Posts Tagged ‘Oasis Community Center’

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!

A Heart for the Widow, by Nate Gangwer, Back2Back Nigeria Summer Intern

June 20, 2011

Today marked a more substantial beginning to the activities we will be doing in Nigeria. Anna, Reed, and Emily observed and helped in the OCC (Oasis Community Center) Education classes to help prepare them for the next few weeks of helping teach and tutor a handful of kids from the village. The rest of the team split off into two groups and walked through the village informing widows on an outreach we will be doing on Saturday. The outreach will consist of giving and installing mosquito nets on the beds for the widows and any children they care for in their homes.

Personally, it was a very humbling yet joyful experience to get to meet with the widows and interact even for a brief time and limited communication. Thankfully each group had a translator to help with effective communication. Throughout the time walking I could not help but think of God’s immense heart for the poor, widowed and orphaned . Throughout the Old and New Testament, God’s desire is that the underprivileged and socially forgotten be taken care of in the same way that He loves us. Paul writes so eloquently of this fact in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 when he discusses the generosity of Corinth in comparison to Christ. Paul discusses how Jesus gave up the majesty of heaven and made Himself poor for our sake.  Chapter 9 instructs believers how to respond in similar ways with cheerful hearts and willing sacrifice.

I have spent a lot of my time praying Ephesian 3:14-21 for my time in Nigeria and that the power of the Holy Spirit would give me understanding of knowledge that surpasses understanding so that God can reveal the depth of His love for us. When I think about these two passages I cannot help but feel a swelling of joy in my heart when I remember the time spent today meeting the widows and other members of the village. I pray that God would continue to mold hearts into a deeper understanding of His love so that He would receive all the glory for our good.

Ending the Cycle, by Jason Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

August 27, 2010

Jason (left) and Emanuel (right)

The other day I was talking with Emanuel who is from the village and is helping us run the Oasis Community Center. He is twenty-three years old and is well-educated. I asked him what he feels is the one thing that would most help this community.

He replied, “Education”.

So, I asked him how he became educated. He told me it was not easy. His parents, who both are still living, divorced when he was very young. His father is an alcoholic who happens to be a doctor and his mom, as he says, is a very difficult person. His parents would not continue to pay for his education.  So at the age of fifteen he left home to live on his own. He started working at the local carwash and made enough money to build a small one-room house (shack), buy food, and pay for his schooling. He said every day was hard.

Emanuel still works at the carwash and says many of his friends who work there with him were in the same situation as he was. The only difference between Emanuel and the other boys is that Emanuel knew the importance of education. He said most of those boys can not read or write and that as a result, the carwash is a dead-end for them. The money they make does not go toward things that last. Alcoholism is a big problem in this community.  When young boys have an education, but lack education, they often end up heading down that path. Emanuel is sad because this is an endless cycle. If education is not a priority for one generation then it is not going to be for the generation to follow.

“We need to break this cycle,” he said.

I agreed.

Every Christmas Emanuel buys all the children in the community a small pad of paper and a pen.

“It’s not much,” he said, “But I want to do all I can to encourage the children to push for an education.”

In January, we are opening the Oasis Education Center to help the children by brining a tutoring program to the village. We will start off small by teaching the basics. But in the end, our hope is to make a life long investment in every child in this community to end this generational cycle.

Reflections on My Experience as Back2Back Nigeria STINT Staff, by Eileen Hamilton

August 13, 2010

Recently, we Back2Back Nigeria staff had an outing with the children from Our Ladies of Apostles (OLA) orphanage. We had originally planned to have a swimming party, but we woke up Saturday to a cool, overcast day so we changed our plan quickly. We picked up the kids, packed lunches, and went to the Viewing Center (OCC – Oasis Community Center) where we showed some cartoons (which the kids loved), ate lunch and then for the fun part – we let them explore.  I loved having Daniel sitting close by my side as we watched cartoons together.

Spending time with Daniel

We brought water squirt guns and gave them to the kids and just let them run around and be children.

And, of course, they all climbed the rocks.

I stayed behind. I could barely watch as the children, in their flip flops, climbed those high rocks enjoying every minute of this new adventure for them.  At the children’s home, they are in a confined area (the hospital/home compound) so to see them running and jumping and just playing hard was a well-spent afternoon.

Back2Back Nigeria staff with the children from OLA Orphanage

I include these pictures of the “rocks” because there is something so beautiful about them. The rocks below are some of my favorite.  Just look at them for a minute. Don’t they look like a big puzzle with all the pieces fitting in perfectly? God’s Word says that “the rocks will cry out” declaring the glory of God .  It really is true – I see God’s beauty in the rocks!

Abigail (pictured below)  is the nicest woman.


She is forty years old and has been at the children’s home since she was ten years old. The children love her and she has the sweetest disposition. She and I stayed behind behind while the kids were rock climbing and I noticed that she watched all the children very carefully the whole time. At the end of our time together at OCC, we all sat upon one of the smaller rocks and had our picture taken. Young and old alike – smiles everywhere.  It was a good day for all!

World Cup Outreach in Nigeria, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

June 17, 2010

This past Friday, the first World Cup game of the year was played on South African soil. As a ministry we used this event to kick-off our new “Oasis Community Center”. It was our grand opening of a Center that will host the viewing of futbol games and other media events.

It is a joint effort between three different people groups. Back2Back, SSE and the village itself. All three have different focuses but all three want what is best for the Rukuba people. The day was filled with food, fun, fellowship and a lively band that kept the kids hips moving.

These pictures show different aspects of the day unraveling. The ariel shot is Gus, my son, climbing the boulders that surround this plot of land and snapping a photo before it began.

We had a food station, a face painting station (my daughter, Sarah, and my mom manned this booth), a music station, and of course a jumpy castle station. We are grateful as it did not rain and people came from all different walks of life to see what was going on. Jason shared parts of his own testimony as Daniel and Ibro shared the vision and mission of this center. As much as we had “planned” and hoped the details would find themselves taken care of, it is still somewhat of a risk to plan things in the village.
There are so many unpredictables that come with an event focused on a group of people that do not limit themselves to the boundaries of four walls. This wasn’t focused on a children’s home. It was focused on orphans who are living in a village with or without people who care for them.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

I pray as you find yourself meeting with your own fellowship surroundings this morning that you will pray for this community center as well.