It was still dark out when Dr. Chris called us together to pray with him. He prayed for our family in such a beautiful way. After praying he wanted my children to know that he was like a Dad to them now and a brother to my husband and I. He called us his family. This is the kind of man Dr. Chris is. I was crying thinking to myself how blessed we are to be a part of his life. We certainly think of him as family too and let him know that he is always welcome here. We will pray he stays here again! What a wonderful thing for my children! I have been praying to God about some things and feel that this visit was an answer to prayers. Our God is such a wonderful God! Sometimes we just see things as coincidences. We have to remember that God has a purpose and a plan for our lives. When I went to Nigeria to serve I never had any idea of where it would lead. I remember Bill Blattner (who served in Nigeria & husband of then HFWAF President Diane Blattner) saying to me that when you serve in Nigeria you will get back so much more than you could ever give. This is so true.
More on Dr. Chris's visit - on Tuesday night Sara Kennedy, HFWAF President, organized a night out for Dr. Chris to try some Maryland steamed crabs. We went to Bo Brooks in Canton which is located on the waterfront. Everyone had a nice time. He enjoyed the crabs. Dr. Chris likes spicy food. Nigerian food is served spicy. While at our home he put hot sauce on most all the food he ate!
Dr. Chris had a busy day on Wednesday. He joined Sara where she is employed at the University of Maryland Medical Center. In the morning he met with the hospital's human virology HIV/Aids support group. He shared with them about Faith Alive Hospital's HIV/Aids support group and how important it is for them to take their medication. He encouraged them to join him in some dancing! Everywhere Dr. Chris goes he spreads joy. Afterwards he and Sara met with Derek Spencer Executive Director of the Jacques Initiative. The Jacques Initiative stands for Joint Aids Community Quest for Unique and Effective Treatment Strategy. Dr. Joseph Jacques, a compassionate teacher, devoted his life to improving the health and well being of people living with HIV/AIDS. He left a large sum in his will that is used for the Jacques Initiative. Derek Spencer has traveled to Nigeria to visit Faith Alive Hospital. Dr. Chris says Derek has been a source of great spiritual encouragement to him.
Wednesday evening was the Shagali celebration at the Church of the Nativity. There was worship music and missionaries told stories of their experiences. Then we all feasted with an outdoor cookout and enjoyed some more music with the talented Al Walsh band. Dr. Chris spoke and graciously thanked everyone. He danced with some of the children! There was a very nice turn out. It was a very enjoyable evening. Hopefully the violence will stop in time for a missionary team to be sent to Nigeria next summer. Unfortunately, there was more violence in Nigeria this past Monday. A gunmen stormed an evangelical church in Okene (central Nigeria), cut the electricity and opened fire once the building was dark. Nineteen people were killed. We have to keep praying for peace. Please do not forget about our brother and sisters in Nigeria now that the fast is over and Dr. Chris has gone home. I know it seems hopeless sometimes but we must persevere. Like Dr. Chris says: faith is moving ahead and believing in God's goodness even when you can not see it with your eyes.
Dr. Chris let us know that he has arrived safely at Mayo Clinic and everything is well. We hope to see him again when HFWAF does fundraising at local high schools during the 2012/13 school year. We will keep you informed.
We love you Dr. Chris! Thank you for everything you did here in Baltimore.
1. Sara Kennedy & Dr. Chris at Bo Brooks restaurant
2. Sara, Dr. Chris, us, Sara's parents, & Brian Crook Director of Nativity Church Missions at Bo Brooks
3. Dr. Chris speaking at Shagali
4. Guests at Shagali enjoying food
5. Dr. Chris at Shagali with guests
6. Dr Chris at Shagali dancing with children