We are home! Thank you for all our prayers for our journey.
I promised that I would fill you in of the details from our “Long Day”, so here we go.
As you can see from the map on our web page Gembu is in the southern area of Nigeria and Abuja is in Central Nigeria. The airport is in Abuja and then it is about 15 hours of driving to Gembu and if you have seen the pictures that we posted on Facebook you can see that the road can go from OK to basically nonexistent throughout the trip. On Wednesday morning we got up early for the first leg of our trip to drive to Makurdi, normally about 10 hours driving time, our plan being to get up early again on Thursday and drive to Abuja to see the market and do some shopping in Abuja. As you drive the roads in Nigeria there are many check-points along the way, some by local police some by immigration and some from the military. GECHAAN has a very good presence in the area and on our way to Gembu our Nigerian Driver Peter B., not to be confused with our team member Pete T., knew many of the people and as we would drive through the check-point we would get thumbs up from the officers on duty. About 5 hours into our journey we approached what appeared to be another check-point. As we approached there was a man on the left side of the road dressed in Army Camouflage with a AK47. He raised he gun and indicated that we were to stop. Peter B. started to slow down and then recognized that this was not a government check-point of any kind and accelerated to get past. At this point we saw several men coming out out of the trees beside the van with sticks Peter B. hollered robbers and we all ducked down. The gunman took at least 4 shots at the van. The first entered the front windshield, spraying glass on Jim and leaving him with stitches in the top of his head and exiting the vehicle on the top right door frame. The second entered the van just above the radiator taking out the radiator hose, coming through under the dash dislodging pieces that hit Jim on his inside right thigh, exiting through the passenger door. The third came through the driver side window hitting our Nigerian driver Peter B. on his left hand near his ring finger and exiting through the window on the passenger side. The fourth entered just in front and above the left rear tire and through the seat that Tina was sitting in, Tina had laid down on the seat when Peter B. yelled robber and the bullet went through just grazed her upper left thigh and through the seat in front of her. We continued down the road several Kilometers before pulling off to assess the injuries. At that time we wrapped Jim’s head and leg and Peter’s B. Hand. We continued down the road toward Bali where there was a “hospital”. Because the second bullet damaged the radiator hose we were only able to continue a short distance before the van overheated. Dorothy made several calls to locate the staff from GECHAAN’s local field office in Bali to have them come and assist us. Because they were about an hour away we decided it best to flag down a bus (what we would call a mini van in the US) to take Jim and Peter B. to the hospital in Bali. We had some large Band-aids and so we were able to clean up Tina’s wound and get it covered. We did not want to sit alongside of the road any longer than was necessary so we found a river close by that we were able to get some water into the radiator. After the engine had cooled a little we were able to get it started about the time that the Bali field office team arrived with Felix as their driver. They followed us as we drove the bus into Bali to meet up with the rest of our team at the hospital. Jim and Peter B. were getting First Aid attention when we arrived. The local police came and they went through everything to complete a police report. After Charles arrived from the Takum field office with another vehicle, Charles and Felix followed the police over to the station and they gave us an abbreviated copy of the police report for the hospital in Makurdi. They then gave us a police escort to Takum and the Takum police took us on to the Taraba State line. Because of the condition of the roads driving after dark is difficult so it took extra time to get to Makurdi. Dorothy called ahead and talked to Doctor Steve who had been a doctor at GEHAAN and had done a rotation in the States and he was more than happy to have as much as possible ready for us when we arrived. Steve actually stayed most of the night at the hospital and took the next day off to make sure all of our needs were well taken care of. Sometime I will get pictures posted of the hospital rooms. In the morning after the generator was fixed and going they took x-rays of everything and gave us the OK to travel about 11:30 so we packed up and were on the road about noon. Other than some very sore people, the rest of the trip went very fine. Dorothy called a contact that she has at the Airport and made sure that we had access to the VIP room while we waited for our plane. Even though we encountered some bad people on the road we had MANY, MANY more Nigerians express their concern for us and let us know that that is not what all Nigerians are like. We met some wonderful people through this experience, strengthening our conviction that this is where God is calling us to work in the future.
Please pray for Peter B., our Nigerian Driver, he is home with his family in Jos now and is getting care from another doctor that spent time at GECHAAN. He will need additional surgery on his hand and it will take some time to heal.
Also pray for Art and Dorothy and their family as they deal with the stress of the situation.
Thank you all for your prayers as we were out of the country and as we continue to make plans for future mission to Nigeria!