1. so much change.
Change. That sums most everything up in one word. Although I've spent a total of 8 months in Nigeria, it's different when it's permanent, when there's no expiration date.
A change of pace, continents, weather, dress code, lifestyle, community, worship, shopping, language, entertainment, privacy, diet...basically everything I know. Most of it I consider good change, but it's still an adjustment. The hardest change I think, will be trying to learn the local language, how I experience church, not being able to go out with/vent to/be encouraged by close friends, and not being able to go chill at a coffee shop:) Please pray that the stress of these changes don't affect my attitude and ability to love and serve others and that I can adjust and accept these changes quickly.
2. satan doesn't want me there.
It's not so much that satan doesn't want me in Nigeria, as it is that satan doesn't want any of us living our lives for, with, and through, Christ.
And when any of us are doing anything, anywhere, that is for eternity, satan wants to shut it down. I think his attacks come though depression, insecurity, contention with others, sickness, tragedies, doubt, and so many other ways(things that I think many of us blame on God). Here's the thing. I'm not saying I don't want hardship...I think we grow the most during those times and frankly,
I want satan to think of me as a threat...but I need prayer that during those things, I RUN to Christ, let Him take the burden, trust Him completely, and let Him be my strength.
3. i'll be the only non-nigerian there.
In August, the Starlings (the couple who started apoh), will head back to the states to raise support, help take care of family, and put their youngest in school (they will probably not be able to be in Nigeria full-time for a couple more years). This will mean I am the only expat until they return sometime in January. Don't take this the wrong way, I love everyone that lives/works at apoh. I love the nationals. I consider so many there my family and I have people who I can confide in, laugh constantly with, be encouraged by, and ask as many questions as possible to. But it's just different, having someone there who understands your fears, concerns, where you come from, what you mean, your accent, the things you miss and the things you don't.
It's different having someone who gets you and understands why things are hard, why you need to cry or laugh, why you just need a really good cup of coffee, and knows how to encourage you. I hope that makes sense? Please pray that I stay encouraged, build close relationships with some (national)women, and that my relationship with Christ is my everything.
4. i'm not perfect
Surprised? Understandable. I kid, I kid. Although I am a new creation, in Christ, forgiven, seated in the heavenly places, a joint heir with Christ, adopted into His family, and am no longer a slave to sin. Somehow, even knowing all of that (and so much more),
I still forget who I am and I willingly choose to act like that slave again. I mess up. So much. I am insanely selfish, greedy, jealous, insecure, timid, I worry, and constantly choose to live in sin rather than live the victorious-grace-given-bought-and-paid-for-full-of-joy-hope-and-peace-kind-of-life that I have been given and can live through Him. I know that until I am in heaven I will always struggle between choosing what I know is right and what I know isn't right(Rom...). So I need prayer that I choose Him, freedom, and that I can honestly and clearly explain this struggle and our hope in Christ, to the people of Nigeria.
I'm going to be living with approx. 50 other people, ranging in age from newborn to 50's.
That's a heck-of-a-lot-of personalities, languages (at least six), expectations, and completely different cultures and religious backgrounds to contend with. Hol-ey-smokes. If you think that everything is beautiful and wonderful and joyful and that we're all skipping around and holding hands all of the time because it's a Christian organization helping give a new life to some beautiful kids, you are very mistaken. Don't get me wrong. It's a family. We genuinely love and care for each other. Many are trusting in Christ and having a relationship with Him for the first time and there is SO MUCH laughter and joy. But we're many humans living together and it doesn't help that there is a blend of so many different cultures and social norms. We need MAJOR prayer that each of us go to Christ for His love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness, each and every day and that those who haven't trusted in Christ for salvation, will soon understand their need and the gospel. I know that even among strong believers who are working closely together there will be discord and hardships.
This case is even more complex. My greatest fear is that we wouldn't be able to overcome those hardships and disagreements in a Christ-like, loving way and that we would be a bad testimony to other Nigerians and non-believers. Please please pray that we would all grow in maturity in our walks with Christ and that satan will NOT succeed in bringing in anything that would cause bitterness or the name of God to not be glorified.