
Please pray that God’s peace will reign in our hearts and minds during this time.
The new date that has been set for the elections clashes with the annual spiritual retreat for our group. This is going to cause issues for our Nigerian members of staff who need to vote in their local areas. We can not change the date of the retreat significantly because the place where it is held is fully booked and we have a speaker travelling here from overseas.
The result is that we will not all be able to arrive at the same time, with those who are able to vote arriving a day late, after they have voted.
On another topic – some of you may have seen the news item about a missionary who was kidnapped in Nigeria. Here is a little more information from our end:
This week an expatriate missionary with the Free Methodist World Missions was abducted in Kogi State, South-Central Nigeria, and she is being held for ransom by an unknown group. The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the U.S. State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her. All of our SIL Nigeria staff are safe and continuing to operate as normal with reasonable safety precautions. Please pray for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release, and pray for security and protection for all missionaries and Christian workers in Nigeria.
NB. We are roughly as far from the location that this took place as London is from Dundee. Nigeria is a BIG place!
We are praying for Phyllis that she will have peace and joy even in the midst of this, that she will be able to be a light in the darkness even if the darkness is pitch black. I am also praying for her captors because it occurred to me that however bad her situation – theirs is worse.
Before you decide that I have lost it and clearly need my head seeing to, let me explain my rationale. She is a Christian, she has put her trust in Christ and he has saved her eternally. When you look at her situation with an eternal perspective – she is safely in God’s kingdom and no physical harm can remove her from that place of ultimate safety. Her captors on the other hand, do not know the God who saves, or if they do, they have rejected his plan for their lives. They are at risk of spending eternity in Hell – definitely not a safe position to be in! So, I am praying that God will rescue not just Phyllis, but also her captors.
STOP PRESS STOP PRESS STOP PRESS
We have just heard that there has been another twin bombing in Jos. We are safe but please pray for comfort and provision for all those affected.
Peace in Jos following the election postponement announcement.
Our speaker for retreat is still willing to come despite the uncertainty of being here over elections.
For peace up to and including the new election period.
Greetings from toasty warm Nigeria!
Well, the cold has gone and been replaced by quite considerable heat. Walking home with Dan after school, only about a ten minute walk, is enough to leave us both gasping for a cold drink. We are hoping to make the most of a day off school that Dan has tomorrow to go to a swimming pool (outdoor and definitely not heated!).
Talking of school and Dan, he is now in his final year of Primary school (Elementary). His teacher has been increasing the amount of homework recently so that when his class hits Secondary school (Middle school for any Americans out there), it won’t be quite so much of a shock. It does mean that he is often having to finish his homework after our evening meal which does not leave a lot of playing time for him during the week. Please pray that he will adjust well to this new routine and that we will still be able to find time when he can just be a boy!
I am also experiencing an adjustment related to school. Once again I agreed to teach the Computer Applications course for Grade 9 (Year 10 for any Brits out there!) at Hillcrest. Although I have already taught this course 3 times, this time is completely different! Hillcrest updated their software from Office XP to Office 2013 – a big jump! As a result the old textbooks can’t be used and as buying new textbooks is ridiculously expensive I decided to try and find a new way to teach it. I discovered some brilliant free online tutorials for Word and Excel. Using these in combination with a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Schoology, we are making it work. Best of all, the students are enjoying it far more than the old way of doing it!
A few weeks ago Tim was able to travel to Togo for a great occasion. It was the dedication of the full Bible in Ncham (also sometimes referred to as Bassar), a language spoken in both Togo and Ghana. For more on this – check out Tim’s blog post at HERE/
The elections are now approaching rapidly and there is a certain amount of tension in the air. The presidential elections look likely to be closely contested and may result in a run-off.
To be honest with you, one of the things that I am struggling through processing is the uncertainty of what may happen. Will everything go smoothly, will there be trouble, will we have to leave the area or even the country?
Please pray for peace for Nigeria and mental peace for us, whatever happens.
Jos has remained calm since the start of the New Year
Tim was able to travel to Togo for the dedication of the Ncham Bible
Dan will cope well with the new levels of homework he is receiving
I will be able to balance teaching with the rest of my work and do all of it for God’s glory!
The whole election process will go smoothly and that we will trust God whatever happens
On the 14th of February 2015 Nigeria will go to the polls to elect a President, a national House of Assembly and a national House of Representatives. On the 28th February they go back to the polls and elect all the State Governors. You may have already noticed in the news that tensions are high and trouble is possible. Pray with us as we enter this period of elections!
Abuja – Nigerian capital and centre of governance –
Pray that God would break all strongholds of self, greed and pride in this city so that God’s Kingdom would reign through effective governance. Declare God’s Names in prayer – Yahweh Tsidkenu (The LORD Our Righteousness), El Elyon (Most High God), God of Justice and Judge of the Earth. Raise up the cross of Christ, which puts to shame every principality and power setting itself up against a knowledge of God – and sets an example of mercy and forgiveness and the true way to our Father. Trust God for righteous leadership to be raised up as God raised up Biblical characters like Esther, Nehemiah and Daniel.
Justice + Righteousness in the Election System + Processes
Pray for the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) for effective fulfilment of their duties in this election season. Pray for an equal opportunity for all to vote and for the uprooting of unrighteous practices in the electoral process. “When justice is done it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers” (Prov. 21:15).
A Right Understanding of Government –
Pray for the Church to have a right understanding of the government’s role and to be faithful in her prayer labors over the government as is commanded (I Tim. 2:1-4). Pray that critical and judgmental spirits would give way to the Spirit of intercession. Pray that the Gospel of Jesus and His mighty Presence would sweep across governmental buildings in this region tearing down every high place setting itself up against knowledge of God.
Strategic Governmental Partnerships to further God’s Purpose –
The history of the modern day Bible translation movement is filled with stories of how God worked in governments in the nations of the earth to fulfill His purpose for the peoples under the authority of those governments. Trust God with us for fresh strategic relationships to be born in this season.
Pray for justice and righteousness to be established in this area of governmental service and that God would strengthen the hearts and hands of the righteous. Pray for open eyes and wisdom as they execute their duties. Pray also for a greater release of timely angelic help over this region during this election season (Psalm 91).
Stand with us against every evil plan and scheme to promote and spread violence during these election days. Pray that God would honor the faithful fasting + prayers of His watchmen so that massive peace would be enjoyed throughout the land + God’s Name will be honored. Pray for God’s perfect will to be done as people go to vote from the 36 states of the Federation -Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara.
CREDIT: Thanks to Alisha Carr our prayer coordinator for sharing the original material.