From the Superintendent's DESK
On Monday, I returned to Nigeria and attended an afternoon presentation and evening service at the Jabi church, which is the headquarters location for the twenty-nine churches in our Abuja district.
The presentation was a report of the work in our northern Nigeria districts of Abuja, Jos, Kogi, and Niger, where we have eighty-two churches in total. It highlighted construction projects taking place at various locations as well as listed the challenges being faced by our congregations. In one location, for example, the church was destroyed by the terrorist organization Boko Haram, and is now being refurbished while another is built on the same site. Many of our congregations in these districts are subject to persecution, poor economic conditions, and discriminating government policies.
The evening service began with a children’s program. The children marched into the sanctuary in beautiful native dress, singing in the Hausa language, “Ranka yedade, Yesu; Kai ne sarki, Yesu,” meaning, “Dear Jesus, Thou art the King, Jesus.” They formed a choir on the platform and then led the congregation in singing Nigeria’s national anthem, “Arise, Oh Compatriots.” Several recited memory verses, and then they sang two more songs. The first was “Jehovah Nissi” in the Igbo language, and the second was “Iyin Rere Jesu Kristi Yio Matan” in Yoruba, which translates as “The Praise of Jesus Christ will Continue.” At the close, they marched out again singing “Send the Light.”
The service continued with the orchestra playing “Ciribiribin.” Then the choir sang “My Father’s House,” accompanied by the brass and featuring soloists singing verses in Efik. A male choir also featured soloists as they sang “Send a Revival.” The congregational singing and prayer followed, with the saints showing great enthusiasm.
The announcements were made by the pastor, Dealyn George, who also oversees the Abuja District. He introduced our delegation of Bayo Adineran, the WECA District Superintendent; James Olaleye, the WECA Director of Administration; Isaac Adigun, the Western Europe District Superintendent; and me. Then the congregation of about five hundred stood and said, “You are welcome, sirs.” I in turn, extended greetings from Portland.
Before the message, the choir sang “Let the Fire Fall.” Then the sermon focused on the passages from 2 Samuel 9:1 and 13 which are about David keeping his promise to Jonathan by showing kindness to his son, Mephibosheth. The altars quickly filled afterward, and there was a good time of prayer.
On Tuesday morning our delegation went to the Kubwa church for a service. We were met outside the building by a large group of smiling saints waving American and Nigerian flags and singing as a brass band played. A red carpet had been rolled out, and children lined either side also waving flags and singing “You are welcome in the Name of the Lord.” A young girl presented flowers, and then the band led the way into the building with the children following shortly to present a program titled “Let’s Be Happy.”
The service was attended by about three hundred, and began with a choir prelude of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Again, during the congregational singing and prayer, the saints were joyously enthusiastic. During the announcements it was brought out that this service was somewhat of a celebration to acknowledge how God prevented the destruction of the church building. The account was given of how on the day the bulldozer was coming to prepare the land for a development mandated by the state, God miraculously intervened at the last minute. Not only was the church spared, but additional land was given to us, expanding the boundaries at this Abuja location as well as another.
The service continued with a short message and prayer. Then we received a tour of the grounds before being sent off by the saints again waving flags and singing.
Today, I am heading home. This has been a good trip, and I expect to be back in Portland soon.