Well, we have been back in Nigeria for 4 weeks already and the time has kind of flown by but also dragged at the same time, with so many interruptions leaving us often unable to get on with the things we want to! There has been some civil unrest around Jos where we live, but we thank God that he has protected us and our colleagues through this season.
We had a very positive time in the UK (NOT COVID positive thankfully!) but did run in to trouble trying to log into the website that we use to send these updates. We are very sorry for the resulting lack of communication (outside of the usual social media).
Our furlough in summary
We visited 8 different churches in 8 different weeks. We rekindled existing friendships and started some new ones, mostly from behind masks and without coffee after the service! Met with about 45 different people outside of those church meetings, either over coffee or a meal. We sold a house and have nearly bought a house and also bought a car. We drove over 3,000 miles and had fun hunting for the cheapest fuel. We visited dentists and opticians, even a cricket match which got abandoned before a ball was bowled, as well as charity shops (thrift stores to our American readers) galore. However, we were not able to see everyone we had hoped or wanted to see and there are even parts of the country that we didn't make it to at all! Those folks will be our top priority when we return next summer, for at least a year.
One of the many unexpected twists in our summer plans was hearing that upon returning from a wonderful family holiday with ourselves and Ali’s brother’s family, Judy (Ali’s mum) had suffered a serious stroke. A couple days later, when things had calmed down, we popped Ali on a train from where we were south of London, up to Gateshead in the North East of England where the rest of her family are based these days. Dan and I continued our itinerary as best we could and caught up with them all 3 weeks later. There have been many good days and some frustrating days in the weeks following but it seems Judy is progressing well enough that the hospital sent her home earlier this week! There is hospital beds and carers twice a day, so pray for them as they adjust to this stage of recovery.
While we were gone
Even though we left Nigeria for a while, plenty was still going on. Three new staff arrived from the USA, others returned from extended leaves. Projects continued to work towards meeting language development and translation goals, including the ut-Hun people who after much much hard work, received their copy of the Genesis video. You can see clips here on Youtube! It is always exciting to see the fruits of your labour.
The current situation
Dan is back into school for his final year of High School. He will leave with a High School diploma and hopefully enough AP (advanced placement) credits to apply for university in the UK when we return next year. We are currently thinking about doing a gap year with him in the UK before applying to give him a chance to settle in to UK life before having to face the fresh challenges of University.
Ali is back to keeping Dan and Tim fed, watered and clothed as well as helping many folks store digital materials in the appropriate places as well as trying to work with all the various partner organisations to get a more definitive list of all the work that is in fact going on in Nigeria currently.
Tim is trying to catch up on the tasks that weren’t completed while we were away but also trying to detangle his job role so that planning can begin on who will take over the various parts next summer, or before if appropriate.
Thank God for safe travel and safe arrival
For God’s continued protection over us in Jos
For the amazing progress that Ali’s mum has made in her recovery
For the chance to serve God here in Nigeria for another year
Pray for Jos with so much trouble and insecurity around.
Pray for Nigeria as a whole with so many other pockets of trouble around.
Pray for Dan as he settles back into school.
Pray for Tim as he tries to focus on the here and now.
Pray for Ali’s mum’s continued recovery
Pray for Ali as she supports everyone else in the ways that she is.