Friday, May 24, 2013

Blog Address Change

I remember the olden days when I'd send out "I've Moved" postcards. That shows how long it's been since I've moved!

Please consider this post to be an "I'm Moving" notice for this blog. It makes sense to blend it with my website, I plan to keep this site as is so that you can still refer to past posts. Going forward, you can now read new posts at It's much easier over there to post comments, so be sure to share your greetings to the extended Faith Alive family.

See you there!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

News from Nigeria

Yesterday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared an emergency in three states: Yobe, Borno, and Adamwa. Fortunately this doesn't include Plateau state where the Faith Alive hospital is located. If you want to know more about the emergency situation, click here for a BBC news story, video, and links to other stories that provide helpful background.

It's good to stay informed. But I've found that it's not so good to let the constant flow of news grow my anxious heart. I remember Pastor Esther's voice confidently claiming 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (NKJV)

I can't control the evil happening in the world, but I can control what I put into my mind. Yes, I still spend some time reading and watching the news. But I have to make sure that I spend even more time reading the Good News and watching for signs of God's victory over evil. I don't have to look far--I just have to reread the true stories of God's powerful love at work through the sound minds of the people at the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Light for HIV Cure?

Some Danish scientists are working on a strategy to attack HIV, the AIDS-causing virus. Click here to find out the details, but the strategy boils down to releasing the virus from DNA cells. Then the virus rises to the cells' surfaces. People's immune systems may recognize the released virus and work to attack it.

Too scientific?

Let's look at it from another point of view. Let's say you have a major problem and all of your attempts to solve it aren't working.

You feel stuck.

Maybe it's time to re-look at the problem. Ask God to shine a light on it--to totally expose the good, the bad, and the ugly. Get the entire problem out in the open. Acknowledge the threat that it has on your physical and emotional health.

Now that you know what you're dealing with, you'll have a better idea of how to ask God to attack it.  

Thanks to Danish scientists and God's word revealed in the Bible, we have hope for health and healing from the effects of HIV--and life's major problems.

He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. (Job 12:22 NIV)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spiritual Theme: Reagents for Growth

Leave it to a hospital to compare spiritual growth to the medical field. Last month's spiritual theme at Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria prompted me to look in the dictionary to learn more about a "reagent." Given the theme's associated Bible verse (see below), the definition makes sense. (Note: a reagent is a substance used to produce a chemical reaction so as to detect, measure, produce, etc., other substances.)


“For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love.” ( 2 Peter 1:5-7)

In case you're wondering, this year's overall spiritual theme is SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

“Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved.”  (1 Peter 2:2)

Going backward to January, here are some other monthly themes: 


“But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.”  (James 1:5)


“All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death…”  (Philippians 3:10)

I don't know about you, but I'm praying for God to give me spiritual milk and wisdom to experience the power of his resurrection. It's the suffering part that's a bit harder, but clearly part of the deal. Let's see what God will do when we humble ourselves before him, surrendering our wills to his greater will for our lives. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Which Faith Alive?

Who knew that there were so many organizations called “Faith Alive”? A quick Google search reveals a Faith Alive Christian Center, a Faith Alive Ministries, and a Faith Alive Resources, in addition to Faith Alive USA, Inc. that supports approved projects at Faith Alive Foundation-Nigeria. To reduce confusion, please know that any general references to "Faith Alive" that I make in this blog are to Faith Alive Foundation-Nigeria. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Teen Mom Thanks Faith Alive Hospital

Dr. Chris Isichei, Founder and Coordinator of the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria, shares this letter with us. 

My appreciation to Faith Alive Foundation. Firstly my appreciation goes to almighty God and also Faith Alive Foundation for what they have done for me.

Faith Alive has done so much for me: the accommodation, my computer school, through my antenatal time and also telling me the word of God through my discipleship class. Faith Alive is indeed a place where God himself is at work.

I really appreciate all the staff of Faith Alive for their care, love, and kindness. May God bless and bless you all. In Jesus, amen.

Thanks to partners like you, this lovely young woman has been living in Faith Alive’s transitional housing, attending skills-acquisition school, and receiving prenatal care for her child. Let’s see what God will do in their lives…

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Child Cured of HIV?

Did you hear the news story about a child who was cured of HIV? My friend, Dr. Art Ammann (founder of Global Strategies for HIV Prevention and clinical profession of pediatrics at University of California San Francisco), diagnosed the first case of pediatric AIDS. He shared his thoughts about the recent case and associated issues during a radio show.. Click here to listen.

I recommend Dr. Art's recently published book (Women, HIV, and the Church: In Search of Refuge) that includes a chapter (from Faith Alive: Stories of Hope and Healing from an African Doctor and His Hospital) that I wrote about Pastor Esther (renamed Pastor Rebecca for Dr. Art's book).

Maybe now he'll need to write a book titled Children, HIV, and the Cure.


Donate Medical Equipment

Imagine if you or someone you love gets a cancer diagnosis but don’t have access to treatment. Well, that’s a reality for many in Jos, Nigeria. But it doesn’t have to be. Drs. Chris and Mercy Isichei (a surgeon specializing in breast cancer treatment) recently inherited an oncology unit from a friend who died. They desperately need new or used equipment for mammography, CT scans, MRIs, and digital x-rays.

Please contact me at asap if you have any leads on these donated machines. (Wow, my “kindergarten-version of medical terms reminds me that I’m so not medically educated!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Faith Alive Book Dedication with Bags of Cow

How many authors share their book dedication with a cow slaughter? Just me, as far as I know. 

The slaughter actually happened in the morning on January 9, evidenced by blood stains in the grassy playground, and freshly watered-down basketball court, at Faith Alive's Kiddies' Park. 150 black baggies (filled with pieces of fresh cow meat) sat in plastic buckets ready for staff to hand out like Christmas gifts after the dedication. 

I started the book dedication later that afternoon in Jos, Nigeria at the Faith Alive hospital by saying, "Thank you all for coming to the Faith Alive book dedication. I'm going to talk about the book, but I know what most of you are thinking--cow, cow, cow." We laughed, but I had spoken the truth. Most of the staff (and some Muslim patients who'd heard Dr. Chris Isichei's invitation that morning to share the cow meat) hadn't been paid for a few months.The hospital's main donor hadn't paid for a while, leaving many of the staff to beg and borrow from their relations and friends for food, housing, and school fee assistance. 

Given that stark reality, what message could I offer to my Nigerian family? 

"I wrote the book of true stories about the hospital and some of you so that others around the world might have hope that God redeems even the worst suffering and pain. Yet I look at you today and think that the book is for YOU. When you read these stories, remember that God is faithful, He has not forgotten you, and that He will redeem even this difficult time."

Praise God, things are now working out with the hospital's main donor. Staff are again getting paid for their hard work. 

The hospital's situation reminds me that the Faith Alive book--and its message--aren't a "happily ever after" fairy tale. Life is hard. It's especially difficult in Jos. But God has redeemed, is redeeming, and will continue to redeem our struggles. 

If you doubt that, consider that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and is ALIVE so that we, too, might live abundantly. He is risen; He is risen indeed!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thanks to my Writers' Group

Thanks to the Broad Horizons writers' group that's been with me every step of the way--from writing the first chapter to now publishing and marketing the Faith Alive book. Honestly, they have been my lifeline by walking me through first drafts, characterization, dialogue, flow, correct comma usage, strong verbs, and multiple rewrites. The best thing that they've offered me, though, is encouragement. 

This morning we celebrated that more than 770 books have already been sold (and that's before the publisher's official release date next month). I'm getting ready for my fifth speaking engagement later this week and would love to schedule a time to speak in person or via Skype with groups of any size.If you are part of a group that wants to hear how the powerful stories at Faith Alive can encourage your own life stories, please contact me via my author website ( Come to think of it, my talented writers' group gave me some editing suggestions for that site, so I'd better get to work. 

(Not pictured are Marie Burghard and former Broad Horizons members Heidi Windmiller and Joe McKeon. Broad Horizons--part of Northern Colorado Writers--you're awesome!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Faith Alive Book: Be Among First to Buy One…

…or as my husband would say, why stop at just one? 100% of the profit from book sales benefits the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria.

Paperback copies of the book are en route to my house so that I can start selling them this Sunday. In the next few months, the books will be available in paperback and e-book format at the Tate Publishing website, Barnes and, and, but right now they’re only available in the United States through me. Be one of the first people to read the book.

Faith Alive: Storiesof Hope and Healing from an African Doctor and His Hospital gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our inspiring Dr. Chris Isichei who rose from extreme poverty to start Faith Alive. As one Nigerian brother told me yesterday, “This is going to be our second Bible!” That might seem a bit much, but I do pray that reading these powerful, dramatic stories will ignite your faith to come alive in new and exciting ways.

I’ll sell books at First Presbyterian Church, 531 S. College Avenue in Fort Collins, Colorado this Sunday and next from 9:30-10:00 am. Paperbacks sell for $15 and I’ll take pre-orders for $11 e-books. I’ll also sell beautiful, African-fabric “cup cozies” made by some ladies at the Faith Alive sewing school. The cozies are great to keep in your purse or car to use at coffee shops. People who buy a cozy from me this month will receive a free specialty drink at the church’s coffee cart. Xaris, the coffee cart, is also offering all of their profit this month to the hospital.

Thanks to First Presbyterian Church for your long-term support of both Faith Alive and me as the church’s “Champion” to the hospital. Your partnership is making a major difference in and through Dr. Chris and the hospital to touch thousands of lives. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Faith Alive Trip Presentation this Sunday

Find out about the 15 lb. baby, why that little girl held Austin Nossokoff's hand, what the Austins learned about cervical cancer prevention, why a cow was in the children's park,and whose graveside I visited.

Join the Austins (Nossokoff and Pierce) and me this Sunday, February 17 for our trip presentation: "What's Next?" We'll be in room 204 from 10 - 11 am and repeat the presentation from 11 am - noon.

We'll talk about ways that our congregation (and others) can help the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria. Projects can include renovating the former brothel, children's recreation center, village school, or church; offering special programs for Kiddies Club and/or school students; ministering to commercial sex workers; or training staff and other professionals.

I hope to see you there! Also, be one of the first people to buy copies of the book, Faith Alive: Stories of Hope and Healing from an African Doctor and His Hospital. Cost is $15 and 100% of the profit from book sales benefits the hospital. Watch my next blog post for more details.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Africa Day at Webber Middle School

What little girl doesn't want to be like her big sister? Not me. I adored my senior sister, Charlotte, who grew up to become a music teacher (among other wonderful things). Yesterday I got my chance to be like her, although my teaching didn't include leading six-year-olds in a chorus of "Ten Galloping Ponies."

I taught to about 100 amazing seventh graders about the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria. Their school hosted "Africa Day" as part of their interdisciplinary study on all-things African. Based on the video we watched about the hospital, my main points were:

1.  HIV/AIDS in Africa comes with a host of other problems
2.  The solutions need to be holistic
3.  You can make a difference (in Africa or elsewhere) because there are so many ways to use your unique talents to help

I don't know how much they'll remember about those three points, but I'm pretty sure that they've already told at least someone else about the 15 lb baby or the donated cow that was in 150 pieces on Faith Alive's basketball court in the recreation center.

Thanks to Diane Fromme for connecting me with Webber Middle School and her daughter Amy who watched with rapt attention. Amy's in the yellow shirt (photo above). You might also notice that I'm eating a sandwich in the background while watching the video; at least my husband didn't snap me while my mouth was open!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


If you've been to the Faith Alive hospital in Jos, Nigeria, chances are high that you've met and are now friends with Blessing. Her name reflects her spirit--and her strikingly beautiful appearance.

After learning how to sew at Faith Alive’s skills-acquisition school nearly nine years ago, Blessing opened her own shop. She now teaches some of the hospital’s patients how to sew so that they, too, can start their own businesses. Elisha, a tailor, recently joined her business and together they design clothing and accessories for men and women.

If you happen to be on Zik Avenue in Jos, stop by for a custom design consultation!

Way to go, Blessing and Elisha, and way to go, Faith Alive, for providing holistic services to thousands of people like Blessing.

Monday, January 21, 2013


What is a brother? I think it’s more than somebody who both puts you in a headlock for power of the remote control and yet fiercely protects you from bullies.

Merriam-Webster defines a brother as: 1) a male who has the same parents as another or one parent in common with another; 2) one related to another by common ties or interests; 3) a fellow member—used as a title for ministers in some evangelical denominations; and 4) one of a type similar to another.

Given the various definitions, I think that my 22-year-old son Austin and six-year-old little Chris qualify as brothers. Many of you remember little Chris, the delightful Nigerian boy many of you helped send to India for lifesaving heart surgery two years ago. Praise God, he's doing great both physically and academically. Austin and little Chris met and instantly bonded earlier this month when Austin and I visited Jos, Nigeria. 

Enjoy the snap of Austin and little Chris. No headlocks or bullies. Just laughter, games, and paper airlines.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home from Africa: Packing in Place of Guilt

Praise God for an awesome (and safe) trip to and from Jos, Nigeria. Over the next few months, I plan to post dozens of Faith Alive hospital updates and tidbits ranging from a 15 lb. newborn to brothel transformation ideas to a donated cow slaughtered on the rec center's basketball court. For now, however, I just want to rest after the 38-hour door to door (or bed to bed) travel. 

I'll share with everyone some wise words adapted from my friend Don Simmons about what to bring home from a mission trip experience. 


Don says, "When I returned from living in Papua New Guinea for a while, along with my clothes and cool souvenirs of my trip, I also packed a lot of guilt—guilt about the way I had previously thought, guilt about the way I had looked at the world before, guilt about having SO much, and guilt about “those people” having so little. The guilt was a motivator—for a very short time—but once the guilt wore off, I wanted to go to the beach and live my privileged American Christian life. So, as you’re packing, what are you going to place IN PLACE of guilt?

Here are some suggestions:

RESOLVE. The deep gut strength/feeling to DO something about poverty in the world and where you live.

ARTICULATION. We can often miscommunicate our message because we "feel" it more than we can express it.

REALISTIC STRATEGY. You will need to be thinking of a realistic strategy to educate, engage, and equip others on what you have learned.

HOPE. You know it now: God loves and cares for people in developing countries just as much (and possibly more because they are poor) as he loves and cares for people in developed countries. If you focus on the helplessness and not the HOPE, you'll miss the point. If you focus on the poverty and not the richness of God's promises, you won't be able to do much about poverty. As a Missouri poet puts it, "Gaze at god, glance at everything else."

DESIRE. Pack some desire to go to other lands, other cultures, other neighborhoods. Let your trip be an "appetizer" for the buffet of God's world and his people. Pack that desire to take others with you and open their eyes as well.

Don continues by saying, "The amazing thing about travel that I love is that it is the one activity that allows us to get a good look at how BIG God is, and how BIG our family is. Pack away all those new friendships—teachers, principals, students, doctors, nurses, etc. Tuck away those treasures and pull them out often: pray for them, think of them, and remember what you learned from them. Isn’t it amazing that you went to be the giver and yet you returned very much the student?"