Nigeria Blog Day 1: Nigeria 101
Remember back in college when you took a beginning class in whatever subject? The class was always called "101." Like PSYC 101 or ENGL 101; you had to take the easy stuff before you could advance and take anything harder. But since it was usually taken your first year and most times the first semester of college, they were some of the most difficult. That’s about the best way I can describe this MLO to Nigeria. It feels like we did way back at the beginning when we were green behind the ears, looking to the left and right of us to see if we can figure out if anyone else in the room is dazed and confused!
HiS PRINT will begin its 14th year of ministry at the first of the year, with over 20 missions (MLO’s) under our belts. This one we began yesterday in Nigeria feels like we are the new kid on the block. New culture, new continent and trusting someone I’ve never met in person. We are so excited and overjoyed at this opportunity and can see God’s hand all over it, but the trust this is taking to walk out His plan in obedience is not easy!
I guess the best way to share it is to explain how we got here! Having Temitayo, our Nigerian brother in Christ, invite us and the government of Nigeria pay all in-country expenses for three American missionaries they have never met is something that only God can orchestrate. To be invited to the Nigerian Senate floor by the President of the Senate; asked to speak in 4 schools and share our love for baseball and love of God; to be honorary Chairmen of their first ever Little League tournament and to be asked if we would do a television and radio interview while in country - these are things only God could do. We could write 50 letters to the President of the Senate and never even get a form letter back. We could approach school after school asking if we could come in and share, only to see doors remained closed. We wouldn’t even know where or how to start asking a government official if he wouldn’t mind taking care of all our in country expenses.
That’s how crazy this all is! Since we have no experience to base our expectations and so are having to trust all those moving parts to be handled far away, we have been required to place a huge amount of trust in our God in order to make the trip! And to think: this has all come about because we sent some baseball equipment to Nigeria almost 2 years ago. God is so good and this open door of opportunity to share is such a blessing. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store! The conversations I have had with Temitayo have been so heart-warming and the excitement that is building up in the players at the academy and schools helps keep all the jitters and doubts out of mind. We can focus on simply doing what we do best: Using our steps to leave HiS PRINT wherever we go and with whomever we meet, by loving them where they and love them till they ask why!
I will sing a little praise about the blessings we have already received: no line at check in, short line in security, semi-empty plane and I didn’t have to pay for any of the three extra pieces of luggage! Usually what costs $100 per bag was entirely waived. I even stood there at the counter and held out my credit card to ensure her I needed to pay. She smiled, pushed my hand back and said, “Have a nice flight!” There goes our great God showing off again. Nigeria here we come, after 23 hours of travel time!
I will say that my bride and I were both a little anxious this morning and after having a devotional and prayer time we both took a big deep breath and knew God has this. Oswald Chamber in "My Utmost for HiS Highest" said it best, “We give credit to human wisdom, when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who are foolish enough to trust God’s wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God!” Read that again carefully; now ponder on it for a moment: is that us?
Please keep us in your prayers and remember Jesus loves you and so do I!
HE DID IT!