Sorry I haven’t gotten out a blog sooner! I arrived this past Friday around 5pm local time in Abuja. Immigration went smoothly but we were about the get our bags searched by Customs when a government official in immigration showed up (a good friend of one of our group) and we sailed through without being checked. We stayed the night at the Baptist Guest House and had some fried chicken from a local chicken place. We also took a ride in our van to a back alley somewhere and exchanged some dollars for Naira. The following day started with a nice breakfast prepared by Chuck and Judy Brod and a 7 hours van ride to Egbe. One of our vans broke down after arriving at the guest house, so we piled into one for the tip. Thankfully we fit perfectly in the van – although there was some danger of the luggage falling on the heads of those in the back row. The last two hours were extremely bumpy – the road is in serious need of repair. The main damage appears to be due to rain damage. We arrived in Egbe to a warm welcome. At the edge of town a group met us and we had a mini-parade all the way to the hospital compound. After greetings, singing, and prayer, we went to settle in for dinner and some rest.
Sunday was amazing – we visiting five ECWA (Evangelical Churches Winning All) in Egbe and were introduced at each. Everywhere we went the pioneer missionary Tommie Titcombe and his wife Ethel we remembered fondly. The story of their lives serving the people of Yagbaland is inspiring – Tread Upon the Lion. There was wonderful singing and just a warm welcoming spirit everywhere we went. The night before as we arrive at the hospital I could already tell that there was something special about this place and the people of Egbe – Sunday only confirmed what I saw a glimpse of on Saturday. These people love Christ, each other, and even though most of us are strangers . . . us as well! We also met the king of Egbe on Sunday afternoon and toured a new Centenary building completed recently. This building now houses a School of Missions. Basically, the people of Egbe built the building, turned it over to ECWA, who decided that it would be the School of Missions. After the tour there was a ceremony honoring all guests and a catered meal. By email I had already met the guy over the missions school – actually brought the school a suitcase full of books. He explained the purpose of the school during the program and I could not help from praise God – what he said connected with me and how I’ve come to see my role in Egbe. God is truly amazing . . . he is preparing both us and Egbe for each other!
Monday (today) has been good. We toured Titcombe College and George Campion Academy – both secondary schools. I went into town with a businessman from Canada (Jason Lee) to check out cell phones.
He ended up buying a phone and SIM cards for the two cell networks here. Very interesting to see him set things up – they not only got his name, etc. but also his finger prints (digitally) as part of the registration. After lunch we had a tour of the hospital. There is much work to be done here – we need teams to come and repair or rebuild buildings. There are also equipment issues. There is so much potential here – not just the hospital, but the people of Egbe. The future of Christianity and missions work lies in the hearts of people like the believers we’ve met here. The School of Missions is focused on sending out Nigerians to reach Africa and the Middle East. I am humbled so very much that God has called us to be a part of this work.
Yes, it is hot, the water does not always run, and NEPA (electricity) seems to almost never be on . . . but I am so glad to be here!