Friday, May 20, 2011

Exciting News: Going to Nigeria ... again!

While Derrill was in Nigeria this week, he confirmed to the president of the American University of Nigeria that he would be coming to work there for the next three years. We have a job to look forward to!

"In Nigeria," says Joy obviously. "So we're moving there."

I was impressed while I was there with the friendliness of the people, how eager my colleagues were to have me there, and the real opportunity to do some good in the world.

We have been quite coy about all this online up til now. We didn't want to jinx anything by sharing too many opinions publicly online before a deal had been made. Up until the decision was reached (D hadn't finalized it fully in his own mind until Sunday night and told the president on Monday) we had been in contact will several other possible universities, each interesting in their own way.

Even though we have been silent online, "we have been thinking and praying about this decision for a long time." It's a pretty big step for us, and not one I think we had predicted going into this job market. But we now feel it's the right step for us now and are looking forward to it.

Baby Lavinia appears to be very excited to share about Nigeria. She's jumping all over inside Mommy.

"I have been feeling like we might end up going to Nigeria since before Derrill went to Nebraska in March. I had told Derrill that Nebraska or Nigeria sounded like the most likely for doing the kind of teaching he is interested in doing right now. Then Nebraska fell through pretty quickly."

Each additional school that contacted me for an interview really disturbed Joy, who wanted the uncertainty ended. "Ya! I kept feeling like we were going to go to Nigeria, and then I would be really stressed about Nigeria for a few days, and then I would feel peace about Nigeria, and then I would feel stress about it again. That's what I did for the last two months."

People have asked us if we're excited. My typical response was that, yes, that was one reaction we had. Fear was another. There were many others. Several of our concerns had to do with the fact that we will be the only members of the Church in Yola. Even if Nigeria is prone to civil disobedience and conflict, the conflict is in other states of the country: Adamawa state where we would be is very peaceful traditionally and calm.

Now that I have been there, however, I can just say "yes." I'm excited. The overwhelming answer from the Spirit as we've prayed about the decision has been peace, and not just general warm fuzzies, but specific reassurances about specific concerns. After all, anywhere you go there will be challenges. If God wants you to learn something, like patience, He can accomplish that in NYC just as well as Nigeria.

"Oh, I don't want to live in NYC! Sorry, but Nigeria doesn't sound too bad compared to NYC. Apologies to anyone who lives there. I am not a city person. Nothing personal. I wouldn't want to live in Lagos either..."

"Especially since Derrill made the decision, we have had continual peace instead of just moments of peace. Satan seems to be a little concerned about us going. I was in a lot of turmoil the few days before we made the final decision, to which I attribute Satan trying to sway me against the decision."

"Some of the reactions we've gotten from people as we talked about this have only reached the fear part. And some people have been very excited for us and talk about what an adventure it will be. We feel the weight of all of it and know that Heavenly Father will help us to overcome any challenges in getting or being there -- known or unknown -- as we know we'd have challenges anywhere we are in the world. With God, nothing is impossible."

Yola is way on the far east on the river that runs into Cameroon. Lagos is in the far southwest. Nigeria is 2.5 times as large as California. There is an LDS temple in the south east near Port Harcourt.

This is a picture of the inner court of the faculty building where I will be working. I'll be on the second floor.

The family I was staying with kept asking me how I was in my decision process after each trek to see something on my list -- housing, shopping, the town, the school, etc. Every time they asked, I had been feeling just a touch overwhelmed. I answered I was still in information gathering mode and needed some time to process. Once I wrote my thoughts down to share them with Joy -- assuming the internet connection would work -- I felt a lot better.

It's not necessarily going to be easy. That's not the point. Knowing a lot more about some of the specific challenges involved, I'm confident we can deal with them and find a lot of happiness there in Yola.

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