The Local Chapter of Bible Society of Nigeria invited me back to Maiduguri and very kindly paid my air fare London-Abuja. The engagement was for four days teaching and also a Sunday morning address to the host church (EYN Wulari congregation).
All the talks were on the theme of “commendable service” built from nine expositions from 2nd letter to the Corinthians. It was a flying visit so that I only missed one Sunday from Lighthouse and Woodbridge.
I had the pleasure of seeing many good friends briefly and I was delighted to see that the churches were prospering in grace.
I regret I shall probably not be back for quite a while. The picture is of testing the Msheliza swings (and, yes, they were strong enough).
Here is a photo of the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja which marks the end of our time here.
On the last Sunday I preached at Gwagwalada ECWA Good News (i.e. English language) church. Gwagwalada is the temporary site of the University of Abuja. I chose the little letter of 3 John with its emphasis on open hearted fellowship in the work of the Gospel. It turned out to be a lot more relevant than I might have guessed.
Gwagwalada (say it how you like – I heard several pronunciations) has its own hot and steamy microclimate but the friendship was even warmer. We parted with gifts and promises to pray for each other.
Below is a fun house seen in an eastern suburb. It reputedly belongs to a retired pilot.
The Theological College of Northern Nigeria is an ecumenical college supported by around thirteen denominations which provides Bachelors and Masters degrees in theological subjects.
It is well respected and has a history going back around 50 years. I was invited to give a series of three evening lectures (2 hrs each) and also preach on Sunday morning. I spoke on Pastoral Ministry and preaching to around 100 students and the questions were relevant and challenging so it seems they were paying really close attention. On Sunday I spoke on Psalm 46.
Over the weekend we also witnessed a believers’ baptism, a confirmation and an infant dedication (all done by the Chaplain). I said it was ecumenical!
The grid effect on the photo is a result of photographing through the mosquito mesh of an upstairs window in the Library. I thought it was cool enough to post.
Rev. Bamaiyi, Chaplain of the Christian Chapel at Adamawa State University breaks the ground at the site of the new Chapel building.
The University is only five years old and the Christians have been meeting in the multi-purpose hall on campus. This week they are launching a fund to build their own chapel. The plans look ambitious and there will be an excellent suite of facilities once it is completed.
We prayed on the site and had fun taking photos with the pick-axe. The ground is marked out and foundation digging is about to start….
I had a delightful meeting with the Chapel congregation and some of the other ministers in town after driving to Mubi from my morning engagement at Maiduguri. There were lots of interesting (and challenging) questions after I preached on the “Beautiful Gospel” from Isaiah 52.
Mubi is more hilly (in the foothills of the Mandara mountains), a bit cooler and has a longer rainy season than Maiduguri. The change of scenery was fascinating and I may post a couple of photos later.
Susan and I said goodbye to the congregation of the Chapel in Maiduguri University last Sunday. I preached on the last Beatitude (“persecuted for Christ”) and took this photo of the congregation.
I also snapped the Choir with their smart uniforms but unfortunately the picture was blurred.
The Choir had done a brilliant performance of Handel’s Messiah the week before. (the 1st by a church choir in Northern Nigeria).
I shall miss these people.
Last Sunday Morning I had two sermons in two churches and a mad dash between the two places. The reason was that I wanted to squeeze in a visit to the COCIN(Church Of Christ In Nigeria) church which is at Gamboru district of Maiduguri. This was burned down in the shameful Moslem riot of Feb 18, 2006 during which over 20 churches were destroyed or damaged and many people were murdered in cowardly fashion. It was supposedly a “response” to those mild Danish cartoons which neither rioters not victims had even seen. The whole story of that day has not been told and the authorities are doing their best to keep it secret.
The people of the church have been meeting continuously in the ruins and they are in the process of rebuilding it to three times the former capacity. I wanted to meet and encourage such faithful brothers and sisters. It seemed appropriate to speak on the hope of resurrection.
Sunday 14th October and the (“half hour”) Boys Brigade parade takes an hour and a half of the service, leaving me to start preaching an hour after the service was slated to end. People were very patient though and they were very receptive and well over 600 stayed for a very delayed communion.
Then, the local Boys and Girls Brigades did a very long and complex session of Marching, salutes and exercises. Impressively disciplined performances on a very hot day. Then I joined in inspecting the troops and just managed to suppress the urge to mimic the Sergeant Major in “It ain’t ‘alf hot, Mum”.
EDIT: Comments are now closed on this post as it was becoming a Boys Brigade chatroom. Perhaps a someone could start one? Erik 11/8/11