Thursday morning began around 5am with an attempt to wake up for a two-hour hike up one of the hills/mountains near the compound. I managed to pull myself out of bed by 5:15am. We had a few problems getting a guide but eventually left around 8:15am or so – yep several hours later. Spent the time eating breakfast and reading some. We opted for the hill just behind the compound since it would be a shorter hike. A few of us had a meeting with the local ECWA leaders at 10am and would need time to clean up. We made it to the meeting a bit late, but were able to get some insight into how the local ECWA setup works. Immediately following the meeting, Gregg Bryce and I hopped in the van and headed to Igbaja to visit the seminary. The road to Igbaja is the same direction as Ilorin (where we will get many of our supplies). The trip is about a 2 hour drive but the road is pretty bad for well over an hour.
The trip there was a little eventful. We had been through a few police check points and came to a really bad area in the road – there was an 18-wheeler on the right, a huge mud hole, and a fuel tanker on its side leaking fuel. There was just a gap on the left side wide enough for vehicles. We had the windows rolled up and the AC on at this point and did not see anyone official or hear anything, but evidently this was a government checkpoint – they wanted to check our papers for travel. As we passed through a guy walked in front of our van and dropped a board with nails in it which we ran over. The nails were hammered partially in and bent over – the sharp side not pointing out. The guy picked up the board, ran past our van, and dropped the board again. We again drove over it and kept going. Our driver, Azi, is from Jos and not familiar with this road, so Moses who is on the Project team and originally from Egbe went with us. Moses may have dozed off and missed the beginning but evidently he knew this was a legit stopping place and told the driver he should have stopped. The van was still okay so we drove on. At a police check point about half a mile away we were stopped and told to wait for guys from the other checkpoint – they were claiming that one of them was hurt when we drove through. They showed up and the police, our driver, and Moses all talked with them. Evidently, these “nail boys” are known and do this for money – whether they are legit or not. I learned later that they let missionary vehicles go through without question as long as the vehicle says missionary on it somewhere. Our vehicle had no such markings. Moses was able to get us on our way by “pulling rank.” We lost 15 to 20 minutes here but were on our way.
The seminary in Igbaja began as a bible college in the 1930s but became a seminary in 1941. They have a very nice campus and 400 plus students in everything from certificates, diplomas, undergrad, grad, and also a Doctor of Ministry degree. The provost has a BA degree from Boston University, a Masters from Gordon Conwell, and a PhD from Trinity. We talked a lot about programs and the school’s goals – they seem to have a clear vision and are doing many things right. We talked about my teaching there if possible and they are open, even suggesting that I could drive down and teach two classes one day a week. Each class would be two hours which should give me time to drive there and return. The road is in pretty bad shape, but this could be a possibility. The seminary in Igbaja is also connected to the World School of Missions here in Egbe. The School of Missions offers modular courses to pastors. I will meet with the director next week to find out more.
Several guys from the team left for Abuja and/or Jos on Friday. I attended a patient devotional at 8am following breakfast and then hung some security lights in various areas of the compound. Started to feel a little sick to my stomach just before lunch and have mostly rested this afternoon. I did take a walking tour of the housing options for us as well.