After waiting and eating my corn nuts, we got on our second flight by riding in a bus to our plane. On that fight, we all passed out and slept hard (except for Pastor Marc). I did also watch the new Dumbo movie and ate this great tasting wrap they served us! Before we knew it, we were there!
We got off the plane, hoping with the last minute gate change that our luggage made it with us. They stamped our passports and checked our Visas. We passed! We found that our luggage arrived as it slowly rounded the moving track and the trees bent from our sigh of relief!As we walked out of the airport Pastor Marc got stopped by security when he said he had clothes and substance abuse books. He must have looked suspicious again. They were really nice and let him go through without trouble. They let us all by with no problem lolI knew I would like it here just because EVERY Nigerian looked genuinely happy. They have the greatest smiles! Pastor Marc was getting worried because Amos, our driver, wasnt answering his phone. While he was trying to contact Amos, Julie was struggling with her bags a bit and 2 Nigerian guys helped her. Woman were impressively carrying their luggage ON THEIR HEADS!Once outside the airport, we saw Amos waving his arms and sharing the biggest smile! The guys helping with the luggage were so funny and polite! They asked if they could get some American money so we pulled some money out to give them and their faces lit up! They were like “WE ARE AMERICANS NOW!” Amos was backing into the parking place so we could load our luggage when the one guy wrote “wash me” with his finger on the dusty van. I laughed and told them we do the same thing in America lol Amos tipped them again and we were off!Amos drove us to this hotel around an hour away in Abuja, Nigeria in Africa. The hotel was nicer than I expected! We got our own rooms with a bed, showers, bathroom, couches, a TV, and a mini fridge! The plugs were different so I couldn’t charge my phone or camera but luckily we found out Julie brought an adapter. There were NO TARANTULAS anywhere! I was expecting a dirt floor and bunk beds.
We had WIFI so I spent a bit of time updating everyone that I made it to Africa. It was all ready dark by 6pm so we had to stay in our rooms since it wasnt safe at night.Then wonderful Amos be taught us sharmas (chicken wraps) to eat. I started eating it and the sauce dripped down the front of my shirt. You know it’s good when you swim in your food!!! I fell asleep with the AC fan on and the bathroom light on for my nightlight. I fell asleep so fast. We had to be up by 7am the next morning. Throughout the night I would get up and look out the curtains to see if it was day out yet. I was ready for our mission!
To Jos We Go
I woke up the next morning to the sound of Julie’s voice outside. I had turned off my phone to save the battery since I wasnt able to charge it.I packed up and headed down stairs for breakfast. Julie was talking to Pastor Friday, who ministered at a local church and welcomed us. After chatting it up, the team went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. They had instant coffee, omelet, and homemade bread for us which was super yummy! We talked about what our day would hold, prayed over our meal and mission, and joked around telling stories.After breakfast it was time to throw on our skirts (excluding the guys, in case you were wondering) and loaded up for our 4 hour ride to Jo’s, Nigeria.Along the way we took pictures and pointed out the scenery. The way you dive in Nigeria is WAY DIFFERENT than America. There are no stop signs, traffic lights, spees limits, or crosswalks. Cars have the right away so people run and dodge the cars, buses, and motorcycles. Drivers honk to let other cars they are passing or pulling out. Their roads are majority paved with some mighty pot holes here and there. Driving is like playing Frogger or Subway Surfer.
Along the way, there were “checkpoints” where we had to put away cameras and phones. Here, soldiers would stop us making sure we weren’t kidnapping kids. They all knew Amos since he drove back and forth quite a bit. They were all funny and nice so even though they were carrying guns, we weren’t scared.We would pass little marketplaces which were little shacks with people selling yams, bananas, caskets, shoes, some clothes, doors, bricks, and rocks. There yams are HUGE! They are about the size of watermelons!We would also pass people working in fields with short handled hoes plowing the land or harvesting their yams for market. You would also see flimsy scaffold as they were constructing homes or buildings. There is red dirt here with mountainy hills that we wanted to climb so bad!We finally made it to Jos, Nigeria to unload our luggage into where we are staying tonight. We each got our own rooms just as nice as the first place we stayed! Still no tranchulas! I moved in with Julie because I didnt want to be by myself again.Not long after, Amos drove us to his house where Peter met us to discuss our schedule. We ate the best potato soup and homemade bread for lunch as we asked questions and chatted around the table.We stopped for 27 minutes back at our house, then took off again to visit an orphanage 20 minutes away. We passed more markets and check points along the way. It was raining so the soldiers weren’t out.
The gates were opened once we reached the homes where the children stayed. The first thing that caught my eye were the 3 ADORABLE dogs laying on a porch. Further down, we saw 3 little girls around the age of 5. They were cute! Friendly greetings were exchanged as we met the orphanage leaders, pastor, supervisors, and helpers. We sat in a room and chatted about the kids and their programs.Most of the kids there saw their parents killed by the massacres from the north of Nigeria. Some of the kids were found in bushes and the forest fleeing from the dangerous north and were turned into the orphanage. The orphanage taught them about Jesus, who was now their Dad and mom. The kids learned English, taught a skill they could use, and given opportunities to use their skill.Usually, theres 157 kids there from 5 to 20 years old. When we were there, only 15 kids stayed back while the others went on holiday to other family members or people who wanted to take them in for a month. They will be back but we got to visit and play with 15 kids.As we went on the tour of the area, 3 girls followed us. They showed us their bunk beds that were donated by a lady who seen multiple kids sleepingon a dirty mattress on the floor and her heart was moved to buy the orphanage new bunks.One of the girls seemed like she wanted up on the bunk so I picked her up and she didn’t want set down after that so I carried 2 of them as we ventured to their school house. They had wooden desks and a whiteboard. That’s it. Simple and straight to it.The director showed us where the chapel was being built and the girls were excited. He then led us to the boys cabin where they had bunks and a TV set up for video games. We said hi and introduced ourselves to them and they gave us smiles and hand shakes.I seen a goat in the corner outside so I took the girls, Marta and Mary, to go pet it. There was a little stream I lifted them over and we pet the goat who didnt really want petted.We played games with the girls after that. They LOVED getting their picture taken with us and swiping through our phone pictures. I swung them around and they loved counting to 3 and jumping in my arms. We had so much fun together!
We ended up getting back to where we were staying late after dark just in time to eat around 7pm. We had rice and fried chicken! So good! Pastor Marc got back at 6pm and was worrying about us since we were supposed to be back before dark.Around the table whole eating Pastor Marc shared his adventure ti the “drug jungle”. He said it was the best ministry experience he has ever had. He felt like Paul in the Bible. He didn’t know what he was in for. Him and another pastor, Josh, went to the urban crime part of the city. There was trash and broken glass everywhere. He didn’t know how some of the people could be walking around barefoot. While there, we chatted with guys smoking joints right in front of him, making his way to this little shack as big as a small walk on closet. He sat down and around 16 guys joined him sharing how they were struggling with their addictions. Pastor almost started getting high just being in the same room as them since they were smoking right there. Some of the guys have never been there before and were so moved they wanted to come back next week. It was so great Pastor is all ready wanting to come back next year.Sharing our experiences was fun and exciting! Tomorrow we have more fun planned! I may get to climb a mountain since I keep asking about it! Tune in tomorrow for the update!