The Endurance of Rose Joseph by Janet Crago

Rose JosephRose is a Clark (Secretary) in the Registry Office at EYN Headquarters and the mother of 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  At the time of this story, Joseph was 5, Jeff was 2 and the twins, Joan and Joana, were 6 months old.  It was Oct 29, 2014.  Rose’s husband was going to school in Yola while Rose was living on the outskirts of Hildi, about 20 miles from Mubi.  Rose has a small motorcycle called a Hajo which she used to drive herself to work at EYN Headquarters in Kwarhi.   Hildi is about 3.6 mi north of EYN Headquarters.

She was up early that day because her twins had been fussy through the night.  She had breast fed the twins and was just getting out food to cook for the older boys when she heard gunshots and bombs in the area of Hildi.  She had been anxious all night because there was so much traffic on the main road.  Ordinarily, it was very quiet between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.  She didn’t know what was happening.  She was determined to run, but she knew it would be madness to put 4 small children on a small motorcycle while she drove.   As she was preparing to leave, a young man came past on a motorcycle and told her that it was soldiers who were shooting because they all had on uniforms, but the “soldiers” shot his brother in the leg so they knew they were Boko Haram and not soldiers.

Rose quickly backed one of her twins.  This is what the Nigerians call placing a baby on their back and tying them on with a cloth.  She then placed the other twin in her front and tied her in.  She then picked up Jeff and carried him in her arms.  Joseph had to walk.  They made their way through the bush to Gashala (about 6 miles away).  When she was leaving her home, she grabbed a package of Indomi (Ramen Noodles), and broke off small pieces to fed Joseph and Jeff with the dry noodles.  They had not eaten before they left Hildi and they didn’t have anything else to eat on the way to Gashala.  They had nothing to drink with them.

As they were trekking they came across a woman who had just given birth to twins in the bush.  Her mother and a friend were with her.  She was so exhausted from the birth process and she said she could not go on walking and carrying two new babies so she wanted to leave them behind.  Her mother volunteered to carry one twin and her friend volunteered to carry the other, so she didn’t abandon her new babies.  Thank God for that!

When Rose and her children arrived in Gashala, they were all exhausted, hungry and thirsty.  Rose had some money, but because everyone was running out of Gashala, few shops were open so she was only able to buy some biscuits (cookies).  One old woman who had chosen to stay behind in Gashala had pity on Rose.  She saw that she was carrying three children and told her to come to her house to rest.  Rose and her children were able to rest and spend the night in her house.  She had a sleeping mat that Rose could put the children down on and she covered them up with the cloth that she used to tie them on her back and front.  They finally had some water to drink.

The next morning Rose wanted to call her husband and discuss what to do.  But, there was no phone service.  Later she learned that the people maintaining the phone service had also run away so the generators weren’t started to run the necessary equipment to provide the phone service.  She started thinking about her Hajo (motorcycle) again.  Finally, she convinced a motorcycle driver to drive back to Hildi and find her brother and to ask him to get her motorcycle and drive it to Gashala to pick her up.  He did that, but when her brother arrived, they checked the amount of fuel in the tank and discovered they didn’t have enough to go any farther.  He also told her that she forgot to close the door to her house, so he had closed it.  They all spent the night in Gashala again.  They didn’t have food, but they did have water.

The next day, Rose had to send another motorcycle driver for fuel in a nearby village.  When he returned, all six of them packed onto her Hajo, with her brother driving.  They were able to travel like that to Fadama Rake.  Rose finally had phone service there, so she called her husband.  He was able to hire a pickup truck in Yola, which he sent to pick her up in Gombi.  As they headed from Gombi to Yola, they picked up trekkers all along the way until the pickup truck was completely full.  A massive exodus from the Gombi area to Yola was underway.  Rose kept telling them that the ride was free and they should come and ride.

Rose spent one day in Yola with a friend of her husband’s.  They then traveled to Gombe (not to be confused with Gombi) and stayed with her husband’s brother, where she stayed for about 2 months.  Rose has 3 brothers and 3 sisters.  She’s the oldest.  All of her brothers and sisters came to Gombe as well, but her parents refused to leave Hildi, and survived the violence there.  Rose is now staying in Jos and working at the EYN Headquarters Annex.

Rose tells me what she learned through all this:

  • In difficulties, there is a way through.  You just have to find it.
  • You can live for 3 days without eating.
  • Children sense when there is trouble.  Her children learned what bombs sound like. Her oldest son still complains about pain in his legs from their long trek.

Rose is glad to be alive.  Her father is a retired pastor, and Rose, too, is dedicated to EYN.

Janet Crago

Tom and Janet Crago

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

cranberry oatmeal cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

It’s National Cookie Day and you still have leftover cranberry sauce in the refrigerator from Thanksgiving. Make everyone happy with these treats!

Note: if you don’t have 1 ½ cups cranberry sauce, you can use one cup and throw in some dried cranberries. Or you can probably make the cookies with 1 cup. I think this is just what I had left when I made up the recipe!

Second note: My leftover cranberry sauce was made with real berries. I do not know what would happen if you use the canned stuff with the lines in it. Leave a note and let us know if you try it!

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
(Makes around 4 dozen)

Cream together ½ cup butter (one stick) with 1 cup brown sugar.

Add 2 beaten eggs (or, if you’re like me and just made a pavlova for someone’s birthday, three egg yolks)

Stir in 1 ½ cups leftover cranberry sauce

In a large measuring cup, mix 1 ½ cups flour (part whole wheat is fine) with 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon.

Add to the liquid mixture. Then mix in 3 cups of uncooked oatmeal (I use rolled oats, but I imagine quick oats would be okay, too. The cookies would be a little less chewy, presumably.)

Drop generous tablespoons of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. Cool one minute on the cookie sheet and then on a wire rack.

Heard in my kitchen: “They have oatmeal; I’m calling this breakfast!”

You can find many delicious cookie recipes in the New Inglenook Cookbook, which is a wonderful Christmas gift!


Photo by Deanna Beckner

Photo by Deanna Beckner

A reflection by Cherise Glunz.

I have always loved Christmas time. With the beautiful decorations, the music on the radio, and the thousands of twinkling lights that illuminate a plain neighborhood, I am filled with an abundance of joy in this season.

This time of year also brings occasions to gather around a table with family and friends that we may not have seen since last Christmas. I cherish this time of year because my family from all across the U.S. gathers to simply be together and fellowship over a warm slice of pie and a card game, by a warm fireplace. Even writing this brings a smile to my face as I reflect on these traditions.

But one of the best things about Christmas time, here near the General Offices, is the beautiful snow.

The snow always comes at the perfect time. Near the end of autumn here in northern Illinois, the ground becomes muddy and brown. The trees that once decorated the streets with vibrant colored leaves now stand bare and seemingly lifeless.

And then it happens–flakes of cold, white snow fall from the gloomy sky. Before we know it, all of the dead looking scenery is draped with a sparkling blanket. What once seemed dull and lifeless now shimmers with life and beauty. The snow is so simple, yet so beautiful.

I have come to realize that the newness of snow represents the story of Christmas as well as any decoration or song. It is simple, just like Christ coming to earth as a baby was simple. So many believed that God’s redemption would come in a fancy package, however, that was not God’s plan. God chose to bring redemption to the world through a baby born in a manger. This means of redemption may seem plain, but it was, and still is, one of the most beautiful representations of love. Just as snow blankets the dead ground and later waters the ground for the new life of spring, salvation through Jesus covers our muddiest sins and makes us beautiful and new again.

This Christmas, I pray that we may be able to step aside from the commercial hustle and bustle to remember the reason that we celebrate. Through Jesus coming into this world, we are made new again. That is truly cause for celebration!

Cherise Glunz serves as program assistant to Donor Relations for the Church of the Brethren. Support Core Ministries of the Church of the Brethren today at .

(Read this issue of eBrethren)

Devotions (EYN Daily Link) December 6 – 12, 2015


EYN Devotions graphicA 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

Click on this link for Devotions December 6 – 12, 2015

Hey! It isn’t Christmas yet

The most counter cultural thing a Christian can do today is to refuse the drive to Christmas. If you watched the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving, Santa came riding in at the end of the parade with the bold symbolic statement that Christmas has come. The commercialization of Christmas is obvious. “Santa has come, the Christmas season is here, so come shop with us.”
The last thing our culture wants to do in this season is wait. We don’t want to hear about voices crying out in the wilderness, of a young woman wrestling with what the child she carries means for her and the world, or even about some long off time when Christ will come again. With all the decorations and advertisements we are collectively saying “Get on it with it.” Just like a child unable to control the excitement, who treasure hunts around the house for gifts, we want the celebration now. None of this waiting business.
Yet, in truth, this is Advent. It is not Christmas. We are waiting. We are preparing.
To observe Advent is to push back on our culture of consumption and immediacy. To observe Advent is THE Christian practice for our time. For in Advent we acknowledge the delay. We recall the Hebrew people waiting for the Promised One. And we proclaim the fact that we are liminal people. We live in the now-and-not-yet-ness of our faith. Jesus has come, and we wait for him to come again.
We wait.
Waiting is so uncomfortable because we have to acknowledge both our longing and our lacking. When we confront our longing, we realize that there is something we lack. That is very definition of desire. We want what we don’t have. And when we see our longing played out each Sunday of Advent we are confronted with the very reality that we are not yet in the fullness of God’s embrace. In a culture that celebrates immediacy, consumption, and satisfaction, such a realization is nearly anathema.
In Advent we embody both our longing and come to terms with the very distance between us and God. Christians today have bought into our culture of immediacy, preaching a Gospel of God’s full presence. To even hold the season and practice of Advent counters the way we have tried to share the Good News. Advent, then, chastens us as followers of Jesus by reminding us that God is both with us and yet before us. It forces us to accept the distance between us and Christ. Christ is not “in us” but coming. Christ is not here, but is calling us into the fullness of faith.
At the close of his beautiful memoir, The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton put words to this paradox.
“I no longer desire to see anything that implies a distance between You and me: and if I stand back and consider myself and You as if something had passed between us, from me to You, I will inevitably see the gap between us and remember the distance between us.
My God, it is that gap and that distance which will kill me.”
To the world around us, living in want and wait does seem like death. Why wait for anything when everything is right here? Why wallow in longing when satisfaction is so easy? And for the dominant theology of our time, preparing for the coming of Christ contradicts the very immanence we preach. Why prepare for Christ when we have Christ now, in our hearts, and will go to heaven when we die? Why all this business of rough places smoothed, valleys lifted up, mountains made low, the overthrow of the powerful, and the proud humbled?
It is Advent sisters and brothers, and there is no greater resistance than to hold this season of waiting. Advent is counter cultural.