Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Call

I posted earlier on (today), but I'll be absent from blogger for another long while. This time, my Sis’ fast-approaching wedding (March 1st) is the happy reason. I thought I might as well blog about what’s on my mind while I have the chance, therefore.

Two weeks ago, I was at a video production workshop hosted by Media Village, the video production wing of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and it-was-amazing!!
"Using the media as a tool for nation-building," was the slogan. And I'll say it again: it was amazing.
I was so inspired by the twenty plus super-creative Christians who attended. The trainers/facilitators were so good. We learned the basics of pre-production (script-writing, target audience determination, structure, creative hooks, lighting, sound...) At the week's end, we were to produce a 3-minute video on anything we fancied. My group did a video on having HIV and still living a successful life; I was surprised and shamed to discover that I didn't think HIV+ people really had that chance. "What the media projects is what the people see," one of my teammates said. That is so true. Other groups worked on food (Indomie Vegetale), Pre-Marital Sex, and the dangers of Goskolo (aka. Ogogoro, or Monkey Tail, I think. It's sha a corrrosive drink that people get drunk with).I felt like I was flying when our beautiful, amazing director told me I belonged in the field. (Halla-luyah! This girl is Useful at last!) But with all the joy welling up within me, there was CONFUSION (and a lot of fear, if I'm to document all the emotions I experienced).

Why? Because...
There I was, fresh out of the department of Chem. Eng., FUT Minna, hoping to learn more about it, and eventually fall in love with, and practice it (“like it, love it, don’t leave it” as dc Talk would say) and then video production came along… and Iswept me off my feet one time! The creativity flying in the air. The people. The work that seems so unlike work... the promise of an exciting life after all. I felt so happy. I belonged! (triumphant music still plays in my head as I reollect the events of that week).

I began to think, “What duz this mean? That my 5 plus years in Uni. is a waste?? Or that I shouldn't have studied so hard to get the grades?? Or that I was being tempted/side-tracked by an impossible thing? A dream that was just not meant for me?? That I was about to risk my parents' disapproval?? ("So because you spent just one week in a glamorous field you are ready to throw away your hard work?")
So I asked the professionals and got different answers. Some said I could practice the two, but only for a time, as both are big, time-loving fields (and when husband and children would come along...); others said lai-lai I could only do one (thou shalt not serve two masters), and others said I really could do the two always, but I needed to be hard-working and smart about it. Hard wroking? No problem. Smart? Hmmm. But one thing every side was unanimous about was my need for prayer.

So has the answer come?

I think so. When I travelled to Minna to do my clearance, I stayed with the warmest, kindest family ever (Navigators who train University students to "know Christ and make Him known;" to "add value to someone's life". Their Bible Studies, retreats, picnics, meals were so meticulously thought-out and they really had us thinking, What kind of people are these? How can they be SO nice to us?! I have met amazing people in this life O!). They have an admirable collection of booooks! I could never be bored in their house. Anywayz, in one of my chatty/non-timid moods, one of the trainees, (a Friend-For-Life candidate, I once wrote in my journal) and I were going through the books. He then recommended Os Guinness' book.

"The Call of Guinness?" IU asked, looking at him suspiciously. "You want me to read a book on beer?!"
"No, " he said, laughing. "The Call... by Os Guinness. Not of"
"It's very intellectual," he said
"Ah! No thank you" I laughed. "I'm interested in books on interpersonal relationships... like books on effective witnessing."
We bantered along those lines, and I eventually took 2 books off the shelf- one on witnessing and the intellectual one: The Call. (Later on I added one more book -on marriage- and proceeded to speed-read them). I loved The Call most. If you're experiencing a similar conflict, please get that book! I could paraphrase the section in which he dealt with the Work vs. Calling issue, but he said it so well:

“…There was no advertised job that was perfect for Paul’s calling: ‘Apostle to the Gentiles: $50,000 per annum.’ So Paul, not wishing to depend on wealthy Corinthian patrons, earned money by making tents. Doubtless he made his tents well because they too were made to the glory of God. But tentmaking was never the heart of Paul’s calling, it was only a part, as all of life is… [Work is something] that frees us to get that which is central. By contrast, whatever is the heart of our calling is work that fulfils us because it employs our deepest gifts."

"The difference is impossible to mistake. Goerge Foreman, flamboyant heavyweight champion of the world and a Baptist preacher (odd…) says, ‘Preaching is my calling. Boxing for me is only moonlighting in the same way Paul made tents.’”

“THE CALL: Finding and fulfilling the central purpose of your life”
Os Guinness

I think I get the message. God, please help me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


“Our bodies are always, necessarily down to earth. They and their comportment are not completely under our control. We try to present them with appropriate dignity, but we cannot be human and always be graceful… On such occasions we do best to cultivate an affectionate sense of humour, of the sort signaled in St. Francis’ playful address of his body as “Brother Ass”. I do not know if angels have (or need) the capacity to laugh at themselves, but holy people must…”
An except from Rodney Clapp’s ‘Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, Not Angels’
I read this book (with its strange title) a few months ago, and since I'm the type of person that always finds herself in one embarrassing situation or the other, I found it very refreshing. Nowadays I tend to laugh over such experiences with people, esp. when they are having a bad day, so if today's your bad day, relax and read about one of my recurring 'body betrayals': The Public Battle With Sleeeeep.

I came to the conclusion that night-reading and any other night-time activity was not for me a long, long time ago. This did not stop me from trying, though. In the end, I think it was the collective experiences I had that showed me the light. These are a few that I can remember off the cuff, I think they say:

JS2: In the Classroom-
Prefect walks into class all good and angry, warning the naughty JS2 students about the hazards of gossiping, making noise in class, and generally being unserious:

“In fact, wake anybody that is sleeping!”

The terrified students whisper to their sleeping mates loudly, ‘Wake up! Senior Nat. said you should wake up!’ The loud whispers rouse all from slumber, except one. The girl sitting in front of the sleeping girl whispers louder. Nothing. She whispers louder still. Ahaps! You might as well be speaking pidgin to a stone.

Students seated next to her begin to whisper to the sleeping girl too- they don’t want to be punished for one girl’s misbehaviour- the prefect might be thinking that the girl is being rude. This equates to an even angrier prefect, which is equal to general punishment. Soon, the whole class is calling the girl’s name loudly. Nothing still. A-ah! Is there such a thing as the Spirit of Sleep? The girl in front now bangs on the girl’s table hard several times before Sleeping Junior puts up her head and attempts to hide the fact that she has been dozing by adopting the irritated I-was-praying attitude. The general class laughter INCLUDING the Prefect’s tells her that that trick is useless. Oh well, at least she tried.

JS2 still: In the Chapel-

“Whaaat?! Sleeping in the Chapel? You have no respect for God!”
“I was not sleeping!”
“Keep quiet! People saw you!”
Yes, people did. It would have been surprising otherwise, as I had slumped on the pew I was sitting on, resting my head on the back support. Funny thing was I didn’t think I was really asleep. I was hearing one or two things the Revivalist was saying. Didn’t that mean something? Obviously not. Sleeping ranked a little lower than making noise in Chapel, so I missed my classes the following day. I got a large portion of rubber grass to cut instead.

JS3: And the Place Went Silent…
“Pavement” in the girls’ dormitory was the No.1 reading spot. It was free from rats, and the cool Jos breeze kept one awake longer. When that didn’t help, a steady supply of gogo worked wonders. (Gogo = Gossip). It was JSC Examination time, and Intro. Tech was fast approaching, so we all gathered our buckets and pillows and assembled on Pavement, about 6 feet from the ground on one side, 3 feet on the other. I was facing the 6 ft. side, and this alone should have scared me, but I was drunk with sleep. I decided to give myself a 10 minute doze-break right there. Big, stupid mistake… I will forever have the scar on my upper lip.

I landed on the concrete with a big 80kg thud, and the strange thing was that I was still asleep (according to people). The girls were so stunned; some began to laugh… until I stood up.


When they began to jump down so fast I was surprised. What? I was vaguely conscious of the distinct taste and smell of blood… kind of magnetic, numb. Odd.

“Heiii! See her mouth!” one of them wailed.
What’s wrong with my mouth?!
Something, definitely. Some said they could see my teeth through the deep slit; some said the amount of blood was horrifying. Call me morbid, but I wanted to see for myself. They didn’t permit me to look at the mirror; I was sent to bed instead. Needless to say, I would be the topic of the gogo that night.

I was taken to the school nurse, she gave me injections. My mouth was so swollen I resembled a lasar rat. I got funny stares everytime. “Stop looking at my mouth!” I was always joking. I stopped eating in the dining hall. I was always asked what happened by staff and student alike. It was two weeks of drooling while sleeping and eating with the tiniest of spoons. (But all of the events that happened to the Queen of Embarrassing, are they not written in the Book of Replessness?)

SS3: You Would Have Thought…
I had just smiled at my longtime Crush. He smiled back, and I was so satisfied. I proceeded to wave to my other classmates as we parted ways that satisfying Wednesday evening. Life was good.
We had gathered for the weekly prayer meeting, and the speaker was one of my favorites, a tough, extremely talented Technical Drawing teacher. He was sure his students had water in their brains, but he was still a decent matter-of-fact man. He always went straight to the point – “I wonder whether we think the Gospel is too simple for us, that we have to add our own rules…” I still remember him saying.

As my Crush and I went in opposite directions, he to the boys’ side and I to the girls’ as the Chapel seating arrangement dictated, I felt that the prayer meeting was going to be inspiring. I noted that a good number of junior boys were seated on the last two rows of our side. (This was only tolerated because there was no space on the boys’ side). I and three of my fellow prefect girls decided to join them. They created space for us with so much reverence. I like that, Dictator Me thought. Time elapsed. TD teacher was still expounding. I got “sleepier and sleepier”. I put my head on my lap and snoozed. A sterling example of prefectship indeed. I must have gone into REM sleep, cuz the next thing I knew was I was sliding off the pew in terribly slow motion- I couldn’t help it. My head connected to the floor, kwos. Imagine a Muslim prayer stance- head on the ground, rear-end up.

Not again.

My fellow prefect girls gasped. Humiliation filled me fast. The junior boys giggled, then broke into full-blown laughter. Girls in front wondered what was wrong. They turned. Story was broadcast terribly fast. Boys - on the other side of the aisle – turned. My fellow prefect boys came over to see what the commotion was all about. Commotion in God’s House. They too, heard. My Crush. He too heard. He came over.

The humiliation was complete.

“What happened?” a pref. boy asked, concerned.
“I don’t know…” I managed. The little dignity I had left forbade me to run out of the Chapel. I turned to the boys and told them not to laugh mock-seriously. I then shrugged in what I hoped was a nonchalant manner.
During the closing worship song, one of my mates sitting many rows ahead came to me and whispered in my ear, “shey you know you have burnt your rep?” Yes, I know. Reputation was everything, and I mine was burnt to a crisp.

The next day, one of my teachers called me aside and asked me, “Were you so tired?” “How did you know?” I asked, horrified.
“I always know,” he replied, eyes twinkling. He walked away, leaving me glued to the spot. A repless prefect. Who would have thought?

University: 200 Level- NOT Eye Candy

“Wake up, let’s go and read now,” my friend and room mate pleaded. We had planned to read in the Lecture Hall that evening, as there was no light in our room. I decided to get some sound sleep before then (I was tired of the jolt of fear that coursed through me whenever I felt my head had bobbed off dolo-style in the Hall).

I groggily put on my clothes and we were off. We walked to the hall in silence. She was looking around for any available space when she noticed that the guys sitting by the door- about five of them- had stopped talking and had started staring at me… strangely. And more people were turning to stare. I was unaware, being somewhat irritable still. I was just standing at the door, waiting.

Well she turned to look too, and it was at this point that she understood. She gracefully walked back to me and whispered in my ear with the trace of laughter in her voice, “I want to tell you something. Outside.”
I humbly followed her out without a word.
“Oh I’m so sorry,” she began, erupting in kind laughter now.
“What?” I asked.
“You wore your shirt inside out”
“Oh,” I said. Is that all? It wasn’t a big deal.
Only that I was comic-relief to people in the hall that evening, standing morosely, with a shirt that had shoulder pads sticking out oddly, and hair that needed some combing. It just wansn’t... gangsta. Yes. I did it again.

So here I am, undisputed winner in the Most Embarrassing award category.
Signing out for now.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Long Time...

I'm currently at school, doing my clearance.
The past two weeks has been a-ma-zing! I think I can say with confidence that my life has FINALLy begun!
Happy details in a few days.