A Reflection on Arriving in Nigeria

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Oct. 13, 2009

Jennifer and Nathan Hosler arrived in Nigeria in mid-August as Church of the Brethren mission staff serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). They are teaching at Kulp Bible College and working with EYN’s Peace Program. The following reflects on their first month in Nigeria:

“September 29, 2009

“On Monday, we learned that a funeral was to be held at EYN headquarters. A staff person at the dispensary was returning from a nearby village on motorcycle the night before and was fatally injured in an accident.

“Life is fragile everywhere, all of the time. However, the environment of Nigeria often places people into precarious circumstances. It seems as though the heightened awareness of life’s fragility affects the speech of Christians in Nigeria. When speaking of plans, people do not assume that those plans will be met and verbally admit so. A common phrase added to plans is, ‘By His grace.’ For example, ‘We will leave for Jos on Tuesday, by His grace.’

“This heightened awareness of life’s fragility also produces an increased level of thankfulness to God for all types of circumstances such as rain for crops to grow or safety during travels. Even a cool breeze (welcome relief in a hot environment) elicits a ‘Mugode Allah’ or ‘We thank God.’

“This perspective on life brings to mind the words of James: ‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.’

“Privileged people in North America (which is most of us) typically assume that everything will work out. Only during extreme tragedy (a car accident, a terminal illness, the death of a child, etc.) do our thoughts ponder life’s fragility.

“The attitude of our Nigerian brothers and sisters provides a needed reflection for North Americans on the delicate balance of our lives and how easily that balance can be broken–in North America but especially so around the world. We should be challenged–as James wrote–not to assume anything about our lives, our health, our wealth, and act accordingly, and especially to exhibit thankfulness for both large and small things.

“When I feel the cool breeze tomorrow as I wake in Nigeria (by His grace), I will say, ‘Mugode Allah.’”

For more about the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria mission, go to www.brethren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=go_places_serve_nigeria .

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact cobnews@brethren.org to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“CROP of walkers raise money for hunger relief,” Zanesville (Ohio) Times Recorder (Oct. 12, 2009). Church of the Brethren member Pidge Bradley, 87 years old, was one of 224 people hoping to stop hunger during the annual CROP Hunger Walk at Zane’s Landing Park. “One time when I was a kid, I knew what it was to be hungry. That was in the Depression. There’s a lot of little kids hungry and it’s a shame for kids to be hungry,” he told the newspaper. http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/

“Mission of mercy ‘needed more than ever’ for those seeking medical help,” Frederick (Md.) News Post (Oct. 11, 2009). Every other week, Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren hosts the Mission of Mercy’s mobile health clinic. The service is needed now more than ever, the newspaper reports. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/

“Peace education workshop Oct. 16,” Sioux City (Iowa) Journal (Oct. 10, 2009). A free, family-oriented peace education workshop sponsored by Living Peace Church of the Brethren takes place Oct. 16-17 at Whitfield United Methodist Church in Sioux City. It will explore ways of making peace between people at school, at work and in our communities. “Tools for the Road” begins the evening of Oct. 16 and continues through Saturday, the 17th. The presenters from On Earth Peace welcome the whole family. http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/

Obituary: David J. Wisehart, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Oct. 10, 2009). David J. Wisehart, 89, a longtime resident of Hagerstown, Ind., and a member of Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren, died on Oct. 8 in San Antonio, Texas. He was a former sales manager with Minneapolis Moline and accounts manager for Perfect Circle/Dana Corp. He is survived by his wife, Sarah (Wooten) Wisehart. http://www.pal-item.com/article/20091010/NEWS04/910100314

“Tipp City church to break ground,” Dayton (Ohio) Daily News (Oct. 9, 2009). West Charleston Church of the Brethren will break ground at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 for their new facility at the corner of Ohio 202 and 571 in Tipp City, Ohio. http://www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyle/

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