04 Jul

Cost of being a missionary – Family

This is the first in what I hope will be a series but who knows where it will go. I expect some may be more theological and others a bit more about everyday life, not that very day life isn’t about theology or the other way around, but I am not writing a PHD theological thesis, just a few observations about being a missionary.
So onto family. We have been in Nigeria for nearly a year, we have missed birthdays, Christmas, Easter, anniversaries, cousins, siblings and more. We have been blessed by a visit from my in-laws. But
every now and again, you wonder just exactly what Jesus meant when he said “follow me”. No matter what he calls you to do, there is going to be a cost involved. As a missionary leaving and working away from my passport country, we experience all sorts of cost, both financial and personal. Right now, we are feeling the cost of being away from family. The early disciples we called to drop everything, in some cases, abandon their family, their family’s expectations and even some family responsibilities in order to follow him. For us, we miss family especial at times we would normally be hanging out with family. Things I am sure are a lot easier than the old days, with email, Skype and cell phones you can be in touch fairly instantly. It was an SMS txt message from Ali’s mum saying that her mum, Ali’s nana had died on Saturday afternoon. She was 96 and a strong Christian women now in glory loving Jesus. But Ali is feeling the loss, while we are trying to figure out about her going to the UK to be with the much missed family for a time. People didn’t fly home in the old days, often because they didn’t receive news so readily, but if we do have the option should we take it. Much prayer needed as we feel this ‘cost’ right now

20 Feb

River Crossing

for your viewing pleasure – Tim Driving across a river. I’d LOVE to make up some adventurous story about long lost tribes, but truth is we were heading to a camp site along the river (15 h drive from Jos) for a rather last minute holiday just before Christmas 2011.

Driving across the river was a LOT OF FUN!

11 Jan

Christmas in Nigeria

Well, the dust has finally settled after Christmas, actually quite literally as our house help was away for the best part of 2 weeks!   For me it seemed quite uneventful, yet fun/  It was odd hearing songs about dreaming of white Christmas blaring out from stores in town.  That particular song always reminds of hanging out in Devon during the summer, a certain collection of friends (you know who you are Dave!) would sing it at full volume for basically no reason that I can remember, except maybe that it was in fact the middle of summer.  I am discovering that a lot of Nigerians long for things that are from America or Europe.  They often think that the US and Europe are better places and they think, behave and have the things they do, then life will be better.  So you find churches that have adopted our way of singing, you find people who love to watch 24 – let alone every village displaying the latest English premiership scores.

Christmas seemed a bit more low key.  There are hundreds of £ spend on decorating the streets.  I didn’t feel as if my toes were going to drop of as I shopped.  People here in the city often head out to the village to be with their extended families, have a nice lunch, not too dissimilar to us at home.  (we even managed to see the queen on youtube a few hours after her broadcast).  There isn’t I don’t think the same level of materialism surrounding Christmas as there is at home.  We certainly didn’t’ have a stack of gifts under the tree, we were very blessed to come home to a wee parcel on our door step one evening and we our selves and almost filled a small stocking for each other.  We gave Dan a new bible his first full text – he loves it, he feels like nothing is missing from the stories now!  He also had fun building a Lego helicopter set that had made it through the post (again you know who you are Dave!).

We made it to a Christmas eve service held on the school basketball courts, it was slightly odd needing sunglasses on Christmas eve.  But then the bomb threats started , and at 1100 peace was broken then a church was attacked in the city.  There is a write on on BBC, but it was an unusual thing to be concerned about.  The day we celebrate Jesus, the prince of PEACE coming to earth, there was a lot of security and tension around the city.   We headed up a block to be with some friends fro lunch, it was strange not to have turkey or roast potatoes or cheese and biscuits (oo i miss stilton!), or in fact no Christmas pudding.  It wasn’t’ strange with with our friends who also just arrived in Nigeria a few months ago, it was totally okay for us to talk about home, and what we missed and the people we would normally be with and family traditions and various things.  It felt very natural normal, dare I use the word -nice.  They are friends that we have got to know well and are comfortable around, sharing the struggles of settling into a new place and doing things for the first time, we really appreciated them having us over and allowing us to be family.

Fortunately there was no other trouble in town over the holiday period, but we are now 2 days into a national strike focused on the price of petrol that has gone from 65n to 140n over night last week.  Os far so good, still calm around town.

15 Apr

Aspergers Syndrome, I’m an Aspie and proud!

Initially this whole thing was a relief but at the same time unchartered territory for me and hard to process and understand.   There doesn’t’ seem to be a definitive description of Aspergers.  The most useful I ahve found comes from the Autism Edu website.

http://www.autismedu.com/glossary.html

Asperger’s Syndrome – Is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by near normal language acquisition accompanied by marked delays in the social domain. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome have normal to above normal intelligence and tend to have restricted areas of interests. Many people/professionals refer to High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) as one in the same. There is still a lot of controversy as to whether AS and HFA should be two distinct disorders. It is important to note though that some children diagnosed with classic Autism at an early age can gain so much skills that by the time they are adolescents they do not fit the criteria for Autism according to the DSM IV, but Asperger’s Syndrome.

 

Basically, my brain is wired a bit differently – I see things and process in ways other people don’t.  I struggle with things that other people don’t.  But at least understanding that my brain is wired differently, removes the pressure to be something i am not.  Spending so long trying to be like everyone else causes exhaustion, frustration and contributes to depression.     Instead I can put things in place to avoid the frustration or at least recognise the areas that can cause frustration and when those things do happen – (which they will) I can try react in a way that is appropriate.

Imagine computers, on the whole computers at the same they look similar, some look prettier than others, some have better memory than others, some a larger than others.    Having Aspergers is a bit like being a MAC in the world of computers.  Basically we are the same, but sometimes we are hard to communicate with, sometimes we don’t’ respond as expected,  and some things we do exceptional well don’t take that analogy too far though!

I struggle to keep myself in check, trying not to expect people to understand and treat me differently, trying not to fall into the victim spirit.   I do epically fail on so many occasions I am only at the start of this journey and I hope over time I can make more adjustments and observe my behaviour and thought processes earlier.

I’ll some more later down the line about how it works out in my life.

 

 

11 Apr

Depression part 2

Just over a year ago I wrote a blog post about being diagnosed with depression, you can read it here.   Well it is now another year and a bit further on and things and moved and I think they have progressed.  2 things happened that eventually came together at the doctors.

1 –  A rather daft facebook game testing for autistic traits (that I scored a bit higher on that I was comfortable with), a bit more research just to put my mind led to a desire to have a discussion with my doctor about it.

2– One of the things the doc had asked me to do was to try and identify things that triggered ‘down times’.  I had quite a list of things that caused frustration the combination of which can cause downs.

Just before the summer 2010 I was having that review with the Doctor and as doctors do, he asked what he could do to help, I mentioned both of these things.  He started by looking at the list of things I had pulled together, and looked at the list and pulled out a book about aspergers syndrome.  It turns out my list of frustrations were all part of a bigger list of possible aspergers traits.

So with that list and the discussion of the results from silly online games, we had quite a discussion! The conclusion was that I am a high function aspie.  Aspie is the term used to describe someone who has Aspergers Syndrome.

A rather unexpected turn in the scheme of things, but an eye opener and again, great to be able to understand myself a bit more and realise that so much of my frustration in life is simply the result of not understanding before that my brain is genuinely wired differently from most people.   Okay we all work differently, think differently, act differently and behave differently; we are unique just like everybody else!

I’ll write some more later down the line about how it works out in my life, it is an ongoing process I hope to continue to discover as time goes on.

 

26 Nov

New Website

SOO many things need sorting and thinking about and organising before heading out to Nigeria.  1 such thing is this blog.

Sorry if this bores you, but it used to be hosted by the people who provided my internet at home in Chinnor.  When we head out to Nigeria, we will no longer have a supply company that can host the blog.   After a whole heap of research, I took the plunge and bought a new address www.robinsonta.org and some new server space.  I managed to take advantage of American thanksgiving sales!

You’ll notice  the site it almost identical, but a few kinks i am still trying to work out!

11 Oct

Knee Update

a bit like how I feel sometimes!

So I have been lame at blogging as intended, but to be honest, how much can I say about sitting on my bum for 4 weeks?
My knee IS progressing, the swelling is down, movement seems to be up, and I am able to put a bit of weight on it too. I hope to go out for a wee test drive in the next day or two, see how it copes, in the hope i can start to get out the house more often! The plight of not being able to carry anything is extremely annoying, but as one does, you develop ways to cope and survive.

Having all the time in the world, during the day, it seems remarkably difficult to get motivated to do things. I have been trying to write a newsletter fro 4 weeks now. I mean come on that is stupid. It has been checked by two people, and now I basically need to re-write it. 🙁 BUT when it gets written, it will be the basis for our support raising for Nigeria. So I guess it is pretty important to get it right.

I did read 1 book. An excellent book too. but I’ll write about that in a separate post, I mean I’ve waited three weeks, another couple days wont matter!

17 Sep

Iphone 4 :)

The iPhone 4 🙂

Please excuse the self indulgence, but I was blessed recently by a phone upgraded, upgraded at the cost of successfully selling the old phone. I LOVED my iPhone 3g Enough said. I loved it. It did everything said say, for me, the keys were email, Facebook, Twitter, calls texts, web, music, bible with note taking function, geocaching apps and a plethora of games. I really did live on my phone so to speak. I didn’t’ think it could be topped. MY only complaint about my phone was that it didn’t work when I travelled. Inadvertently I had a faulty handset that didn’t get picked up as faulty until out of warranty. MUCH discussion with the phone company later, upgrade was in order. My suffice to say, I LOVED my phone.

Ali would freely tell you that I quite like gadgets. It’s true I can’t deny that I do like a gadget, but it has to be useful to me, not destined to be sat in a cupboard. Unlike the sowing machine I got for Ali or the hair straighteners. Haha, one of our family dynamics – the usefulness of gadgets!
So like ultimate kitchen gadget, George Forman grill. LOVE it, use it a lot.
Bread machine, we hardly EVER buy a loaf of bread any more.
Boss GT-10, use it EVERY week.

An AWEFUL lot of fuss was made about the launch of the Iphone4. The demo didn’t’ work, the areal had problems, it was square cut not round blah blah blah and also, the price tag L Every TV ad spot, I could see Ali glancing over to asses if I was paying any attention, and would I ultimately be wanting one. Well of course!
I had never had an ipod, or really used a smart phone for all it’s functions until I was offered an upgrade of the iphone some 18 months ago. So having got myself totally set up to use it to it’s fullest extent, I was reluctant to transfer to a new brand of phone losing apps and info in the process. Selling the old phone covered the cost of the upgrade totally J and no need to change phone contract J

The iPhone 4

  • Better Reception – Seems to get receptions in places my old phone didn’t.
  • AMAZING screen – I have watched several movies on it quite satisfactorily.
  • I actually prefer the weight and square-ness. I feel like I am holding a tool rather than a toy, seems a bit more serious to me, which is nice.
  • The WiFi reception is literally 100% better that the 3g.
  • For me the upgrade to 32gb means no longer having to select what to put on there or not!
  • Battery lasts a whole lot longer, I can just about get away with not charging it every night.
  • Speakers for playing music are way better
  • Ability to multi tasking apps means on a call I can access info.
  • I would have paid for a case anyway, so a free 1 is a bonus to me not a hassle!

Now the research begins to see if I will be able to use it in Nigeria!

10 Sep

Knee Surgery Update.

My sexy stockings, issued pre-surgery

All went very well!?  I headed in and was in the admission section at 0720, the got me straight into prep, filling in the forms, signing the papers, getting changed.  Stockings were given to me for free 🙂   Walked myself to the anaesthetic room, next thing i know i am half awake being told how to click the morphine button.    I was REALLY out of it for the rest of the day, Ali popped in after school and took great delight in seeing me and a not very with it state.   Niffer and Kat who worked on the tour with me in May and June also popped in, it was great to see some young people on the ward! I wasn’t allowed out of the bed all day on Wednesday, thankfully managed to pee before they were concerned about me, maybe just the mention of catheter was enough Having said that peeing in a bottle is NOT easy when lying in a bed!  On a drip mean needed to pee in the middle of the nigh (that might be normal for some of you!)t, and people sticking needles in and checking blood pressure that and the snoring gent across the ward did mean not a whole lot of sleep, on the  up side, being stone awake at 3 in the morning, and having Skype on my Iphone, did mean a long overdue catch up with Alex in Alaska WIN!

Thursday was much better, very little after effects of being under the knife.  Trying to wash, have a bed changed is all a lot  more complex that I would have imagined, but thankfully at about 1030, the physiotherapist (or physioterrorist as they are sometimes known) turned up to get me out of the bed!  We tried a frame for a few steps them moved onto crutches.  1130 they came back and took me to the stairs and showed me how to get up and down.  They seemed very happy with it all and were prepared to let me go home!   I wasn’t sure i wanted to go home, all a bit nervous about that.  Lunch i had curry and a steam pudding with custard, got to admin, wasn’t’ looking forward to the food too much, but surprisingly tasty it was!  I had a wee nap to be woken by my pastor Geoff popping in for a visit.  I was a bit consumed it wasn’t visiting hours yet, but apparently as a minister of Religion, he isn’t’ restricted to those times 🙂  I braved a little walk after Geoff had gone, and felt a whole lot more confident about surviving at home.  My big concern about home, is that our toilet it up stairs, would staying in for another day to rest up before having to go up and down so much be a good idea, to be honest, when I thought about trying another night like that again, I was pretty happy about tackling the stairs!

Knee this morngin, only got 5 little dressings. But is swollen the size of a balloon!

I was in the hospital less than 36 hours, which seems crazy, but I have fairly basic meds, exercises to do and a rather fancy ice pack to use on my knee.

Please do keep praying for a quick recovery.  I am not allowed to put any weight on the leg for 3 weeks, and it could be as long as 6 weeks before I can drive again.  If only I had an automatic, it could be as quick as 3!

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