Reports from Nigeria: God’s Distribution

God's Distrib in Bui Blog

Congregation at EYN church in Biu where distribution took place.

By Cliff Kindy, Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer who recently returned from Nigeria

Three Crisis Team members traveled to Biu on a Saturday at the end of February to complete a relief distribution. One day earlier it had appeared as though the process might fall through. Vehicle plans were not coming together and finances seemed to be held up even though approval for the funds had taken place a couple weeks earlier.

Our driver picked me up at eight Saturday morning. One of the two DCC secretaries from Biu was traveling with the Team. We stopped to pick up the other two team members as we drove out of Jos. There had been some question whether it was safe for me, a very visible white person, to travel into this region that had experienced Boko Haram attacks several places along the route.

The road deteriorated as we traveled through three states before reaching Borno State. The last two hours were slow because of heavily potholed road surface. There were regular security check points and occasional vigilante road blocks to supplement government patrols. Around Gombe and as we neared Biu there were increasing signs of the Boko Haram suicide bombings and fire attacks against check point sites, police stations, a hospital and a gas station close to an intersection with another security checkpoint.

When we arrived at the EYN LCC #1 Biu compound most of the supplies were already on site, delivered by a local EYN businessman the Team had called the evening before. We still did not have definite numbers for the EYN displaced families or individuals. There were some outdated pages recording IDPs but the numbers we started hearing from the two DCC secretaries were much higher than we had figured because of recent attacks on EYN communities outside of BIU.

We asked congregations during their worship at the six nearby churches to announce our plans for a 1PM relief distribution. All of these churches were hosting IDPs in the churches or with families. When the one o’clock time arrived the church building was packed with people and others were outside.

We had decided the night before to ask for just one representative from each family to attend the distribution and had decided that we only might have enough supplies for one item per family – a big bag of rice, a larger bag of maize or a box containing packages of noodles. We also had boxes of soap and we intended to give two bars to each family. To make the process smoother we made tickets, color coded and numbered for the total supply of the three items.

With the crowds of people before us Sunday afternoon we considered providing one item for every two families. We were worried that the distribution could deteriorate quickly. Then three ideas surfaced in rapid succession. 1) We would prioritize displaced pastors. 2) Widows would also receive priority. 3) We would start handing out tickets (each family representative picked a ticket from a bag), starting with people ages sixty to seventy and keep moving down a decade until all tickets were gone. That ticket indicated which item they would receive and the order in which they could collect the item.

It meant some expectant persons would not receive one of the three food items but it would be the younger persons who could more easily find jobs in the city to provide food. At the start there was a mass push toward the supplies but with local helpers we were able to make clear that the distribution would start with the order of numbers from inside the church.  Inside the church was also much cooler than the hot sun out in the courtyard.

Even with the kinks in the process and a long careful explanation to make the process clear at the beginning over one thousand people received supplies within three hours. One serendipitous event was deciding to not hand out soap to each family. This meant that there was sufficient soap to give three bars to even the individuals who had not received a ticket and others who were waiting hopefully in the courtyard outside the church.

As the distribution proceeded many recipients thanked us for the process and for assuring that everyone received something. It was a team effort that accomplished the distribution task. The DCC secretaries were key to the process. The youth brigade supplied the manpower to move food items to recipients. Local church staff provided escort and number checking for each group of ten people moving from inside the church to the warehouse distribution center. Vigilante volunteers provided security for the courtyard. And the Team of three provided coordination of the process. The patience and good humor of the recipients was essential for a smooth flow during the distribution. As one of the DCC secretaries commented, “The process was an act of God. I was worried when I saw so many potential pitfalls in the distribution.”

How Does Your Garden Grow? The How-To’s and Many Benefits of Community Gardening

going-to-the-garden-titleTuesday, March 31, 2015
7:00pm EST

Spring is right around the corner, and that means it is time to start thinking about planting a garden! Gardens are more than a space to grow food or flowers. They can also strengthen communities through a common purpose and bring our attention to larger issues of food security and creation care.

This webinar will focus on basic gardening how-to’s, such as site selection and ways to get started in a new space, as well as learning how your congregation can start growing through Going to the Garden. We will also take the time to reflect on why it is important for us, as people of faith, to consider where our food comes from and the role of gardening in our own lives. Presenters include Gerry Lee, Dan and Margo Royer-Miller, and Ragan Sutterfield.

Join us for this first webinar in our spring series about community gardening! If you have any questions about this webinar or Going to the Garden, please e-mail kfurrow@brethren.org.

To register for this webinar, please go to: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EB56DB87874A3B

EYN Devotions March 8-14, 2015

DAILY LINK WITH GOD 2015EYN Devotions graphic
A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for the EYN Devotion Blog Mar 8-14 2015

Simply profound

2015 COVER

Psalm 19

Question:

How is your faith story taking shape? What is there for you to say about your experience of God?


Prayer:

Help me focus on what I know about your goodness, God. Where I have questions, help me trust you. When I can no longer see my way, make me rely on you. When I feel that I’ve arrived on my own, remind me that you are with me. When I’m ready to take all the credit, take the attention for yourself. I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be acceptable to you, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Out with joy

2015 COVER


Psalm 105:37-45

Question:
What wilderness are you stuck in right now? What might it look like for God to bring you out of that wilderness? What form will your gratitude take?

 

Prayer:
There are broken parts of my life, God. I am separated from others and from you because of my own sin. Forgive me. Guide me to a place of healing and restoration. Release joy from me like water freed from the rock in the desert. I remember and give you praise. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Hearts rejoicing

2015 COVER

Psalm 105:3-6

Question:

How does remembering how God has worked in your life elicit joy for you? What expressions of joy will others recognize in you today?


Prayer:

God, give me your strength. Inhabit my remembering. Warm my heart. Receive my joy. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Sing to God

2015 COVER

Psalm 105:1-2

Question:

What is your song today? With whom and to whom are you singing?


Prayer:

Take my voice, God, and make me sing. My song today is full of (doubt, joy, sorrow, expectation….). Receive my singing as an expression of my thanks for your wonderful works. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Unwavering

2015 COVER


Romans 4:13-25

Question:

What experiences in your life have eroded your trust of God? How might the conviction of Abraham and the promises of God help you trust God more confidently?


Prayer:

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Bring healing to those places where trust has been broken in my life. Help me distinguish between the limitations to grace that we have in our families, with friends, and among colleagues, and the steady grace that you extend to me. Thank you for being the ultimate promise-keeper. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Future generations

2015 COVER

Psalm 22:23-31

Question:

Lord, our God, life is full of challenges and burdens. Strengthen our trust in you, for we know through our community of faith that you are faithful and trustworthy. Help our unbelief in times of doubt.


Prayer:

When have you told the next generations how God has been there for you?

 

~ David Doudt, member of the Church of the Brethren Spiritual Directors Network

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

EYN Devotions March 1-7, 2015

DAILY LINK WITH GOD 2015EYN Devotions graphic
A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for the EYN Devotion Blog Mar 1-7 2015