Another year!!! Amazing and I am so grateful to God!!! I still owe you guys an update on what's been going on. Soon, I promise, I promise. But yes oh Baba God thank you Jesus!!! Here's to many more years!!!!
Thirty years later it still had an impact on me. And now, for the first time, I felt threatened because of who I was and what I believed. "God," I found myself praying as I looked around the marketplace, "I'm in trouble here. Please keep me safe and show me a way to get back. Please reveal Your-self and Your love to me the way you did to my father." No bolt of lightning came from the blue. But a new thought did come to mind. Surely there was a telecommunications office here somewhere; I could wire Bamako to send another plane. It would be costly, but I could see no other way of getting out.
"Where's the telecommunications office?" I asked another gendarme. He gave me instructions, then said, "Telegraph transmits only if station in Bamako has machine on, message goes through. If not," he shrugged, "no answer ever comes. You only hope message received."
Now what? The sun was crossing to-ward the horizon. If I didn't have arrange-ments made by nightfall, what would hap-pen to me? This was truly the last outpost of the world. More than a few Westerners had disappeared in the desert without a trace.
Then I remembered that just before I'd started for Timbuktu, a fellow worker had said, "There's a famous mosque in Tim-buktu. It was built from mud in the 1500's. Many Islamic pilgrims visit it every year. But there's also a tiny Christian church, which virtually no one visits. Look it up if you get the chance."
I asked the children, "Where is Eglise Evangelique Chretienne?"
The youngsters were willing to help, though they were obviously confused about what I was looking for. Several times eld-erly men and women scolded them harshly as we passed, but they persisted. Finally we arrived, not at the church, but at the open doorway of a tiny mud-brick house.
No one was home, but on the wall oppo-site the door was a poster showing a cross covered by wounded hands. The French subscript said, "and by His stripes we are healed."
Within minutes, my army of waifs pointed out a young man approaching us in the dirt alleyway. Then the children melted back into the labyrinth of the walled alleys and compounds of Timbuktu. The young man was handsome, with dark skin and flowing robes. But there was something inexplicably different about him. His name was Nouh Af Infa Yatara; that much I un-derstood. Nouh signaled he knew someone who could translate for us. He led me to a com-pound on the edge of town where an Ameri-can missionary lived. I was glad to meet the missionary, but from the moment I'd seen Nouh, I'd had the feeling that we shared something in common.
"How did you come to have faith?" I asked him. The missionary translated as Nouh answered: "This compound has al-ways had a beautiful garden. One day when I was a small boy, a friend and I decided to steal some carrots. It was a dangerous task. We'd been told that Toubabs [white men] eat nomadic children. Despite our agility and considerable experience, I was caught by the former missionary here. Mr. Mar-shall didn't eat me; instead, he gave me the carrots and some cards that had God's promises from the Bible written on them. He told me if I learned them, he'd give me an ink pen!"
"You learned them?" I asked.
"Oh, yes!" he exclaimed. "Only gov-ernment men and the headmaster of the school had a Bic pen! But when I showed off my pen at school, the teacher knew I must have spoken with a Toubab, which is strictly forbidden. He severely beat me."
When Nouh's parents found out he had portions of such a despised book defiling their house, they threw him out and forbade anyone to take him in; nor was he allowed in school.
But something had happened: Noah had come to believe that what the Bible said was true. Nouh's mother became desperate. Her own standing, as well as her family's, was in jeopardy.
Finally she decided to kill her son. She obtained poison from a sorcerer and poi-soned Noah's food at a family feast. Noah ate the food and wasn't affected.
His brother, who unwittingly stole a morsel of meat from the deadly dish, be-came violently ill and remains partially paralyzed. Seeing God's intervention, the family and the town's people were afraid to make further attempts on his life, but con-demned him as an outcast.
After sitting a moment, I asked Nouh the question that only hours earlier I'd wanted to ask my father: "Why is your faith so important to you that you're willing to give up everything, perhaps even your life?"
"I know God loves me and I'll live with Him forever," he replied. "I know it! Now I have peace where I used to be full of fear and uncertainty. Who wouldn't want to give up everything for this peace and security?"
"It couldn't have been easy for you as a teenager to take a stand that made you de-spised by the whole community," I said. "Where did your courage come from?"
"Mr. Marshall couldn't take me in with-out putting my life in jeopardy. So he gave me some books about other Christians who'd suffered for their faith. My favorite was about five young men who willingly risked their lives to take God's good news to stone-age Indians in the jungles of South America." His eyes widened as he contin-ued. "I've lived all my life in the desert. How frightening the jungle must be! The book said these men let themselves be speared to death, even though they had guns and could have killed their attackers!"
The missionary translator said, "I re-member the story. As a matter of fact, one of those men had your last name."
"Yes," I said quietly, "the pilot was my father."
"Your father?" Nouh cried. "The story is true?"
"Yes," I said, "it's true."
The missionary and Nouh and I talked through the afternoon. When they accom-panied me back to the airfield that night, we found that the doctors weren't able to leave Timbuktu after all, and there was room for me on the UNICEF plane.
As Nouh and I hugged each other, it seemed incredible that God loved us so much that He'd arranged for us to meet "at the ends of the earth."
Nouh and I had gifts for each other that no one else could give. I gave him the as-surance that the story that had given him courage was true. He, in turn, gave me the assurance that God had used Dad's death for good.
Dad, by dying, had helped give Nouh a faith worth dying for. And Nouh, in return, had helped give Dad's faith back to me.
Author's Update on Nouh: Nouh, along with his lovely wife Fati, have three sons. They finished more than two years of study in the U.S. and faced many hurdles when they returned in January 1999 to the fourth-poorest area of the world. Please pray that they will continue to be faithful and that God will bless their commitment to spread His light in a dark and dangerous land.
I am a serial procrastinator. I admit it...maybe with this admission I can get a sense of closure and begin the healing and changing process. lol please who am I kidding, not myself. I will try and update more (yup, there's no saving me, I am already gone). Work is kicking my butt and giving me sleepless sunday nights. Every sunday I turn into an insomniac, I am so scared of what monday can bring. Oh well, I do not want to dwell on work now. I still need to conclude my personal testimony but for now to explain it better I have something I would like to share with you guys. I found it on this site called truthorficiton.com. If you have never been its where you go if you want to verify all the chain mail you ever received and read astounded at the miracle, beauty or craziness of the story. It's a very useful and inspiring site, they have the chain mail, e- rumour whatever it is in its original version (as in how it was circulated). If it's false they'll tell you the extent of their investigations, if it's true they'll put the source as well as the original story and if it can't be verified well they'll tell you that also. Some of them have hilarious taglines, the funniest tagline is one from our very own Nigeria (under the religous/spiritual category). So here's a story I got from there...all hundred percent true (well according to them anyway). It seems pretty long so I will post in two parts.
The Son of a Slain Missionary Finds Redemption in Timbuktu-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: A missionary pilot whose father was martyred for his faith finds himself in jeopardy at what feels like the end of the world. He has a chance encounter with a man whose own faith was powerfully affected by his father's death.
The Truth: TruthOrFiction.com has had a lot of inquiries about whether this is a true story of inspirational fiction. It is a real story from the pen of Stephen Saint, the missionary pilot son of pioneer missionary pilot Nate Saint. Nate was one of five missionaries killed in Ecuador in the 1950's by stone age Indians they were trying to reach. It became one of the most famous missionary events of the century. Nate Saint's death occurred when Stephen was a child, and in this candid article, he talks about the question that had lingered in his mind of why did his dad have to die? In part, he gets the answer in a remote corner of the earth.
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet: For years, I'd thought Timbuktu was just a made-up name for "the ends of the earth." When I found out it was a real place in Africa, I developed an inexplicable fasci-nation for it. It was in 1986 on a fact-finding trip to West Africa for Missionary Aviation Fellowship that this fascination became an irresistible urge.
Timbuktu wasn't on my itinerary, but I knew I had to go there. Once I arrived, I discovered I was in trouble. I'd hitched a ride from Bamako, Mali, 500 miles away on the only seat left on a Navajo six-seater air-plane chartered by UNICEF.
Two of their doctors were in Timbuktu and might fly back on the return flight, which meant I'd be bumped, but I decided to take the chance. Now here I was, standing by the plane on the windswept outskirts of the famous Berber outpost.
There was not a spot of true green any-where in the desolate brown Saharan land-scape. Dust blew across the sky, blotting out the sun as I squinted in the 110-degree heat, trying to make out the mud-walled buildings of the village of 20,000. The pilot approached me as I started for town. He reported that the doctors were on their way and I'd have to find another ride to Bamako.
"Try the marketplace. Someone there might have a truck. But be careful," he said. "Westerners don't last long in the desert if the truck breaks down, which often hap-pens."
I didn't relish the thought of being stranded, but perhaps it was fitting that I should wind up like this, surrounded by the Sahara. Since I arrived in Africa the strain of the harsh environment and severe suffer-ing of the starving peoples had left me feel-ing lost in a spiritual and emotional desert. The open-air marketplace in the center of town was crowded. Men and women wore flowing robes and turbans as protection against the sun. Most of the Berbers' robes were dark blue, with 30 feet of material in their turbans alone. The men were well armed with scimitars and knives. I felt eyes were watching me suspiciously. Suspicion was understandable in Timbuktu. Nothing could be trusted here. These people had once been prosperous and self-sufficient. Now even their land had turned against them. Drought had turned rich grasslands to desert. Unrelenting sun and windstorms had nearly annihilated all ani-mal life. People were dying by the thou-sands. I went from person to person trying to find someone who spoke English, until I finally came across a local gendarme who understood my broken French. "I need a truck," I said. "I need to go to Bamako."
Eyes widened in his shaded face. "No truck," he shrugged. Then he added, "No road. Only sand." By now, my presence was causing a sensation in the marketplace. I was surrounded by at least a dozen small children, jumping and dancing, begging for coins and souvenirs. The situation was ex-treme, I knew. I tried to think calmly. What am I to do?
Suddenly I had a powerful desire to talk to my father. Certainly he had known what it was like to be a foreigner in a strange land.
But my father, Nate Saint, was dead. He was one of five missionary men killed by Auca Indians in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. I was a month shy of my fifth birth-day at the time, and my memories of him were almost like movie clips: a lanky, in-tense man with a serious goal and a quick wit. He was a dedicated jungle pilot, flying missionaries and medical personnel in his Piper Family Cruiser.
Even after his death he was a presence in my life. I'd felt the need to talk with my father before, especially since I'd married and become a father myself. But in recent weeks this need had become urgent. For one thing, I was new to relief work. But it was more than that. I needed Dad to help answer my new questions of faith. In Mali, for the first time in my life, I was sur-rounded by people who didn't share my faith, who were, in fact, hostile to the Chris-tian faith, locals and Western relief workers alike. In a way it was a parallel to the situation Dad had faced in Ecuador. How often I'd said the same thing Dad would have said among the Indians who killed him: "My God is real. He's a personal God who lives inside me, with whom I have a very special, one-on-one relationship."
And yet the question lingered in my mind: Did my father have to die? All my life, people had spoken of Dad with respect; he was a man willing to die for his faith. But at the same time I couldn't help but think the murders were capricious, an acci-dent of bad timing.
Dad and his colleagues landed just as a small band of Auca men were in a bad mood for reasons that had nothing to do with faith or Americans. If Dad's plane had landed one day later, the massacre may not have happened. Couldn't there have been another way? It made little impact on the Aucas that I could see. To them it was just one more killing n a history of killings.
Soo guys I apologize that I have been silent for too long. I chalk this to one of my 'few' habits, a marriage between . Mr Procrastination and Ms. Commitment- phobia lol. Too much has happened, finished my MA, graduated, got a job, travelled for a family reunion and came back to that same job! Oh yeah, I forgot to add the bitterly cold weather we experienced for the whole of January (I know all you US guys will be laughing your heads off).
Anyway to make it up to you I thought to have 3 consecutive updates. My first update would be a new year testimony, my next one would an explanation of the first or more aptly, thoughts on it. The last update will just be randomness plus Blessing tagged me in a meme so I'll do that too. Oh yeah, thanks to mrs ng, neefemi, nice anon, blessing, bsnc and everyone who checked up on me. Sorry if I missed out anyone but I'm typing on my phone and lying down- both of which do not make browsing to check easier. Plus those of u who didn't check cos u can claim u have other ways of reaching me, well *side eyes* ps I have big eyes so I look quite scary now ha ha. Okay, let's get to it...drumrolllllll
So I was extremely pleased to see that once again I arrived into the new year in one piece. Knowledgable of the fact that every year I pray that everyone with me (family and friends) during the previous will make it into the new one. But no such luck. Anyway so back to my story. July 2003, I had just graduated and was too excited! I had planned that I would immediately go on a diet of ice cream, pizzas and cake. I said my goodbyes, hugged those I would miss and left. The diet plan didn't work well as my mom was insistent on amala and ewedu.
A month down the line I fell sick, did all the test malaria, typhoid, yellow fever, everything. They all came back negative. I had malaria like symptoms, a fever that came every night and disappeared in the morning, extreme fatigue- I could just barely climb a flight of stairs. The worst was that all my joints were hurting like crazy. Eventually after a terrible 2 weeks at UCH Ibadan I was clinically diagnosed with an autoimmune disease where the wbc attack the organs, mine started off with my kidneys and no organ was immune as I later discovered.
There's so much to say about what I've been through in the past 8 years. At the beginning I was on 8 different drugs and man were they bitter! I had a flare that affected every single joint in my body, neck, fingers, toes, elbows,knees, even my hips. I developed some eye irritation once a month were my eyes would become blood red (no jokes) sensitive to light and irritated. I would cry and cry cos I just didn't understand- why me? The worst was yet to come. I developed these patches on my hands, fingers and toes. It had something to do with my poor blood circulation and if I got cold in the slightest I would be unable to walk, shower or write.
My God, I suffered. I really did. To cap it all off I developed another related but separate autoimmune disease- hyperthyroidism. I had to have a surgery for that and the scar is still there, its not going anywhere. What makes it worse is that I'm not allowed to have vaccinations and some other drugs because of what they might trigger in my body/drugs. I went to nigeria in 2006 and I came back with malaria that almost killed me. Man, the period from my 16th birthday to my 23rd has been filled with pain. I really had plans for life after boarding school. They didn't include missing year of school, losing control of my body and how I felt, having to adjust my lifestyle. The list goes on and on. Despite my down moments I always knew God was in control, if not when I was going through the pain at least after :_)
So guys that's' the first part, might have a four part post. Plus please I don't need pity, just want to explain my devotion to my big daddy.
I cant believe I am a year older- 24 wooooooww! Its been great and I pray for many many more wonderful years. So excited (although I'm scared of being old, it must happen I guess). So say a prayer for me blogsville! PS...Neefemi you are so right, October pple rock!
So its 3:49am and I can't sleep. I hate this!! Its happening too frequently, partially cos of my dissertation and partially because I got a couple of other issues on my mind. This is a recipe for disaster :( I now have to wake up by 9 (so help me God) I hope I don't snooze till 1pm . Its really important I go to the library cos surprise! After 5 years of studying in this country I just realised the library isn't such a bad place after all.
Times like this twitter seems such an attractive option. I'm not going to join though- yet. You have to admit there is something fascinating about ranting in very short bursts at anytime of the day or night in my case and knowing someone will respond (well that depends on your followers and how many, but you get). Instead I decided to blog, count sheep which hasn't worked by the way. Whenever I imagine anything jumping over something. In my head the person or thing never lands on the other side. Instead they just keep on swinging round and round. Its pretty scary when you're trying to psyche yourself to do something, maybe that's why I couldn't high jump to save my life in secondary school. I have tried day or night dreaming about my dream crush. That's not working. Ill try praying, save the best for last. I am sure that will work.
As for dissertation, its going on well. I am sure I will finish before the deadline by Gods grace. Please put me in your prayers, for a distinction. Oh yeah my cousin is snoring beside me and its pissing me off for two reasons. Firstly she is excelling at what I have failed to do so far- sleeping. Secondly I hate snoring, so far and for as long as I can remember its been a deal breaker for marriage. Then again who knows, we humans can be so fickle. Anyway blogsville I am hopefully off to la la land, pray for me. Btw its now 4:03am.