Robinson Ministry update - 21st Jan 2022
Greetings from a dry and dusty Nigeria. Everything seems to be shades of brown these days, a bit like an old sepia tinted photo. The Harmattan dust-carrying wind hasn't quite kicked in yet but it is still plenty dusty!
I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and were able to celebrate with loved ones. We took advantage of the lack of rain at this time of year to have an outdoor Christmas lunch with friends. Tim did his usual brilliant job of producing a slap up 5 course feast for almost 30 people.
One of the features of our Christmas holidays that you might be better able to relate to was multiple COVID-19 tests. None of them were positive however, for which we are grateful!
Before Christmas I had the privilege to attend the Send-Forth for our househelp Victoria's daughter Joy as part of her wedding preparations. A Send-Forth doesn't really have a British equivalent but this one was an opportunity for her to be prayed for and blessed at her church followed by a traditional wedding at her parents' house. It was so special to be welcomed and allowed to be part of the occasion.
We also ticked off one of our Nigeria bucket list items by visiting Yankari Game Reserve and its glorious warm springs with several other family friends. It is one of mine (Ali's) and Dan's favourite places in Nigeria. Though Tim finds it a bit too dysfunctional to be restful, he nobly came with us and did all the driving to and from.
We had to scale back our planned New Year's roast pig celebrations. There had been too many people testing positive for COVID and we felt that it just wasn't wise to have over 100 people over! Instead we had a rather smaller event with those who live on our compound and a few others that we had been hanging out with anyway.
After New Year we spent a few days serving one of our sister missions helping to run the youth program at their annual staff retreat. Tim found it fun to put on his youth work hat again, delivering a talk and discussion groups each morning while our neighbour Jono hosted all the games and other activities. A great team effort!
Dan is now back to school and has started his final semester of secondary education. Where did the time go?! He is planning to take a gap year next year to give him a chance to get used to life in the UK before he starts Uni the year after.
We are just over 4 months away from heading back to the UK for an extended furlough but there are a lot of things that need to be sorted out before we leave. Since August 2021, Tim has been serving in two full time positions, Language Programmes Director (LPD) and Language Programmes Coordinator (LPC). He recently recognised the toll this is taking on him and requested to step down as LPD effective Jan 31st. Tim really wants to leave well, not burnt out, and in his words “without a trail of debris behind him”!
I (Ali) am looking forward to providing some dramatised intellectual property training for a group of Literacy Coordinators from several of our language projects this week. Local languages are not generally used in schools so many people never have the opportunity to learn to read and write their own language. The Literacy Coordinators are local, mother-tongue speakers who are producing reading and writing materials and organising opportunities for people to learn to read and write in their own language. It is a privilege to be able to work with them to help them produce high quality materials that can continue to be available to their communities for as long as they need them. If you are wondering how one goes about dramatising intellectual property training, you write 4 short dramas that use farming and farm land in an analogy to explain copyright and licensing. Simple!
We really value your prayers and ongoing support as we work through this long transition to a longer time in the UK. If you can take a few minutes to pray for us, please do!
A special Christmas season with times of rest and times of fun activity.
It is proving tricky to find someone to take on Tim's various key roles, please pray for wisdom and clear guidance for the leadership team as they work this out.