tonight the bush is hoppin. Someone down the road is having a party, could be a wedding not sure, anyways that simply means Nigerian music is loudly flowing through the bush, and a large moth seems to want to help me write this blog. It’s a late night, since it’s Friday the kids got to stay up and watch movies, and it was just really chill. I love just being in a room with all of them in it. It’s what I have prayed about and dreamed about for so long. God really does do more than we could ever ask or imagine, by HIS power at work within us. I would have never in a million years imagined it would be this sweet to be with them, some of my favorite moments ever are happening here. I kind of made myself a deal, I think subconsciously without really realizing it, and it was this–> I am normally a kid who will shed a few tears here and there, anything that really has depth dealing with Jesus and/or people can make me tear up or often cry, I knew after a gillion conversations with Anna though, and seeing pictures that I would have to wear a thicker skin while in Nigeria or I would be in tears the whole time. This I would like to think was my Africa wall. There have been moments where the wall had to come up quickly such as, meeting the kids for the first time. For the most part though i’ve been way less emotional than normal. I think part of that really is that I am in Africa, and I see so much broken all day that I wouldn’t stop crying if I ever started, and I think the second part of that is that it hurts in a way that I have never really felt before and so there is almost this “i’m not sure how to handle this feeling.” Today though that wall came crashing down. Bev (mom of one of my best friends, and is the wife/ mom of the family I am staying with here) has been taking care of this incredibly sweet older woman named Lucy from the village. I got to hear her incredible story before I came, so so cool, she is super sick and just became a believer a little while ago, meaning super recent. When I got in the bus to go to Church last sunday I saw her and honestly was just really excited remembering how the Lord had led her to Himself. Today Bev did a visit to her home though and I got to tag-along. I’ll paint you the best visual I can with words- which are always my art tool of choice. She lives in this tiny little shack where very little light comes in. A couple of calendars hang on the wall, and the wooden window remains shut. She spends pretty much all day long in her bed, and she lit up when we walked in today. She reached out her hands for Bev, and just thanked us for coming. She apologized to me for not having anything to give me, and simply asked me how my mom was. She is weak from her illnesses, and just super tired from everyday life. My African wall broke at this though- Lucy knows Jesus. She has called on Him in His character, Savior & Lord. In the midst of this tiny African hut, with little light, a list of severe disease there was hope. Yes, real tangible hope. Lucy is fighting this battle for her life everyday, but Lucy has hope in her Savior, and hope in the life that is to come where there will be no more pain. I pictured Lucy today running around, and just dancing in being free from all of it. There was nothing to extend today to Lucy expect Jesus. He is our hope. As Bev prayed for her tears silently ran down my face. The Lord delights in this woman, in her childlike faith, in her sincere longing to be with Him. She belongs to the Most High. The Lord heard the prayer from that hut today, and He hears and sees Lucy everyday. He is so near to us. So close. and there is hope in the midst of the most desperate moments. Lucy sweetly begged us to stay with her, and we told her we would be back soon, and we will. When Lucy told me today she had nothing to offer me–> I want to go back and tell her that she offered me hope. the Lord used her as such a sweet reminder that He is sovereign in all. that we are heard. that we are His. and that NOTHING can separate us from that love. WE came back to the compound and I just went and laid on my bed. I didn’t feel like talking, or playing, I just needed a minute to cry, and to tell God thanks for everything that He is. In the short moments with Lucy today many layers of selfishness were stripped off of my heart, and by His grace my African wall collapsed….today was also filled with trying a few new African foods, I cannot pronounce the names of any of them, and one was off a plant. Not sure what it was I just stuck it in my mouth and rolled with the punches. I liked all of it, but am sticking to my choco balls and peak milk 🙂 that will forever be my go to in Nigeria. So thankful for this place, and for this sweet time here. Tomorrow marks about a week until I head back to the states and I pray I am not forgetting all that He is teaching me here. My flight back to Lagos, London, and Dallas will be filled with journal after journal of all that He is showing me. Abbs will pick me up from the airport and probably get ear fulls of all the incredible things God is doing in this place. And my incredible parents and best friends will probs have to be patient with me for hours as I unload about this country and these people. There was also more today than I know how to process yet, and is still rubbing weird on my heart. I’m sure the stories will come in time but not yet. So for the story list: the children praying at Christ Church, our visit to the university (UNN), seeing the plague of prostitution, washing hands of something that never comes off (children), and dressing like a girl 🙂 Also- baby Joy used foam from an ironing board today to become a princess, absolutely adorable. thanks so much for reading. I will continue updating. The prayers and encouragement are appreciated far beyond what you can fathom. Cannot wait to see y’all back in the states. Hung out in Psalm 28 & 29 today and it is true the LORD is the strength of His people! Gonna go climb under my mosquito net. Buckets of love from the bush!