We were not able to post from Nigeria as we had planned. This is an update that I wrote while there. Please scroll down for additional updates or see a list of Recent Posts to the left.
Ditto on the night just past. No sleep to speak of at all.
We went again today for lunch at Chicken Republic. It is very close to here and we have eaten lunch there several times. Bro. Shobanke took us there for the first time in 2009.
They have very good roasted chicken, rice and French fries or as they call them here, chips. They have added fried chicken to the menu but we have not tried it.
The roasted chicken has a great flavor but it is very expensive to the average person in Nigeria. It cost about $32 for the four of us to eat.
Today they were playing Christmas music and had Santa in the back room. I tried to get Bro. Lockwood to have his picture taken with him but he would not go along.
It is kind of strange to hear Jingle Bells and see Santa hats when it is 90+ degrees with soaring humidity. I suppose we will have snow and cold soon enough but not here!
We did get a breeze during service last night. That was refreshing. It was overcast and very humid but during the worship service the breeze began to blow. I raised my hands toward heaven and praised God for it from the bottom of my heart.
We are such wimps. We are used to abundant clean water when we need it, dependable electricity, personal transportation and so many other comforts. Yes, I am thankful for them all and not willing to give them up.
But so much of the world gets by with so little. Most of the people attending the meeting out in the country at the new branch church must walk and take taxis to get there and to get home.
It is a huge effort for them to go to the meeting yet they do it with no complaint. Old and young walk on the crowded streets trying to flag down an available taxi. Many climb onto small motorcycle taxis at the risk of their lives.
Many were crowded in the back of a big 2-ton type truck with a stake bed. Very, very few ride to church in a personal car.
Yet they come. They come to worship. They come to support the work of God. They come to see Bro. Shobanke's vision come alive. They come see souls added to the kingdom of God.
And I have no doubt God blesses them for it!
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
After church they retrace their steps back home. We try to be finished shortly after 7:00 to make it easier for them to find transportation home. But it is dark and I am sure it is late before some of them make it home.
The young begin tearing down all of the equipment as soon as service is completed. The sound system, chairs, generators and even the lights must be taken down and secured. Some of it must be carried home.
It reminds me of the work of tent revival. Except their work is on a much larger scale. It is amazing the effort and dedication that goes into this three day Gospel Crusade.
It would be much easier to do all of this at the central church in Abeokuta. It would be easier for the workers. It would be easier for those attending. The crowds would be larger because the city is there to draw from.
But with great effort they take it all out to the country. One year ago that parcel of ground was nothing but bush. Now there is an uncompleted building and hope. Friend, hope is a powerful thing!
The first members are being saved this week. Soon there will be a thriving church there because of their hard work and God's grace. It is wonderful to behold the work that God is doing!
They work so hard and they sacrifice so much. Yet they truly believe that I am the one making the sacrifice. They believe we are making the greater effort in coming to them. I am weeping now as I consider their words and sentiments. They are absolutely sincere in what they say.
But Kelly Jo and I know the truth. These precious folks are the ones who sacrifice. These precious saints pay the price. They deserve the credit before God. What we do there is almost nothing in comparison. It will never be more than our reasonable service and possibly not even that.
It is a great privilege to preach to these people. I am sure that I can not express that properly.
As men and women were getting saved last night I lifted my hands and looked into the black sky and thanked God for bringing me to Africa to preach the Gospel. It is and absolute privilege to be here and to preach in Nigeria.
What an amazing blessing it is to be here. The water shuts off, the generator runs out of diesel, the air conditioning quits, I can not sleep and I am 6000 miles from home.
But who cares? None of that is sacrifice! I am in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, West Africa preaching the everlasting Gospel. I say it again. What an amazing blessing it is to be here.
Another great service tonight to close out the Gospel Crusade. I do not have a total count in how many were saved but several more were added tonight. Praise God.
In fact, enough were saved in the Crusade to create a problem.
The new building is not complete yet. They would like to at least add windows, doors, and bars for the windows before they begin having services.
However, enough were saved that they need to have services right way. They have no idea what they will do for chairs or how they will secure everything but they decided to start having church this Sunday.
That is an awesome problem to have and we give God all of the glory.
Thank you to all who have prayed for the services so far. It is amazing to watch the Lord work.
God loves people and offers His love to them in an incredible way. He demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!
Wow! It is fun to watch people understand that for the first time. When they realize they can not save themselves but God can and will. It is wonderful!
We passed out candy to the children right before I preached. That is always fun.
Twilight does not last but just a very few minutes in Nigeria but it sure is beautiful.
I asked Bro. Shobanke how much the chairs would cost and they came back with a price of 1,200 Naira or about $7.64 each. We gave $460 and that purchased 60 chairs for the new church. They brought the new chairs to the ministers conference and we dedicated the chairs to God's service.
It is amazing to me that early this year God moved on individuals and churches to buy chairs for use in our tent revivals including a young lady here in Waynesville, Ohio that was newly saved. She sent $50 to buy five tent revival chairs so people could sit on those chairs, hear the gospel and be saved. One couple gave $500 and others gave as they were led.
This provided an opportunity to pay that forward. 60 chairs for folks to sit on and hear the gospel and be saved. Also Bro. Lockwood and I split the cost to partially finish an office in the new church so that the chairs and other equipment will be secure. We purchased windows, bars for the windows, steel doors, plaster to finish the walls and paid for the labor as well.
They had service that next Sunday and 46 people attended. 27 of those that attended the first Sunday were new converts from the crusade! That is wonderful and we have been praising God for it. They had 35 hungry people there the following Tuesday for their first Bible Study. Glory!
Can you tell I am just a little bit excited? It is amazing that God allowed us to watch Him birth a church right before our eyes. Believe me, I am not the only one excited. Pastor Shobanke could hardly contain himself. He was in wonder at all of the things God brought together from all different directions to bring this miracle to pass. Praise God for His mighty acts.