Monday, September 30, 2013


Several interesting things to note:

1. The city power, NEPA, is on strike, which means no power until after the national holiday. (Right now we're on Gen, but probably not for long. They've been turning it off around 2 am for the past few nights which = several sleepless nights for Liz)

2. Tomorrow is Nigerian Independence Day...53 years! 

3. No school tomorrow!! Yay for my first Nigerian holiday!

4. This classroom conversation:
Me: "Ok, we're going to talk about some artists today who lived during the renaissance. Does anyone know what the renaissance was or when it took place?"

Students: -blank stares

Me: "Ok, well how about this, who can tell me about the Middle Ages? You guys have heard of that haven't you?"

Student: "uhh, yeah I think I know...that was like during the 1980's or 90's wasn't it?"

Me: "Well, I was born in the '80's and I can tell you I wasn't born in the Middle Ages, that was a little earlier"

Student: "oh yeah, that's right, it was in the 1960's or maybe it was 1957 or something like that."

Oh dear, what are they teaching kids these days?

5. Today I visited the sightseeing spot in Ibadan, Bower's Tower. (A tower with a panoramic view of the city, which was erected during the British colonial period in the 1930's)
I have to say, I've climbed several towers and light houses in my life, but nothing quite as steep as this!

The panoramic view was nice and the fresh-non-polluted breeze was even better :)

My student Eli joined us for the trip

6. I heard "hey oibo!" More times than I can count on my ride to and from the tower

7. When I got home the Gen was out again, which meant the laundry I started had to be hung. 

8. I am sitting in AC right now and am not sweaty for the first time in a while. I am so thankful!



Saturday, September 28, 2013

NEPA and Gen

Up until this weekend I thought that that I had four housemates Lee Anne, Gretchen, Meghan, and Sam. (More about them some other time) but today I became aware of the other two roommates that live here with us.

Since I've arrived, I've known of their existence, I just didn't know what a crucial role these unseen entities played in the way this house functions. 

Their names are NEPA and Gen and although they both reside here, they're never both here at the same time. NEPA is here the majority of the time, but still she comes and goes as she pleases, with no real rhyme or reason. When she goes out, then Gen sometimes comes out. 

It's amazing how when one or the other is around, I don't acknowledge or appreciate their existence. In fact, I don't even take a second thought to realize they exhist, that is until the minute they leave, then they're sorely missed. 

This morning, at 6 a.m. on the dot, I woke up to realize that both were gone. Immediately there was a quite and stillness that only comes when they are gone. No air, no lights, no hum from the internet box... just silence. The silence lasted till noon, when Gen decided to stop by for about a half of an hour, then leave once again. Just when I seemed to need them the most, They both ended up being completely unreliable today. 

It's crazy how crucial they are to our lives. We don't seem to be able to function without them. Thanks to the Nigerian voltage my computer now only works if it is plugged into an outlet at all times. It's no better than a toaster, plugging it in when I need a piece of toast. The battery's completely gone. 

On days like today, when lesson plans and grading are crucial for a smooth week ahead, I needed NEPA or Gen, but both were out for the day. Thanks a lot you two!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend snapshots

This past weekend did not end up being as restful as I would have liked. In fact it was just about as hectic as my week have been, but it was a nice change from the monotony of school.
It started Friday evening with a group of 15 girls from the discipleship group I'm helping lead, coming for a sleepover. 
We started with some baking...

....then later had a time of worship and prayer. 
I'm really excited for this upcoming year and getting to know them!

On Saturday, after grading papers all day, we once again went to the Nampack (SA) compound. 
The Nigerians seem to love Obama

Hennie's wife and daughters came in to town, so we had a great reason to celebrate with all of the internationals.
After an amazing dinner, we turned on the disco and had a dance!
Unfortunately my phone couldn't really take great pictures in the dark...
.. But there were some awesome lights and fun music!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Heaven Fall Down...

"As our praises rise may your presence fall
Heaven, heaven fall down 

Spirit, Spirit pour out on us all now Heaven fall down
Come Jesus come, come like the wind fill up this place we welcome You in
Come Jesus come. come like the rain
Open the sky show us Your face, oh Lord we wait 

As our praises rise, may your presence fall
Heaven, heaven fall down Spirit, Spirit pour out on us all now... Heaven fall down. "

-Phil Wickham "Heaven fall Down"

I went to bed with the sound of rain and woke up this morning to the sound of the rain beating on the tin roof. As I was getting ready for school this morning, I had my music playing and this song came on. As the rain beat loudly on the roof and the music blasted from my little phone, I was reminded of God's presence and Grace in my life. "Grace like rain falls down on me..."

It's been raining hard now for about 36 hrs non-stop. The kids came in the morning telling me that they have a saying that if it doesn't rain in July and in August, then in September it will rain for 7 days straight. I don't know the climate here enough to have an opinion, but we shall see. The one nice thing about the rain is that it has cooled down the temperature considerably. It's easy for the passage of seasons to go unnoticed in a place where it is hot year round. I looked on the calendar and realized that yesterday was the first day of fall, so what a great way to start fall out with cooler temperatures.

Yesterday, the roommates and I did something I'm sure none of the locals had ever seen, we went dancing in the rain and splashing in the puddles (not the dirty ones!).
The gate behind us is the first gate to get into the school
The flood waters stopped cars in the street and caused an overflow in the dirty river. 

There's such an amazing feeling of freedom to stand in the rain and let it completely soak you!

For the morning devotions, I have decided to teach the gospel story by going through the Bible. Right now we're studying Noah and the flood and I felt like it was so aptly timed as there has been much flooding here in Ibadan. I've been reminded about how absolutely crazy it must have looked to Noah's friends and relatives for him to trust so completely in God, that even though he had no evidence of a flood, he still obeyed and did what God had asked. 

I feel like Noah in many ways. Why am I here in Nigeria? Out of OBEDIENCE to God. 

Like Noah, from an outside perspective it didn't make sense for me to leave family and friends and go to a foreign country. To go to a country that's in political turmoil, to a place that smells, where I don't have all the comforts of home.  To go to a place that isn't as safe as good old G-Vegas. But God has called me, and where he calls me, I will follow. 

God has placed me in a classroom where about 1/3 of the kids are Muslim, 1/3 Hindu, and 1/3 Christian. I have so many opportunities to speak Life in their lives, but at the same time, it's not easy. Just the other day as I was praying, I heard one of the (Hindu)kids talking. I looked up for a second, and realized he wasn't talking to anyone, he was praying in another language, loud enough to drown out my words. I nearly started crying in the middle of my prayer, but I knew, THIS is why God has me here.

"Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants."

-Duet. 32:2

"Lord, my prayer is that you would help me to speak Your truth to the children that I teach. I pray that my teachings would be nourishing; that they would be like the gentle rains that water the young plants. I pray that my words would cause these kids to grow to to know you. Savior I love you and I trust that You have a perfect plan for my life!"

(Unfortunately my art classroom hasn't been doing too well in the rain. I've had buckets everywhere collecting the water)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

For such a time as this.

In the book of Esther, when Mordecai finds out that the evil Haman has devised to destroy the entire population of Jews(Hitler wasn't the first), he goes to Esther to ask for her help. She is hesitant at first because it could mean life or death for her to go before her husband, the King. Mordecai's response is:

"do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
- Esther 4:13,14

...for such a time as this...

This has become one of my favorite verses, or sections of a verse. It is a passage that my former boss, Bob used to reiterate to me as well as other students.

I have a confession... I have the tendency to live for the things not yet to come. I am always looking ahead and even when I  get what I think it is I want, I am always looking to the next thing. Sometimes this leads to dissatisfaction and other times I avoid taking advantage of what I have at the moment in order to "plan for the future."

This is hard as a teacher right now, because so much of what I do is planning for what I will be doing. Today for instance, I wanted to be able to do some things, but had to put them aside, in order to make lesson plans for this week (and unfortunately I'm using my blog writing as a way to procrastinate right now).

Today, I was just reminded of this verse as I was sitting in worship. I can't always see what impact I'll have on others, but I know God has placed me here and has great plans for my life.

A dear friend, who I was just getting to know and had just started coming to my church and community group before I left, painted this as a farewell gift, not even realizing what a key verse it is for me!

I have hung it on the wall of my new home here in Ibadan, so that I can be reminded every day that God has me in this place, at this time and at this moment "for such a time as this," and that is something I never want to forget.

God Bless,


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Marketday

Saturdays we wake up and get our groceries for the week. This consists of no less than three stops, and sometimes up to five or six. Our first go to stop is Zenco's for some of our staples. (Occasionally we go to the closer stores within walking distance, such as Foodies or Wimpys. But these are slightly more expensive)

Then it's either off to the markets or to the fruit stand or possibly the vegetable stands. 
Today we had to get out a bit earlier, so that we could make it to the South African compound for lunch. 
The nice thing about going to the market is that there aren't many people out at 9:00am. There was, however, this adorable little goat!

I always enjoy going to the markets to see the sights. And talking about sights, several white girls walking through the markets sure do turn the yes of the locals.

So after shopping, we had a wonderful time fellowshipping with the S. Africans and a delicious meal prepared by Hennie's cook.
After lunch we got to hang out with some of the kids at the pool.
And of course the lovely marigold goddess-Lee Anne
So what does the SA compound look like??
Well, there's a small gym by the pool...

... And tennis courts...
And five or six houses
Oh, and also there are many lizards

Oh hello there, what kind of citrus plant are you?
Mmmm, yumm I think it's a tangerine!
Well, that was all the pictures I have from the SA compound, but check out the sky on the way home!

Before I go, I just have to share some cute pictures of my nieces...

I mean how cute are they?!?!! I love how much AG loves to see her Aunt Liz and how much they love each other!

I am so blessed!