Posts Tagged ‘Jos’

Neighborly Love, by Nate Gangwer, Back2Back Nigeria Intern

July 11, 2011

 

A few weeks ago we began our first project with another team.  We spent the entire day doing projects at the Oasis Community Center in the Kisayhip Village of Jos, Nigeria.  The majority of the team painted the community center with a primer coat to get ready for the Back2Back team next week.  The rest of the group split in two and some worked on clearing the roadside gutter to prevent flooding during the rains and the rest of the group moved a significant amount of gravel, rock, and sand for concrete mixing an building to the other side of the compound to make it easier for future deliveries and a more central location for work. In the midst of the pounding heat we were able to completely prime the building, move all but a handful of the big rocks, and dig out a majority of the roadside.  Feelings of accomplishment ran high as we finished out the day sitting on the porches watching a thunderstorm roll by.  These types of achievements not only help boost our moral, but really help to show the community the importance of taking care of facilities and thinking a few steps ahead of the current problem.

Nigerians are a wonderful people with a tremendous sense of community and perseverance, but have been trampled and pushed down by exploitation, which turns into a terrible foundation of traditions.  A large part of community development lays in finding pride not only in your neighbors and family, but also in the actual land and buildings.  Loving your neighbor does not always entail saving them from a horrible plight or devastating circumstance, but more frequently, and perhaps more importantly, loving your neighbor means literally doing the small things that you desire for yourself for them.  If I want my yard or my house to be clean then how I love my neighbor is also desiring (and acting upon) their yard or house to be clean.  The motivation moves from being self-centered to community centered and Biblically obedient.  By partnering together and serving those around us who are incapable, either by a lack of resources or a lack of know-how, we are not only serving them we are serving Christ and following the model of love He exhibited for us and commanded of us. Oh, how wonderful it is to worship in work and service!

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Bringing Restoration: Reflections on Evidence of God’s Beauty in Nigeria, by Jessica Biondo, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 25, 2011

Last summer, Jessica Biondo and Ruby Moyer of the Back2Back Mexico staff traveled to Jos, Nigeria. While there, they served alongside our Back2Back Nigeria staff for several weeks.  Below, Jessica Biondo shares her reflections on the experience.

Try to image this scene with me. You are standing in a small, humble building. There are rocks piled on the tin roof so that it won’t blow off in the wind and the rain. The door stands open to let in the sunlight and the warm breeze. The entire room is bursting with the vibrant colors of patterned dresses and head wraps. Songs of jubilee and praise can be heard for miles around! The singing is joined with the beats of drums and everyone begins to clap their own rhythms, which blend together in perfect harmony. With sheer delight people begin dancing to the front of the room. Everyone is out of their seats, dancing, laughing, singing, worshiping God with all they have in them.

It is a church offering and it was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. It is a time of joy, singing, celebration and dancing. It is truly a sight to behold.

As I took in the scene around me, I looked to my right and saw Back2Back Nigeria staff, John and Corrie Guckenberger, and their kids singing in the native language of Hausa, worshipping the Lord with the people who have become their neighbors and friends. That moment was a very clear picture of what it means to present your life as an offering before the Lord. Just as my Nigerian brothers and sisters joyfully sacrificed the first fruits of their tomato crop on that Sunday, I saw Back2Back Nigeria staff daily give their lives as an offering to the Lord to bring His love and hope to the neglected and abandoned children of Jos, Nigeria.

As I reflect back on my time in Nigeria, I am reminded of my first glimpse of the country as the plane descended below the line of gray clouds. I was struck by the beauty that lay before me in the splashes of green vegetation amidst the sea of red dirt and rock. This first glimpse of the country stuck with me and came to represent a constant theme that was evident everywhere I looked.

It is a theme of beauty in the midst of hardship, joy in the midst of poverty, blessing in the midst of pain. It is the goodness and provision of the Lord shining through to bring hope to our broken world. It is this hope that I had the privilege of witnessing at the village church each Sunday. It is this hope that is evident in the lives of the people who offer their lives to fight for the cause of the orphan child. And it is this hope that will ultimately bring healing and restoration to children in Jos, Nigeria.

Building Roads, by Will Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

October 15, 2010

A couple weeks ago I worked at another Back2Back staffers house digging a trench and clearing some big rocks/sand. As I cleared it from the yard I would take it to the street to fill in the big holes and ruts that force us to drive very slowly on our road. As I repeated this sequence of cleaning to “build the road” I realized this is something we are going to be doing for some time to come in a figurative way.

A lot of the things Back2Back is doing here in Jos require us to figuratively “build roads” to reach people. Theresa (Back2Back staff member and my wife) will be building roads to reach children through education. Each encounter she has with the students will help her earn their trust and know them better. As I spend time with the people in the Kisayhip Village where we serve I will do the same thing. We will not be able to love the people we are here to serve unless we are willing to “build roads” to reach them.

This process of building roads takes time. After putting several loads of dirt and rocks on one spot in the road a car would drive over it and pack it all down, still lower than it needed to be. It took several more loads to get it where it should be.

As a staff we are excited to continue to take the time of building these roads, whether literally or figuratively. Please pray with us that God gives us the patience endurance it requires.

A Fishing We Will Go, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

April 16, 2010

Welcome to the beginning stages of the fish farms that are being brought to life at one of the children’s homes we work with here in Jos, Nigeria. OLA (Our Ladies of Apostles) has started some fish farms and they are also working on some chicken farms to help them create food and funds for their needs. Back2Back is choosing to come alongside them and help them whenever possible. Do you see some of the little fish in there? Cute huh? Cute enough to eat hopefully!

Something that encourages us as staff is when you see someone who is already in place move forward with an idea that will better their situation. Sister Fidelia is such a woman. She is in charge of the inner workings of this facility and she is doing a great job. She has innovative ideas and wants to see them come to fruition. Back2Back is super excited about seeing where some of her gaps and needs are and then filling them where we can. Below is Jason (the director of Back2Back Nigeria) with Sister Fidelia. The fish hatcheries are behind them.

Below is the beginning ground work for the chicken homes. I know I am getting some of these words wrong, so sorry if you know a lot about these things. My husband would be cringing right now. Either way, they are moving forward and we are coming alongside of them. We are grateful when God makes some paths easy for us to see. We know it is not always this convenient, but boy, when it is, we are ecstatic! We thank you Father for your good gifts!

Journey to Nigeria, by Chad Powers, Mission Trip Participant

April 2, 2010

First of all, I need to get something off my chest…I didn’t believe that I could get there. I didn’t believe that the voice that was inviting me on an adventure was the voice of God. I thought that I was probably making it all up, that I was stirring up an old longing again.  I just didn’t believe. There, I said it, and now I feel better.

Let me back up…  It was December, cold and windy and less than two months before a group of men that I didn’t really know were scheduled to depart on their voyage to Nigeria. I bumped into one of the guys at a gathering and he offered me a standing invitation to join him on any trip of which he was a part. Little did he know that even while I was thanking him and making plans in my head, I was really beginning to cope with the fact that I could never afford a trip to Africa.  So, I began to let the dream die.

But something in that dream persisted.  I began having thoughts and visions of what my time there might look like. I felt something in my chest, I call it a ‘pressing.’ But it was really more like a ‘knowing.’ A ‘knowing’ that God was inviting me on a journey, that He was asking me to take a few steps, and that He would take care of me even in my weakness and trembling.

I knew that if I didn’t do something about this ‘invitation’ that my courage would bow to fear and that I would continue to carry the weight of this moment for a long time. So I jumped. I took the first step by telling my friend about this ‘pressing’ and asking him more about his trip. I confessed my fear in pursuing something that seemed so implausible for me to accomplish. I expressed my hope but then immediately expressed my fears. I began naming all the hurdles that would have to be overcome in order for me to get there. Money, visas, shots, airline tickets, time away from family and work. It was like I was giving a list of excuses as to why the dream wasn’t going to happen.

But God wasn’t impressed with my list!  One by one He began knocking down the barriers, proving to me that He is the God that overcomes… and overcomes… and overcomes.

In a month-and-a-half all the barriers were gone, and I was on a plane with some of the best men I’ve ever met. I’ll always have the pictures and the stories of what we did while we were there.

But the greatest impression I have from the trip is what God did to get me there.

He is greater than my circumstances. He is greater than the obstacles. He is greater than my fears. He is greater.

Our mission team with Back2Back Nigeria Staff

To see and read more about the experience in Nigeria, check out my blog from the trip.

The Latest Update from Jos, Nigeria, by Corrie Guckenberger

January 25, 2010

We continue to receive lots of emails of people praying for us, the community and the city. Thank you so much.  We are confident that they are being heard.  Things have quieted down tremendously and we are learning that as quickly as conflict rises, it settles just as fast.  Yesterday as the curfew was lifted to a half day, our family walked in our neighborhood to our director’s home and everyone was out in the street, greeting each other and smiling and glad to be out again.  There was a strange feeling of community within our own little area.  We knew we were all coming out of the conflict okay and no harm was done.   People were genuinely kind and spirited.

I am aware that even though that is what we are experiencing that is not what the greater Jos area is experiencing.  Although the streets may be quiet, people are scrambling looking for their loved ones.  Their minds are trying to figure out why again did this happen.  Families are trying to piece together damage that may have been done to their area.  Hearts are concerned for where do we go from here.  Some families have been displaced from their homes, experienced injury and in a few instances, even faced loss of life. It is at this point, that the real work begins.   This is the time for ministry.  We have already heard of people coming to hand out blankets, water, mats and food.  We don’t want to miss out!  We have been hearing from the sites we serve, that as far as people know, no one has been harmed.  We praise God for that alone!  Continue to pray with us for wisdom and discernment and how best to use our time and resources.  The need is great and there is work to be done.

The pictures posted are of some of the common scenes that we are seeing within a mile of our home.  The one of the armed forced gentleman is Mr. Fire.  We talked with him and he is stationed at his post, two minutes away from our home.  He is a kind man who prays to our same Lord Jesus Christ and we are glad he is here keeping our streets safe.  The other is just a common road block.  These are currently all over the city of Jos for random check points for the comings and goings of all.  We are thankful for the measures being taken to assure the safety of the people.

Update on Situation in Nigeria, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

January 20, 2010

We have been getting lots of questions being asked of us about the crisis here in Jos, Nigeria. Here is what is going on around us personally and in the city.

First, our family is good and safe and so are the Munafos. We are grateful for the close proximity in which we live to them. (We live right behind them.) There is currently a 24-hour curfew in place that started yesterday and at this point, we don’t know how long it will last. (I am guessing for the next couple of days.) Usually after the initial 24-hour curfew, there will be in place a twelve hour curfew from 6pm to 6am.

On Sunday, there was a disagreement between a man and a hired worker on receiving pay. The worker did not receive his money; therefore, hired men to come and beat the other man up. All of that to say, is it led to other rivalry and havoc. There has been rumors (that I do believe at this moment) that men were brought in from the North to cause riots within our city. This is becoming more of a religious issue at this point. The Muslims are attacking and the Christians are defending. There have been deaths and injuries (we are receiving mixed reports on this at this time). It appears that a group of men made their way from central Jos toward the southern part of Jos (where we live) during the last few days. Yesterday morning is when it hit our specific area. We were never in danger (we live in locked/gated little neighborhood with security guards) but our neighbors down the street were. There was some burning of buildings and yelling going on. Right now, at 8:45am, it is quiet all around. At this point, no one in the Jos missionary community has been harmed. We are grateful.

Please know that as a ministry, we have plans in place for times of crisis that allow us to take the appropriate measures of safety for our staff and for any visitors that may be here. The greater Jos mission community also has a great communication pattern to communicate with all missionaries in the area that help us all be able to communicate in a way that is productive and helpful.

Please do pray for healing in this area. As we all know who live under Christ, that crisis can be such a tool for redemption. We believe, fully, that there is work to be done and we want to be ready in and out of season. The battle between Muslim/Christian has gone for generations and generations. We know this, and our heart is to not only be able to serve those who need serving in Christ (on both sides), but to protect the Fatherless who get caught in these crossfires. At the end of the day, there will be more orphans because of this crisis and we need wisdom and discernment on how to care for them.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and questions. I do hope this can help some of you better pray for us personally, for our ministry and for this area. God Bless.

Where in the world are we?

June 3, 2009

Back2Back Ministries serves in four areas:

Monterrey, Mexico

Jos, Nigeria

Hyderabad, India

Mason, Ohio (the Back2Back home offices)