I feel like I’m always writing about time. The date on my website indicates that may previous update was posted around Christmas Eve of last year. Adults seem to compute time at a much faster rate than children. I read an article once that explained this phenomenon as the result of the brain becoming more efficient at processing new input and thus causing the perception that time is accelerating. My brain must have become quite efficient because it’s been nearly three years since I left Niger in October of 2015, and that seriously feels like yesterday. Have you ever surfed social media and found the picture of a friend you hadn’t seen in a while and thought with pity: Wow, what has time done to them? I did that recently, but I was looking in a mirror.
I have been rather cryptic in many of my posts here for various reasons. One reason is that people have strong opinions about certain topics, and one of those galvanizing topics is parenting. Anyway, I have been a foster parent for about a year-and-a-half now, and I’ve had custody of fourteen boys for various lengths of time. I’ve begun to dream about toilet paper and carrot sticks; I’ve also become impervious to Lego puncture wounds.
In my previous update, I related that I wanted to be back in Niger in the summer, which is now last summer. However, shortly after that post, I took placement of a boy who came with the possibility of adoption. He was with me for about four months and ultimately decided that he didn’t want to move overseas. His presence in my life altered my time frame, so after he moved I decided that I could continue to take placements until the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Well, at long last, I think I have a few hard-and-fast details. The goal is to be back in Niger by the summer of 2019. That used to be rather distant in the future. It isn’t so distant anymore. The boy that I have now is interested in Africa and is an adoption possibility. However, if he eventually decides that Niger is not for him, he will finish the school year with me, be placed in a different home, and then I will move in the summer. In May, I met with the board of Friends of Faith, my sending entity, and they agreed again to provide covering so that my donors can receive tax credit. A pastor friend from Niger visited in the summer and expressed his desire that I teach at a Bible school with which he is affiliated. I also recently communicated with a Christian non-profit in Niger that would like me to work with them in the area of evangelism and outreach. Further, I continue to edit projects for Africa’s Hope, a wing of Assemblies of God World Missions.
An extra mouth to feed and the rising cost of utilities in Niger mean that I will need a bit more financial income than before. I have now begun to receive funds and have established an estimated budget at $1,700 per month. The finances received while I am still in the US will be used to build my account balance in order to pay for initial set-up expenses when I do travel to Niger. My balance currently is less than $1000. If you supported me in the past, I would ask that you consider reestablishing that support. After I left Niger, certain individuals and organizations graciously committed to restore their financial pledges whenever I was ready to return. As a result, I already have approximately $700 in promised monthly support. The majority of my support comes from individuals, and that has been the case for several years. One-time gifts are also very helpful, and your prayers are necessary as well. You can send your support to me in two ways, by check through the mail or through PayPal. Both of those avenues are explained in the give section of this website. You can go to the home page and click on either support Jeremy in the top right corner or click on give near the middle of the page. You do not need to have a PayPal account in order to give your support through the portal. However, if you do have a PayPal account, you can enable automatic payments to be taken monthly.
The first boy who lived with me, we’ll call him Tim, literally bounced off the walls. He was an older child but small for his age and took advantage of his diminutive stature by climbing on everything. He suspended himself above the apartment stairs, glided across the monkey bars in the park, and hid himself in the clothes hamper. I think top bunks were invented for him. Our first conversation took place with me standing in front of the sink and him standing on top of the dishwasher. One day, I stepped into the hall bathroom to check its cleanliness and noticed that the toilet bowl was… not empty. Tim walked in behind me and thought that he was about to be in trouble. This is what transpired.
He blurted out, “I didn’t do that.”
I said, “Tim, you and I are the only people who live here, and I have my own bathroom.”
“I didn’t do that.”
“You’re the only person who could have done that. You’re not in trouble. You just forgot to flush.”
“I didn’t do that.”
“Tim. So, a person came in from the street, snuck into our apartment, walked past the computer, entered your bathroom, pooped in your toilet, and left? Is that the story?
“I didn’t do that.”
It seems to me that we Christians frequently carry on discussions with God that bear a striking likeness to the above exchange. In Tim’s case, his unwillingness to confess to a simple oversight was born out of a gripping anxiety that had developed from his previous life experiences. He hadn’t been with me long enough to know that he had nothing to fear from me. Similarly, God doesn’t follow us around with a paddle awaiting our next blunder. The umbrella of grace is more of the patio variety than the cocktail kind. We can trust that God’s grace is able to handle the imperfections of our humanity. In the Bible, when a woman is caught in the sin of adultery, Jesus doesn’t condemn her to death, but he does tell her to go and sin no more. Sometimes, we are guilty, and God knows, but hiding didn’t help Adam and Eve either. As the last quarter of 2018 lies before us, forgive yourself, forgive others, forgive God, and try to sin no more.