Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our Last Day

I am personally sad to leave, but also refreshed by the way the people of this clinic labor for the Lord. So I think we are all inspired, motivated and compelled to serve our God, community, and church in bigger and better ways. Yesterday was busy but we got stuff done. It was slightly complicated. Another team flying in overlapped with our out-day, which hasnt happened ever before.
We started the day by seeing the sisters graduate from the sewing and knitting schools. These women have been through discipleship training and studies while learning their trade and learn how to live in a bright new way with HIV/AIDS. Upon graduating they are given sewing machines to start their new lives and journies. They were all so gitty. It was a joy to watch all of them celebrate with loved ones and the clinic staff, but in reality there journey has just begun and they have already been through so much. But they have been refined like precious metal as the Bible tells us, and will be stronger now. Most with HIV/AIDS in Jos (or Africa for that matter) are beggars. This is an honor to be lifted up and given a chance the way they are. Your support allows the sewing machines and looms for knitting. We also are leaving scholarship money for other women to be given support when they graduate. This allows them to have start up money! Praise God.
Then we completely re-furbished the Medical Records room with new shelving and made it better organized for the staff. All made possible by your support. We did this in record time, within 3 hours and beat the rain. Thank you God! (We had all the files outside for about 2 hours time hoping it would not rain) We also paid for an additional teacher for the Faith Alive school, a Celebrate Recovery Facilitator will be appointed and paid for a year to get the program started through out the city and prison system. He will be the point of contact for all the now trained program leaders in the city of Jos. Thanks to your support. Too much was done to really put into words, which comes to my next point. This is our last blog. We will see you in 3 days time and be back in the States. We saw a lot of things here. A lot of suffering. So, now what do we do about it. For me, personally, talking about it is not enough. Let me just clarify that before I continue. I will be back next year and stay for the summer. But we didnt really have time to adequately be a voice for Jos and Nigeria while using this blog.
So I will be creating a blog to not only adequately post all the details of our trip (with pictures), keep people posted about our further involvement with Jos and Faith Alive, but also to be a voice for Jos. This will also give everyone a chance to communicate back from the Faith Alive clinic to the people back in the states. I dont know if Bayside would be willing to create this or not, but I will do it personally if I have to. In the end, much work needs to be done to fulfill Gods work but also to fulfill the calling of all those to be in His kingdom. So we are to care, nurture, love, encourage, and help to bring those to Christ so they can live a new life... For there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for the former things will not be remembered.
Let us labor with others on our hearts and minds, never ourselves, let us ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His, so we may see the people of this world in a new light... and see the new heaven that God is going to let us be a part of.
I pray that God reveals the vision that He has for your lives to you. So that your calling and endurance will not be in vain, and that new fire will be set ablaze in your heart. Never look back. Keep heart. See you all very soon, your brother in Christ, Steve.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Great News

I just wanted to shoot a quick update this morning to fill everyone in. We have been keeping close contact with Bayside via text and just got news that the kids at Bayside, during our Breakaway week, raised over 10,000 dollars for Faith Alive's "Peanut Butter Project". The Peanut Butter Project was designed to support the infants and orphans of Nigeria nutritionally. Most are born with ravaged immune systems even when born without HIV. So the project is important. Next we are helping the Sewing School. The Sewing School teaches women with HIV/AIDS (most have been kicked out of their homes) to sew and start their own businesses. They are given a brand new sewing machine to take with them on their journey. We are starting a scholarship program where the ladies are given money to start that business. They will pay it back over time, and that money will be another loan for a lady in the same situation! Our lump sum that we are giving Faith Alive will help at least 50 women get on their feet! Possibly even 60!!! Your support made it possible!
Our Celebrate Recovery training officially made it into the Nigerian Prison system this morning, as Jeff and Ty are their is I type. This will be implimented soon and will change lives. God is awesome and cannot be held back from his children... cement and steele bars are no match for Him. We are going to get the satellite clinic in the neighboring village painted and looking great, as it is faily new and needed a makeover, the lot next door to the clinic is getting leveled today in order to prepare it for a playground. Let me explain about this lot. This lot was vacant and purchased by Faith Alive to expand. It was vacant because the house was old and being used for drug use/dealings, about 2 years ago someone was murdered there. When Faith Alive purchased it, they tore down the building. Now a brand new playground will stand with swings, slides, teatherballs polls, with a parking lot, and (get this) a guard post which will be manned 24/7. This is making a statement to the city of Jos that the people will one day have their community back, no matter what it takes!
More money is going to be put into the Faith Alive shcols. Faith Alive Academy for instance only had one teacher for over 100 students... we will be paying for the salary to add another teacher. This is common in Africa. Faith Alive takes this very seriously and actually teachers here are not even very qualified, which is why there was only one at this time. But we will be involved in helping to find the right candidate. Also the murals are constructed and getting framed and put up today. Great things are happening, your support is going to change lives forever. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hey gang. Nice to know we still have our loyal following still checking in on us. Well, God is still doing big things in Jos, Nigeria. We had another wild thing happen in the recent days. A very sweet and faithful volunteer to Faith Alive came to know Christ Tuesday... I dont think I posted that! She has been here about a month now and is staying in the flat with the sisters of Bayside and she sat down and prayed with a staff member and accepted Jesus Christ. Thats 2! Crazy!!! And the whole time we think we are coming for others, yet God has all of us on His heart and in His mind in a special way. Thank you God! You are so Merciful to remember all of us the way you do. ABBA!!!, indeed.
We left the clinic this morning for the Elim School for needy children. So if words could only begin to describe the word needy in Jos, Nigeria I would try, but they dont! It was a blast and I got great joy out of it as I know the whole team did. We were welcomed like kings from another land and the kids were great Ambassadors of Nigeria. We were given special seats (in the shade), drinks, small snack, and were entertained by the children singing us songs and hymns. My favorite thing had to be the traditional dances they did for us to drums. Very Cool! They are humble, yet will never forget their heritage and where they came from... which is more than I can say for America. (But we still have a shot to change that) All in all, these boys and girls were very well behaved, courteous (the sixth graders walked us to the bus and carried our bags), and remembered Todd from recent years. We sang some songs with them, handed out some hugs, took some pics and gave them gifts. Our time was short so maybe we can do something special for them next year.
We got to experience another staff prayer meeting today at 3 where we were made guests again. We shared some scripture, gave thanks to the inspiration we have been receiving from Faith Alive, and listened to Pastor Ben preach a word on Julys topic "Pressing toward the mark" Phil3.
Then we prayed. I cant speak for the team, but I personally get memories of the churches my family grew up around. They pray without ceasing just like the Bible instucts us to do, with a fervent manner as well. It is something to watch... I pray it is something I start to see in churches in California, maybe even Bayside. We can learn a lot from the laborers of Jos. If anyone is interested... WE TOOK A LOT OF NOTES!
Well I will end for now. Most of the day flew by again. I hate to leave this place, I actually thought about staying. But many things to still do. We are putting up some murals in the clinic. They were done in California. This will help to brighten up some of the rooms opening. Also, we will clean and tidy up the Medical Records room, and whatever God can come up with. In closing, GOD IS BIG AND SO ARE HIS PLANS... MAY WE CARRY THEM OUT WHEN HE SPEAKS!!!SN

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

OK, sorry about not keeping up very well with the blog! I missed yesterday. We are shifting gears a little bit this week. We are all finding our footing and breaking off working in different departments of the clinic. In the meanwhile we are still responsible for doing some of the lectures, prayers, devotionals while here, so Becca and Sherri have been hard at work today with health talk for the staff meeting friday, Jeff and Ty wrapped up Celebrate Recovery training today... go CR!!! I personally have to say to here leaders of the area talking about ways to reach the people of Jos through CR touches my heart, some of the guys are even talking about a mens conference already. Awesome. We are still scheduled to work with another local school as well, and some things around the clinic.
Personally I went on home visits today with Becca and Sherri. We followed up on 2 patients from last week. They were both doing better. In total we visited with 5. Think about it... you know you have AIDS, the local government run hospital discharged you because they do not want to treat you, some of your family no longer cares for you, you have nothing to eat on most days, you sleep on a thin mattress on the floor next to a rotting garbage can, your room has no ventilation, the sewer runs 2 feet from your front door, and flows into the river out back which you drink out of, bathe in, and wash your clothes in. And God is so merciful that the design of the body he created actually has the resiliency to still respond to the emergency meds they give these people. Most rebound, when proper nutrition, and healthy habits are applied to their lives.
What sticks out is Lydias voice... BROKEN, SCRATCHY, WEAK, HUMBLE voice barely having enough strength to talk, saying Thank you, over and over again as she lay on the ground extending her hand to touch us after we prayed for her. Thank you for what??? Praying for her??? Thats the least I can do!!! Thats all I knew to do!!! Yet she was so Thankful. She wasnt thankful because we were americans, christians, white, or because we prayed for her, I think she was thankful because we were just there. We came. We cared. We were present.

Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

Hello from Jos........

We have been in Jos for a week now. This is truly an amazing and very unique place we are in. The people at Faith Alive and throughout this city are beautiful inside and out, shine with the light of God and are very warm and loving. The women are in beautiful dresses that look like a kaleidoscope of color and they carry their babies in wrap pouches on their back. All of this in the midst of a city that has no electricity, no running water, poverty, filth and broken down structures, schools and villages all around them. None the less, these wonderful people carry themselves with great dignity. The reality is, we are all sisters and brothers in Christ no matter where we live or the color of our skin and He loves us equally and unconditionally. This is proven so true in what we have witnessed in these people. God handpicked our team for his purposes on this mission.……………..Todd, Ty, Steve, Cliff, Jeff, Sherri, Rebecca and myself. God is moving and working in each of our lives in this process. It is very humbling and exciting to watch. He knows exactly what each one of needs at this stage of our walk with Him and He is refining and transforming us every step of the way. It is an honor for us to be here to serve God and these great men, women and children.

With God "all" things are possible, without Him, we can doing nothing!

Please continue to keep us your prayers


* Trivia - Jos means "Jesus Our Savior".

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Greetings Supporters -- what an amazing time we are havingin Nigeria -- thanks for all of your support and prayers -- you have no idea what an impact it makes over here!
Thanks for having our backs!
Well everyone back in California we are still having our lives changed daily by the beautiful people of Jos, Nigeria. Personally Im constantly moved by God and his presence. So far today we went to church with the students of the University of Jos and wow do they know how to worship. We were blessed. Plus Faith Alive partners with them (you will be glad to know) so they can keep their weekly Singles meeting going at the school. Its theme is HIV awareness in Nigeria and Africa and especially to the youth. We also found time after to have a short time of fellowship with brothers Joshua and Daniel and support them today during a soccer (football here) game. Joshua and Daniel coach a Faith Alive youth team ages are roughly 16-19, consisting of inner city youths in order to get them off the streets. They play against guys older and stronger than them, but the Lord is building them up now, Praise God. We came home for lunch and went to the Faith Alive clinic to lead a HIV/AIDS support group that is the only group of its kind for literally hundreds of miles around.
Teaching Africans to open up about their problems and HIV infection is key as the culture is very prideful, and does not discuss these things normally. Also like other parts of the world the women with HIV are exiled out of their famalies and not hired for work. Meanwhile most get infected from men who do not get tested. Faith Alive does SO much here though. They are working with the fervor of the Holy Spirit to bring healing to the peoples of Nigeria and Africa. From a holistic approach... not just the mind and body but the soul must follow! Praise God.
We all have had opportunities to share our testimonies and stories. Meet the greatest and most interesting and loving people that I've personally ever meet, and so on. Im humbled to be included in Gods work. Our team is amazing, hard working, caring, patient and transparent with one another. Cant wait to see whats in store. So much left still to do. We are starting the Celebrate Recovery training for everyone tomorrow, building the only playground in Jos this week, visiting homes of AIDS/HIV patients, and much more. Some of us are even thinking about staying longer!!! We miss all of you, pray for the people of Jos. ISAIAH 58 Steve N.