Posts Tagged ‘Kisayhip Village’

Humbled, by Will Reed, Back2Back Nigeria

April 3, 2012

In the past couple weeks some of the youth have made comments that have left me completely humbled by their perspective on life. These have reminded me of others said long ago. I want to share a few with you.

At the end of Bible study each week we take “prayer points” as they’re called here. Each week one youth will inevitably ask for prayer to pay school fees. Never in my life have I had to worry about paying school fee’s, especially in middle school or high school. In fact, I’m sure I would have thought it was great if I didn’t have to go to school in middle school, but here there are 18 year olds asking for prayer so they can pay school fee’s to attend our equivalent of 8th grade.

I would have given up.

Another comment I often hear from youth is that they only want to have what they need, which is something I’m sure I’ve said but they prove it. If they get something they almost always share it only taking enough for themselves. There is no doubt great selfishness is in the village, however, these youth seem to have not caught the bug as greatly as I have. One youth was willing to go as far as sell his mattress to help pay a medical bill for another youth they knew. Read that line again and realize he would have been left sleeping on a mud/concrete floor. He wouldn’t have just gone out and bought another, he would have gone without.

I would have thought I had nothing to give.

Just last week I could tell Emmanuel Asiko, Back2Back Staff Member, was having a bad day. He lives in the Kisayhip Village, the same village he is working to develop. I asked him what had happened and he informed me a four-year-old boy had passed away early that morning. I asked more questions about it and inquired on how he was really doing. He assured me he was fine. I then asked if he was able to visit a person he was supposed to visit that morning for work. He answered, “No, I was digging the grave.”

I wouldn’t have known what to do.

I’m humbled by these youth. I’m humbled by not only their thoughts towards life but also how they are seeking to live. I’m humbled by youth who would sell their mattress to pay a medical bill for another while I have two beds in my house. I’m humbled by youth who know how to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

I’m learning to never give up, I always have something to give and there is always something I can do.

Children of God, by Theresa Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

February 3, 2012

Image

The other day one of my students, Jeremiah, asked if I would give him a red pen. I knew he needed it for school, so I gave him one of the many pens that have been donated to the Education Center. He smiled really big and said, “Auntie, thank you!! You always give me the things that I ask for”. I don’t really know what I asked this, but immediately I asked him, “Why do you think I give you those things?”. Without flinching he answered, “Because you are my Auntie.”

His response got me thinking. He claimed his relationship to me to be the reason why I give him things. I started to think about how much more a father desires to provide for his children and give them good things when they ask. A father longs to provide for the needs of his children. If we believe in God and have proclaimed him to be Lord of our lives, we are His sons (and daughters). Romans 8:15 says, “But you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””

I just finished reading a book called, “The Birthright” by John Sheasby. The book discusses the concept of being a child of God and what that allows us access to in Him. In the book, John Sheasby discusses the story of the prodigal son, but talks about it from the viewpoint of the older brother. He quotes Luke 15:29, which says, “But he answered his father, “All these years I’ve worked like a slave for you. I’ve never disobeyed one of your commands. Yet, you’ve never given me so much as a little goat for a celebration with my friends.”” The author goes on to explain how sad it is that the older son never knew the power of what he had access to through his father. All he had to do over all the years was ask his father- and whatever he wanted would have been his. He had total access to his father’s riches, but never thought to ask for it- he just did his work and went on with this daily life.

Think about this for a second- we are children of God. We have access to everything that is His. All that we have to do is ask. Just as I gave Jeremiah a red pen because I am his Auntie, God wants to give us good things because we are His children. My point in all of this is that I desire for us as Christians to see the power that we have as children of God. We have total access God’s abundance. He desires to provide for us because we are His children. The best part of all of this is that He knows what we need. It is a good thing that I do not have to figure out what I need and don’t need because I don’t know the whole picture – but God does and He gives what He knows that we need. Praise the Lord for our closeness in relationship with Him!

Back2Back Nigeria provides academic assistance and tutoring to children in the Kisayhip Village outside Jos. Last fall, we opened our doors to the Oasis Education Center to expand educational opportunities for the local orphans and impoverished children.  By improving education and providing sponsorship, the children of Jos will have a brighter future.

Kisayhip Youth Development Update, by Will Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

November 20, 2011

The last few months have been busy for the Kisayhip Youth Development (KYD), a community youth outreach program sponsored by Back2Back.  The KYD has sought the best way to give back to their community.  Our hope is to guide the discussion for their own discovery of how they can best give back. So far these discussions have led to several ideas for the group.

One idea they are working towards is raising chickens. This work can quickly become profitable and is easy for a group to manage. KYD has been looking for ways to make money to begin this project and is currently molding mud blocks to sell with plans to use the profits to benefit the community.

Children in the Kisayhip Youth Development Program volunteer to benefit their community.

The second idea they have is one Back2Back hopes to partner much more with them on. Back2Back and KYD want to use dry season farming in community development. Dry season farming is very profitable here but not done very much do to lack of resources. We hope to provide some of the missing resources so KYD can reap the full benefits of the project. The goal is to help the individual youth in the project eventually be able to break off on their own and farm for a living.

KYD has three things they want to do with the profit of these projects. One third of the profit would go to community development projects such as paying school fees for children, providing food for widows and helping to bring electricity to the village, among others. Another third would be individual sustainability for the youth who work the specific project, so the work not only benefits the community but also the youth by providing jobs. The final third is for project sustainability where money would be used for maintenance and further project development such as increasing the number of chickens or amount of land they farm.

Back2Back realizes as KYD moves forward with these projects the individuals in the group need to progress in their personal development as well. One area of greatest need for development is biblical character and integrity. Because of the rampant corruption that has spilled it’s way into every area of life in Nigeria the youth have very few good examples of character and integrity. To combat this, Back2Back staff member and national, Daniel Asama, is leading weekly talks about biblical character and integrity with KYD. He uses practical examples to call them to a higher standard of living. We hope this higher standard becomes the example and eventual “status quo” in the village.

Please continue to pray for the youth in KYD who are stepping out in faith to bring sustainable change to their village.

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!

All This Because Someone Gave and Someone Came, by Daniel Asama Ago, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

September 30, 2010

I am not just posting a blog, but giving you a testimony of my Back2Back (B2B) experience. It has been three years since I first met Jason and Emilee Munafo, the Directors of B2B Nigeria.  I was already working two jobs here in Jos, trying to make a living.  My field is Information Technology (IT).  When I first met Back2Back Nigeria Staff, Jason & Emilee Munafo, they recognized my deep desire to succeed and learn so, they introduced us to an American businessman who came alongside us, assisting us in launching a small IT business.

Current Bits System Office

With the help of a Back2Back donor who wanted to assist entrepreneurs, we were given a set of laptops and contemporary training in web-design and development by Griffith Holdings, Inc., a company in the United States.  As a result of the Munafo’s support and the generosity of Back2Back partners, we were recently named one of the top web-design companies in Nigeria.

Our Latest Group of Web Design Trainees

I wouldn’t say we have already achieved all that we hope for but we are continuing to move forward and we can see the prospect of a better market with time because of the blessings we have been given. We have started training others in the community, so as to pass on what we know and what was shared with us.  We have trained eleven people so far . . . all because someone gave and someone came.

Because of the positive experience that I have had with Back2Back, I recently joined the Back2Back Nigerian staff as the co-captain of community development, along with Will Reed, who also recently came on staff in Nigeria. He and his wife, Theresa, are going to be a huge blessing to the ministry. We have introduced our monthly ministry program at the Viewing Center in the Kisayhip Village. We call it “Forums”, where we will be discussing life morals and biblical principles to young men from the village.

I was once that child who knew education was not a quest for KNOWLEDGE but a means for SURVIVAL and I had no means whatsoever to achieve that, even though I had the zeal and understanding.  I just couldn’t pay for it. Growing up, we had only corn meal and sometimes warm water for dinner.  So,  schooling  would have been a luxury we couldn’t think about.  This makes the Education Center, which will be starting up in the village very shortly, a “hope-raiser” for many of the children in the village.

Groundbreaking of the Education Center in the Kisayhip Village

So here I am, through the special grace of God, writing this blog for B2B, and communicating in English through my computer . . . all because someone gave and someone came.

I would love to someday hear a similar testimony from the children that we serve in the Kisayhip Village.

The Reeds’ Journey to Nigeria

May 27, 2010

In the spring of 2009, Will and Theresa began to ask God what He had in store for them when Theresa graduated college in 2010. As they prayed, they were continually led to Back2Back, the same ministry they were serving with in Mexico when they met for the first time. After conversations with staff and a visit to Jos, they know it is where God wants them. In the midst of big needs, they are excited to work with Back2Back to offer H.O.P.E. to people in Jos and the Kisayhip Village.

Both Will and Theresa will be working to build relationships, host groups, and meet needs. However, of all the things they will be doing in Jos, they are most excited for what Theresa will be doing. She will be working to provide an education to the children in the Kisayhip Village, the fulfillment of a life-long dream for her and also the fulfillment of a big need. Will and Theresa will be leaving for Jos in September 2010. They are excited to continue the adventure God has called them to in Nigeria, as they pursue the passions He has instilled in them.

Harvest Sunday, by Emilee Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

December 17, 2009

A few weeks ago the ECWA church (Evangelical Church of West Africa) in the Kisayhip Village celebrated the Harvest Season with a special Harvest Sunday celebration. It was the Sunday following our American Thanksgiving holiday. As I walked up to the church doors, I could see buckets, sacks and trays that were full of grains lined up against the building. Each portion of grain represented a family’s hard season of planting, cultivating, protecting, watering, and harvesting. For many of them it is their way of living. Without this harvest they wouldn’t be able to provide for their family. I felt like I was back in Biblical times. Maybe I am too much of a city girl, but in our church we usually only bring forward our monetary gifts, and even then when we bring them, we bring them to a box, near the back wall at our own convenience.

In the Nigerian church, I have always noticed that the time for offering, whether with naira or with crops, is a time of worship. There is music playing, singing, dancing, even a little bit of shouting. It always makes me ask myself, am I giving my offerings to the Lord as an act of worship, or do I just do it out of obedience? It also made me think of what things I would be willing to bring as an offering, if I wasn’t told to bring money but something that represented my hard labor. Maybe my time, my home, or my desires for my family would be on that list. What about you?  What would you bring as an offering? I’ve been sorting out what God is teaching me through my Harvest Sunday experience – it’s been a few weeks and I am still thinking about it!

The slideshow below shows an outreach that we did after church on Harvest Sunday. Only the pastor knew what we had planned. We enjoyed passing out bags of goodies that included lotion, sugar for Christmas baking, spices, and noodle packets to those who faithfully come to church on Sunday.

Vision for Nigeria Land of Hope Campaign, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria

December 10, 2009

Back2Back is partnering with Self-Sustaining Enterprises (SSE) in Nigeria.  SSE  has given Back2Back fifteen acres outside of Jos, Nigeria to develop as a Back2Back ministry site with a community center, enabling us to expand our ministry to local children and families in need. If you would like more information about our campaign to raise funds for the development of the land, please contact landofhope@back2backministries.org

It was so encouraging to see more than 100 people show up on a cold rainy evening to hear what God is doing through Back2Back in Jos, Nigeria.  We had our first capital campaign on December 8th in Cincinnati and it felt a bit as if I was attending a family reunion.  I think that is my favorite character trait about serving in this ministry.  Thousands of people have gone to serve at different sites, different times, and for different purposes, but many came together that evening and there was an underlying reality that even if I haven’t met you, I know you and a sliver of your heart.

Corrie Guckenberger, relaying the vision for the Land of Hope Campaign at the Nigeria Open House

Beth & Todd Guckenberger, sharing their heart for Back2Back's ministry in Nigeria

John Guckenberger at the Nigeria Open House

I was just reminded that ten years ago, Todd and Beth had their first fundraiser for Back2Back’s Mexico ministry site at Snyder Farm, the same location where the Nigeria Open House was located. Back2Back has been on quite a journey since then, following the Lord’s calling.  He has done so much that it can be overwhelming to think that He is still at work, moving and stirring and leading us now in Africa as well.

The vision of where we feel the Lord is asking us to go was shared by everyone and it was daunting seeing it unveiled to others.  As we unfold the desire to develop relationships in the Kisayhip Village near Jos and build a host village next door for us as a staff to live, I am too aware that it is too big a project for mere man.  For that reason, I get excited to see God work out the details in His time and in His way.  Our desire is to just be obedient to Him.  We are so grateful for everyone who came to the event, encouraging us, supporting us, and cheering us on.  That is truly what family should feel like.

Back2Back Nigeria Property, "Land of Hope"

A few of the children we serve in Nigeria

Village children saying hello from the Back2Back Nigeria property to be developed

A Farming Tradition, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

October 2, 2009

John, our children, and I were invited by the Chairman of the Kisayhip Village that we work with to experience and witness one of the farming/wedding traditions that they practice.  We picked up the kids right after school and went to go “be a part” of traditional Africa.

Corrie and her family

Corrie with her children, Gus, Sarah, and Sami

Upon arriving, we learned more…. when a man marries a woman from another village, the husband’s village during the next year, has some responsibilities.  Three different times the village will come over to the wife’s village and “farm” or till the land and then the two villages share a meal and celebrate.  It just so happened that the Chairman’s youngest daughter was married this past year, and the man’s village was finishing up their agreement and coming for the third and final time to “farm” the Chairman’s land.

It was actually really fun.  John got a try and I think within time, he would be great.  No, seriously, it was amazing to be there firsthand and see the excitement and encouragement that both villages shared for one another.  The one came with about sixty men and within an hour tilled maybe three acres, row after row after row of their corn.  They worked together like a machine.

As the men were working, the women and kids were either dancing and encouraging or they were cooking and preparing for the meal afterward.  Overall, I liked the gesture and thought it would be really cool if we could somehow put this practice into place in the States.  Maybe it is not tilling or farming, but maybe it is something different.  I don’t know…. something to think about.  How sweet to see one people group take care of another people group.  Even though they didn’t all get married, obviously, they all took part in the responsibilities of it.  I like it!

Okay, I just spent about an hour having this video download (and it wasn’t finished) and our power went out.  SOOO, no video.  I have included a couple of pictures.  It won’t do the scene justice because you need to see these men work with their tools and the women singing and dancing… but here are a few photos.  I hope you can catch the moment somewhat.

A Farming Tradition

A Farming Tradition 2

Making a Difference, by Angela Ramos

July 6, 2009

Being in Nigeria for almost four weeks I have often wondered if we are making a difference here.  Will we ever fully know the answer to that question?  Before coming here our desire was to come to help out where needed and to serve the people here – whatever that looks like.  Now that we are here it seems that what we do is so little because the need here is so great.

A few Fridays ago we handed out a bag of corn and rice along with oil to each family in the Kisayhip Village.  We split up into teams and along with a translator we went into everyone’s homes and gave them the elements.  We also prayed with them.  We told them we were there because we wanted them to know that God loves them.  We also wanted to let them know that Back2Back is building a compound close to their village and that our goal is to help them and the community.  We will use this future Back2Back compound to host our missionaries and groups that come for a mission trip.  We felt it was important to make an impact on the village so they know we are here to serve them.

Chris Ramos praying with a family in the Kisayhip Village

Chris Ramos praying with a family in the Kisayhip Village

We know that we made an impact, but will we ever really understand how much?  As we left the village to return to our house where we have electricity (sometimes), running water and food, I don’t think we can completely understand without being in their shoes.

I was struggling with questions about what it means to make a difference here until God began to show me that this is not about me.  I may never know the extent of our impact but I am to be obedient to the calling on my life.  I may never get the warm fuzzies.  I may never see the benefits of our labor here.  But, that is okay.  God has given me peace and God is right, of course, this isn’t about me.

In Isaiah 58 God talks about true fasting.  From that scripture, I am learning that God sees our hearts and true intentions.  He doesn’t just want one day of fasting, a fasting that is like “Okay, I fasted for a day, I did my duty, and now I’m done.”  Our lives are to be lived day in and day out by feeding the hungry, setting free the oppressed, providing shelter for the homeless and clothing the naked.  I love the part of the scripture where it talks about what God will do when we fast in such a way.  I love it that He goes before me and His glory will be my rear guard. He will answer me when I call and when I do cry out to Him He will say “Here I am”.

We are called to resist the urge to live our lives for ourselves.  Yes, God has a plan for my life here and He will grow us personally and as a family. We may never know how much we’re helping, but what I do know is that God is our protector, our healer and he answers us when we call.  That is so much better than a warm fuzzy.