My last post was about our last Sunday in Nigeria. After that, we had 5 more days before beginning our journey back to Niger. Here’s what those days looked like.
Neal continued his last week teaching missions at ANFCBII.
This is the road he took every morning to get there.
The entrance. The Bible School is on the same campus as Benson Idahosa University (BIU) We didn’t have a chance to be involved there as they were in exams, but we hope to next time.
Bible School classrooms on the right, University at the back.
into all the world…
This is also part of the Bible School. Mostly offices. There is a large auditorium at the back.
Neal in the office where he spent time between classes.
This is one of the foundations of the school.
The Hausa class.
French class giving Neal a gift. During the last class, one of the students was so moved he took off his watch and rushed up while he was teaching and put it on the pulpit as a gift. Neal was so touched.
The students were great and so grateful for all they received from Neal’s teaching.
The French interpreter. Yes, that’s sweat.
The Hausa prefect.
Neal was blessed to preach to all the students at once in one more chapel service the day before we left.
You may or may not understand Neal, but you can understand the reaction of the students!
He’s talking about being in position.
He even loosened his belt!
See and hear for yourself.
This was kind of a cool effect. I noticed a mirror in the back and could see the front of Neal whenever he walked by it – which he did a lot. So I decided to see if I could get a picture of it.
I can see him from the front and back at the same time!
The students were so responsive and cheered when Neal started and finished.
At the end of the chapel, the faculty, staff and students prayed a powerful prayer for us!
Then we went out for lunch to what we’ve been told is the nicest restaurant in Benin City.
Neal & I with Rev. & Mrs. Andrew Daniels.
It was good and we were hungry! Can’t imagine why since we’d been eating 3 squares a day…
This is where we ate them. Breakfast.
We also took some time while here to tour the Church of God Mission (CGM) international offices. Beautiful!
Archbishop Benson Idahosa, who now resides in heaven. God used him to change Nigeria, Africa and the world.
His wife and partner is the presiding Archbishop and continues the legacy of this incredible ministry. We are so thankful to be part of this family and so appreciative of how they have hosted us so graciously in their home – even in their absence. Next time we hope to come when they’re around.
Archbishop Margaret Idahosa (Mama)
Their son, Bishop Feb Idahosa, is the President of Benson Idahosa University.
Tobi and I chatting in Mama’s office. OK, this is posed. But it could have looked real if one didn’t notice the snicker on Tobi’s face.
The International Office is 4 stories high and has pretty cool architecture.
This is Pastor Blessing. He remembers Neal’s family. He gave us our tour.
From the top floor of the offices I was able to get some good pictures of the whole complex. This is Faith Arena – the church.
Yes He is!
The Buildings at the back of the photo are just part of Faith Christian Schools. Another arm of this ministry.
View from another side.
One of the busses and the generator house. The electricity is off more than it’s on so a generator is pretty standard equipment. We were thankful for that!
Back on the home front….I mentioned that we changed rooms and would include photos of our new diggs. Here they are. Here it is. It was very comfortable.
We had lots of space. Which was so nice. One thing that is challenging to me with all the travel we do is not having much space. I’m not very neat and do better when everything can have a place. This was wonderful for my organizational addiction. It doesn’t look particularly neat right now, but that’s only because we were getting ready to pack…
And of course there was a lovely bathroom!
We also took a few trips to different markets. As you know I live in Africa. Niger to be specific. So an outdoor market is not an unfamiliar thing to me. But I discovered that being a foreigner in Nigeria is much different than being a foreigner in Niger. In Niger there are so many NGO’s (non-profit organizations) that I am only one of probably hundreds of westerners here. So seeing faces other than African in the market isn’t that remarkable – especially here in the capital city. That combined with the personality of people here (friendly but passive) you will find the experiences in the two places are as different as hot season and cold season. Now consider the bold, aggressive, take charge Nigerian. He or she is confident that you want to buy what they have to sell. You are a target because you stick out like a white crayon in a box of colored ones. If you’re me, you probably look like you don’t know where you’re going. Not a good look in a market. Our group was 6 in number, 1 of us being officially Nigerian. I was looking for cloth. Lace to be exact. Lots of people sell lace. And every one of them has a better quality then the person next to them. To the untrained eye they all look the same…beautiful. So thankful Augusta was with us. After looking, finding and purchasing some lace, the other members of our group were interested in looking at soccer jerseys. After all, Nigeria had just won the African Cup – and we were there to see it! The jerseys weren’t in that market, but across the street. So our small band of white crayons started very conspiculously making our way. However there was some lace that I saw that I didn’t buy and I kept thinking about it. We continued to walk the other direction. I knew I would be kicking myself if I didn’t go back and get that cloth so I informed the others of my plan. Augusta graciously said ‘OK, lets all go back in’. It was hot and very sweaty and our time was running short. I didn’t want to waste any of it. I assured her that I’d be fine on my own and that she should continue on with the others to the next destination. She showed me where it was (across several ‘lanes’ of traffic on the 2nd floor of a large 2-story building) and the plan was if I didn’t see them there that we’d meet at our car. Off I head back into the market. I’m pretty directionally challenged so thankfully the place we had been was pretty close. Down one alleyway past seller after seller, turn left, more sellers (all wanting me to buy and telling me so), take a right – yep, more sellers and more offers to ‘just look’, another left, and now to find the lace I remember seeing hanging somewhere on the left. Or was it on the right? Keep in mind my directional issues. You must understand, there are 100’s, no, 1000’s of pieces of cloth hanging in the stalls. I spotted my lace! In spite of being proud of myself I attempted to maintain a calm ‘not caring if I really get it or not’ demeanor so as not to cause the price to go up. You’d be proud. I was. I almost walked away. But I did get my cloth and I did manage to make my way out of the market without getting lost – even though I came out a different way than going in. I ‘threw my face’ across the street (that’s Nigerian English for turned my head, or looked) to see if I could see a gaggle of tall white guys + Tobi. Couldn’t be that hard to spot in the midst of so much bright color. Not to be seen. So rather than make my way across the sea of people and their goods, I decided I’d just head to the car – through a different sea of people and goods. That’s when I started to feel, well, it’s hard to describe. I wasn’t at all fearful. But I felt so obvious. Like everyone was staring at me – wondering what this white lady was doing by herself in their market. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t imagining it. I was the focus of attention for many. I’m sure there were many thoughts going through many heads as I’m seen making my way through the people and ropes and gutters to get back to our car. It was so different than in Niger. I don’t really think twice in the market there. Sure I get approached by sellers there in hopes that I’ll buy something but it’s different. In Niger, I’m a dime a dozen so to speak. But in Nigeria, I think I (we) really were a novelty. I then began to think about it. It occurred to me that other than the few foreigners that were there working with Church of God Mission, I realized that I had not seen one single white face since we’d been there. Not one. Then I began thinking why that was. And I came to the conclusion that Nigeria doesn’t need foreigners helping them. They are more than capable of leading and developing their own nation. That doesn’t mean that it’s always being done the right way, but it’s not for lack of ability or resources. That goes hand in hand with my theory that all of Africa and probably the remaining unreached world could be reached if Nigerians made a decision to do it…
But, I was talking about the market. Anyway, I literally stood out like a sore thumb as I waited by the car for the other foreigners to arrive. People were pleasant enough, of course greeting – but with an edge of ‘whatever are you doing in our market?’ I tried to call Neal but of course his phone was in the car – where I was standing. They finally arrived after I’d sweated a couple of buckets, soccer jerseys in hand. And because of Neal’s expert driving we were able to drive out of the crowded market without incident. Quite remarkable really.
I took these pictures as inconspicuously as I could with my phone while I was waiting.
Unloading the bread truck.
From that market we headed to the silver man – he had some pretty stuff. One of the benefits of living in Africa – jewelry design.
The day before we left, I made sure to get some pictures of new friends. Tobi had a blast with these two – Osassu and Osagie. They are 2 of Archbishop Margaret’s adopted children. Fun guys!
Osagie really was quite the ham. I think they enjoyed hanging with Tobi too.
This is an incomplete group of guests and staff at the house while we were there.
These 2 guys are from Tulsa and were there when we arrived. They were on a short term trip and were involved in various aspects of the ministry – churches, university, hospital. Michael and David. Again, Tobi had a great time with them as well. Kind of like having 2 big brothers!
This is Stephen. He was invaluable to us and our ‘go-to’ guy for whatever we needed. Such a sweet servant.
We were blessed with a gift from the University – we love souvenir type stuff.
Even though soccer was usually played on Saturday mornings, I think this impromptu game was for Tobi’s sake – since we would be leaving the next morning.
The drive (aka running track) is around the permitter of this field / home. I reached my goal of running 3 miles before we left. This was my view and my final run. Well, this and the soccer match.
Didn’t take pictures of packing up. It would be nice to be home but we were feeling a bit sad about leaving. We’d had such an amazing time. I guess that’s how it should be though. Leaving on a high note – wishing there was more. And we certainly didn’t want to wear out our welcome. God had truly blessed us and we believe there will be fruit that remains from this journey.
The next and last post about our trip will be the journey home…which is where we are now.