Monday, April 30, 2012

Healthy Little Chris

It's hard to believe that it's been over two years since I posted a blog with a desperate plea to help Little Chris (named after Dr. Chris Isichei, Founder and Coordinator of Faith Alive Foundation-Nigeria) get lifesaving heart surgery in India. Well, our dear boy is now running, playing and, as you can see, dancing with other children his age, thanks to many of you who donated money and prayers. Enjoy these snaps of Little Chris at a wedding and posing around his house.

You don't suppose that he's shy, do you? I think he takes after his outgoing daddy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hope for West Africa

God's power at the Faith Alive Hospital in Jos, Nigeria never ceases to amaze me. Case in point today is how a group of people visited in 2004 and today lead a successful organization that's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Faith Alive and sent dozens of people to share their hearts and skills. That non-profit is Hope for West Africa and it serves three Nigerian agencies. Click here to see their updated website, complete with new Faith Alive projects, new board members, HFWA's history and a thoughtful blog written by my friend Terese PompaClick here to learn how HFWA connects with Faith Alive Foundation-Nigeria. 

If you're up for a challenge, search the HFWA website to find First Presbyterian Church, little Chris or the mobile clinic project. 

On behalf of the extended Faith Alive family, we are extremely grateful for HFWA's continued, faithful partnership. As I often hear Nigerians say, "May God grant them the desires of their hearts."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Garage Sale

Spring cleaning? Save a few things for the annual garage sale that benefits Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria. Starting in May, you can bring your items that are still in good condition (except clothing, old computer things or large appliances) to my house in Fort Collins, Colorado for the sale on Saturday, June 9.

Not in Colorado but want to join the fun? Consider hosting a garage sale where you live; invite your church members, family and friends to donate items. I gladly challenge you to a friendly competition. If you raise more money than me, you win a special surprise from Nigeria!

Let's work together to encourage our favorite Nigerian partners in ministry--the staff and patients at Faith Alive!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Calling All Pray-ers

We need your prayer power! Faith Alive Foundation-Nigeria is applying for a major grant. Without being more specific on this public website, we appreciate your daily prayers for God's wisdom, strength, power, protection and favor for those of us involved with this grant as we move forward to serve the Nigerians that He brings to Faith Alive. Forgive me for sounding dramatic, but thousands of people's futures depend on this grant.

If you want to know more details, please post a comment here with your email and I'll send you a more detailed explanation about the grant's importance.

(The graphic above reminds me to pray with the full faith of a child.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

EPJ Center

Faith Alive Founder and Coordinator Dr. Christian Isichei and his family wish you all a happy Easter as they celebrate today their new gym and physical therapy center (almost 30 minutes from the Faith Alive Hospital in a newly settled Christian area called New Abuja). Named after their three children (Emily, Prince and Joseph), the EPJ Center is Dr. Chris’s first personal project since graduating from medical school in 1983.

Dr. Chris says that after his knee injury playing football (American soccer) with the Faith Alive staff, subsequent surgery and physical therapy in Baltimore a few years ago, “and all the lessons God taught me, like the psalmist it was good I was afflicted as I knew Him better.”

I’m amazed how Dr. Chris transforms negative experiences into positive ones. I shouldn’t be surprised, though, because he takes his lead from Jesus whose physical death didn’t have the last word—Praise God that He is risen!

Feel free to post a congratulatory comment here for the Isicheis.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spiritual Theme: Good Stewardship

Thanks to Pastor Ben at Faith Alive in Jos, Nigeria for sharing a recent spiritual theme based on Matthew 25. To paraphrase the scripture, a man preparing for a journey entrusted his wealth to three servants according to their ability. The first servant received five bags of gold, the second servant received three and the third servant received one. This sounds like a math problem, but's basically a spiritual test.

When the master returned, the first two servants had doubled the bags of gold. The master said to each of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

But the third servant had safely hidden the one bag of gold in a hole in the ground. His master chastised that servant, calling him wicked, lazy and worthless before having him thrown outside into the darkness.

It migiht be easy for us to identify with or judge the third servant. Either way, Pastor Ben asks us to examine ourselves. He says: “Pause for a moment and list out what you think you have received from God.

• How long or short is your list?
• How can you rate yourself in regard to faithfulness with what you have received?
• What are your scores in the area of profit-making with what you have received as listed?

Let not what you received stop at you. Pass it on to bring in more to God. Don’t lose them. Don’t exchange them for the pleasures of this world. Keep and use them. For how you use them will point to how your eternity shall be. May we not dash the expectations of our master when he comes.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Value of Volunteering

One of our local Faith Alive supporters is a hero. Denver's Channel 7 news recently awarded Gerry Lake that well-deserved title for her tireless efforts creating a feeding program for disadvantaged school children and their families. Each Thursday, she leads a group of community volunteers at our church to organize, pack and deliver over 200 bags of meals to area schools where teachers and counselors put the bags in identified children's backpacks. We affectionately call this program, in partnership with the McKinney project at our local food bank, McBackpacks.

What does McBackpacks have to do with Nigeria? A lot, according to Kate Clement, volunteer at Faith Alive and headmistress of Elim Elementary School in Jos, Nigeria. As part of Kate's visit to Fort Collins last spring, she watched in awe as Gerry and the McBackpack volunteers filled bags with peanut butter and boxed milk.

Kate took two important lessons from Gerry back to Nigeria:

1. It's possible to have a pervasive culture of volunteering.
2. You're never to old to volunteer in some way.

Gerry and her volunteers are young at heart. Kate said that many Nigerians think they have less value after a certain age, but Gerry and her crew prove otherwise.

We wish both Kate and Gerry well as they continue to be model volunteer heros.