Our State-side Adventure Part 2

Our State-side Adventure Part 2

That month went quickly lol!  When we came back to our place in Pine River we had quite a few doctor’s visits and appointment with Dan. We had some of our family to our place for Thanksgiving and celebrated Christmas with both sides of the family. 

We prepared to travel as we had meetings in California in January and had to be in Connecticut in late February.  We left the first of January and visited with a few family and friends as we made our way to Long Beach California.  We spent a little over a week with the rest of the Africa Initiative leaders and Director at an Air B&B and had trainings during the day at a church there.  It was a wonderful week of training and vision-casting and getting to know more of Converge’s African missionaries. We left deciding that we would be leading an initiative to the Gotel Mountain Region of Nigeria, focusing on the least-reached people groups in our area in addition to the regular ministry that we do there.  We weren’t sure what that meant or how that looked, but we knew that was God’s heart and we needed to join Him in that work in our area if we were approved to do that by our temperments and working styles.

We then headed to the East Coast.  We visited all of our Connecticut churches and were at our last church for a huge mission’s conference when everything was shut down due to the Co-vid 19 Virus.  We stopped and visited with our friends, the Heaton’s in Ohio and headed for home.

When we got to Pine River we just stayed home.  Everything was shut down and we had been traveling for three months.  Who knew what we picked up along the way? It turns out we picked up nothing and are very thankful that we have remained healthy despite Dan’s strokes.

This summer along with learning how to use Zoom and re-doing our web presence and planning and preparing for the Gotel Initiative we also organized every area of our house as we have not been able to do that since we moved in and moved to Nigeria a few months later.  We had Dan’s parents Estate Auction and set up a packing area in our pole barn.  We have packed about 600 boxes, weighed, numbered, and inventoried for our next shipping container that will go to Nigeria.

 We have had the opportnity to visit some new churches, and have had many meetings with our Africa team as well as potential partners in the Gotel Initiative.

In August Dan had an ablation and has not had any challenges with A-fib since.  In August I was having pain in my leg and a hard time breathing.  I had a blood clot starting in my foot going up to my groin and a saddle pulminary embolism in my lungs.  I was in the hospital for a couple of days on i.v. blood thinners and am now on blood thinners too.  

In October Nigeria has started to open up travel and we started work on getting our stamps on our Visas as they expired in July during a no-fly time in Nigeria.  We have received the temporary stamp and am working on the permanent one now.  We look forward to going back to Nigeria as soon as is possible after getting our passports back.  We have been blessed to be able to spend time with Dan’s mom and work out some additional help for her as she is soon to be 94 and a little frailer then before Covid shut downs occurred.

Merry Christmas friends!  Remember, even in this season of uncertainty there is one thing that is certain.  It is the reason we celebrate Christmas!  Jesus.  Much love from Minnesota for now!




Our State-side Adventure Part 1

Our State-side Adventure Part 1

It has been a long time since I have blogged and I decided today is the day! This past year has been wild for the whole world and I wanted to update you on how things have gone for the Gibbs since we were last in Gembu. When we left we had tickets to go back to Nigeria October 6. THAT WAS OUR PLAN.

Here’s what we have been up to. We left Gembu the end of June, 2019, and traveled to Germany for meetings with the Europe and Africa fields of Converge. It was a wonderful time of learning and being encouraged and inspired by the vision cast by our Converge Worldwide Leaders and to think and pray over where God was leading us as a ministry and what He wanted to accomplish in us and through us possibly in this next phase of ministry.

We got to Minneapolis July 6 and visited all of our Minnesota churches, in July, August, and our last MN church was scheduled for September 24. When we visit our Minneapolis area churches we stay with our friends, Mark and Jane. We were visiting with Mark and Jane, eating ice cream and drinking coffee after supper on September 23 and Dan flopped his arm toward me and said something incoherent. I looked at him, laughed (he is always doing weird stuff), and continued finishing the email I was writing on my phone. He did it again so I looked up and said, “Are you ok?” He was able to say, “No!” With Mark’s emergency training he knew just what to do. We all piled into the vehicle and Mark drove us to Mercy Hospital. They took Dan in right from the parking lot and he received the clot buster medication approximately an hour after having the first signs of stroke. It is really amazing how the brain works! Dan’s right side had movement issues, his fine motor skills were limited, his speech was slurred, however his quirky sense of humor was still there. We went home two days later with appointments for speech therapy in a nearby town and a check- up with our regular Doctor. We cancelled our October 6 tickets and made reservations for November 15. At the end of October, Dan’s mom decided that she was not going to go back to Texas for the winter. She is 93 and just felt like it was too much for her. Dan decided that since we had a couple of weeks we would drive to Texas, clean up and clean out her trailer and get it ready to sell as well as taking care of any other items that needed taken care of. We left October 29 and stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska at a hotel for the evening. Dan brushed his teeth, and got really dizzy. I helped him to bed and he spent the whole night so dizzy he couldn’t move or he would throw up. I talked with our doctor and she said with his past record I should take him to the Emergency Room. I drove to the closest hospital (which happened to be the stroke center for that area) and they diagnosed Dan right away with a stroke to the base of his brain affecting his balance and causing extreme vertigo. We were at the hospital for two days and left to continue on to Texas. Dan was a little shaky and dizzy but we continued on. We got to Bibleville in Texas (the Park Dan’s mom’s trailer was in) and started cleaning out, sorting, selling, packing items and making the arrangements that needed to be made. We took it kind of slow the first few days because Dan was understandably wiped. We cancelled our plane tickets as the neurologist said Dan would have to have quite a bit of testing and we should determine why he had this second stroke after having been on the blood thinners for about 3 weeks or so. We said our goodbyes in Texas to dear friends that have prayed for us, supported us, and loved us over the years and headed to Branson for a week of vacation to just be together and chill.

The thing I would like you to remember from these events is this: During this period of time we knew God still has plans for us and felt complete peace that God knew what He was doing and He was in control so we rested in this knowledge and understanding. I kind of think this can only happen when we put ourselves totally in His hands. Dan and I did that when we started this journey. It is a peaceful place to be.

Grab a Cuppa and Join Me!

Grab a Cuppa and Join Me!

Wow friends, it has been a wild month for us all, hasn’t it? On our journey the past 10 weeks we have had the opportunity to visit our Connecticut partners in ministry. While we were there on March 22 and 23 I got a chance to share a bit about a life-changing thing that happened to us 8 years ago on March 22, 2012. Let me share with you what happened that day that has shaped our outlook on life since then.

In March of 2012 we visited Gembu, Nigeria for the first time to see if Dan and I were good canidates to continue the ministry of GECHAAN after Art and Dorothy retired. March 22, 2012 we left Gembu, Nigeria to head back to MN. We had just decided that we were going to raise support, sell our house, quit our jobs and return to Gembu to continue the ministry Art and Dorothy Helwig had founded at GECHAAN. 4 hours down the road Dan and I were talking about dreams of what God might do when we moved to Nigeria. We came to a place in the road that we thought was a checkpoint but was in fact, robbers. They started shooting at our vehicle as we tried to escape, I got a bullet from an AK-47 through my upper thigh. About 2 miles down the road the vehicle over-heated because a bullet went through the radiator hose and our vehicle stopped right there on the side of the road. I remember looking out the window praying. I was as close to panic as I have ever been in my life. I was afraid – there was no place to hide, we had 2 people bleeding profusely, my leg was shot, and our vehicle was not operational. I was looking out the window saying to God, “God, they were really trying to stop us, please stop them from trying to come and find us. Please don’t let them find us.” AT THAT MOMENT – I felt God say to me, “Tina, this is where I want you and I will take care of you.”

I am not exaggerating when I say I have never experienced peace like I did at that moment. It was a peace that did not depend on my current circumstances, it depended on who God IS.

This past year has not gone as planned, I know that is the case for ALL of us with recent developments. During Dan’s stroke, recovery, second stroke, visiting supporters and not being able to get back to Nigeria when we planned we have experienced peace. Of course we need to get back to Nigeria, but we know God has it all under control and we will get back when the time is right. We will be working from our MN home for the time being. Asking God the best things to do and focus on and then doing them.

Friends, I want you to remember this one thing as we go through these uncertain times. This is what God designed the church for. During plagues in the dark ages who were the people caring for the sick and diseased while everyone else was leaving? THE CHURCH. Not the building, Jesus-followers. Friends it is time for us to SHINE AGAIN and show the world the reason for our hope. We don’t know what the future days will bring, but we do know who holds our tomorrows, we know who gives us a peace that defies this world. Friends, let’s be the church Jesus called us to be. I love you friends, lets do this.

What God Has Done

What God Has Done

It was May 1, 1982 – I woke up early after not having slept very well.  Today was the day I had dreamed of for most of my 18 years of life.  It was MY wedding day!  I was going to marry the cutest boy I had ever met who made my heart flutter every time I even thought of him.

My mom and sisters went to the hair salon to get their hair done, I went to the church to put up candle holders as I was going to do my own hair.  I giddily placed candle holders where we wanted them and struggled with one that remained BENT the entire wedding- that irked me terribly!

Meanwhile on that chilly Minnesota morning, Dan and the groomsmen were staying in the house we were renting.  There was no hot water, so Dan took a cold shower and the groomsmen opted not to.  Dan said he was worried that it might snow because of the chill in the air and we did live in Minnesota!

It was a fun, very special day for us to visit with friends and family.  To celebrate with people who have long passed on to Heaven now, other friends and family. We went back to our house and opened presents with family.  We had a lot of avacado, burnt orange, and yellow Tupperware, and all of those things that we needed to start a new household.  Much more than we needed to be exact!  This was before the days of Wedding Registries, so we had to take a couple of items back to Gardner’s Hardware Store and we were able to get a wonderful clock radio with an alarm clock with our returned items.

We didn’t go on a honeymoon as I was still in Legal Secretary School and we didn’t have any money!  Dan and I took Friday off of Work and school, and then started our life together.  As our family sent us off to our new life together we had no idea what life would bring.  We did know that we had each other, a bunch of dreams, and love… That’s all we needed, right?

Little did I know exactly what type of man I had married.  I knew Dan was smart, practical, determined young man who was ALWAYS right, and would defend that to the death.  As we are both firstborn in our families Dr. Dobson described it like two rams butting heads together constantly.  We laughed and thought that was funny because we really did get along well and that first year of life together we had quite a few arguments – but were able to come to a place of understanding fairly quickly most of the time.

When I think of the 18 and 21 year olds that we were when we started this journey and the people we are now I am thankful!  I am so thankful that I am still not that 18 year old who thought the world revolved around her.  I am thankful for the very good times we have shared, but I have to say the times we have grown the most together as a couple have been the bad times.  The times when we looked at each other and said, “I have no idea what the right thing to do is, we need to pray because God does”. Those are the times that have cemented us together as a couple.

Last year we were apart on our Anniversary as I was in the States and Dan was in Nigeria.  During the time I was in the States by myself it was a very strange feeling no matter what I did or who I was meeting with I felt like part of me was missing.  When we reunited I realized what it was.  My Helpmeet was missing, the part of me that I can just give a glance to and we both know what we are thinking of.  We have a little smile on our lips when someone says something that triggers a memory and we burst out in random 6o’s, 70’s, or 80’s song lyrics at any occasion.

Thank you God for a man who loves you first, me second, and our family next.  A man who you gifted and prepared to do the work he does now.  Helping community and many people in such a variety of ways.  Thank you God for bringing us together, and then keeping us together.

We’re Back!

We’re Back!

It has been 6 months since I have blogged!  Wow, I have to say that went quickly!  I want to update you on how our trip back to Gembu went.  This trip was different than any other we have experienced before!

The airplane left Minneapolis around 10 on August 7.  We were on it and so were our 17 bags.  We arrived at JFK on time and our flight was delayed because of “technical difficulties”.  After we finally boarded the plane, we sat on the runway in the rain and thunder and lightening for another hour or more.  This made our plane about 3 1/2 hours late to Paris.  We missed the flight to Abuja because of this.  We stood in a line of passengers for 4 hours to re-schedule a flight and found out that we had two choices.  #1.  Board a plane the next morning, fly to London, then to Frankfurt, then to Abuja and get there around 2:55 on August 10  #2.   Take a direct flight from Paris in 2 days.  The airline would pay for one day, food for a day and a voucher for airport store and we would have to pay for one day, and we would get to Abuja around 3:45 on August 10.  We opted for #2 as we were already so tired!  What to do in Paris for a full day?  Hmmm, we have thought about staying for a day or two as we frequently have a lay-over when traveling between Minneapolis and Abuja but we have never done it because when we travel we want to get where we are going and are pretty focused about that.  We took a Uber to the Double-decker bus tour and toured Paris all day.  We stopped and had sandwiches at a fun restaurant and then in the afternoon had a cappucino and Tiramisu.  It was the most relaxed we have been for a long time.  Just us stuck in another country that has bathrooms and good coffee.  Merci God!

The next morning we caught the plane to Abuja, we had Peter waiting at the airport with an extra vehicle because we were supposed to have 17 large bags.  We went through and collected our baggage and only 5 made it so Peter left to go back to his new Uber job as he has retired from GECHAAN now.  Dan filed a claim and we were told that the rest would be here on Sunday (this was Friday and we were hoping to be back to Gembu by Satuday night).  We did our shopping for food items and other supplies as we are hoping not to have to travel to Abuja at all this year.  Sunday Dan and Taiwo went to pick up our bags at the airport and we received 9 more.  The others “should” arrive Tuesday they said.  So, what to do in Abuja for two more days? We got to visit with Anita and Hintiya, our very dear friends and with the Pastor in Nigeria that heads up The Timothy Initiative project in Nigeria, we also checked out an automatic brick making machine that is available to purchase in Nigeria.

Wednesday morning we left at 5:00 am and Taiwo and  Dan drove.  We arrived home at 7:30 pm.  It gets dark here around 6:30 so we only had about an hour in the dark.  The roads were mostly good for here and we were never so thankful to finally be at one of our homes!

We were greeted by Lady and Tramp and their 4 – 3 month old puppies!  The puppies are VERY large and I cannot wait to show you how adorable they are.  They are very big and I think they are going to be even bigger than Lady and Tramp are.

We unpacked our bags, distributed items to their appropriate places over the weekend and are ready to be back in the swing of things now we feel.

We were so surprised and excited to see how much our Staff has taken responsibility for while we were gone and how well things are going.  God is really blessing and we feel blessed to be a tiny part in it.

Please pray for us as we make plans for ministry for this coming year and for us to do EXACTLY what God wants us to do this coming year and the connections we made this past summer in regards to Agriculture and  medical equipment and technology.

My point for today is this:  Even when our agenda doesn’t happen, He is sooo good!

Signing off from Gembu for now ~ Tina