Across the Atlantic Ocean and into Frankfurt, a second flight from Germany across the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert and into Abuja where the Iowa group of seven landed on June 12. After an overnight in Nigeria’s new capital, we boarded Med-View Airline for an hour flight to Yola then a three hour drive to Jalingo, headquarters of the UMC of Nigeria, and the church guesthouse where we fell into bed…exhausted.
Life starts early in Nigeria so with the crowing of the chickens and the barking of the dogs we were ready for church on Sunday morning. Linda Rowe and David Neill attended the rural Yogoribi UMC, Steve and Janet Williams were at the Jatutu Cathedral where Steve preached while Beverly Nolte, Mark Fransdal and Chris Congdon attend McBride UMC with an attendance of 500+ people. Sixty minutes only covers 1/3 of the jumpin’ and jivin’, spirit driven worship service!
With over 1000 boxes of 2014 InGathering kits, on Monday, June 15 we unloaded and distributed many of these kits as well as PET’s, 2 solar refrigerators and their hardware, medical equipment/supplies among other things.
For five days the group spent time with Banyam Theological Seminary faculty in Bambur. The Bay Guesthouse had been renovated with the addition of 2 new toilets, a new paint job, floor covering and a gazebo beside the house WITH solar lights! Amazing!!!! These dedicated young faculty (in their late 40’s and early 50’s) and their families serve the Lord as lecturers to a growing number of theological students. Yahuda Zailani returned with a Master’s Degree from Africa University and was greeted by his family and colleagues at BTS.
The plan was for the Iowans to help paint the new medical clinic…blue on the inside, beige on the outside with blue trim to match the blue roof. With the help of numerous Nigerians the paint job was done in 3 days! Several lent a hand to dig the septic tank area. The clinic committee has met with plans to open the clinic for business in September when classes start again. With a student population of about 250 persons along with staff, the clinic is most needed and necessary to provide health care to all.
A four hour (yes, 4 hours!!) worship/celebration service was held at Bambur #1 UMC on June 28 to commemorate the 25 year partnership. Five choirs presented their music to the beat of drums, rattles/shakers and other indigenous musical instruments and undulating swaying of the body. With two offerings, scripture, sermon, talks, recognitions, presentation of a wooden trophy-like gift to me for the Iowa Annual Conference members was all part of the service. The robe garbed choir members surrounded us as we left the church singing, “I will never leave you” a very touching end to a memorable experience!
High School education is extremely important to the UMC in Nigeria so that in the Central Conference there is a new comprehensive secondary school at Karim Lamido with classes and boarding students. In the North Conference the Ronald Wilmot Comprehensive Secondary School is being built with the expectation that it will open in September. It will have two 7th grade classes of 35 students each. The foundations for dorms have been laid which hopefully will be completed in time for the students. The government has mandated that all schools that have female boarding students must have a block perimeter fence for security purposes. The cost of such a fence can be as high as $35,000 USD.
There are many opportunities that we Iowans can grab to boast the educational ministries of the Nigerian church. Here are some suggestions for your consideration:
Send your gift through your local church to the Conference Treasurer marked: INP, #230, the designation.