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May 2024 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing this on Memorial Day, a day of somber reflection on the sacrifices of so many that have made our lives possible. Many of you may have traveled to be with loved ones. In the South, many of you would have gone to the cemetery for Decoration Day, a day when you placed fresh flowers on the graves of loved ones. You relived warm memories, and renewed ties with those who came back to the “home congregation” where the graves of loved ones are in the church cemetery.

I’ve thought today about the uncles who served in wars past, as well as the men I looked up to as a kid. I thought about the many family reunions we had enjoyed with those we loved, of the tables of food and love shared. Precious memories.

But most of all I thought about all of you who have sacrificed to see that our lives here carry on. Just as we could not have the freedom we enjoy without those who shouldered the burdens of WW2, we could not continue without the sacrifices many of you have made on our behalf. We cannot possibly know the cost of your love, but we see its fruits in the faces of the many served a simple meal of rice and beans. We don’t have a national holiday to celebrate and honor you, but I am deeply aware of how much we owe you. Be reminded that the God who cannot lie has promised that even a cup of water given will not lose its reward. We owe you a debt we cannot pay, and pray for the Lord to continue to bless and keep you.

Much has happened since our last letter. We are currently serving almost a 1000 meals a week. Folks bless you and the God you serve as this is the only meal some have. Prices of what were common staples such as yam and rice have grown beyond the reach of many Nigerians. Thank you for helping to feed so many.

Little Abraham completed his surgery on his elbow. A playground fall left his elbow shattered for 5 years, immobilized because the family could not afford the surgery to put it back together. Please pray for him as he goes through a long and painful rehab. Sister Amelia was able to have eye surgery, having been blind in her right eye for five years. Brother Bassey, who served to help us with many of our electrical needs for so many years, we were able to help go back to his village for the final age of his life. He is almost blind with cataracts. He called this morning to say he has started his preparation for surgery. We have running accounts with two pharmacies were those who need medication can be attended. All of this and much more is made possible because of your kindness and compassion.

We were able to take delivery of a container of assorted items, including items from my dad’s estate. After he passed from covid in 2020, our family shared many of the items he left for us, and we were able to send some of them here. I have treasured items from his workshop, various mobility aids, etc, etc. Three pallets of Bibles and various study aids were donated and included in the container for Nigerian Christian Bible College. This school was the first school of preaching in West Africa, celebrating its 70th anniversary this past February, and is an effort we have had a small supporting role in. Used laptops also came for Darrell Memorial Bible College, named in honor of Br. Darrell Foltz, an American missionary who lost his life here to armed robbers. A large collection of used tools were donated to help us start a vocational training program, and a small tractor for the farm we hope to have one day. We are thankful for all those who made these gifts possible for the growth of God’s Kingdom.

We were also able to purchase a suitable land close to our house intended for the eventual use for the congregation that has grown up around us. We consistently have from 35 to 45 children each in various classes in various rooms in our house, while we have the adults in a tent in our front yard. I pray this bold step, enabled by one couple’s kindness, will allow the congregation to grow past its current limited space. May God’s purpose be done. It will take His extra ordinary grace to have a site of work and worship.

I need to also let you know that my wife and I will soon be coming back to the US in mid June, with a principal purpose of attending to the needs of our son Jonathan. He was 11 when we came here, and he served 10 years before returning to the states. I cannot overstate the huge role he played in the lives of the children we took in over the years. I never once heard him complain about what he had to give up or what he had to endure. Since the death of his mother in 2005, his health has taken a downward spiral. Currently his body is fighting even his own skin, with large patches breaking out like burned flesh. His teeth were destroyed by the radiation for his cancer, he is legally blind in his right eye, his liver has been significantly compromised by the heavy medication he has had to take, and his kidneys are not working well. Through it all, he has maintained a positive spirit and has insisted we stay and care for his brothers and sisters here. This was the same thing both my parents insisted on, and it helped salve my guilty conscience for having abandoned my post as a son and father to be able to stay on the firing line here.

We hope to arrive in Lubbock in mid June, and our stay will be determined by what we can do to help him. We covet your prayers for Jonathan and ask as always that the Lord’s will be done in our lives. Pray also for those we will leave behind here in Nigeria, under the capable care of Joshua and Ani and others. If we are able to travel to visit with many of those who sacrificially serve us, we will certainly want to do so.

Also continue to pray for brethren here in Nigeria. May of last year, fuel prices were 180-200 Nara per liter and today it stands around 690. Diesel was around 700 Naira per liter then and it is above 1700 now. It costs us over $20 a day just to have a little light in the evening and in the morning for kids to get ready for school. This is a part of the reason why inflation is running over 43% while unemployment for those under 25 runs at 53 percent. Treasury bills are selling for 26.35% in an effort to attract foreign investment. God knows the problems and the solution.

We love you all. We pray you will continue to grow and excel in the service of the King of Kings.

Keep plowing till the end of the row.

Cliff, Nkiru and family

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