Last summer, Jessica Biondo and Ruby Moyer of the Back2Back Mexico staff traveled to Jos, Nigeria. While there, they served alongside our Back2Back Nigeria staff for several weeks. Below, Jessica Biondo shares her reflections on the experience.
Try to image this scene with me. You are standing in a small, humble building. There are rocks piled on the tin roof so that it won’t blow off in the wind and the rain. The door stands open to let in the sunlight and the warm breeze. The entire room is bursting with the vibrant colors of patterned dresses and head wraps. Songs of jubilee and praise can be heard for miles around! The singing is joined with the beats of drums and everyone begins to clap their own rhythms, which blend together in perfect harmony. With sheer delight people begin dancing to the front of the room. Everyone is out of their seats, dancing, laughing, singing, worshiping God with all they have in them.
It is a church offering and it was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. It is a time of joy, singing, celebration and dancing. It is truly a sight to behold.
As I took in the scene around me, I looked to my right and saw Back2Back Nigeria staff, John and Corrie Guckenberger, and their kids singing in the native language of Hausa, worshipping the Lord with the people who have become their neighbors and friends. That moment was a very clear picture of what it means to present your life as an offering before the Lord. Just as my Nigerian brothers and sisters joyfully sacrificed the first fruits of their tomato crop on that Sunday, I saw Back2Back Nigeria staff daily give their lives as an offering to the Lord to bring His love and hope to the neglected and abandoned children of Jos, Nigeria.
As I reflect back on my time in Nigeria, I am reminded of my first glimpse of the country as the plane descended below the line of gray clouds. I was struck by the beauty that lay before me in the splashes of green vegetation amidst the sea of red dirt and rock. This first glimpse of the country stuck with me and came to represent a constant theme that was evident everywhere I looked.
It is a theme of beauty in the midst of hardship, joy in the midst of poverty, blessing in the midst of pain. It is the goodness and provision of the Lord shining through to bring hope to our broken world. It is this hope that I had the privilege of witnessing at the village church each Sunday. It is this hope that is evident in the lives of the people who offer their lives to fight for the cause of the orphan child. And it is this hope that will ultimately bring healing and restoration to children in Jos, Nigeria.