29 Jan

Robinson Ministry update 28th Jan 2017

Greetings from dusty Jos!
The Harmattan winds have swept in from the Sahara and we are experiencing the joys of being able to write messages in the dust on the table within hours of wiping it.

We had a great Christmas with our two Mums. After a few challenges with the issuing of the visas, especially for Tim’s Mum, the travel here went fairly smoothly. On the road between Abuja and Jos they did hit a bit of trouble and their driver had to find another route but they finally arrived in Jos just after midday, tired but happy to be here. It was lovely to be able to introduce them to friends here and have them join in with our Christmas activities. They travelled back to the UK on New Year’s Day and left us with a house that suddenly seemed much more empty and quiet.

The quiet did not last too long as our good friends the Barnhoorns arrived back from their Canadian furlough on the 2nd of January. This is the family with four kids that we stayed with last summer in Canada. It is great to have them back as we all enjoy hanging out with them. School resumed for Daniel a couple of weeks ago and he was delighted to find that Stephen Barnhoorn is in all the same classes as him!

We are pretty busy at the moment at the office. SIL Nigeria had an auditor in for a couple of weeks to perform an Internal Control Review. As Tim is responsible for most of the areas that are covered by the review he had to do a fair bit of work with him. Tim also had to drive to Abuja (5 hours give or take) the weekend before last to meet with one of our staff who is passing through Abuja on his way north, but the bonus was that he was able to pick up the auditor from the airport and bring him to Jos. This gave them a great chance to get to know each other a bit before the real work started!

I have taken on a new short-term role (on top of my normal job) that will run from now until late June or so. A bit of background first . . . we already have a number of Nigerian Missionary Staff (i.e. Nigerians raising financial support from donors, rather than receiving a salary, just like us!) working for SIL Nigeria. We are planning the next set of training for a new group of Nigerian Missionary Staff to join the organisation. I have been asked to fulfil the role of Resource Assistant for this training. This basically means getting all the materials printed, making sure that rooms are set up appropriately, providing administrative support during the training itself, and no doubt several other things that will become clearer as we go along! I am glad to be involved in supporting the training as I strongly believe that the Nigerian Missionary Staff model is vital, however it is going to be a stretch on top of my normal job.

Thank you for all that you do to support our work here in Nigeria! If you can, please do take 5 minutes or so to pray for these things:

Praise

Great Christmas with the Mums
Barnhoorns return
Safe travel for Tim to and from Abuja

Prayer
Internal Control Review outcomes will be helpful and result in improved processes
Wisdom and energy to balance the demands of my job at the office and Tim’s and Daniel’s needs at home.
For Tim as he attends the Sharpening your interpersonal skills workshop next week.

14 Dec

Robinson Ministry update – 14th Dec 2016

Almost Christmas Greetings,
I pray that in the approach to Christmas Day you are able to experience the joy and peace that is so present in the biblical account of Christmas and that the stress and chaos of the modern Christmas is not overwhelming that. One thing I love about being in Nigeria at this time of year is the lack of emphasis on buying presents for everyone and having all the right trimmings. I find it far easier to relax and remember why we are celebrating here than I ever did in England!

Tim and I both survived the Hausa course and I actually think we both (mostly) enjoyed the experience. One of the ladies on the course was recording each session and then listening to it again at home later. She said one of the things that it highlighted to her was just how much laughter there was during class. It was very stretching, especially for Tim who had a heavy workload for those weeks on top of the course. The monolingual style of teaching was kind of like a long series of overlapping guessing games – what are they saying now? Given the other words that they have used and the actions that they are doing, what must that word mean? But, as advertised, hugely effective, at least for those of us who enjoy guessing games! One of the interesting things that we did was read and act out Bible stories in Hausa – by taking a story that we were all already familiar with, we had a head start on working out what the words meant.
Now that the course has finished our challenge is to keep putting into practice what we have learnt and to try to keep learning!

Dan has exams coming up at the end of this week, Thursday, Friday and Monday of next week. Please pray that he will prepare well and be able to focus during the exams. Thankfully he does not dread exams but he has a heavy cold at the moment and is not quite himself.
In fact we have all been a bit up and down health wise for the last few weeks. I have had a couple of stomach bugs that knocked me out for several days each time and Dan has generously shared his cold with me. My sprained ankle is improving but I still have to walk slowly and can’t walk very far.

We are looking forward to having a visit from Tim’s mum and my mum over the Christmas period. It will be the first time that Tim’s mum has visited us here so we are trying to think of all the things she might enjoy doing and seeing. Trying to think up things to do has rather reminded me that Jos is not exactly a tourist destination! However we will all enjoy having time together and giving them a taste of our life here.

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

Praise
Enjoying our Christmas preparations
Successful Hausa course

Prayer
That we would all have good health, especially while the Mums are here.
That Dan’s exams would go well
That Tim and I would be inspired to continue to use the Hausa we have learnt and to add to it.

10 Nov

Robinson Ministry Update – 10th November 2016

Greetings from a slightly chillier Jos,
Okay, so can’t really complain, it is still about 23 degrees C inside the house and warmer outside. The dry harmattan winds have definitely turned our way, sending us a delicate covering of dust for all our furnishings and dropping the humidity to 20%.

Dan is back at school after his October break. He is coming home with Christmas songs to practice ready for the Christmas concert. Kind of fun (if a little early) to hear jingle bells ringing through the house from his glockenspiel (which I am assured is the only correct name for it, it is definitely NOT a xylophone because it is made of metal).

I had to spend a week of enforced rest at home after spraining my ankle. I can now walk on it and have returned to the office but it is still quite painful at times so having to be careful.

Tim and I are starting a Hausa course on Monday that will run every weekday morning for three weeks. It is going to be a monolingual course, taught purely in Hausa with no English. We have been warned that we are not to take notes but simply to listen. I won’t lie, I am feeling a little nervous about it and feeling like if I can’t see the word written down, how will I remember it? However, we are assured that it is a highly successful technique and I hope to just throw myself into it and have fun. Tim is feeling a little more uncertain about it as I am sure you can imagine if you know him well.

1-learning-to-read-while-listening-to-scriptureOn a rather different topic, mobile phones have revolutionised so much in Africa. I am sat in my living room writing this and I can hear the sound of the New Testament being read in Izere from the kitchen. Our househelp recently bought a new phone and I was able to get her an SD card for it with the Izere Audio New Testament on it. She can now interact with the scriptures in her language despite the fact that she can’t read it. I love hearing her murmurs of understanding and agreement as she listens to it!

Thank you for being part of the team that God has called to this work! If you can, please take some time to pray for the following:

Praise
Improvement in my ankle
Opportunity to improve our Hausa
God’s Word getting out there through mobile phones!

Prayer
My ankle will continue to heal and I will not try and do too much too quickly!
We can make the most of the Hausa course
That more people would have the opportunity to hear God’s word in their language

31 Oct

Robinson Ministry update – 31st October 2016

Greetings from a beautifully warm and sunny Jos,
I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that Jos is at its most pleasant in October. The rain has stopped but there is still plenty of greenery around. The skies are clear blue but the sun is not too hot. The air is drying so no more mould or mango worms but the dust of harmattan has not yet kicked in. Perfect!

We had our annual staff conference a couple of weeks ago. All SIL Nigeria staff in the country gathered in Jos to worship together, discuss strategy, hear what others are up to, etc.
One highlight was hearing stories of how God was impacting Nigeria through the different domains. The linguistics domain shared how the careful analysis of sentence structure (discourse analysis) in one language had enabled the translators to spot and correct hundreds of errors in the draft translation of Luke’s gospel. This included a passage (Luke 14) where the draft translation had the Pharisees (rather than Jesus) healing a man. Very important to know who is doing what to whom in the scriptures!
We also had a seminar on recognising and having grace for our different cultural back grounds. Our staff are made up of Nigerians (from many different parts of Nigeria), Americans, Brits, Dutch, Canadians, Irish as well as people who have lived all over the world and absorbed many different cultures. This diversity is wonderful but can also be a big challenge to understanding one another and working well together!
mail-attachmentWe also had some fun together, with a seven legged race! Which Dan (who was on break from school) and my team won, despite our apparent disorder in the picture!
One final special highlight for me was having an Irish member of staff, whose husband was leading worship on the final day, explain to us some of the deeper significance behind the words in the song “Be thou my vision” which was originally written in Irish. I have always loved that song and her explanation enabled us all to sing it with more passion because of our deeper understanding. This also reminded me of how much more important it is that people understand the scriptures deeply if they are going to respond to God whole-heartedly, which is just not possible in a language they don’t know deeply.

dan-costumeDan had his annual middle school party last weekend and had fun putting together a costume to go as the Hero of his choice – King Peter of Narnia. He won the prize for best book character costume. Having an artist living next door definitely helped, many thanks Michael Harrar!

And finally . . .
I managed to sprain my ankle quite badly on Saturday evening on some uneven ground in the dark. At the moment I am subjecting it to a strict RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) regime and praying that I will be able to bear weight on it soon.

Thank you as always for your prayers and support!

Praise
Encouraging staff conference
Fun times for Dan

Prayer
Healing for my ankle

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!

Praise
Successful workshop

Prayer
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!

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

Prayer
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.

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

Prayer
–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.

Praise
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

Prayer
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!

Praise
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!).

Prayer
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.

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