Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
At the Hospital of the Immaculate Conception in Makurdi we met Dr. Steve and the woman who was, I believe, the chaplain. After spending the night there, she came around in the morning with her 5 month old niece who she is raising because her sister died in childbirth. This hospital experience as well as the other hospital experience in Bali gave me a different understanding of medical care. In America, we go to the Dr. at any given opportunity. In Nigeria medical care is survival care. One in two children die before the age of 5. In our country that is just not acceptable. We have books, resources, stuff coming out of our ears. Our hospital experience in Nigeria made me see that there are many, many other things that I have taken for granted being blessed to be born in America.
After we left the Makurdi hospital, we headed for the airport in Abuja, and caught the plane to go home. When we arrived in Newark, New Jersey, Dan had cell service again, so checked his phone messages. We were surprised to find that a number of T.V. stations had called him and wanted to interview us because of the shooting incident. We were quite shocked about this because we didn’t even tell our family members. We thought it would be much easier to say, “Tina got shot in the leg, but here she is standing right in front of you and ok”. Not something you want to call someone and tell when you are still in Africa! Dan called our family members briefly and said that I had been shot, but we were in America, and doing fine. Then he called the T.V. news stations and said that we would not meet them at the airport when we got home as we had not slept in a few days. We would make appointments to meet with them the following day.
We met with our counseling Pastor, Bob, for a post-traumatic stress counseling session, and then started meeting with the press. We were so delighted that they allowed us to focus on the wonderful work that is being done in Gembu, Nigeria through GECHAAN, and not on the shooting. We really felt blessed to be able to spread GECHAAN’s message in this way.
After experiencing running water and steady electricity again, it just felt so strange to be back home when our hearts and minds really felt like they were still in Nigeria. This is kind of hard when you have to go back to a busy job and your life here and it’s demands.
In April, we went to Chicago to meet with the Overseers Board of our denomination and were accepted as Missionaries to Nigeria by Converge (formerly Baptist General Conference). In June, we went to the Biannual meeting and were commissioned as missionaries and had our first Missionary training retreat (that is a story in itself!). This is our journey thus far. We are currently working on raising support and developing partnerships with churches and individuals so that we can go back and continue the work in Nigeria. That is how God has been preparing us and leading us for this time. I know He has more for us to learn and experience as we go about this journey, but that brings us to now.
My point for today is that even though we have a little peek at what God’s plan is for us and where He’ll be leading us, we still need to do our part and cross our T’s and dot our I’s. I love this saying, “Pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on you”. We didn’t head off to Nigeria saying, “This is where God is leading us, He’ll take care of us.” He will, but we still have other work to do before we even get to that!
Your story is so exciting. We are looking forward to Sept. 21st when you will share the next step of your life as missionaries in Nigeria with our Christian Camping friends in Waseca. Our love and prayers are with you.
Erv & Jeanne Johnson
Thanks so much, Jeanne! We are excited to share with Christian Campers!!