There are many, many takeaways from these two trips. And I'll be sharing them here in the coming days and weeks. If you want to learn more about the Nigeria mission trip, check out nativity-nigeria.blogspot.com where you can find a daily journal, "spotlights" with all the missionaries, and a lot more. I'd like to share a few wins from the last trip before I sign off.
First, it was awesome to have Sr. Oresoa, the founder of Anawim Home, paint such a clear picture of the relational aspect of Nativity's mission work. Anawim Home gets a number of visitors throughout the year, but Sr. Oreosa, at a board meeting we attended, pointed out the dedication Nativity:Nigeria has to "eat, sleep, and live among the poorest of the poor." This is what it's all about, loving our neighbors! Sure, we are also committed to supporting their efforts to carry out God's work among the poor, but the reason for the trip is to walk in their shoes for two weeks.
It was also great to hear our trip leader, Rob Devereux, talk about his experience of returning to some of the places he visited last year. The awesome part was hearing him recount how Sister expressed specific needs to the team last year (e.g. the borehole at Anawim and fence in Kaduna) and then returning this summer to see how those needs had been met. This highlights the need for our efforts to be measurable. It's super rewarding and equally motivating to see how the outcome of last year's Advent Conspiracy has really changed lives in Nigeria.
Lastly, the support shown from the Nativity community is a big win. The sendoff at the 10:30 Mass was very uplifting, the N:N blog recorded hundreds of hits each day, and twice while we were away, members gathered to lift up the missionaries in prayer. As a member of the team, this felt really great to know that we were truly representing all of Nativity. And also knowing that we were being watched and prayed over the whole time, not only ensured a great experience, but also gave everyone peace and safety as we took some risks. I think this speaks to the necessity for our missions to be long-term. Support has grown tremendously over the years, and I think we need to give the opportunity for the church to get behind our efforts -- this takes time. The fact that we are invested in Nigeria and continue to send new teams each summer helps spread the word about the mission and allows for more people to get involved.
So thanks for all your support! Check back soon to hear more about the trip...