We are still hanging out in Jos, Nigeria being filled with the joy of the people here in the guest house who randomly break out in praise songs and continually give hugs. Every morning, Julie is one of the first ones to spring up and usually heads to the kitchen to see the crew and give/receive the greatest hugs!
Breakfast is at 8am here, which usually consists of hard boiled eggs, along with other dishes like cinnamon rolls, eggs (which are white here and dont have any yellow coloring), and corn muffins.
After breakfast, we usually talk for awhile then get ready for ministry.
Being the cultural thing to wear, we put on long skirts or dresses. Sam, our driver, arrives and we load up for our first destination: the girls refuge, which also includes their school.
The road to get to the school had us all bouncing but we arrived with happy anticipation! The girls “mama” greeted us and we followed her around as she gave us a tour. The girls are taught how to cook, clean, and other life skills and it showed. We saw their rooms, gardens, rabbits, chickens, and even how they use fish to fertilize their plants. We saw some of the girls gathered around a big pot over the fire just hanging out. I think 2 minutes on a microwave is long, they were probably cooking for hours. The mama showed us a special fruit the girls were growing in their gardens. It looked like a spikey ball.
We then toured the school the girls go to, which was in the process of being built last time we came. Its now completed and they are holding classes there. Something I thought was neat is that they use the cement wall as a chalkboard and use sidewalk chalk directly on the cylinder block walls. No need for chalkboards!
We ended the tour by entering into a large room where the girls were dancing and singing. We started dancing with them for a bit, then sat down on the couches while the girls sang the most amazing song for us. They sang “Broken Vessels” and it never sounded so good! Their voices blended so nicely together!
We shared some encouraging words for the girls telling them not to lose hope, that they have great futures ahead of them, that they were beautiful, and loved by God. A couple of the girls shared their stories with us. One of the girls lived with a mom who was Christian and a dad who was Muslim. Her dad forced her to go to a Muslim school, even though she chose to be a Christian, like her mom. He would beat their mom so they ran away. He had since died and the mom couldn’t afford to keep her so she came to the shelter where she was taught more about God and grew closer to Him. She now uses her amazing, beautiful voice to praise God! She is in 11th grade and will be going to the university for voice.
After the girls shared with such passion and love for Jesus, we sang WITH the girls that same song. The team has had that song in our heads the whole rest of the trip!
We then prayed over the girls and the girls prayed over us! They made crafts to sell in order to support themselves so the team picked out a few things to buy and took time to talk with them all. It was a special time!
Our next location was where boys would stay and learn trades and school curriculum. They gave us a tour, showing us their rooms and school. Their school was being built last time we came and now they are all moved in!
Sam was going to drive us to the I AM garden next so we loaded up. The garden wasnt too far away, but there were some obstacles so he thought it would be easier to drive. Halfway to the garden, we got stuck in the mud since it was near a rice field and rice needs lots of water to grow. Some of the boys all cane over to push us out of the mud, but it was too difficult. So we piled out and decided to go on foot. Due to the obstacles, some of the team stood back and Sam explained the garden to them. The rest ventured to the I AM garden but I happened to jump over the trench and tripped in another trench where I caught my balance into a bush with little stickers that got all on my skirt. Anyway, we entered through a nice gate to see little paths. The paths formed a cross with little prayer stations. It was a peaceful place and a great place to have time to pick off all the stickers from my skirt while we waited for the rest of the group. Me, Madison, and Becca were busy plucking them all off and kept finding tons of them. Once the group all made it, the tour of the garden started and we walked past benches and corners to pray. The neatest part was the alter built with rocks under a tree that represented the garden where Jesus prayed. As we walked out, we passed a fountain that is still being worked on, but was all set up. The I AM garden was inspired by God saying I AM the WAY, TRUTH, and the LIFE, but also built for all the ministries that are part of City Ministries to come and pray. They value prayer here so much and I believe that’s why the ministry here is blossoming tremendously!
We ended the day back to the bunkhouse and had dinner, which was good as usual! Our team is so fun and after dinner we tend to gather in the living room/meeting area together to chat, joke, communicate back home with people, and sing/worship. Madison, Becca, Angie, and I have been looking up song lyrics and singing together while I keep beat playing the guard with beads. It usually ends with us sharing as a team of where we’ve seen God working throughout the day before some of us head to bed. Many stories were shared about the Bassa Girls Center because their love for eachother and God was so powerful and touched our hearts.