Nigeria – Cemented Foundations

Every now and then I ask the boys – “What do you remember about Nigeria?

And every time their answer is the same – “I remember my friends. I had one name Glory, one named Osu, one named Queen…” and on and on they go, naming their little friends that they played with nearly every day.

Sometimes Judah will approach me and say “Mommy, Osu’s house didn’t have a kitchen. Do you think we could pack up our kitchen and take it on the airplane and give it to his mommy and daddy so they could have a real kitchen? Will our kitchen even fit through our doors?”
Or “Mommy, when we go back to Nigeria I want to take EVERYONE a teddy bear because none of my friends there have one.”

It makes my heart rejoice.

They get what I prayed they would get – that this world is entirely bigger than just them in their cozy home with fun toys and plenty of food.

But there is so much more…

I worried that through us being sick and having such a hard time our last week in Nigeria the entire trip would have this cloud of doom over it – that they would remember the tears, the heart ache of being away from daddy, the pain of being sick. I was concerned that they would resent our trip – the trip that was intended to introduce them to their great grandparents who have served as missionaries over there for pretty much forever, the trip that was to give them a taste of world missions and a different way of life – it wasn’t suppose to end with them curled over the toilet bowl or laying around, too tired to even play with friends.

I don’t even know how to convey this genuine, deep concern I had that I had somehow put a bitter taste in my boys mouth for foreign missions or following God wholeheartedly.

For all my intentions of being, well, intentional with the boys on our trip I hadn’t considered what to do if things didn’t go smoothly.
Sure, I had emergency clothes for the emergency clothes for the emergency clothes in our carry on baggage {which, by the way, were useful!} and enough food packed to last the 16 hour flight there when the boys didn’t like the meal we were served and the attendants were less then helpful. I had new apps downloaded to entertain the boys on the flight. I had special, homemade blankets for them to cuddle in at night. I had audio books recorded by Paul. I was as prepared as I could possibly be for any physical needs.

But when, from the beginning of our trip, the boys weren’t sleeping well – scared of the strange noises and I found myself in a state of serious sleep deprivation I realized that I am nothing without Christ.

North America, with all it’s comforts and ease {which I am thankful for!}, is also a crutch. Here it is, regrettably, easy to let a day go by without surrendering my day, feeling like I can make it to the end of the day with little effort. There I without Him. That feeling of coming to the bottom of oneself and realizing “I am nothing without Christ. I cannot love my children without Him loving through me. I cannot start my day, let alone get through it, without Him.” – that feeling is humbling.

My boys saw parts of it. They knew I prayed for strength. They knew I asked my friends to pray for me. And each time someone told me they were praying for me I told them.

And here is the most beautiful part – when we arrived in Atlanta one of the first things Judah said to Paul was; “Daddy, were you praying for us?”
When Paul told him yes he beamed.

Then when we went to church he asked several of our friends, the ones I had told him about, if they had prayed for us. They told him yes.

Weeks later when he saw my sister he asked her the same question and she told him yes.

He has marveled several times to me about all of these people that have prayed for them. And he gets that – even though the world is entirely bigger than them in their cozy home with fun toys and plenty of food – they are each uniquely special and God cares for them.

I didn’t plan that. It was never on my list of things I wanted to teach my boys when we took our trip around the world.

But God, through His infinite wisdom and grace allowed us to face the trials and challenges we did and laid the burden to pray for us on the hearts of many dear friends so that my dear sweet boys would know – and I mean really know – that God cares for them.

It was not an easy trip but there were some spectacularly beautiful moments. Incredible memories. And a whole lot of foundations being cemented.

“But you shall remember that the Lord your God led you…” Deuteronomy 8:18

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4 Replies to “Nigeria – Cemented Foundations

  1. This is so beautiful, Jessica. I have often wished that I had been more intentional with my children. Thank you for your intentional efforts to develop Godly men who are sensitive to God and to others. We pray often that our grandchildren will grow up to be men and women of God. I am so thankful that the legacy that I received from my parents and grandparents is passed on by my son and his wife to their own children.

  2. After reading through your blog, I must admit that you are a special person. Thanks for the heart touching blogs.

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