Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7th - From Abuja to Jos

Okee-doo-kee. In case you missed the first blog entry, here's a recap: We flew out of Hebron, Kentucky on a Friday and landed in Abuja, Nigeria on Saturday. You're welcome.

Sunday morning we woke up at a silly hour to get ready for church. Granted, I still considering waking up at 9am for church to be silly.... It was pretty sunny and fairly warm by 6am, so we wouldn't have been able to sleep in regardless. Our new friend, Ibro, came to get us and we all loaded up in our taxi van and drove to church. It was a fairly large church, maybe somewhere near a 1,000?

There's no air conditioning, so in order to keep it kinda cool, there were ceiling fans hanging everywhere. The poles for the front fans were maybe 10-15 ft long, and a fan in the left front was doing massive circles. Let's just say I felt safer that I was on the opposite side of the church. Of course, there are no pictures of the said fan. I thought it would be rude if I was snapping shots of it. I however, did not apparently think it was rude to take photos of a revival banner and my teammates during a prayer. At least, I think someone was praying. After my flash went off a couple of times, a few people opened their eyes and I realized the members all had their heads down. In my defense, the speaker may have been speaking English, but it was a heavy accent.

There was a rocking women's choir (pic's blurry, but it's to your right), too many speakers to count, (I never could figure out who was who and why one person didn't just do the announcements) and several stories about a dog dying and a little boy who got his fingers smashed off my his dad, the latter who would then commit suicide. Apparently, both tales were about patience. The members all thought it was hilarious. Odd.

There was another large church next to us, plus a market, so the parking was kinda crowded. 

On our way out of church, we passed what I can only assume is a farmer's market. It was
 jammed packed with cars, stands, goods, people, goats, children carrying yellow buckets of water (looks similar to a gas canister) and some more people. How we didn't hit anybody with our car is unbelievable to me. I think that short drive by the market was my first glimpse into how beautiful the people and country are.

Well, maybe this part wasn't so beautiful : ) But seriously, a public toilet - it's a big deal. And let me reassure you, there are no signs telling employees to wash their hands before they go back to work. There would have to be a sink in order for that to happen. Of the few public type toilets I visited, I promise you a thousand times over, peeing outdoors was preferred. To me, and probably the rest of Nigeria. It seemed safer, cleaner and a lot less claustrophobic.

After we left church, we drove to our friend Emmanuel's brother-in-law's house. Patrick and Sarah have a large, gated house. (If you go to Nigeria, you learn fairly quickly that if a person has any ounce of wealth to their name, that they'll live in what is essentially, a neighborhood. Except every neighborhood is gated, as well as each house. And each house will have their own set of guards.) Sarah fixed a delicious meal of chicken, red soup, rice, noodles, and a bunch of other food that I can't remember. It was very kind of her. From there we took off on our 3-4 hour journey from Abuja (the capitol of Nigeria and where we flew into) to Jos. We were still a little pooped out from our flight, so most of us fell asleep from time to time. It was silly hot in the van and we were packed in there like sardines, so we didn't necessarily sleep the entire time. Which turned out to be great, because that way we saw lots of the little villages and the beautiful hills, the 50 military checkpoints simply made of sticks and rocks and men with machine guns.... Sleeping did however, keep you from seeing your life flash before your very eyes. (I have decided to dedicate an entire post to the driving in Nigeria. Look for it in a couple of days)

We had made it about 3/4 of our destination when our luggage van smacked into the back our van. We then proceeded to smack the back of the car in front of us. Essentially, all three vehicles that were traveling together wrecked into one another. Oops. Long story, but I whapped my head pretty good on the glass (I was in the back seat w/o a head rest. No cuts, but the mother of all headaches) I felt a little nauseated and once we reached our destination, I slept like a rock. I do remember thinking, "If I have a concussion, I don't think I'm supposed to fall asleep... don't remember why... omg, my head hurts... Jesus, I don't want to die in Africa..maybe I should stay awake....zzzzzzzzz" I was a little sluggish and confused once I woke up. Still had a crazy headache. I also had a great desire to talk with Americans in America at that point, but the only phone numbers I brought with me were my emergency contacts, none of whom answered. I think I got pretty whiny by the third or fourth voice mail, so sorry if you got one of those treasured messages : )

Turned out pretty awesome, though. the next morning I woke up without any pain in my back or neck and no headache. Actually, I felt better and more relaxed than I had in several weeks. One of the missionaries that flew in with us told me the next day that she and her husband prayed for healing. I think God totally delivered on that one : )

And now you're caught up on Sunday..... Riveting, I know.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Journey Through Africa.....

It's hard to believe that it's been 2 weeks since Isaac and I flew back from Nigeria. There are so many photos and stories swirling around... It's a daunting task to try and express my thoughts and feelings.  And to be quite honest, I'm at a loss for how to even begin to process what I saw and experienced there. I know I loved it. I'm fairly confident that I heard God tell me to go. I'm 100% positive that I have no idea why. Or what to do from here. But who wants to hear about the end, when you haven't even seen the beginning?  In order to help you understand what each day entailed, I'll separate each day with a blog entry and correlating pictures. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

On Friday, Nov 5th, our team of 11 flew out of Cincinnati around 7:30pm. My dad works at CVG, so he hung around and waited until we took off. It was so nice to give him one more hug before we took off. It was a short flight to Detroit and after a brief layover, we were on our way to Amsterdam. They're 5 hours ahead of us, so I really don't remember what time it was... anywhere. I just remember that we got breakfast. 2 yogurts with granola, 1 quiche to spilt, 1 plastic cup of apple juice and a bottle of water. It costs us $30 American dollars. No, I did not forget the decimal.  THIRTY DOLLARS!
As you can tell, I was less than thrilled with breakfast.
(side note: this is what Isaac wakes up to every morning. Kinda makes you appreciate him more, doesn't it?)

Isaac didn't seem at all phased. I thought I was going to pass out.

After flying out of Amsterdam, we eventually landed in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. It was pretty late on Saturday night. We were pooped out and overwhelmed with everything. When you first enter the airport, you're almost immediately overwhelmed with a particular odor. I think it's just the lack of deodrant : ) You get over it pretty quickly. There's lots of men with machine guns just milling around. This is also something you just kinda get used to.

We stayed at the Baptist Guest House in Abuja that Saturday night. This room was kinda of a big deal to me, for a couple of reasons. 1) It was the only time that Isaac and I got to stay in the same room the whole duration of the trip. 
2) We were the only room that had a mosquito net. I was so grateful for that.  
This was a concept that we would also quickly become accustomed to : )
Earth shattering information, right? It gets better, I promise. Stay tuned....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

While we're gone

We leave tomorrow.... which is.... mind blowing. I haven't even packed yet. I haven't even made a list of things to pack yet... which is shocking. I think it's a testament to how calm I am at the moment.

I won't have any form of communication with me while I'm gone, so you won't be hearing anything from me for a while. However, this blog will have periodic updates from leaders. So you may follow our progress from the comfort of your laptop.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Holy Moley

Hi all.

Just wanted to give you a final little update here before Isaac and I take off to Nigeria next Friday.
Things seem to coming into play. Both Isaac and I have our passports and our visas. We've had all of our vaccinations and will begin our Maleria meds this week. Due to crazy schedules, the team we're a part of had our first meeting on Monday. It was nice to finally put some faces with some names. I learned that the children in Africa do not wear shorts. Which seems..... ironic. Since they live in Africa.
As for our agenda, we'll be serving some local pastors, doing some village outreaches and taking part in the bore hole commissioning.

Now here comes the fun part.... not..... I found out the final cost of the trip (I think at one point, they thought it might be a little cheaper. Plus it took a long time to work out legistics with all agencies) on Monday. And then I found out that I'm almost $500 short yesterday morning. Yay : ) ha. I'm only saying this so that if this is something that you have thought about or considered giving to, and had simply forgotten, now's the time to give : ) And please understand that if this is something that you don't feel led to contribute to or simply don't have the resources available - it's fine. We're still pals and it'd just be great if you prayed for Isaac and I while we were gone. And for those who have already given - I honestly cannot adquetly express my graditude. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Please pray for the following things:
1) That I don't say or do something incredibly stupid while I'm there. I realize that this is nearly impossible... but do you believe in miracles?
2) That there would be no conflicts btwn team members.
3) That this would be a safe trip.
4) That we wouldn't come busting all up in there with our own ideas and agendas.
5) That my teammates would be able to raise their funds quickly.
6) That nobody pukes on a plane or gets sick while we're there.

If you're still reading and would like more information on how to possibly donate towards my fund, here's some awesome info:

) You can donate directly to me (ie: hey Jen, here's $5) Note: this way cannot be considered tax-deductible

2) You can send a tax-deductible check made payable to: Vineyard Community Church

11340 Century Circle Cincinnati, OH 45246

Attn: Missions Coordinator

There's some things I've been told to tell you about this second one: write 'Short Term Missions- Jos, Nigeria' in the memo line. For tax reasons - DO NOT write my name on the check. However, you can attach a letter or something to the check so they know who it's for.

Thanks for the support and prayers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

updates, shupdates

Okay. So I didn't post anything for a while because I've been seriously busy, as well as, I just didn't know what to say. Some things were in limbo.

I'm happy to report though, that both Isaac and I have our passports, visas and vaccinations.

We leave in TWO WEEKS. holy cow.

We're meeting with some of our team on Monday to discuss some final details.

I'm honestly not sure how to even wrap my mind around all of this. There's still a lot to do. I'm not too sure when I'll have the time to do it, but I'm trying really hard not to stress about it. Btw, if anybody wants to house our doggie for 12 days, we'd sure appreciate it. not stressing. not stressing......

peace out

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

selling some stuff

Anybody need a new(er) Kenmore fridge and stove? They're an off-white set that works great. We just decided a while ago that we were going to get a set that matched our kitchen. $100 for each if sold seperately, or $150 for both.

I'm also selling a bright white GE stovetop microwave. It does not have a mounting plate, but works fantastic.  $50 for the microwave.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Let's be honest - you've been biting your nails for the next blog update : ) Just kidding...

Folks are ridiculously generous. As of today, $830 has been raised towards the trip. That's a lot of dough, people. To those of you who have reached deep into your pockets - there's honestly no way that I could ever repay you. THANK YOU.

Other fun updates:

* Next goal to reach is $870. Technically, it's due today, but I don't think everyone has their money turned in yet, so the church can't purchase the plane tix... What that means in English is that you can still donate.
* I got my 2x2 digitized color photos made yesterday at the post office. Found my old passport, got copies of my marriage license/certificate and wrote the Department of State a $110 check so they'd renew my passport. Everything's in the mail. I should, fingers crossed, receive a new passport in the mail in 4-6 weeks. Side Note- I will for the next TEN YEARS, have a ridiculous passport photo of me with a ginormous zit underneath my nose. No amount of love and makeup could hide it. Side Note to the Side Note- the super nice lady (she really was) at the post office took my photo 3x because she said it looked like I was shutting my eyes. I tried to explain that I just have squinty eyes and one is shaped differently than the other, so I always look like I'm winking at someone. But she was convinced that the government might kick it back, so I sat there with my eyes bugging out for another 2 shots. I also smile crooked, for the record.
* Um, yeah, so $870 is the next goal to be met. Hopefully, this week. After that, I have $800 due on Sept 17th and then then another $100 in October.
* The next things on my to do list are:
* figure out Craig's List so we can sell our extra fridge, stove, stove top microwave, and guitar.
fyi - the stove and fridge are off white and they match. the microwave is a really pretty bright white.
* Get my shots

One other quick note - please pray for my teammates. Some of them I know, some I don't. I fairly confident that none of us are millionares. Please pray that they have peace about the trip and are able to raise the funds. Thx.

ps- here's how you can donate if you want to.
1) You can donate directly to me (ie: hey Jen, here's $5) Note: this way cannot be considered tax-deductible
2) You can send a tax-deductible check made payable to: Vineyard Community Church
11340 Century Circle Cincinnati, OH 45246
Attn: Missions Coordinator

There's some things I've been told to tell you about this second one: write 'Short Term Missions- Jos, Nigeria' in the memo line. For tax reasons - DO NOT write my name on the check. However, you can attach a letter or something to the check so they know who it's for.