A Call to Counter Culture.

Posted: September 6, 2018 by Patrice Miles in Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Uncategorized

Titi’s latest blog.

Plantains Please

I do not know if you are acquainted with David Platt but if you are then you probably are familiar to my title, because it is the title of his own book. David Platt is a pastor, writer and also into ministry work. I have spent two weeks at LBC already and I love my classes and my professors, I just don’t like the reading and assignments but they kind of go together. I would not say College Composition and Research is my favorite course, but I thank God for letting my professor choose A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture as one of the course textbooks. I have been reading this book since last week- mainly for school work and I have grown to appreciate and respect David Platt, but I have just recently finished reading a chapter that has spoken to my soul and heart.

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Permit me to tell you…

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Many of you know our Nigerian daughter, Titi. For those of you who have no idea who she is – I invite you to click on the following link to read Titi’s amazing testimony. https://milesinmissions.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/my-goal-my-dream-my-life/

After Titi moved in with us we felt it was part of God’s plan for her to have the best education we could provide. We signed Titi up for SAT and TOEFL classes to prepare her for the required international exams. We also had to obtain an international passport so she could take those exams. There were mountains of paperwork to complete in applying to colleges and universities; and applying for scholarships and grants. We even applied to programs to help you apply for scholarships. In all this time we had no idea of the plans our God had put in place. So we just kept “throwing spaghetti at the wall” to see what would stick. The process was exhausting and the responses we received back were demoralizing. She was denied scholarships or financial aid because she wasn’t in the top of her class or she didn’t score over 1400 on the SAT or she wasn’t involved in sports. We were told over and over again that Titi’s case was hopeless and we were wasting our time.

I was near tears one evening when I vented all my frustration to my Bible study group. I knew I heard very clearly that God wanted something better for Titi but He was not showing us what His plans were. The good news is that we didn’t give up and we continued to tell Titi’s story to everyone we came across.

Finally one day we got an acceptance letter from Webster University, a U.S. University located in Ghana. They offered her a 25% scholarship. We were excited as she would be close enough to travel home for visits plus the food wouldn’t be so different and there would be a large African population for her to make friends. The icing on the cake was a U.S. college education. It sounded perfect! Then one day I was telling a fellow missionary about our many challenges with college applications and she asked if we had ever tried Lancaster Bible College. I said “Where in the world is Lancaster?” As she shared about this amazing college and how they worked with her on her two sons’ tuitions- I began to get excited. We had already applied to a million places so what was one more application – just to make certain – before we committed Titi to the university in Ghana.

I emailed the info@lancaster address and said very bluntly in my email…”I don’t want to waste either of our time but we have an amazing Nigerian daughter whose testimony I have attached. We have acceptance to Webster University with a 25% scholarship. That is where she is going unless you have something better.” I was weary and just could not be anything but direct. Within 24 hours we had an email from an angel who had talked to their admissions team and were offering Titi a 50% scholarship in the degree program she was wanting!!! But there were big hurdles that had to be tackled. The remaining 50% of tuition, housing and meals as they were not included in the scholarship PLUS we had the issue of a Visa and airfare. Wow God, we have been “throwing spaghetti at the wall” and a few things have actually stuck!

So we began tackling our hurdles one at a time. Housing – who do we know in Lancaster? Lenny, my husband, reminded me that we actually knew three families who had served in Nigeria and just left the field in the past 30 days that were from Lancaster. I was laughing now! I reached out to these wonderful missionaries to see if they would ask their churches and friends if anyone would be willing to provide housing for an international student. That Sunday we laid hands on Titi and asked God to provide housing if His plans were for her to attend Lancaster Bible College. Within 24 hours I received a message from the sweetest, young couple you will ever meet, Simeon and Alison Harrar. They opened their home to Titi AND they live 1 mile from campus!

Ok God, you have provided the school, the scholarship and the housing now we need a Visa. Our experience with a Nigerian being granted a Visa has not been a good one. On top of everything there was the pressure of forfeiting the Webster University scholarship if we did not respond back within a few days. We moved forward with Lancaster Bible College believing that God hadn’t opened all these doors only to have her Visa application denied. On July 16th, Titi’s 20th birthday, she was granted a U.S. Visa. But we barely had time to celebrate as we now faced the $15,000 hurdle…her tuition, airfare, monthly meals and supplies. Lord we need a miracle!

Titi sent emails out to everyone she had ever met. God provided and day-by-day donations started to come in – $6,800 to date. In addition, some precious people donated their air miles for Titi’s airline ticket.

This blog is so long but it can’t even begin to tell all the big and small miracles that Titi and I would wake up to every morning and dance and scream. The beginning of the year was such a struggle but the past few months were so sweet and God totally showed up and showed off. This process encouraged me even more to not give up and to persevere until we hear the voice of God say “STOP” or He shuts a door in our face. I wanted to give up so many times and just yell “What do you want us to do? Speak louder! I am tired of “throwing spaghetti at the wall” to see what sticks….can’t you just do this already?” Even in His silence and our exhaustion we continued to take baby steps in faith every day just waiting for Him to open a door real wide so we wouldn’t miss stepping through it. I hope this encourages some of you who are facing your own hurdles to keep “throwing spaghetti at the wall” until something sticks – God is faithful – don’t give up.

Titi is in the states now at Lancaster Bible College studying social work. She has a blog you can follow called https://plantainsplease.wordpress.com/ She still needs support so if you feel led to donate to her college education or her daily living expenses you can donate at http://bit.ly/titischool to our ministry account and the money will get to her. Just write Titi in the memo.

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It’s kinda crazy to think we have been living in Nigeria for 5 years now! God has been so good and we have learned so much. From the revitalization of Egbe hospital, to C.A.R.E. Africa’s birth, AWANA Nigeria in Egbe, C.A.R.E. craft shows, our own kids growing a foot or two, Ebola, spiritual battles, malaria and other illnesses, weddings, moving from Egbe to Jos, Lenny’s new role as SIM Communication Specialist, additions to our family (animal and human) and now an opening of a primary school….. God has been faithful! Nigeria is home now and we are excited to see what else he has in store for our family.

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Started w/ 2 Kids

 

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50 Children Now

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AWANA

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C.A.R.E. Craft Shows

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Emma & Tofunmi’s Wedding

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IMG_1122How it all began….

It was September 2017 and the Global Leadership Summit in Jos was going strong. C.A.R.E. Africa CEO, Emma and I listened to speaker after speaker with growing enthusiasm. I don’t remember the speaker but I do remember the impact of what was shared….“think big and don’t ask HOW just say WOW!” Emma and I looked at each other and said “We really need to start a school!” I immediately wanted to say but “HOW” and Emma reminded me of the speaker and said “WOW” Yup that is how it all started!!

We had no clue where to start but I knew a missionary, Marybeth Oyebade, who had successfully started several schools in Jos, Nigeria. Marybeth maintained standards unlike any other Nigerian school I had seen before. The curriculum had some Western influence. School fees were kept comparable to other schools but the teacher to child ratio was lower. Teachers, parents and students were held to a higher standard than normal. No cheating allowed. Failing students were not promoted to the next grade. Integrity was integral to the foundational values of the school. All of these things seemed like a dream come true! The icing on the cake was when I asked Marybeth to help me take her school to Egbe and she said YES!

IMG_3557I immediately reached out to my Business Coach, Scott Beebe with Business on Purpose https://www.mybusinessonpurpose.com. He helped C.A.R.E. Africa get out of our chaos a few years ago by providing vision, mission, policies, procedures and so much more. When I told him what I was wanting to do he simply asked “Hey you want me to fly to Nigeria and help you with this joint venture?” God is so good!

A few weeks later Scott Bebee, Emma, Tofunmi, Marybeth along with husband Bayo Oyebade and I were all sitting at a desk putting together a joint venture. Scott not only helped us with the legal issues but also helped us with a timeline, org charts, job descriptions and much more. Scott’s time with us was such a blessing and God knew we needed this to jump-start our school.

DSC_0484 (2)Since then it has definitely been a learning process. Marybeth and I continue to trust the people God is putting in front of us to catapult this school to its opening Sept 10, 2018. I could write an entire story about all the miracles that have occurred along the way but I will just share a few. With Marybeth’s blessing, one of her staff members has volunteered to leave the comfort of Jos and move to Egbe for a year to provide consultation and mentorship to our new C.A.R.E. Africa school staff. Other miracles include the qualified teachers God has provided that are full of joy; the U.S. mission team who just happened to be teachers and knew exactly how to decorate classrooms; curriculum getting delivered just in the nick of time AND some unexpected donations that allowed us to buy a few more needed supplies.

As with anything good, some spiritual attacks are to be expected. These attacks have been exhausting but we are persevering. We are in our last leg of this race and your help is needed! Please be in serious prayer for the $15,000 U.S. Embassy grant we have applied for to be approved. This $15,000 grant would allow us to finish the schoolrooms and pay teacher salaries for the first year since there will be no income coming from the school in year one.  Please add the U.S. embassy grant request to your prayer list! I hope to hear something by month’s end.

This school promises a bright future for the C.A.R.E. Africa kids and the community of Egbe. We covet your prayers and if you would like to financially support our C.A.R.E. Africa school all donations can be sent to https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/careschool

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After

DSC_0226This is a great prayer letter that Carmen Marflak sent out. She is currently serving at Egbe Hospital for one month. This is her 5th time to Egbe Hospital. She makes a great observation that there is so many opportunities to serve in Egbe. Medical being the biggest need but anyone can come on a mission trip or serve short or long term and find a place to be God’s hands and feet because there is ministry going on all over the Egbe community. For more information about all the opportunities to serve email jos.sta@sim.org or visit www.egbehospital.com .

Monday, the 16, started out with a full day of surgeries. All day long, I kept watching the clock because I knew we were not going to be finished in enough time for AWANA’s at C.A.R.E. Africa. There was a prayer in my heart all day, for the Lord to “speed up” the surgeon’s hands. Well, God answers prayer! We sent the last patient back to the ward at 3:30; I ran back to the guest house, took a 2 minute cold shower, put on street clothes, grabbed the salvation bracelets, and walked out the door as Emma was driving up to get me.

DSC_0209We had a great time at AWANA’s. There were not the 190+ kids there; there was only about 170 because it was raining and the roads and walking paths were very slick and muddy. The silence in the room was also a miracle. I walked in with the children laughing and talking, noisy!!!!!. Emma raised both his arms and said silence! You could have heard a pin drop. And they remained that way until I was finished telling the story of how Jesus died for our sins, makes us clean and whole inside, helps us to grow in our faith, and prepares a place for us in Heaven. It was an exhausting day, but so exciting and rewarding!

Every Tuesday at 2:30, Dr Jen (one of the SIM missionary doctors) leads a hospital Womens Bible Study. Change of shift here in Nigeria is 2:15. So several of the women from each of the departments come regularly to this Bible Study. For the last 3 months they have been going through the Book of John. Last week they were in chapter 12. So, fortunately, last week, those of us in the OR were finished by 2:30 and could actually make it to Bible Study. There were 14 of us last week. It is a pleasure to listen and answer their questions, and see the eyes light up when they grasp what God is trying to teach them. It is a joy to hear of their struggles and how God has answered prayers. It is also a real treat for me to build a relationship with the other women in the hospital, as well as the ones I work with every day in the OR.

DSC_0521These last 2 weeks in the OR have almost been overwhelming. My first day in the OR was the 11th and I have actually had 1 day off (Sunday, the 22). Tuesdays and Thursdays are supposed to be clinic/office day for Dr Fabruce, with no surgery scheduled on those days. So I am scheduled for lectures for the family practice residents, the Anesthesia trainees, and for the nursing students. But, even on those days, there have been so many emergent patients come through ER, that we have been working late into the evenings. Between all the trauma patients (motor bike accidents, walls collapsing on families, machete fights), the C/Sections, the appendectomies, perforated bowels and the snake bites, we have done very few elective/ scheduled procedures. On Monday, Wed, Friday, we normally start out with 3-4 scheduled procedures, but by the end of the day we have done between 5-7. All last week and this week, the only anesthesia providers have been Jummy and me. Evelyn is on maternity leave, Rebecca and Adeola are both on vacation. We have been getting a little weary by the time we finish the day. But God is good and gives us both a restful sleep at night. I am reminded of

Psalms 3:5 and 4:8, I will lie down and sleep, I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” And “In peace I will lie down and sleep for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety”

DSC_0383 (2)Last Wednesday, a team of mothers and their teen children (10 altogether) came from my home church (Live Oak Christian Church) in Bluffton, SC. They experienced a lot of flight cancellations, and lost luggage (the last of their luggage arrived last evening), but they have been serving over at C.A.R.E. Africa all week; painting the school, doing VBS, making home visits to the sponsored children, visiting the HIV clinic. It has been a joy to have company!!! I am usually alone in the guest house. I don’t get to see them much, because I am finished with breakfast and in the hospital before they get to the dining room. Many evenings, I have missed dinner because of late cases, but the times that we have shared together have been good; hearing what they have done, and the stories of the C.A.R.E. Africa children, helps me to realize that there is another world out there in Egbe, that I rarely get to see. Mission service here in Egbe entails a lot more than just the hospital; God’s Word, Love, and Compassionate service is being made known throughout the community by cooperating groups and missions. It is exciting to see how God works in other areas besides medicine!

Medical Results

Posted: July 28, 2018 by Lenny in Jos Nigeria, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Prayer, SIM
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Panoramic photo of a nearby beach. Simply amazing!

I’m glad to be back home, but Cape Town is an amazingly beautiful place where I could stay for a long time. Not having my family there made it completely boring though. I was expecting to have to stay there longer, but thankfully the healthcare system in South Africa is amazing and the Doctor had everything planned for me ahead of time.

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Selfie at the Hospital

I left Nigeria on a Monday, arrived in South Africa on Tuesday, and saw the Doctor for the first time on Wednesday. He planned for me to be admitted to the hospital the next day for an overnight stay and would have all my testing done right away. Everything went so amazingly fast that I was done with everything by 4:00pm and I didn’t even have to stay the night at the hospital! The following Monday I met with the doctor for the results (explained below) and the results were so good that I had no reason to stay in South Africa as long as I had originally expected. I called the airlines and changed my tickets for Wednesday and made it back home to Nigeria a full 10 days ahead of time.

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Hospital Room

As far as my health, it’s all great news. I’m am very healthy… Praise God! The only health concerns are… Gastritis and High Cholesterol causing a “fatty liver”.

An ultrasound found that my liver is a little big and they call it a fatty liver. The doctor told me, without having seen the blood tests results yet, that it is most likely caused by high cholesterol and the blood test results later confirmed it. My cholesterol is elevated, but not bad enough to treat with medicine. A change of diet and exercise should help all of this in some time.

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Dr. Office

Next, they did the gastroscopy and found no ulcers, took some biopsies, and found that I have gastritis which is inflammation of the stomach lining, but no cancers, etc. It can be caused by diet, but the doctor and I think it could be a result of long-term use of ibuprofen or the combination of the two.

Thats it.

As far as malaria, the doctor and I are in agreement that there is no way I actually had malaria that many times. He suspects that I was sick each time, but it was most likely a false positive or poor lab technician giving the wrong diagnoses and I was actually sick with something else giving many of the same symptoms of malaria. The doctor basically said that just as one person is allergic to poison ivy and another isn’t or that seasonal allergies affect some while others not at all, is most likely how my body is different in fighting small bugs and infections from most other expats in our field. The gastritis could also be contributing to my symptoms producing diarrhea, nausea, and cramping. They did a test to see if malaria is in my blood down to the molecular level. They found none and that means that it is not living in my liver and not lying dormant. I have no malaria in my blood. He does want me to change to a different medicine for preventing malaria.

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New Testament in Afrikaans at Dr.’s office

They checked my liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and other major organs with ultrasound and combined with blood tests, everything is functioning normally. My immune system is fine. They tested for Schistosomiasis and it is negative. Stool given is completely clean (oxygen-moron?) no parasites or bad bacteria.

The doctors biggest takeaway from our discussions was that in my history I mentioned that I am never sick when I am away from Nigeria. He kept saying, “It’s your environment”. This is when he explained that my body acts differently to the normal things of Nigeria that other people’s bodies tolerate easily. It is just what each of us is genetically predisposed to handling with our immune systems.

We are extremely thankful that our health insurance with SIM is great. When being treated outside of the USA they cover 100% of the medical costs. If I had come to the USA for treatment, there would have been a large deductible in addition to all travel costs.

That’s really the best summary I can give. Thank you all for your prayers during this time. We appreciate all of you and once again your prayers have worked for our family!

Here are some extra pictures of my trip…

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View just outside the driveway of the house I stayed in.

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Table Mountain. One of the 7 Wonders of Nature in the world.

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Sunset in Cape Town

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Another view of Table Mountain. This just a block away from the house I stayed.

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My rental car. Tiny, but it was brand new.

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Got to put my toes in the sand.

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One of the dinners I cooked for myself. Can anyone say “High Cholesterol”?

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Crystal clear nights and the moon.

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One of the dinners I cooked for myself. Can anyone say “High Cholesterol”?

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Dishes for a single guy.

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My nice room for the stay.

 

Since moving from village life in Egbe to city life in Jos – my life has become more comfortable. In Egbe I was on my knees daily just to make it through each day. I prayed about the heat, the workload, my husband’s constant bouts of malaria, the spiritual warfare, not too mention the constant prayers for CARE Africa . I needed and relied on God to show up every day. Life in Jos is still hard – it’s Nigeria – but it is easier than Egbe. I talk to God all the time but it isn’t the same yearning and deep need for Him like when we lived in Egbe.

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 8.53.18 AMI recently read a book called God’s Smuggler. It is a true story of how a young, Dutchman by the name of Brother Andrew risked his life to bring faith and hope to believers behind the Iron Curtain. While reading the book I was continuously jealous of all the miracles Brother Andrew experienced. Some were as simple as a cake being provided for a meeting where he had no money to buy one. Others were big miracles like not getting checked at checkpoints where he had over 100 Bibles hidden in his car. I was so jealous and I felt if he experienced miracles in the 1930’s why can’t I experience God’s miracles in the 2018’s. I got on my knees and begged to see, hear, and experience God like Brother Andrew did. I begged God to “show up and show off” as I like to say.

When I asked God to make me like the God Smuggler, I was expecting great miracles and even greater blessings. Well, over the past month God has been showing up and showing off. I can’t begin to document in this blog all the great things He has done and is doing. What I forgot is that when God is doing a great work someone else is trying to disrupt that work – someone who wants to steal God’s glory. I don’t want to mention his name in case that gives him any power but we all know who he is. He prowls around like a Lion.

Staff finalPray for me, for my family, for my husband’s media ministry, for my CARE Africa staff and for our school that we are starting in Egbe. My family and CARE Africa staff have experienced some serious spiritual attacks such as health problems, computers crashing, uncontrollable emotions/ thoughts, missionaries leaving, different cultural problems and even serious and brutal killings only miles from our home. There is sin in this world and when God is visibly doing big works in your life – evil is going to want to try and conquer it. There is a battle going on that our small, small minds cannot even grasp. It is a battle for our minds and souls and we know we are the winner, but there is nothing that says we will not experience suffering.

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 8.57.53 AMThere is a song I really like by Kari Jo that is called “Speak to Me”. If you listen to it and ask Him to speak to you He will. Be prepared to put your armor on because that prowling lion will begin to challenge you. I encourage you to beat the crap out of him with prayer when he comes to steal, rob and destroy.  Pray and watch God “show up and show off”. It is a beautiful thing to see!

 

Would you consider becoming one of our prayer partners? Through these challenges so many have come alongside me and made me realize even more the importance of prayer to fight these battles. We currently have 214 of you out there praying when I send my requests. I would love for it to be 1000!! Click http://eepurl.com/DZf_D to receive our weekly prayer requests.