Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some family highlights of 2006

We are thankful that we could see all our children this year. Sharon lives in Toronto, where she takes care of a woman with epilepsy and does freelance work as an artist. She shares our house there and takes care of it in our absence. David works in Istanbul, where he teaches English. We enjoyed visiting him in that beautiful old city in May. Pauline and Greg, with heir two children, Grace and Chris, live near Boston. We celebrated Christmas with them. Sharon was also there. We missed David, who could not come then, although he does hope to do visit North America next year.

A brief review of 2006

2006 was an eventful year for us. There are many things we could mention, but we wish to reflect on just a few of the true highlights:
  • In January Magdalyn Aboh finished all the corrections on her thesis and received her PhD. Wendy had worked with her for some years, and she was very happy that Magdalyn completed her work succesfully.
  • In April our graduate students wrote their exams--they had to wait for the completion of the Nigeria-wide census to do so.
  • In May two students whom we had not personally supervised but whom we had helped informally, were examined for their doctorates. Adrian was the internal examiner for James Kiamu from Liberia, who wrote a thesis on what the Bible teaches about violence. Wendy served as internal examiner for Dogara Gwamna, one of our colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies at Unijos, who wrote about the role of healing in Pentecostalism. Danny McCain, the founder of IICS, supervised both of them.
  • Soon after these exams, we travelled to the Nigerian Baptist Seminary in Ogbomosho, where Adrian acted as external examiner for two PhD candidates.
  • In June we flew to Istanbul, and experienced what was a real high point for us as we visited our son David in that beautiful historic city.
  • Upon our return to Jos, we started courses for our undergraduate students, and prepared papers to present at the annual conference of the Nigerian Association for Biblical Studies that was held in July.
  • In September we travelled to Benin City, where we gave workshops for Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teachers; these are part of a continuing education program for such teachers. Adrian focused on theology, while Wendy presented materials on the background of the New Testament.
  • In October we travelled once more to Ogbomosho in order to introduce faculty and graduate students to our handbook on the writing of a thesis, which we prepared for our graduate students at Unijos, but is also useful for all the seminaries that are affiliated with Unijos.
  • Back in Jos we participated in the examination of about twenty master's students, including three of Adrian's and one of Wendy's. An external examiner presided over these, and we were grateful to hear his remark that the quality of the theses that he has examined over the last few years has definitely improved.

Wendy and Magdalyn

Adrian, James Kiamu, Danny McCain, Dogara Gwamna

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

A few of the students at the CRK workshop in Benin City

Nigerian Baptist Seminary in Ogbomisho

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Prayer for Adrian's parents

We ask your prayers for Adrian's parents, who are both 86 but are not in the best of health. Dad had bypass surgery in January this year and some minor strokes at the same time. These photos were taken when he came home form the hospital for a day and at Easter time. But his condition has deteriorated since that time and now Mom can no longer take care of him properly. We are thankful that there are several children living in Ottawa, where they live, who are willing to help drive them to doctor's appointments and wherever else they need to go. They need many prayers. Pray that God will give wisdom to all of us so that we will know where they can best reside, since they are finding it increasingly difficult to continue living in their condo.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Prayer note

"Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love."
Ephesians 6.24

1. At Unijos the second semester has begun for undergraduates, and registration and admission of graduate students is almost completed. Please pray that the new semester will proceed smoothly so we can resume our work with our students in January.

2. Thank God with us for the splendid celebration of the wedding of Ayuba and Rachael Gufwan early in November (see photos below). Ayuba, who was disabled by polio and walks on his hands, has nevertheless managed to graduate from a Nigerian College of Education and the Faculty of Law of the University of Jos. He founded the Beautiful Gate Initiative, in partnership with Ron Rice (of IICS), and helped build and donate 1250 wheelchairs for the disabled, who were mostly crippled by polio. Rachael is a home economics teacher from Adawama State. Please join us in congratulating Ayuba and Rachael as they begin their life together, and pray God’s richest blessings on this marriage.

3. We left Nigeria for a short break in early November, and hope to be in Canada until mid-January. Thank God with us for safe travel as we made the transition to North America, and as Adrian traveled to Nicaragua to participate in an international conference of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (photos of conference below).

4. A few days ago we heard of another robbery attack in our subdivision in Jos. Mary McCain was alone last Wednesday when bandits with guns demanded money, and got away with many dollars intended for various ministries in the Jos area. We are so thankful that she herself was not hurt. Wendy’s graduate student, Dauda Gava, on faculty at TCNN, was also attacked and robbed. Such attacks occur more frequently at Christmas time than at any other time of the year, so please pray for the safety of our colleagues and students in Jos at this time.

5. We ask continued prayer for Adrian’s parents, especially his father, who is facing serious health problems at this time. Pray with us that they may find the right institution for the level of care needed at present.

Ayuba's wedding

It was a very special Saturday when Ayuba married Rachael. Ayuba is disabled, and in Nigeria that usually means he is a 'forgotten child'. But with great persistence Ayuba managed to qualify as a teacher of Religious Knowledge, and later even to obtain a degree in Law from the University of Jos. Such a degree is as important in Nigeria as it is in North America. He is now in charge of the Beautiful Gate ministry, distributing wheelchairs to the handicapped, especially polio victims. This put him in a position to propose marriage, and Rachael accepted! The wedding was held in his home village about two hours by car from Jos. The IICS team had rented a bus for the occasion, and joined the guests in the very crowded local church where the vows were exchanged. Ayuba used a wheelchair for the occasion, and the service proceeded in dignified fashion. While the church could only hold a few hundred people there were more than a thousand at the reception in the nearby soccer field. The guests came from far and wide, and the participation of other handicapped, including the blind, who had received help through the Beautiful Gate ministry, was especially meaningful. What an unforgettable day!

Sharon Rice with two Nigerian women
preparing for the wedding
CSI/IICS witnesses

Church service

Exchange of vows

(Notice the wheelchair)

Women dancing

Cutting the cake

Saturday, December 2, 2006

IAPCHE conference in Nicaragua

Shortly after we returned to Canada Adrian attended the November 14-19 conference of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education in Granada, Nicaragua, where he made a presention on the role of Christian higher education in building bridges between Christians and Muslims and responded as well to a major paper on the role of Christian worldviews in building bridges to other cultures

Dr Henk Van Andel, the executive director of CSI, introduced the organization at this conference

Friday, December 1, 2006