The blessing of visitors

The Rowbory/Nigeria Family Blog

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The blessing of visitors

Soon after we returned from the UK in October, we had Katie from Glasgow stay with us for a couple of weeks as she helped introduce the Mark Drama to our colleagues. She was obviously busy with the Mark Drama, but we loved having her stay with us, and she got to meet a huge range of our colleagues involved in translation, linguistics, literacy, arts and encouraging people to use the scriptures well. If you’re around Glasgow and know Katie, do ask her more about it.

After our biggest yet annual conference finished, and Katie left, American and Nigerian colleagues Christina and Bernard got married and we hosted their friend Lily from America who had visited in 2022. Our Canadian colleague Jono came and stayed with us for a couple of weeks too in November and then again in January while he was working with the Nyankpa team in Jos, and brought us some nice chocolate chips and other Canadian goodies. Our Dutch colleague Janneke who works in literacy far to the west of us stayed with us before and after Christmas too, with Elizabeth kindly giving up her room to be guest room 3 when the house was rather full.

But then over Christmas we had the great excitement of having Rebekah visit us, accompanied by Ailsa from Glasgow. It was Ailsa’s first time to Nigeria, but she had visited the Rowbory family in Uganda during a turbulent time in the mid-1980s, and we’re glad to say everything stayed more peaceful for us in 2023/2024. Again, Ailsa met a lot of our colleagues and friends, hearing their stories and how different people had come to follow Jesus. She was intrigued to be called (very respectably) ‘Grandma’ by many she met, and if you get a chance to talk to Ailsa she’s bound to have much she could tell you from her visit. (She was quite badly sick in hospital a week or so after returning to Glasgow, but she’s doing much better now and met a whole load of Nigerian nurses and the occasional doctor in hospitals. They in turn were fascinated to hear of her impressions of Nigeria.)

It was great having Rebekah back with us and the house became a lot livelier and louder over Christmas as sisters caught up together again. Rebekah got to hang out with friends here, and we thank God that the flights, baggage, visas and immigration control worked out OK.

No sooner had Rebekah and Ailsa left than we had Jono back again from Canada for a couple of weeks and Sarah, a recent graduate from Cambridge, came for two months. She threw herself into lots of different aspects of our Bible translation and discipleship ministry and accompanied me and others on trips around different projects and villages, getting a taste of some of the range of things we do. Helen, Abigail and Elizabeth have definitely enjoyed borrowing a replacement bigger sister and we’ve had a lot of fun together. As a British-born and Europe-raised Nigerian she had visited relatives in Lagos before but spending time in rural settings and in the north of Nigeria has all been new.

Finally in the last 2 weeks we’ve had a chance to host our former neighbour, Matthew, based in Liverpool with his family since 2019. He’s visiting to help with more linguistic research for exciting new translation projects. We would love it if the whole family could come back and stay next door again, but in the meantime it’s great to catch up a little with him, and benefit from his wisdom and years of experience teaching and working with Nigerian languages.

We look forward to more visitors coming by, and we’ve been truly enriched by all these colleagues and friends staying with us. There’s always so much to talk, think and pray together about.

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