Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 10.06.07 AMLately, my relationship with the Lord has been a lot of work. Coming back to the United States and leading C.A.R.E. Africa from afar has not been as easy as I thought.

Lack of purpose
 – not being able to be hands on with the ministry in Nigeria.
Lack of identity – “Missionary” is a weird word to use when you don’t live in a far-off country.
Lack of joy -God made me an extrovert and now I work alone from home every day.

Since being stateside, I have continually asked God what His purpose was in bringing me back to the United States. What am I supposed to be doing? What is this new chapter in my life? I feel sick, heartbroken and I want to be healed but all I hear is silence.

76710897_10157714046358808_16463361264844800_nThis last year, I have spent time rekindling my relationships with friends and family. We get together for a meal, coffee or a walk in the park. The more time we spend together the more the relationship grows. If I have a problem I can call or text and talk it out with them. It feels easy and there is definitely not any silence.

I feel like my relationship with the Lord should be easier than my relationship with humans, after all, He is God. I meet with Him every day to study His word and ask Him for guidance and wisdom. I invest daily in this relationship and lately I have not felt a return on this investment.

Is God’s investment in my life His son’s death and I am now indebted to Him forever?

girlYes, eternal life is worth it! I don’t deserve to ask for anything more as He has given me everything needed. But sometimes it feels like obedience is all there is in this relationship. Be patient on His timing, love that person, sell everything we own, forgive that family member, move to Nigeria, give that money away, tithe, live humbly, move back from Nigeria, give grace to that one, lead like Jesus, don’t judge, just wait, treat your body like it is a temple, rest, don’t do that, do that. 

It’s just that I would do anything for my friends and family. I would not be silent. If you ask Cason or Jolie what their mom would do if anyone did something to hurt them- they would tell you – “She would take no prisoners..!” If they had a problem I would drop everything and be there to help. If they needed to be healed and I could heal them, I would.

I feel like with God I always need to be on my knees or be at His feet, always praying (oftentimes pleading) to Him in the hope He will speak clearly to me. Why can’t God heal me like the cripple at the pool in John 5:1-9. The cripple didn’t even initiate the conversation. Jesus did. The cripple just answered His question and was immediately healed.

Really? Why do I feel like I have to do something or give up something for God to do something for me?

I feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved and indebted. 

God’s love, as clearly described in the Bible, is unconditional. This just makes the silence  harder to understand. The Bible says in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is easy but I am not feeling the easy right now.

As a mom, I don’t want my children to feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved or indebted. Yes, I carried them for 9 months, they ruined my body and continue to drain my bank account, but I don’t want a relationship built on obligation. I don’t currently hang out with the Lord out of obligation but I’m feeling like it is heading that direction if this silence continues.

Have you experienced silence from God before?
Has there been a time you questioned if He really cared?
What got you through this?
What helped you maintain your faith, hope and joy amongst the silence?

I am always jealous when I hear of missionaries in the big cities of Nigeria opening up pizza parlors, small grocery stores, or coffee shops that generate income for their ministry. C.A.R.E. Africa is located in a rural community called Egbe. Rural business has its share of challenges such as geographic isolation and barriers to capital. I ask God all the time, “Why couldn’t you have called me to do ministry in a large city like Jos, Abuja or Kano in Nigeria. It would have been so much easier! Why Egbe?”

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Many times when I tell someone about Egbe and the challenges we face they often ask how I keep up the faith amid such – hopelessness….

I am a businesswoman at heart. I love commerce, marketing, planning and executing and then watching the rewards of the endeavor. I will never forget the first business class Emma and I taught in Nigeria to a Yoruba Fulani woman who could not read. I made her a picture chart for inventory keeping and helped her realize when she sold her pure water for 10 naira each or 15 naira for two, she was actually losing money.  This encounter inspired me but the many obstacles and failures in other endeavors has caused me to feel… hopelessness.

Sometimes the obstacles are culturally based.  Women who are empowered to start a small business are oftentimes threatened with being cast out or disowned by their family if they do not use their business funds to pay for a family member’s wedding, funeral or hospital bill. As a result, this once empowered woman will not have the money needed to restock her shelves and has to close her business.  Hopelessness…

DSC_3009Sometimes the obstacles are unforeseen. Weddings are a big event in Egbe. We saw an opportunity to teach our high school girls how to make wedding cakes to later find out the neighboring city of Ilorin would be our competition.  In Egbe it is considered prestigious to have your wedding cake, wedding dress and catering to come from a bigger city like Ilorin.  If you bought it all in Egbe then you must not be doing very well. Hopelessness…..

 “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

~Mother Teresa

 

DSC_2903I recently found this quote and it meant so much to me because it is the antidote to hopelessness and it is what we are doing at C.A.R.E Africa.  We invest in one child, one caregiver, one staff member at a time. We invest by focusing on their relationship with the Lord first. We know that if their relationship with Him is strong it doesn’t matter what obstacles they face – they will always have hope! They will be content in all things.  Their joy and hope will spill out onto others and change the environment and culture around them one person at a time.

Do I still dream of a C.A.R.E. Business Complex where our sponsored children and our caregivers are trained and working in the eatery, bakery, wedding shop, hair salon, coffee shop, business center, bicycle sales/repair and KeKe service? Oh Yes!!!  All I need to do is cast a single stone into the waters of life and God will do the rest.

On #GivingTuesdayNow there are so many ways you can give to C.A.R.E. Africa during this pandemic. 

Give away your stuff, give away your time or give away your finances……….

messyGive away those unwanted and or unused items lying around your home! Furniture, books, clothes, toys and appliances. We will come and get them and sell them on the marketplace and donate all the proceeds on your behalf to C.A.R.E. Africa. It’s called a Gift in Kind!

 

 

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Give away your time! Email me to volunteer at the next C.A.R.E. Africa booth, help us plan and run our next fundraiser event, join our next mission trip and or use your marketing and or administrative gifts to help with website updates and  data entry for prayer cards and calendars.

 

 

 

cashGive away your finances!  Donate to our ministry to help our children and caregivers during this Corona Pandemic by visiting https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/COVID19 for US donations and https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/for Canada donations.

 

 

Whatever you have to give we an use it at C.A.R.E. Africa on this #GivingTuesdayNow!

precious

 

Facebook_ A Global Day of Unity (1)

You can give to help our children and caregivers at C.A.R.E. Africa on this global day of giving at https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/COVID19. For Canadian donations you can visit https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/.

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#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that will take place on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  It is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, business and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. Millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in communities around the world.

#GivingTuesdayNow is the day we hope to raise money for our children and caregivers. We know that as we recover from COVID-19, the need for food and other provisions will increase significantly. Food is not always available as the markets are not open for many days. Finding food is already becoming a difficulty for some. Many people who are fortunate enough to have a job were not paid in April and possibly won’t be paid in May. There isn’t any such thing as stimulus money in Nigeria. We need you to be the stimulus that helps us get these families through this pandemic. If you want to help a family or two or three then please give any amount on #GivingTuesdayNow.

$50 will feed a family of 5-6 people for one week.
$100 bag of rice will feed 30 families a meal.
$200 bag of beans will feed 30 families a meal.

Visit https://www.donorrise.com/careafrica/COVID19 to donate from the United States

Canadian Residents can donate at https://www.sim.ca/care-africa/

#GivingTuesdayNow

Please mark your calendar to support us on this national giving day! 
Brothel Ladies, Blessing is on the far right.

Brothel Ladies, Blessing is on the far right.

Meet Blessing. While I was in the US earlier this year a few of our missionaries on the ground stumbled onto a brothel in the town. They met several times with the prostitutes there and built some relationships. A local Pastor, Pastor Wale, came alongside them and was able to get a few ladies to leave the brothel. The church  found them places to live for free and even gave them money to help start small businesses. Blessing was one of the ladies that choose to leave the brothel.

When I arrived back to Nigeria in May, Pastor Wale asked if he could enroll Blessings’ two children in CARE Africa. Currently the children lived in another town with grandma and he wanted to reunite them with their mother.  Without a guarantee of an education the pastor was concerned for the boys. We immediately said yes and the next week Blessing was reunited with her two boys

Blessing right after being reunited with her two boys.

Blessing right after being reunited with her two boys.

The following Saturday she came to CARE Africa. When she walked in the door she started crying and begging us to take the kids from her. “Please take my children! This is too much for me!” She said the money she was making selling beans and rice was just not enough to support her and the two boys. She said that everything was much harder than she had imagined it would be. We explained to her we were not an orphanage and prayed with her. We prayed for God to give her the strength to handle her new life and not revert back to the old one.

A few weeks ago I went to check on Blessing and the boys. We sat and talked about the upcoming school year. Once all contracts were signed and everything was understood by all parties I asked how her business was doing. She said it was still the same but she was managing. I asked her if now, a month later, she still wanted to give Friday and Samuel to me and she laughed and said “No”. I told her how proud we were of her for managing and not going back to what she knew and what was easy.

Last week at back to school meeting at CARE Africa.

Last week at back to school meeting at CARE Africa.

I then asked her what she needed to help her business do better. She said she needed to be able to buy in bulk.  If she could buy more than just a days supplies she would have more profit and thus could invest more into her business. Emma  and I started calculating what a whole bag of rice would cost and all the supplies she would need and it came up to N17,000 ($80). I opened my planner and showed Emma what I had written on my to do’s for that day. “Deposit N18,500 from craft sales from volunteer team.” The day before I had sold N18,500 in crafts from CARE Africa to a recent team that visited Egbe. I love it when God shows off! I asked Emma if he felt like we needed to talk about it more or if he felt led to go ahead and help her. He just smiled and said “It looks like we are just suppose to go ahead and do this.” God’s timing is so amazing.

Emma explained all this to Blessing in Yoruba to make sure she knew all the events that led up to her getting this money. I wanted her to understand how none of this could have been a coincidence. Emma explained how God planned for us to visit her that day and to have this money in our pocket from sales yesterday. I looked her in the eyes and said “God loves you Blessing! He thinks you are special! He has chosen you!” I loved getting to see the shy smile on her face as I spoke these truths to her. You could just see in her face that no one had ever told her this.

Samuel on the Left and Friday on the right.

Samuel on the Left and Friday on the right.

I am so blessed to get to watch God change lives in Egbe. Thank you for continuing to support Miles in Missions and CARE Africa so we can continue to show God’s love to people that have never been shown love. God loves you! He thinks your special! He has chosen you!

Friday and Samuel are Blessings’ children’s names. Friday is currently sponsored but Samuel is not. If God is leading you to help Samuel, click CARE Africa and sign up to send Samuel to school for only $35 a month.

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Samuel pounding yam!

Jamaica Mission TripA little over a year ago my life was changed by going on my first mission trip to Jamaica. It seemed that I heard God speaking so clearly when my cell phone was off,  I had no Internet, and I had no agenda for the day. I write to you today because I am excited about the possibility of leading mission trips to Egbe, Nigeria. Having this opportunity to  watch God work in peoples lives is so exciting!

Samaritans Purse VolunteersCurrently, Samaritans Purse is the main contributor to U.S. visitors in Egbe. These volunteers come every two weeks with construction skills that they use to help the revitalization project. In addition to the construction project, we now have the desire to start hosting large teams to do ministry inside and outside of the hospital walls.

Egbe TeamI know running large teams every month could be stressful on myself, but I envision so many benefits from it as well. The opportunity to see U.S. lives changed by a new outlook on life, ministries in Egbe helped, people’s eyes opened to the hospital and its needs would be tremendously gratifying. I see all the benefits, but am in prayer to see if it is Gods will. Does he want this? I will be spending a lot of time putting it all together. Things like forms, schedules, costs, ministry options, etc. still need to be created. I will be dependent on God’s help to put all the pieces together because I cannot make this happen on my own. I feel like a little girl who is showing her Daddy a picture that she has drawn and then waiting for him to tell her how beautiful it is while putting it on the fridge.

Egbe Volunteers I have high expectations of myself and admittedly, I can sometimes take on too much. I am sure there are many of you reading this that understand my pain. God has saved me from myself many times by not giving me what I want. I am thankful for that when I look back and see how he saved me from something that would have overwhelmed me or not worked out, but in that moment it was hard to be thankful. His will is always better than mine and it may or may not include my desire to see U.S. teams meet the beautiful people of Egbe. I am just going to have to wait and see. Lets all together watch and see what he does….. lets watch him show up and show off however that looks! How about you? Are you excited to see God show up and show off in your life no matter how that looks? If you have any interest in coming on a mission trip to Africa to serve the people of Egbe, no matter what your skill set is, click Egbe to email me.