Key of Medicine
I have just returned from a unique Nigerian Outreach. I was met with many challenges, changes and ‘this can only be God' triumphs. It began with my Visa being denied immediately after submitting it. The reason: the recent violence in Jos, one of the main cities I would be visiting during my time in-country. I was informed that if my host would write another invitation letter stating that the program we were planning on participating in was still scheduled they would reconsider my application. So after some frantic text messaging and emails back and forth to the brethren in Nigeria, I re-submitted my Visa and by the grace of God it was approved!! Then I got off early the Thursday before I was scheduled to leave that Sunday to go and pick up my Visa. This again God's providence because on Friday it snowed in Atlanta which means everything shuts down. So if I had waited until Friday, even though approved, I would not have been able to pick it up.
The flights to Nigeria were without incident and once in country the police/ military presence was noticeably increased on the roads, especially as we got closer to Jos. However, there was no obvious tension or feeling of such on my part or in my spirit. I thought that the presence of the military was a good thing, but my hosts stated that they were still around because rumors abounded of renewed violence. If they left, it would mean that peace had been established among both the Christian and Muslim communities. My hosts were also markedly different in their attitudes and actions regarding my movements and safety. They refused to let me go out of the compound into town without a Nigerian escort and even stated that they considered hiring armed policemen to accompany me to Maiduguri. This truly is different from any other time I have been there when trouble has been brewing.
As a result of the crisis, Jos was under a 6PM - 6AM curfew. This meant that the P&M Conference was limited with the evening sessions running from 2-4PM preventing many who would normally have come after work to not be able to do so. So the crowds were down but God was still in attendance and ministered through all of the speakers imparting to our hearts on the theme of ‘Stepping into Kingdom Influence'. Though every speaker had been given different topics on the theme, we all were in unity of thought even using the same Biblical illustrations in some instances. Praise God!
The tension in Jos spilt over to Maiduguri as well. When I got there, I was informed that the program I had been scheduled to participate in would not be held. This was because the Christians were keeping a "low profile" since the flare up in Jos to try and prevent any provocation of the Muslims in Maiduguri. Again, there had been rumors of possible violence against the Christians so they were limiting their meetings to normal service times and foregoing the extra programs. Could it happen here? A time when we would be cautious, even fearful of attending church for fear of being attacked and brutalized or even murdered because of our faith and believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God and desire to worship Him?
Salvation in the Bush!!
The ministry to the bush was also unique this trip. First of all, we had a tremendous service the first Sunday I was in Maiduguri. The team all shared testimonies or brief words of exhortations. The ladies blessed us as well with several songs of praise and worship. I rounded up with a brief sermon and altar call to which one man responded. He stated that although he had been in the fellowship from the outset, he had never been saved and he wanted to ask Jesus into his life to be his savior! Praise God!. Two other gentlemen also came forward for prayer for deliverance from habits and addictions. Amen! The clinics however were shortened to only 3 days as I developed some kind of bug that had me feeling dizzy and lightheaded. After the second day of this, I remained behind as the team went to work, thinking maybe it was because of the heat. It was only 41 degrees. That's Celsius which translates to about 105F. Hot! However, I still had the same symptoms, so I cut the clinics short and returned to Jos a few days early.
Since my visit in November last year there have been some new developments regarding the land. Apparently, the area chief who had been in favor of the project offended enough people and they had him replaced with another chief who reportedly is not in favor. I was unable to meet with the new chief because of the aborted outreach, but I am hoping that our team leader will make contact with him in the near future. Also, the village chief who has been favorable to the Christians as well as the project for the clinic is reportedly being replaced not just because of his favor to the Christians but more because of his dishonest dealings with the villagers in general. So again, we need to pray for God's grace and favor as we establish contact with these new chiefs.
Outstanding Budget Needs
Your Servants In Christ,
Larry - Sarah
Feb '10 Photos, Page-1