Mission gifts en route to Nigeria

March 10, 2014

The 2014 shipment of mission gifts for Nigeria is loaded and on the way. 

Each year the Iowa Nigeria Partnership oversees the collection items such as robes, Bibles, hymnals, beds, examination tables and medical supplies for communities and schools in Nigeria. The sea containers that will travel for weeks across the ocean to Nigeria were also the final destination for the various InGathering kits assembled in churches throughout the Conference and delivered to Conference InGathering sites.

“The kits you prepare here in Iowa will get to Nigeria,” said Beverly Nolte, coordinator of the Iowa Nigeria Partnership.

Roughly a dozen or so people had a hand in loading the contents of two containers on Ash Wednesday, one of the many days this season when winter displayed its lasting grip on Iowa.

“Oh, my goodness, what a day today was!” Nolte said.  “We did it - Loaded two containers to go to Nigeria in six hours with a stiff wind and cold temperatures!”

“I know that the lifters and loaders are going to feel some muscles that ache,” she said. “Some feet and fingers will be cold but it's over, well done, and I have to say, thanks so very, very much.”

People from across the Conference assembled for two separate shifts, one for each container, at the site in Pleasant Hill on March 5. 

Des Moines, Ankeny, Altoona, Urbandale, Cedar Falls, Bloomfield, Akron, Van Meter, Osceola, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque were all represented.

“We couldn't have done it without all of you,” said Linda Rowe, from Bloomfield United Methodist Church. “Wish we had all of your help in Nigeria too when the temp will be about 80 degrees warmer!”

Donations came from throughout the Conference as well. 

“We loaded 504 boxes, items in the east container and 1021 boxes, items in the west container,” said Nolte. 

Loading of the first container commenced at 9 a.m.

“We completed the second container at 3 p.m.” she said. “It is quite an undertaking.”  

Each one of the loaders made a wonderful effort,” Nolte said. “And we have so many boxes neatly and carefully loaded on their way to Nigeria for use by the United Methodist Church there.”

“It’s a way to help people who are needy and to serve God,” said retired Rev. Dave Higdon, of Salem United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids.

Rev. Higdon traveled to Nigeria in the early 1990’s and taught school while there.

He assured those who donated items that they would be used well.

Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church is helping to build a medical clinic on the Banyam Seminary campus.

The church had developed a relationship with the seminary and was looking for other ways to help, said member Mark Fransdal.

Construction tools were the church’s donation, along with hands-on loading by Fransdal and Cedar Falls First UMC member Chris Congdon.

The Nigerian government has agreed to provide a medical worker once the clinic is built, a process that will take some time.

Fransdal has not forgotten his first trip to Nigeria a few years ago. 

“It was eye-opening,” he said. “I was amazed at about everything I saw.”

The difference in how everything functions in Nigeria is what still astounds him. A group from Cedar Falls First UMC will go to Nigeria in November of this year to help build the clinic.

“I can’t wait to go back and see it again,” said Fransdal.

Ron Turner, of Grandview United Methodist Church in Dubuque, has traveled to Nigeria more than once, installing water systems there.

“It’s a great time,” Turner said. “It’s a good experience. It’s a great blessing.”  

The containers are scheduled to arrive in Nigeria on April 27.  

For more information on the Iowa Nigeria Partnership, contact Beverly Nolte at 515.266.4186 or Beverly.nolte@gmail.com. 

Click HERE to view more photos of the Nigeria container loading.