Friday, August 20, 2004

The Surprise

Thanks to my wonderful wife Laura (a.k.a."The Wife"), I made my first trip ever to Nigeria in May of this year (2004) and spent two weeks meeting and getting to know my father, and brothers and sisters in person.

As many who know me already know, I had originally been planning for over a year on a trip to meet my Nigerian family in December 2003. That trip got derailed due to some unexpected financial circumstances. This past Christmas, when my wife saw my disappointment of having to postpone the trip for another year, she sprang into action.

Unknown to me, she began putting together the most wonderful surprise that I could ever imagine. For four months she had been in contact with all of our family, friends, my business associates, members of our church, and our neighbors.

In what I thought was a stack of late Christmas letters we were sending out, she had actually stuffed the envelopes with invitations to surprise birthday party in honor of my 40th birthday (04/04/04). She also gave everyone the option of chipping in on a gift- round trip airfare to Nigeria to go and meet my father and family for the first time.

Almost 140 people responded with cards and small monetary gifts to be put towards my airfare. On April 4- Palm Sunday- with the help of my mom (Juanita) and my birth mother (Kathy), who both were in town for my birthday, I was tricked into going back to our church after brunch for what I thought was to be a youth bake sale.

However, when we went into the church and down to the room where the bake sale was supposed to be, instead I walked into a room of about 100 people who began to sing "Happy Birthday!" It was a wonderful surprise, but what came next left me speechless.

My wife had written a small play for me to "act out" in which I presented myself a gift that all of my friends and family had purchased for me- round trip tickets to Nigeria for a two week trip to meet my father and six brothers and sisters for the first time.

It was the most amazing surprise of my life. I left on May 13th, flew to Amsterdam where I transfered for the flight to Lagos. I met two of my sisters and their husbands at the Lagos airport and from there, traveled to the village of Aboh Orlu, Imo State to meet my father and the rest of my family.

It was truly the most amazing and wonderful trip of my life- and there is so much more to tell. I will be updating this site as I begin to sort through all the pictures. If you would like to be on our email list to hear more about this story, please email me, and I will put you on Laura's update list or just keep coming back to this site

Also, I am in the process of putting together a multi-media presentation about my trip and story for a special event on September 25th, 2004, and I will definitely send everyone on the email list an invitation.

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