Thursday, July 30, 2009

Traveling Companions from Maryland

For those of you who're concerned that I'm traveling alone, be assured. There's actually a team from Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland that'll be on the flight with me from JFK to Abuja. Six of them will be at the Faith Alive guesthouse with me for a few weeks as well. Their blog is; First Presbyterian Church is mentioned in their July 28 entry titled 'Cross Country Partners.' It's a small world after all, since Mark spent some of his childhood years in Timonium and lived just a block or so away from Church of the Nativity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State to visit Faith Alive?

Okay, I just email-invited U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Faith Alive while she's in Nigeria August 10-12, 2009. What are the chances she'll come (or at least reply)? I played into her website's following statement:

In each nation, she will emphasize Africa as a place of opportunity, built on an ethic of responsibility. She will underline America’s commitment to partner with governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens to build societies where each individual can realize their potential.

Actually America already partners with Faith Alive through the PEPFAR program (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: that finances lifesaving medications for over 2,000 patients there. Because of that, many of them ARE realizing their potential as doctors, nurses, teachers, pastors, merchants, etc.

Hillary just might want to meet some of them. I know it's a longshot, but my mom always says "it doesn't hurt to ask." :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Concerns in Nigeria

Thanks to those who are praying for my trip. Would you please add a specific request for PEACE in Jos and Nigeria? There's been some violence in nearby Bauchi State the past few days (see an article posted today at Dr. Chris told me that his sources say it's still okay for me to travel there; he'll let me know if that changes. He's actually in Abuja this week but keeps in close communication with those in Jos.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Facts About Nigeria

-Most populous African country, with over 130 million people (and about the size of 2 Californias)

-Gained independence from the UK in 1960

-Three main ethnicities/tribes are Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa (although there are over 200 tribes with their own languages)

-Official language is English (although many in Jos speak Hausa; 'sannu' means hello)

-Three religions are Christianity, Islam, and Animist

-Jos lies at the border between northern Africa’s Muslims and southern Africa’s Christians (hence the deep tensions and occasional violence between the two)

-Capital city is Abuja (where we fly in and out), about a 3-4 hour car ride away from Jos

-Faith Alive is in Jos (with a population of more than 1 million people)

-Largest city is Lagos (near the oil fields, where there are travel warnings. We stay away from Lagos!)

-Monetary unit is Naira. Current rate: $1 = 148 Naira

-Majority of Nigerians live on less than $1 per day

-Main resources (other than great people!) include oil, ground nuts (peanuts), cocoa, and palm oil

-A leading cause of death is car accidents

-HIV/AIDS rates estimated to be about 5% of the general population (and around 70% of Faith Alive patients)

-Favorite sport by far is ‘football’ (our soccer)

-Time there is currently 7 hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time. Unofficial ‘Nigerian time’ means 'whenever'!

-A recent report of all countries lists Nigerians as having the happiest index rating

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Preparing for the Journey

In just eleven days I'll be on a Delta flight over the Atlantic Ocean with my laptop, digital voice recorder, paper, pens, book outline, and anti-malaria pills. My arrival at the Faith Alive Clinic in Jos, Nigeria will make the four airports, 30 hours, unlimited soda intake, and jetlag all worth it.

While it's my third trip there (and second one this year!), it's my first trip as a researcher and writer. My goal is to write a book about the life-transforming personal stories that reveal how God HIMSELF is at work through Dr. Chris and the clinic. In past visits my dear Nigerian brothers and sisters shared the first layer of their life stories, but this time I need to go deeper, explore the details, and check my facts.

I've been told this whole process will take a lot of time. I fully anticipate spending many months writing and rewriting after I return to my mochas and reliable internet connection in Colorado. After all, it's been over 20 years since I graduated with degrees in English Literature, Journalism, and Sociology!

Thanks for joining me on the journey. I appreciate your prayers and support, and welcome your comments here. To learn more about Faith Alive, visit