In one of the most rousing ministry celebrations seen in recent memory in the Iowa Annual Conference, a great dancing processing brought offerings to celebrate the twenty-five years of the Iowa Nigeria Partnership (INP).
“Partners in projects and friends” gave praise for what Bishop Trimble called “one of the longest running partnerships in the church.”
In 1989 four Iowans traveled to Nigeria in response to the invitation of the Great Commission. According to Beverly Nolte, “Our goals were to help the church receive full conference status, to develop leaders for the rapidly growing membership and help expand areas of ministry.” During the last quarter century “Unreached groups of Muslims, Tuaregs, and Fulanis, displaced by the encroaching desert, are being reached through ministries of education, health care, literacy programs and work with youth and women. Iowans have been there all the way.”
The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership has been a covenant agreement destined “to share in mission and ministry, fulfilling the scripture to ‘Go into all the world.’”
Adams Davidson, one of three Nigerian students studying in Iowa, thanked the Conference and spoke about the difference the INP collaboration has made, from wells, to a computer center, to medical care, to education. In addition to Adams, Paul Johnson is at Morningside College and Ishaya David is at Simpson College.
Continuing the saga, Beverly Nolte recalled, “The Lord led the way in this partnership as we looked, listened, and learned one from the other. “
The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership will refocus in the future. New directions include making the Banyam Theological Seminary in Bambur one of the leading theological institutions in Africa, developing Iowa church to Nigeria village partnerships, and continuing the village wells program to provide living water in villages for God’s people.
People who had hosted a Nigerian speaker in a church, financially supported the INP, sponsored individuals to travel to Nigeria, or prepared Ingathering kits were invited to stand, along with people from the former Dubuque, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Creston, and Ottumwa districts who sponsored schools and made educational opportunities available to Nigerian students at Africa University.
The rich history and future ministries of Iowa and Nigeria United Methodists were presented in a moving video, created by Chris Congdon. Click here to see the video
Click here to see a photo gallery
Click here to see the special offering procession