Wednesday, December 28, 2016

40K just in time!

A few weeks ago I received the green light to purchase plane tickets to Nigeria. All of my one-time needs are met, my monthly goal is in the process of being reached by generous donors, and the Nigerian SIM office is expecting me in time for the annual patient reunion at Evangel VVF center.

Just before Christmas, dad did a preliminary search for flights and was amazed to find that I would fly to Nigeria for 40,000 airline miles, with a wide choice of departure dates, and only one-stop. And to top it all off, that connecting airport was in Europe! My parents and I have flown in and out of West Africa many times over the last 6 years, and it's always taken at least two stops, usually with a transfer in Ethiopia, Kenya, or Morocco. We've usually flown with just carry-on luggage so we didn't have to worry about losing a bag, or having to deal with airline customer service in some other language. I have been praying that God would provide a way for me to fly directly into Nigeria without an in-continent transfer. God provided!

Next, I pulled up my account to find that I had 38,000 miles which have all been accumulating since I was 7 and took my first flight with this airline. Dad transferred the remaining two thousand miles to my account, and that small fee combined with the required airline taxes and fees meant that my one-way ticket from Texas to Nigeria cost less than $300! I had budgeted nearly $3000 for airfare, so I will be able to redirect that money to other needs, allowing me to bless patients at Evangel hospital as needs arise, or contribute to SIM projects there in Jos, Nigeria.

I leave for Nigeria the last week of February (exact date not published online for security reasons), and this whole process of buy airfare is just another instance of how God is both confirming His leading to Nigeria, and showing me that He's already gone ahead of me to prepare the way. I am humbled and very grateful!

Does Santa carry anything besides gifts in his sleigh?

Last week I was standing in line at our local post office, and felt out of place. Everyone else was trying to send out Christmas cards, mail off gifts to family and friends in hope they'd arrive before Christmas, or simply buy rolls of stamps to send out end-of-the-year business mailings. I stood there with my expedited document mailer, trying to get my passport renewal application to the Department  of State in Washington D.C. Once that's renewed, I will send it off to the Nigerian Consulate to apply for my visa.

Just like everyone standing in line, I was wishing for Christmas weather (it turned out to be 75* on Christmas day!), making mental grocery lists to stock the fridge in preparation for having company, and looking forward to spending time with those I love. But I was spending my $22.95 postage fee to send an envelope to a government office in D.C. instead of mailing a box to a family member in Florida. My package contained paper forms and money orders, not fuzzy socks and new toys. But we were all spending our precious holiday time standing in line to make sure our important packages arrived on time.

This isn't the first time that I've felt out of place in this town. This isn't the first time that I've realized I'm heading down a different life path than most other Americans. But this was the first time I was actually excited about it!

Who knows, maybe Santa carried my envelope in his sleigh and made a stop at the passport office on his way to bring gifts to Malia and Sasha at the White House!

Friday, December 16, 2016

"Cool Runnings"--Nigerian Style!

Did you know there's a 3-woman Nigerian bobsled team trying to make it to the 2018 Winter Olympics? Well, now you do! Check out this article I found yesterday on Buzzfeed (full article):

And on that note, I may have to go watch "Cool Runnings" again with my parents tonight. You can never have enough sports movies, feel-good moments, or come-from-behind-to-win stories!