As Will and I arrived to Nigeria last Friday (September 17th) we were full of emotions. Emotions that ranged from excited to terrified; overwhelmed to secure. All the things you would expect to be feeling after leaving everything you have known to move to such a different place. One thing that we knew would take a while to acquire was a sense of belonging.
On Monday, Emilee took us into the downtown area in Jos to register for our driver’s license. On this first visit into town, we were greeted with many bright smiles from the local Nigerians and a phrase that I continue to hear daily and stuck out to me,“You are welcome!” As we walked down the street, or passed the security guards at the bank, we were greeted with this phrase. People who don’t know anything about us (except for our obvious skin color) tell us we are welcome in their county.
This not only has made us feel more secure in being here, but also has given me something to “chew on”. How often would I go up to someone who is clearly foreign in the U.S. and, without knowing anything about them, tell them they are welcome in my country? I appreciate the joy this culture brings. In the midst of a busy week of getting used to living in a new country, it has been encouraging to know we are welcome in this place. I praise the Lord for directing us here and for his friendly children in Nigeria that are eager to welcome us.