Thursday, August 29, 2013

Their story: highlighting people and events from Nigeria- #1

*Please forgive the lack of pictures, my current internet connection won't allow. But please don't let it keep you from reading :)

There are so many things that happen here that I want you guys to know/be a part of through prayer, but it's hard to get it all down on “paper”. But I think it's important to share the stories that I can. Some of the stories are of desperation, some of provision, some of hope, and most challenge my own faith and trust in Christ and remind me just how many people are lost, struggling, and dying in a very hard and dark world.     They remind me that God provides opportunities to reach out and touch someone all of the time, if we have our eyes open and looking to Him. 

Today I want to share the story of 2 boys who coincidentally share the same name, Dewu (pronounced "Day-woo" the spelling was much debated so I went with the English-speaker friendly version). They are boys/young men who's friendship is more likened to the relationship between brothers. These young men are from a part of northern Nigeria where the Islam faith is strong and where school and “Western” ways are not looked favorably upon.

These boys want nothing more than to go to school and get an education. They will do anything they can to put themselves through school. The closest public school to them charges about 3,500 Naira a term (about $22) for school fees which is nearly impossible for a family who make their living off of the land and even more impossible for these 2 young men when their families are not willing to help at all. So on their school breaks these two boys will find any work they can to keep themselves in school. They are much older than the grade they're in because they've had to postpone going back when school starts to either make money or help their family farm the land. When they are able to attend they are mocked and jeered by their relations and people in the village as they walk to and from school
But they don't care. They value getting an education and know that they will have no other option but to farm their father's land if they don't receive one.

So, that leads us to the present. The boys are on their long break from school and only have a couple months to make the money that they will owe for their next term. Knowing there wasn't enough work in their area, 
they sold the only possession of value they had (a cell phone) for transportation to somewhere else where they could make money. So they hopped on the back of a truck that was going South and ended up in the city of Enugu, far from their home, language, food and culture. Somehow (*ahem*-God) they happened upon a man who offered them work in a village about an hour away. That man is the engineer in charge of building a new cafeteria/kitchen/living area for APOH. So the boys agreed and ended up in our little village working on a building completely provided for by God where some boys who spoke their language (Hausa) just happened to live. Most of our older boys (who just moved into their newly completed house on that land) are actually from up north and speak Hausa (in the area we live, Igbo is the language spoken and to find fluent Hausa speakers would be difficult) and they befriended these young men who came with literally just the clothes on their backs and who were desperate to work for the money that would grant them a better life. 

As our boys, especially one (Simdat), got to know the 2 friends, they learned their stories and the reason why they'd come
They found out that they were making such a small amount of money a day, that after using some of it to eat, they would be making hardly anything and would barely have anything left over after paying their way home when the time came. So our boys took it upon themselves to give the guys their own clothes, to ask if we could be providing for their meals so that all the money they made could go towards school, and even came to me asking for malaria medicine and an antibiotic for one of them. Simdat and Destiny (both 15 yrs.old) talked to them about their faith and shared scripture with them and we prayed that God would use the time here to be able to present the Gospel to them, as they were very open to hearing. `
I got to talk to them via my translator, Simdat, and hear their stories and see their hard lives on their faces. But they were so determined and hopeful and not deterred in the least that no one else in their lives were for them and I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to step into their shoes.

A couple days after I talked to them they got word that one of their grandmothers was very ill and that they were needed back home (they had the simcard from the phone they sold so they could put it in someone else's phone and be in contact still). They had anticipated on working at least another month before they had to be back at school and had nowhere near the amount of money they would need for their fees. In fact, after the money they would spend on transportation home, the whole job seemed to be a waste of time to them. I didn't even have to pray to know what I was supposed to do. I gathered up the roughly $44 that it would take for the 2 of them to have a choice in their life that they had sacrificed  everything to make (and that I would've spent on coffee in a week back in the U.S.), and handed it to them with the message that God is the one who was providing it for them and that there is someone who is very much for them and longs to have a relationship with them

So they left, promising us that they would be back when they have a break in December, to continue working on our land and to ask questions about our faith in Christ.

Please don't think I'm sharing this story to boast whatsoever in myself. First of all, that money is God's, not mine and was always intended to be used for ministry. And secondly, compared to Simdat and the ways our boys poured into them, what I did was an easy thing and not significant at all. What is significant and what I hope is revealed to them, is how everything was orchestrated by God to bring them here and what I hope is revealed to you and me, is how many opportunities come into our lives that we can choose to say “yes” to, or turn around and play dumb. I'm so insanely proud of our boys and the love and concern they have for others. Yes, they have a lot to learn and they fight and are selfish all of the time. But they are learning to listen to the One living inside of them. Please pray for these boys. Yes, pray that they are able to get through school and have a better life, but so much more importantly, pray that they will hear and believe in the Gospel, their only hope for a truly different life. And that the determination and hope that they have to get through school at any cost, will flow into a determination and hope in their Savior Jesus Christ, and sharing Him with their families and community.

I'm praying they will be back here in December, but it's possible we will never see them again. A seed was planted, that I know, and I will pray that God sees it through maturity.

So, that's one story anyways.One of so so many. Stay tuned for more.


  1. Thank you for sharing such an incredible story-no photos needed! Can't wait to hear more about how The Lord is using you!

  2. That is such an amazing story, Brittni!! I'm praying for you every day, and I can't wait to hear more!!!