Well, it has been an eventful last couple of weeks. The kids have completed their first year at Hillcrest- It was a good year for them all and a lot of work as well. It is a relief to not have to struggle helping them to get homework done every evening. Their hard work paid off, though; all did well and received recognition for their efforts. Westen also had the 8th grade banquet, I guess intended to mark the transition to High School. It is a very big event at Hillcrest and he went through the stress for the first time (likely not last) of asking someone and all that entails. We were happy that he seems to have shown good judgment for choice of companionship. (Hillcrest’s website is http://www.hillcrestschool.net/, for anyone who is curious.)
Rainy season is well under way, with rain coming most days now. The downpours are beautiful and refreshing and the green transformation is amazing as everything springs to life. The fields are full of people getting crops in. The amount of work that goes into transforming huge expanses of land into neatly hand-tilled rows is humbling. When we first arrived last fall we enjoyed watching the progression of crops being harvested, so we are now enjoying watching people and the land move through this part of the cycle. The mango trees are filled with an amazing abundance of fruit, which the kids are enjoying very much.
Unfortunately there was an armed robbery on the hospital compound a couple of weeks ago. (There was another one within the last year, but before we came). We are thankful that no one was hurt- the people who were robbed are good friends of ours. The dangers of the kids spending so much time on the roads here (traffic fatalities are very high with treacherous driving conditions) had us already considering whether a move into Jos would improve our family’s safety, so we decided our family would feel safer being in Jos at this point. Although we are relieved to be in Jos now, there are many things we will really miss by not living in Vom. Our own and MCC’s vision of service and ministry is very much about presence and connections, so not living in the community where we work will change how we are able to go about that. The hospital community has been very supportive of our family throughout our time at Vom, and continues to be very understanding and gracious in that support. Charlotte and I will continue to work in Vom and we look forward to maintaining our work relationships and assignments. Housing is scarce in Jos, so we feel fortunate that MCC has found us very nice temporary housing until the end of July when we will move onto another compound and will likely be able to stay there until the end of our term. Both places have friends of the kids, so they are enjoying having more playmates.
Our experience here will now be different than we had originally thought, but we still want very much to be in Nigeria and continue with our mission (i.e. sharing our lives in God through relationships and work in a mutually transforming way). The entire process has and continues to provide many opportunities for growth- Life rarely goes as expected, especially here in Nigeria. Even when I cannot control what is happening, knowing that God is always with us, every breath, has been very comforting- That is the fundamental truth of my life and it has been good to experience that at a deeper level again recently. Just as our entire time in Nigeria has done, the recent weeks have also enriched and strengthened our family relationships. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.