I greatly enjoyed my first Sunday in Nigeria. Today I was struck by the vast differences between people. In the morning I attended a church service in the capitol city of Abuja. The church campus was very large containing several buildings which serve both the church and the Christian school attached to it.
The inside of the church was very technical, with modern earbuds, wireless mics, and massive video screens. The sound system was impressive to say the least, in fact I’ve been to rock concerts with lower average decibel levels. The sermon was inspiring, full of hope and joy, and I felt very welcomed.
In the afternoon we visited one of the northern states to interview an Anglican bishop concerning the persecution of Christians in his state. The entrance to the Church compound was guarded by a soldier so old and so fierce that it would not surprise me to learn that he had been originally trained by the British! The man was half-deaf, but very committed protecting his bishop.
The Anglican bishop was one of the most impressive men I have met so far in Nigeria, and I have met some impressive men. He was concise, even pausing for me as I was taking notes. Unlike most of those that I have interviewed, this bishop had clear requests for the international community. Put pressure on the Nigerian government to arrest these people (whom he listed by name), add their names to the list of known terrorists, and seize their foreign accounts to make it harder for them to fund large-scale attacks.
The thing that struck me most was how close these two churches were in space yet how far apart they were in the realities they faced. I’ll have to think more on the subject but that was my initial impression.
I thank You for bringing me to Nigeria, to bear witness to the way that Your children bring honor to Your Name. There is so much pain in what I have seen, so much horror and the wreckage of human lives has not grown any easier to bear in my short time here. Yet there is still hope.
Lord, You remind me that whatever happens in the North, or even to Nigeria as a whole there is still always hope for your people. And You will continue to provide, in marvelous and miraculous ways. Lord once again, I thank you for preparing the way for this trip. In so many ways I feel that I am not assessing what needs to be done, but discovering what is already unfolding in your marvelous plan.
Lord I thank you for the generosity of the Nigerian people, for once again providing me a place to stay tonight. I pray that you would help me to rest well. Lord as tomorrow the schedule of meetings picks up once again, I pray that my mind would be sharp and alert as I strive to serve you well.