01 Sep

Robinson Ministry update – 1st September 2017

Dear lovely people,

Greetings from thundery Jos. The rainy season is taking out its fury on us at approaching the end of its reign (or maybe rain?). We are having plenty of thunder storms with strong winds and incredibly loud cracks of thunder. Parts of the country are suffering with serious flooding and more loss of life than has been seen in the floods in Texas but also considerably less coverage in the news. Being on a high plateau, we have not had issues with flooding however.

Sometimes it can feel like we are all working so hard but the progress in getting accessible Bibles to those who need them is so slow. Other times it feels like there is a feast of Bibles arriving.  Over the last two weeks, newly published New Testaments in three Nigerian languages landed on my desk. Now obviously my desk doesn’t need them but what this really means is that containers full of New Testaments have arrived in Jos and they are now on their way to the three language communities that need them. Please pray for the Kuteb, the Hyam and the Mwaghavul as they celebrate the arrival of their scriptures. Pray for lives to be impacted and more people to be brought into the amazing kingdom of God through His word in their language.

Tim is heading over to Niger State this weekend.  It is 5 hours drive to Abuja on Saturday and He will meet the visitors off the plane and then head north on a 10 hour drive with them to the areas where the languages are spoken.  Tim and the visitors will be working on implementing a new way of planning, funding and implementing five Bible translation projects that we work with in that area. The roads they will be travelling on are apparently not all in a good condition and it is likely to be a  tiring journey. Please pray that they will make it safely and with energy to spare for the discussions ahead.  Tim will then take a week off to recuperate after the intensity of the last few months.

I (Ali) have recovered most of my equilibrium following missing taking my thyroxine for 5 days last month. I had a couple of days of feeling pretty much wiped out and unable to leave the house but I feel mostly back to normal now. I will get a blood test done in a couple of weeks’ time to see how it is looking.

Dan has been elected as a class officer for the coming year. This is the first year that his class has had these positions and he was not sure whether to run for election (oh yes, that is what they call it!) or not.  In the end he picked the position that sounded like the least responsibility, Store Assistant Manager. Not entirely clear on what that will entail but he was thrilled, and rather surprised, to win.

Thank you once again for your support of God’s work here in Nigeria, please continue to pray for us!

Praise

  • More people getting access to God’s word to them in their language
  • Quick recovery from missed meds for Ali
  • Dan being encouraged by being chosen as a class officer.

Prayer

  • Safe travel for Tim and the visitors up into Niger State
  • Successful meetings and discussions so that the projects there can move forward.
  • Those suffering with the flooding in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
31 Jul

Robinson Ministry Update – 28th July 2017

Jos has turned a luscious green which is beautifully restful after 6 months of brown dustiness. For me the sense of restfulness is added to by the fact that Dan has finished school for the year and so I am on a reduced work schedule. Tim is still working hard however. In fact he is working even harder than usual at the moment as he is currently the Acting Director for SIL Nigeria due to our Director (Tom Crabtree) being in the US for the summer. This means that all the tricky situations land on his desk to deal with. Please pray that God will sustain him and give him strength and wisdom in this challenging time!

I have finished with all the preparations for our Nigerian Missionary Staff’s (NMS) Discipleship Ministry Partner Development training, also known as the Blitz due to its intensity! It has been a crazy few months but so fabulous to finally see all the materials come together and be put to good use.

Both Tim and I had successful trips in May. My travel to Germany was smooth and the time felt like a real break. We did work hard but the saying “a change is as good as a rest” definitely applied. It was great to meet people who are working across Africa and Eurasia and swapping stories. Several of the people there I had communicated with before by e-mail but it was the first time I had met them in person. The interface that we were being trained on is a brilliant new way for us to provide updates to the Ethnologue. On the way back to Nigeria I managed to have a few hours exploring Frankfurt with a newly made friend (a Hungarian based in Cameroon) who had been my roommate during the training.
Tim’s time in the UK was rather more intense. He was attending the Elim Missions Conference and then the Elim Leaders Summit. Both involved long days but also great interactions with other Elim missionaries. He managed to squeeze in a few days with family on either end and arrived back in Nigeria feeling encouraged.

Dan’s exams went well. Thankfully he does not seem to get stressed by exams and usually does well. His biggest challenge is taking his time and writing neatly enough that his teachers can read his answers. He is now enjoying a lovely long summer break. Having the Barnhoorns upstairs has definitely improved the quality of his summer with plenty of willing participants for board games and Lego building and just generally messing about with sticks!

Thank you so much to all of you who are supporting us and making our work possible. If you have a few minutes to pray for us, we would really appreciate it!

Praise:
— A time of rest for Ali after an intense few months working on preparations for our Nigerian Missionary Staff’s partnership training.
— Dan came through his exams with flying colours and is now enjoying his break. (Back to school on August 9th).

Prayer:
— Wisdom and peace for Tim as he handles the challenges of being SIL Nigeria’s Acting Director. (The real director is back August 8th)
— That Tim can find opportunities for rest as well.

11 Jul

4 bed in 4 nights – Ministry Update – 10th June 2015

Greetings from Thame / Gateshead!
So far in our whistle-stop tour of the UK we have been to:
Thame, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Altringham (Manchester), Soulby (Cumbria), Lancaster, High Wycombe, Polegate, Eastbourne, Iden Green, Maidstone, London, Rugby, Corsham, Bristol, Malvern, Worcester Stroud, Weston-super-Mare AND Gloucester.
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I think our record so far is four different beds in four nights. Thankfully God has been very gracious and our schedule really has not felt too hectic. We have had great times hanging out with old friends, renewing friendships (Richard – here is your mention), making new friends, living with family.

Still to come (at time of writing) we have:
Lincoln, Preston, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, Horley, Redhill, Reigate, Henley, and probably some others that I have forgotten!

Someone at one of the churches we visited asked a really interesting question that made me stop and think. She asked “Why is it important for you to remain connected with people in the UK?”
We are putting a lot of energy and time into visiting as many people and churches as we can while we are in the UK and being asked this question helped me to really think through why. Firstly, of course it is great to catch up with all y’all (as some of our American friends would say). But it actually goes a lot deeper than that.
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I have this picture in my head of an iceberg. Weird, you might say, I thought you were based in N1geria, not the Antarctic? Bear with me. Tim and Dan and I are the tip of the iceberg, the bit that sticks up out of the water, that sticks into N1geria. That tip of the iceberg can’t stay above the water, can’t stay in N1geria, unless there is a whole lot more of the iceberg sitting below the surface. We need a vast team of people, praying for us, supporting us financially and generally being there for us in order for our family to be above the water in N1geria. This means that every single one of you who prays for us, who supports us, are just as much a part of the iceberg as we are, just as much a part of what God is doing through Bible translation in N1geria. So next time you are tempted to think that your life is boring, or that nothing you are doing is impacting the world, remember the iceberg!
If you don’t really feel like you are part of the iceberg yet and would like to join our iceberg, please do drop us a line, we would love to have you on board (or should that be on ice?)!
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We have just heard that there has been another twin bombing in Jos on Sunday night. Please pray for peace and unity in our home city. Pray for those who have lost friends and family that they will turn to their loving heavenly Father for comfort.

31 Aug

How do you judge church?

Jubilee Chruch - Rome

My Dad and family are in the unenviable position of having to choose a church.  They have just moved to Lanceshire UK after 10 years in Calgary Canada.  On Sunday we found ourselves visiting “a church on their list” to try.  On the way over I was pondering, well how on earth do you make a decision on which church you want to go to.   What is it exactly, that makes a ‘good’ church?  How much is personal preference, how much is biblical guidelines, does it really matter anyway, as long as you have a good time?   Is it really possible to cross one off the list after only 1 visit?   I figure there are a few things that everyone observes, and probably I guess everyone has their own priority list.

1)      Worship.  At least this is pretty high on my list. (type of songs, quality and style might be of interest)

2)      Word.  Teaching, how is it done, what level, how deep, how long!

3)      Welcome. Did anyone talk to you? How friendly were folks?

4)      Coffee.  Another one for me.  Maybe it is an interesting indicator of how much the church REALLY cares for its members.  I like good coffee, don’t’ have much patience for cheap coffee.

5)      Demographic.  Are there people like me in this church?

6)      The toilets.  Often overlooked, but on Sunday the gents had an 8 x 6 bit of stainless steel behind the urinals.  Not sure what it means, but it did strike me as odd!

7)      Notice sheet and Mission notice board, give a good insight into church life and what happens during the week as well as the mission focus or lack their off, gives and indication of the churches focus.

8)      Children’s ministry.  WE have a 6 year old, so it features for us.

I am sure there are LOADS of other things, these are ‘Sunday morning’ church things, I mean, small groups would probably be on that list somewhere.

So in this craziness, how would you prioritise all the various stuff and pick a church?  Bit like a marriage, there is going to be compromise involved.  But what about the website?  What about opportunities to serve in the Church.

AHHHH i’m glad I am not on the open market looking for a church!  It does make me wonder abotu what impression does our chruch give to people who are visiting.   I love the fact that we now start at 1000 wtih coffee and donuts,  and nice coffee too!

28 Nov

facebook and church

Just read a GREAT post about how to use facebook effectively,

fortunately i agree with it all lol.   I guess my churhc is trying it out withthe youth, but somehow they don’t connect with it.   To be hosnet it is becuase thye are an apethic ‘bunch of losers’.   as they would say …

Facebook and church 2

I’ve blogged on the subject of Facebook before,

Facebook and church
Facebook survey results
Is it the end for Facebook?

I know that people have mixed emotions when it comes to using it for their church. Based upon my previous research, observations and some personal reflections this is my opinion of how best to use Facebook as part of your church’s ministry.

Let’s start with the limitations of Facebook:
1 – Age: Facebook is mostly used by under 30s. OK there are some exceptions to this as a rule, but honestly, has this social networking thing really impacted your parents generation?

Read the rest at jouneyman’s blog.

09 Sep

Future of church?

I was sent thing video, very amusing at first, but actually a very good serious well produced video. This is why we need more youth workers!

06 Aug

Glory fills the earth

Don’t get me wrong I love hearing and finding new worship songs. The thing is, sometimes I wonder how much is spent on finding nice words that fit the melody vs words that are scripturally sound and appropriate.

for example, listening to a CD from a popular youth orientate church meeting, and 1 lyric “The train of his robe fills the temple” now to you or i who are aware of the monarchy and what that might look like it is fine. The the less educated / foreign, trying to relate the 1036 to Bristol into worshiping our lord Jesus could be a bit harder.

“Washed by the blood of the lamb”. NOT knowing the full context of that statement does conjure up some rather disgusting images akin to gladiator or blade …

I was in a meeting yesterday busy singing a newer song that i actually quite like, but then i can across a line in the chorus …

Holy is the lord God almighty
The earth is filled with his glory
Holy is the lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with his glory

It stopped me in my tracks. YES the lord is holy. Can’t argue with that, great lyrics for a sound about lifting him him and glorifying him. BUT is the earth really filled with his glory? When i think of the word filled i think about every opening, nook cranny and crevice is filled. there is no gaps, no space, no extra bit can squeeze in. And to be honest i don’t think the earth is filled like that. Having just come back form Africa with a team visiting a translation project, we were constantly faced with needs. Poverty was everywhere, illness, death, dark spirituality. How is is possible for me to stand and try to declare to the world that the Lord’ God Almighty’s Glory is filling the earth?

08 Jul

Togo Team Update 4 (July 1st – July 6th)

We have been busy, hot, tired, wet and excited but not all the same time!
Tim’s throat infection has cleared up, and bar a wee headache here and
there we are all in good health.

Tuesday
We managed to get out in the morning to visit all the people we were
supposed to see on Monday. We started with a Mototaxi relay up to the
traditional chief, only to find he had popped out to see the Prefet. 90
minutes later he arrived back to welcome us in his ‘palace’. It is the
one situation requiring the best practised etiquette. The team did really
well, helped by Samuel doing all the hard work for us! From there we
visited the Prefet, he is the government representative in the area,
responsible for the implementation of policy. He is not however a
representative of the people to the government like our MP’s at home. From
there we visited the Police chief, who was very happy to see us, and even
happier to identify that Ryan Giggs who plays for his team, Manchester
United, was from Wales like Richy and Beth! From there we headed up the
road a bit to visit Christof at his house. He is one of the translators
and he has been off sick for 8 months dealing with cancer. From there
home for a late lunch!
In the afternoon we relaxed and played lots of cards!
PRAY for Christof, Samuel’s prayer is that he will get
to know God for sure before he dies.
PRAY for the rest of the team working without him and trying to
sensitively plan for the future.

Wednesday
After a relaxed start to the day and a quick supply run, we headed down to
the translation office to spend some time with the team learning more
about the process they go through to do the translation. They were in the
process of checking the first draft of 1 Samuel 29. The first translator
had translated from French and a couple of other versions into Ncham. The
checking process gets more people involved and compares the text to the
original Hebrew to make sure it is as accurate as possible. There is
plenty of discussion over terms and words and meanings until they agree
the correct way to explain the situation in Ncham.
In the afternoon we started to do some language learning. Basic greetings
are a little complex. There is morning, afternoon and evening greetings
in both singular and plural. There are a few changes required with
respect to generations too! The team did great and then we did a small
walk about to practice our greetings.
PRAISE for being able to start speaking Ncham.
PRAY for patience as we move on from basic greetings.
PRAISE for 1 Samuel now done in second draft!

Thursday
Anthropology is the study of people and culture and at a very basic level
is about observing and for us, comparing. So first thing in the morning we
headed out for a long walk around town, practising all our greetings as we
went. After the walk we stopped and had a fab discussion about the
difference between Bassar and home, and some of the culture we had
observed and how people dress and behave and what work they do. IT is
HOT and sticky by the time we get home, thank God for running water today!
In the afternoon we do our second bout of language learning looking at
things like yes and no, please and thank you, sorry, excuse me, and my name
is, and what is your name. These are a bit harder and take more
practice, but we get there and have even been given Ncham names!!
PRAISE for being able to safely go around town, welcomed by so many people.

Friday
Folks are feeling a bit tired, a bit sick of red sauce and ready for a
break. It is okay, people get by with the delightful thoughts of Kara on
Saturday, a swimming pool and some shopping! After breakfast we do a walk
around another part of town, and attempt to draw some maps. This helps us
to recognise what is at the centre of town and get some idea of what
people might consider important. In Bassar, it is the market! Afternoon
is spent sleeping by most and relaxing by the rest.
PRAY for the energy levels of the team

Saturday
Had a day over in Kara which is about an hour and a half away from Bassar.
Kara is the home of the SIL headquarters in Togo, also the home of
Sheila Crunden. SIL is Wycliffe’s partner in Togo, they are involved in Bible
Translation and literacy work out here. Sheila is a Wycliffe UK
member working here in Togo and she was part of the Ncham New Testament
project way back in the 70’s. It was wonderful to hear her testimony
and hear how God has challenged her and used her here in Togo, a great
encouragement to the team. We picked up Becky that we met on the journey
up last week and headed to the market to buy cloth. It was a nice market,
not much hassle and a vast array of cloth. Lunch was at the hotel Kara,
chicken and chips went down a treat and were followed by a swim in
the hotel pool!
PRAISE for the opportunity to chill out for a day.

Sunday
This morning we were at the AOG (Assemblies of God) church that Samuel attends, it was like 3
½ hours long, lots of choirs and groups singing, 45 minutes of sermon by
Tim, but only because he was translated into French and then into Ncham!
Then there was a massive storm which made it almost impossible to hear
what was going on. We eventually discover the pastor teaching about
communion, which then followed! The afternoon was spent sleeping and
chilling, and the evening meeting we were going to attend got moved until
Wednesday. We also made an offer to the people in the church to buy
discounted New Testaments at the office on Thursday. We shall see what
comes of that later in the week!

01 Jul

Togo team update 3

Hey folks we are up in Bassar!

Monday afternoon as we write this email, we are all a little bored and
slightly claustrophobic because it has been raining since 0300 in the
morning and we haven’t been able to leave the house yet!

Friday we were still in Lomé, we did some cultural orientation in the
morning then Tim and Samuel ran around town exchanging money and buying
supplies. Bassar has a population of around 40,000(?) but there are
something’s you simply can’t buy. Jam for example. In the afternoon we
visited the Togo Bible Society office to find our selves in the middle of
their postponed weekly chapel meeting! It was wonderful to find out more
about what they do in Togo, especially as they are partners in the Bassar
project. We then headed off to the Wycliffe Togo office only to find
that the head of the office (Napo) who is an Ncham (the language in Bassar) speaker
was in the north of the country. Maybe we will try him again at the end of
the trip.

a.. PRAY for the Togo Bible society, they are looking to expand their
team so that can do more translation and more distribution.
b.. PRAY for Napo the head of Wycliffe Togo as he travels that he will
clearly communicate the need to have bibles in mother tongues.

Saturday we were up early, breakfast at 6, the bus was an hour late to
pick us up, some would say “that is Africa”. We loaded up and headed north.
The driver was very good, knowing all the best places to buy more supplies
especially fruit along the way. We got stocked up with bananas, mangoes,
pineapples and oranges. The first three are not really available in Bassar.

Along the way we stopped for lunch in Sokodé, and met up with Becky Snead
who is a Wycliffe UK member working on a dictionary project. It was a
welcome break from the bus! We arrived in Bassar at 1600 which gave us a
couple hours to check the place out, set up the mozzie nets, get the water
filter going and connect up the newly bought gas cooker. Bar a tap that
wouldn’t turn off and a bit of tape required for the window screen, the
house was wonderful.

a.. Pray for Becky, she is trying to get the dictionary in a state to
publish by December.
b.. PRAISE for the safe, trouble free journey.

Sunday was our first church experience. We attended Bassar Baptist
church, which was a wonderful gentle introduction to African church life. The
service was a bit hot, but not too long, and Tim preached for the first
time on this trip. The whole team were clapping and moving in the worship,
even recognising some of the songs we could sing along in English. We even had
a chuckle when they pulled the hymn books out for two songs!

Mid afternoon we popped over to Samuel’s house to meet and greet his
family and present the gifts we bought for the kids. It was a warm afternoon
but good to meet the rest of Samuel’s clan. A little odd watching Tom and
Jerry in French though!

Post evening devo’s Tim and Richie managed to run back to Samuel’s house
to watch the last 15 minutes of Spain beating Germany for the Euro 2008
title.

a.. PRAY for Samuel, for protection over his family,
b.. PRAY he finds the time and finance to finish building his new house.
c.. PRAY as he embarks on a pig farming income generation project.

Monday the rain started during the night, lightning and thunder right over
head, somehow some of the team managed to sleep though it! After lunch
the rain actually stopped enough for Samuel to take Tim to the doctor. Tim
has managed to pick up a throat infection which is limiting his ability to
swallow. The doc has prescribed some anti-biotic tablets and some
anti-inflammatory; he should be fine in 5 days time.

a.. PRAY the medicine works.
b.. PRAY for Jenny as she keeps the team working

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