January 2012: This month's newsletter is taken from the headlines since Christmas; Boko Haram Militants Strike on Christmas Day; Toll from Nigeria Christmas attacks 'rises to 49'; Nigerian leader meets security chiefs on spiraling violence; Nigeria: 90,000 Displaced by Boko Haram as 'Religious War' Escalates; Radical Islamic Attack in Nigeria Spawns Fears of More Anti-Christian Violence
December 2011: Casa Shalom, Guatemala We are late getting the newsletter out because I wanted to include the report of our trip to Guatemala taken the 5th thru the 9th of this month
November 2011: Nigeria Update This month's update on Nigeria is much the same as the last several months. That is, violence and unrest still pervade the country, especially in the northeast corridor of Jos-Maiduguri where we focus our work and travels.
October 2011: Expanded Focus This month's newsletter is a little late in getting out as we have been attending a couple of Missions Conferences this past week and have been on the road. The conferences were a blessed time of fellowship and networking but most importantly, God spoke to our hearts concerning His direction for Dorcas Medical Ministries. One of the conference themes was change with the statement that ‘change is inevitable, with you or in spite of you, change will happen.' Change has been coming to this ministry for a couple years now, but especially this year, I have felt that God was leading us in a new direction.
September 2011: Nigeria Update The news from Nigeria continues to be disheartening. Our friends in Maiduguri state that while some are returning to the city, others are making plans for permanent evacuation. The city is still under heavy police and military presence, yet the killings and violence are almost a daily fact of life.
August 2011: "People left Maiduguri massively" "Maiduguri has been deserted. So lonely and boring." "We attend church services under heavy guard" These are quotes from our friends still left in Maiduguri. They confirm what we are reading on the Internet about the violence and chaos being caused by the Boko Haram who wish to implement Sharia Law in Borno State as the law of the land.
June - July 2011: Rewarding ‘How was your trip?' I have been asked upon my return from Nigeria at the end of May. My answer, "Rewarding but disappointing at the same time."
May 2011: Visa obtained Ticket purchased Drugs ordered Packing (in progress) My flight leaves Saturday, May 14th , for 2 weeks of outreach and ministry in Nigeria.
April 2011: Election Violence The news from Nigeria continues to be one of violence and unrest. Much of the violence is now directed at political rallies for candidates running for office with elections beginning on the 2nd of April and continuing for several Saturdays. This violence is aimed at the population in general but the Christians in particular.
March 2011: Flowers for the Living A friend recently sent us a very nice message with a flower pictured stating the old adage "give flowers to whom flowers are due while they're living." That is what I am attempting to do in this month's newsletter.
February 2011: True Situation
on the Ground
I wrote last month that I was contemplating a trip to
Nigeria this February as we have done for the past 15 years to conduct our
regular village clinics. Therefore, I sent the following text to some of the
brethren that I work closely with while I am there to get their feel of the true
situation there on the ground:
January 2011: BOOM!! - Merry Christmas!!BANG!! - Happy
December 2010: Hot Time The reports I am receiving from Nigeria is that a relative peace and calm has been restored. With the help of a continued and obvious police and military presence, I might add. In addition, the federal and state elections originally thought to be planned for January next year have been scheduled for April. However, the P&M Conference in Jos that had been moved from March to the end of April, to allow the country to "get over" the elections if held in January, is still scheduled for the last week in April.
Oct/Nov '10: Postponed As I write this, Sunday, October 31st, I am not on a plane traveling to Nigeria to conduct our normal Fall Outreach. No, I am sitting at my desk at home planning next year's outreach and missing not being there now. I was notified by some of the team members in Nigeria several weeks ago that it was too dangerous to travel in Nigeria and especially to the bush.
September 2010: Good News Right after I wrote and distributed last months letter, I heard from our main contact in Maiduguri. His message to me read, "The issue of the land is settled. Except that the location has not been shown because of the flood. The rain this year has been too much. The chief said we should wait until the rainy season reduces." Praise God!
August 2010: Last month I reported that the leader of our Nigerian team in Maiduguri had been in contact with the new area chief and had been received favorably. In fact, he told me that he was to go out to the village with the chief to view a piece of land that the chief had promised to give us. Therefore, I was expecting to report great news to you this month about the procurement of land for the clinic.
July 2010: Good News I have been informed by the brethren in Maiduguri that they have met with the new chief over the villages with favorable results. In fact, sometime early this month they are to go with him to the village where he will show them the land that he proposes to give us!! Praise God!
June 2010: Mixed Signals The news from Nigeria is mixed and unsettling. On the one hand, our friends there tell us that things have returned to a relative state of normal tenseness between the Christians and Muslims. However, they along with the media report the ongoing evidence of secret killings as fresh graves continue to be found in areas around the Central Plateau city of Jos. Jos itself is a divided city according to religious beliefs with members of both religions fearful to venture into the enclaves of the other no matter how innocent their errand lest they be attacked.
Apr/ May 2010: No Honest Commitment Violence and unease continue in Nigeria although it is not all making the headlines. The Sunday after I left last month, 3 Christian villages were attacked in the middle of the night by Muslim men armed with knives and guns. The carnage and loss of life was great especially among women and children; some as young as 4 months old.
March 2010: Unique Outreach I have just returned from a unique Nigerian Outreach. I was met with many challenges, changes and ‘this can only be God' triumphs.
February 2010: Two Questions I am frequently asked two questions: 1) when is your next trip, and 2) why are you going back so soon? The answers are: 1) I will be leaving February 14th for Nigeria for almost 3 weeks of ministry, and 2) the weather primarily dictates our scheduling of trips in November and February.
January 2010: Happy New Year May the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, and the Joy of the Lord, which is our strength,be yours now and throughout the New Year as you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.
December 2009: Be Patient I am excited about the news that I have to report to you of my trip to Nigeria last month! First, the district chief who had opposed the approval of the land for the clinic in Yauiri has been replaced by the new State Chief or Sheu of Borno State. His replacement is reportedly more favorable to the project and the Christian villagers told us, "The land will come, just be patient."
November 2009: To Do ... With ticket, Visa, and medicines in hand, I am ready, set, gone. By the time you receive this I will already be in Nigeria for more than two weeks of ministry. I was originally going to come home on November 9th, but Sarah and I felt that I needed to stay a little longer to accomplish all that we want to. First on the list is to get the chief of chiefs to give his approval for the donation of land in Yauiri... secondly, choose a plot of land... and thirdly, begin to mark it off...
September 2009: Sad News The last word I have from the team in Nigeria is that a normal sense of peaceful tension has returned to Maduguri and life in the city has resumed as before. However, one sad note that brings the terror closer to home concerns the pastor who had been taken captive and then released. Apparently, he was not released but had escaped his captors only to be recaptured and then killed. Please remember his family and congregation when you pray.
NIGERIAN VIOLENCE KILLS 700
Sat Aug 1, 4:00 pm ET
July 2009: Hearing God's Voice The scriptures speak to us of hearing a still small voice behind our ear telling us the way we are to go. God speaks to us in many ways, in dreams and visions, through the reading of His word, through preaching, even audibly, and through that still small voice of the spirit that speaks to our hearts. This is what happened to my driver, Br Julius, a few weeks before this last outreach.
June 2009: Update On Lauren I wrote in March about Lauren suffering what the doctors had diagnosed as Juvenile Epilepsy. The prognosis we were given was that she would have to be on medication for at least 2 years and then be reassessed. However, she began having more symptoms this past month so they put her in the hospital to run several days of constant monitoring.
May 2009: Long Haul The Christian villagers at Yauiri were glad to see us return. However, the leader stated that because we had not come in November, many of them thought that we were not going through with the project as we had promised. How true it is that Our Word is Our Honor.
April 2009: Approval Received
I did not accomplish all of my goals on the just concluded
outreach to Nigeria. I had hoped to:
March 2009: Seeking Land As you read this, I will already be in Nigeria beginning over three weeks of ministry in the bush and pulpit. Please continue to hold me up in prayer from the 15th of February to my return on the 10th of March. Pray for my safety in travel not only to and from Nigeria but also while in country. The news from Jos is one of peace after the riots of this past November.
February 2009: Excited and Ready Well, my ticket is purchased, drugs are ordered, the Visa is in the works, people have been contacted and are expecting my arrival and I am excited and ready to go. I will be leaving February 15th to Nigeria for just over 3 weeks of ministry including our usual clinics as well as several conferences and speaking engagements.
Jos Flames: AND ONCE MORE, JOS GOES UP IN FLAMES! At this moment, it is difficult to say what exactly happened to sparked off this mayhem. That is who started it, meaning who provoked who!! But it is very clear that the destruction started within the Hausa-Moslem community in the heart of the city, just beside the central mosque at about 11pm on Thursday night. The men went on rampage on a presumed election result that is yet awaited and yet anticipated. Even at this moment, no one knows who has won the chairmanship seat.The news of the attack started spreading at about 12 am Friday morning, by 5 am, at least 20 houses were burning! And a quick assessment showed that the Muslim (Hausa) men were attacking the Christian residents.
December 2008: Chaos In Jos !!The news from Nigeria is very bad. Beginning on Thursday, Nov. 27th, the day that we in America celebrate as a day of Thanksgiving, the media is reporting over 400 deaths in Jos from religious killings between Muslim and Christians. The messages I have received from our friends in Jos are very disturbing: "There has been a bad religious killing burnings and looting by Muslims. Churches homes etc burnt. The twins house and car burnt. U know Rayfield is usually ok. Situation is not just bad, it is terrifyingly (sp) unbelievable. Most of my people in rikkos, nasarawa, congo, bauchi rd r in their houses r eith.." and then the message ended.
November 2008: Hopefully, you have been able to check out our web page, www.DorcasMedical.org, recently. After many months of dormancy, it is now up-to-date and current with each month's newsletters as well as photos from our outreaches. If you are computer literate and would like to receive your newsletters via email, just return the enclosed Prayer Request with your email address and we will add you to our online address book.
October 2008: Don't Go I was awakened in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and heard God speak to my heart, "Don't go to Nigeria." As I continued to pray about this word over the next several days, I felt no release in my spirit to push forward with my plans to travel at the end of this month. Now there are many reasons that I could come up with as to why God is forbidding me to travel at this time, but suffice it to say that His Word is all we really need to know
September 2008: Making Plans The recent news from Nigeria is that the rains have been so heavy that moving to the bush has been all but impossible. However, thanks to the modern technology of cell phones, Rev. Sunday has been in touch with the villagers in Yauiri and all is still positive for the project to proceed.
August 2008: Good news continues to come out of Nigeria. I spoke with Rev. Sunday in Maiduguri recently, and he confirms that everyone in the villages are still excited about moving forward with the project.
July 2008: Approved! Yes! Yes! Yes! & YES!! My trip last month to Nigeria was, as you know, to establish a partnership with the Christian villagers at Yauiri and begin the process of procuring land in the village on which to build a clinic/church. Rev. Sunday, Sam, Julius and I met with 3 of the elders from the church to present our plan and ask for their input. Their reply was a resounding, Yes!
June 2008: American Medicine! Over the past couple years we have been attempting to buy more of the medicines that we use in-country instead of having to ship them over in our luggage. However, all that changed when at several of the villages the patients rejected what we were trying to give them because they recognized their own medicine and told us "that doesn't work, we want the drugs from America, they work." We are a blessed nation!
Consensus: Procure Land - Build
"Start putting structures for the
Mar - Apr 2008: Exciting, great, satisfying, fulfilling, anxious, anticipating, planning - all of these words describe the thoughts and feelings running through our minds as we reflect on our just concluded outreach to Nigeria. Our 23 day journey saw us treat over 800 patients in 5 villages in and around Yale and be privileged to share in 7 pulpits about our work as well as teaching and encouraging the body of Christ.
February 2008: Mission - Nigeria The visa applications are being processed, our tickets are purchased, we have received some medicines and our excitement and anticipation is building for our Mission to Nigeria, February 17th to March 11th. Sarah and the kids are especially excited as this will be the first time in 3 years that they will be going to Maiduguri to work with the team in the bush.
January 2008: Reflect – Resolve Happy New Year! ‘Tis the season when we reflect on last year's accomplishments / disappointments and resolve to do more and better in the coming new year. I too, would like to reflect on a wonderful 2007 as a springboard for a great 2008.
December 2007: A Successful Trip All that I had set out to accomplish in Nigeria the first of November can be checked off as done. The van has been purchased, modified, road tested and passed its first outreach to the bush with flying colors. The villagers at Yauiri who asked us to come and start a church with them were contacted and follow-up planned. Amen!
October 2007: Invitation My tickets are purchased, the Visa is in progress and our excitement is building as I prepare for my trip to Nigeria, October 28th – November 18th. Sarah and I are getting more and more excited about the purpose of this trip to explore the INVITATION that we have received to "come and build a church" in the remote village of Yauiri.
August 2007: New Van I am preparing for a trip back to Nigeria at the end of October through mid November with plans to accomplish two things. First of all I want to purchase the van that so many of you have selflessly given towards so that we might have reliable transportation to and from the bush as well as getting around in-country without relying as we currently do on public taxis.
June 2007: Crisis At Home While I was in Nigeria in February, Sarah faced a crisis here at home with Lauren. Even before I had left for Nigeria, Lauren had been feeling tired wanting only to sleep. One night after I was gone, she called Sarah into look at her legs which were blue and mottled and her heart rate was weak and irregular.
May 2007: Politics!! Is it just me or are politicians the same everywhere? Nigeria held elections in April for governors, "congressmen" and president. The elections, by the way, went peacefully and the new president seems to be someone whom everyone, (Muslim and Christian) can work with.
April 2007: The Best In A Long Time That is how I feel about our just concluded outreach to Nigeria at the end of February / first of March. Not only was it a great success in the clinical sense but spiritually as well we had a tremendous mission
February 2007: Winter weather has finally come to us here in Georgia with lows in the 20's and highs only in the 40's. Perhaps you, too, are bundled up inside trying to stay warm from the cold and windy outdoors. Wouldn't it be nice to be someplace warm with the sun shining brightly and the sand hot between your toes? Well, that's exactly where I will be Feb. 20th - Mar. 12th as I travel to Nigeria for our Annual Winter Outreach.
January 2007: Happy New Year 2007 already! Where did 2006 go? And before you know it, January will be gone, February will be upon us and we will be leaving on our annual winter outreach to Nigeria. The dates for this mission are Feb. 20th - Mar. 12th. In addition to our clinics in Konduga we will be participating in the annual Pastors & Ministers Conference in Jos with our host Rev. Maiwa'azi Dandaura. There is still room for you on this outreach, but we need to hear from you by January 11th to get you all the information you need to join the team.
December 2006: Seasons Greetings, We extend to
you and yours our wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous
New Year. We trust that your Thanksgiving was a time of reflection and gratitude
for all the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. I spent the major part
of my Thanksgiving traveling back from Nigeria and was truly grateful to be back
home with Sarah and the kids after a very successful outreach.
October 2006: The time grows short as I am planning to leave Saturday the 28th for our fall outreach to Nigeria and will be gone until November 9th. This will be the first time in year that I have been out to the villages of Yale, Yauiri and Bazamri and truly feel a sense of homesickness in seeing the villagers again and being with our Nigerian team. As you know in February when we went to Nigeria, they were having trouble in Maiduguri with the Muslims killing Christians and burning churches.
An atheist was hiking in the woods when
suddenly Big Foot jumped out from the trees ready to devour him.
May 2006: This year it was kind of boring because we did not get to go to Maiduguri because of the killings and stuff. We did not really put together another bush ministry until the middle of the second week. We went to the bush called Miango.
March-April 2006: It began the Saturday before our departure with an early morning phone call from Rev. Sunday in Maiduguri. He informed us of rioting by Muslims in the city with churches burned and Christians, including women and children, killed. Many were burned alive in their own homes and churches. These are not unsubstantiated rumors but first hand, eye witness accounts. The excuse given for the rioting was that the Muslims were upset over the Danish caricatures of Mohammed. It was later discovered, however, that the Governor of Borno State had paid young Muslim men to go about rioting and then had ordered the police not to interfere!
January 2006: Where has the time gone? We pray all of you had joyous Christmas celebration and a blessed and happy New Year’s observance as we saw 2005 out and ushered 2006 in. This past year has been a busy one for us as we celebrated a number of anniversaries. 2005 marked the 10th year of the founding of Dorcas Medical Ministries and 10th year of the initial fact-finding trip to Nigeria. In addition, we were busier traveling than we had been during the past with three trips to Nigeria for medical outreaches, including one with the family and one trip to Haiti with the family leading a team from our church to conduct a VBS. As we look toward 2006, the schedule seems just as busy and we pray it is even more prosperous and productive for the Kingdom of God.
December 2005: Last month’s outreach to Nigeria was a success – sort of! I say that because although we saw almost 500 patients in three days of clinics, many of them came through the line 2-3 times. Why, you ask? Because we were not only treating their ailments with free medicines, but also were giving out sandals, candy and lotion. They wanted the sandals more than anything, and were asking for certain colors and sizes. We learned that the parents were sending the children back through the line to get more sandals for themselves! It reminded me of those who followed Jesus only for the loaves and fishes.
November 2005: I was encouraged recently by a friend who admonished me to “continue what you are doing!” This, as I am preparing for my third trip to Nigeria this year to continue what we started 10 years ago in fulfilling the call of God on our lives to take the gospel to the Kanuri tribe deep in the bush of NE Nigeria. As you receive this, I will already be in-country doing what my heart enjoys most, working with dear friends, our Nigerian team that God has formed to work beside us in this calling, among the people that God has called us to in Yale, Bazamri and Yauiri.
October 2005: Ten years ago this month, Dr. Edd Thomas and I made the first trip to Nigeria to “spy out the land.” God directed our steps and led us to where we have been faithfully ministering ever since in the villages of Yale, Yauiri and Bazamiri in the local government area of Konduga, Borno State, in N.E. Nigeria. God admonishes us in His Word not to “look back,” but I believe that refers to our looking back to our past life in longing and desire, not reflecting back on what He has done for us and where He has brought us.
September 2005: The road to Yale is long and treacherous during the rainy season, which I was right in the middle of last month in Nigeria. We had scheduled an outreach there to conduct clinics, but primarily to speak with the chief and elders about land for the clinic. Rev Sunday has had two visitors since February to his house from Yale who had spoken to him about the need and their desire to see the clinic built.
August 2005: On August 11, I leave for Nigeria on a multi-purpose trip as we begin to extend our outreaches in Nigeria by increasing the number of trips each year. As we have stated before, this trip will be threefold. First, we will be conducting our normal clinics in Yale and the surrounding villages. I want to thank Danny Thomas of Harvest International for his help in procuring more thanr $122,000 worth of donated medicines to us. Our thanks also to Dekalb Medical Center, where I have worked as an R.N. in the E.R. for the last 12 years, who also gave us hundreds of dollars of donated drugs just as they have done faithfully these past ten years of working in Nigeria.
July 2005: The time is fast approaching for our August Outreach, August 11- August 24. There is still time if you would like to be a part of this team, but we must hear from you ASAP. This trip will be multi-faceted in that we will be looking to buy a vehicle for the team's transportation, as well as searching the land outside of Yale for a suitable site on which to build the clinic. In addition, we will be conducting clinics in Buzamri, Yauiri and Yale and their surrounding villages. As always, we will be distributing other small gifts with the medicine - either soap or flip-flops.
June 2005: One of the wonderful things about the ministry in Nigeria is the inclusion of so many nationals. We have felt all along that we are to be facilitators more than doers. To inspire and provide the means with which the Nigerians themselves can reach out and minister to their people.
May 2005: I could talk about the bugs the bats or even the lizards, but they are just inconveniences. I could talk about the more than 350 patients we saw, but what I really want to tell you about is the beautiful village at night. We were sitting outside in the cool dessert night and it was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. The stars were spectacular.
March-April 2005: Bugs, bats and lizards. Those were the conditions we enjoyed in Yale where we spent the night and conducted clinics in the village during the day. The bugs were truly large roaches that crawled everywhere after dark and kept the girls and Sarah and me awake . . . but not Robert. He slept the sleep of the redeemed throughout the night!! And of course, bats blessed us with their presence after dark as well, screeching, flying and scurrying about.
February 2005: Plans move forward for our outreach to Nigeria Feb. 23 – Mar. 15. With tickets in hand and visa applications and drug requests working, we are looking forward to returning once again to our second home.
January 2005: Our February Outreach to Nigeria is fast approaching: Feb. 20 - Mar. 15, 2005. If you would like to be part of this team, then please notify us no later than Jan. 15. Your help with prayers, meds, supplies and finances is greatly appreciated as we continue in the field of labor where God has placed us.
December 2004: I had a GREAT trip back "home" to Nigeria last month. It was so good to be back in-country among friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord whom I have come to love and appreciate so much. Most of the team was there to greet me upon my arrival in Maiduguri ... except for Mary, Paul and Philip who were working out of town. Nicodemus was there, excited and preparing for his big day the following Saturday.
November 2004: My visa is in hand in spite of unforeseen obstacles in trying to submit the application for approval, but God has once again shown Himself “More Than Enough” in whatever situation we are faced with. We have received the necessary medicines and supplies for the trip and I am packed and ready to travel October 27 through November 10 on our regular Fall Nigeria Outreach.
excitement is growing - about leaving for Nigeria, Oct. 27 through Nov.
10. Many of you have contributed to this trip in different
ways and we are so very grateful. We have received expense monies,
donations of drugs, Care Packet Project funding, and of course,
our Van Project. Truly we are blessed to have such wonderful partners
as you that give out of the joy of your hearts to help those
you do not know and will probably never meet. May God return a hundredfold
blessings to you is our prayer.
September 2004: Plans have been finalized for our Fall Nigerian Outreach. We will be leaving Oct. 27 trough Nov. 10 with a stopover in Germany to check on the prices and availability of our new (to us) van that so many of you have so graciously enabled us to purchase with your sacrificial giving. I have a contact person there in Frankfurt through our friends in Nigeria, who is aware of and is expecting my coming.
August 2004: Plans continue for the October Nigerian Outreach, although the dates will probably be changed. One of our Nigerian team members has asked me to be the guest speaker at his wedding on Nov. 14, an honor I cannot refuse. Therefore, we may be leaving and returning a week-and-a-half later than stated last month, although nothing has been finalized at this point. So, if you are considering going, and need to make arrangements at home, work, etc.., PLEASE contact us ASAP and we will send you the latest information as we have it. If you are thinking of joining us, you can prepare by ensuring that your passport is valid through the end of May, 2005, and by updating your tetanus and yellow fever vaccinations.
June/July 2004: Plans are beginning for our fall outreach to Nigeria. As the schedule stands now, we will be leaving Thursday, Oct. 21 and returning Saturday, Nov. 6. In addition to the medical outreach, our plan this trip is to begin the purchasing process for the van for which so many of you have sacrificially given to allow us to obtain for the work in the villages. Toward that end, we will be spending a few days in Germany checking on models, prices, availability, shipping, export/import, etc. So we covet your prayers that we would have the favor and direction of God to find the right vehicle that He has prepared for us to profit the ministry that He has given to us.
April/May 2004: I have attempted to write this letter now for more than a month, but have had a serious case of “writer’s block!” That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it, since I finally figured out that the subject I have been trying to write about is not what the Lord wants me to share. So, let me just say Thank You to all of you who have continued to support us with your offerings and especially your encouraging words.
March 2004: I am writing this newsletter this last night of February from home and not from Nigeria where I had planned on and had hoped to be. But Father, my heavenly Father God, knows best. As I had been making preparations for this trip during December, January and especially this month, things were not coming together. Funding did not come in for my trip expenses, not to mention the expenses of taking the whole family, nor did any medical supplies materialize. And on top of all that, my mindset never changed as it always does when I am taking a trip in anticipation of the changes in lifestyle, eating, drinking, sleeping, habits, etc., that take place on one of these trips.
January 2004: Testimonial: I realize you are still in Nigeria as I write this, but I wanted to get it done before I forgot. I just opened your latest newsletter, even though I had received it a few days ago, and as I was reading it, I had to stop and go read it to my husband. After I was done, I just sat there unable to talk. What you wrote about the sandals and candy humbled me more then anything has in awhile.