Working with our brethren in the Nigerian Church of the Lutheran Confession we attempted to have a mission in northern Nigeria.
When we lived in Nigeria the NCLC sent a missionary up to the North. But it was not easy for him. He knew Hausa, which was the language of the dominant tribe. He had worked for a company there and was familiar with this area. We tried, but had to bring the man back down after a while. No group was gathered about the Word by our man. Historically, outreach to Muslims has been one of the hardest due to Muslim hatred, arrogance and intransigence. What follows is the effort put forth in reports to the CLC Mission Board.
As early as in ’04 we did exploratory trips to Abuja and Bauchi to see if we could establish a mission in the north. Our senior pastors Essien and Udo made an exploratory trip to investigate. I also made a trip to Bauchi. Abuja, the new capital, was eliminated early as it was just too expensive there. In Bauchi one of our members, Martin Essien, had a house where the man we chose could stay and also invite to services. Subsequently, we called Patrick Johnny Ekpo to go.
At Bauchi it is also slow going. I am turning down requests for help to get land. It would just be too expensive for us in good stewardship. Patrick Johnny has recently married and that is taking some attention on his part
Bauchi – This attempt to reach out in this Muslim area has brought no visible results yet. Patrick Johnny does befriend Muslims and talk with them. I quickly got the added request to the Mission Bd. of a two year grant for rental of a worship space and this year for his house rent also. It has not worked of simply having him make contacts who would then invite to their house for a service. Patrick is now married and will be taking his wife up there after the April pastoral conference. In the meantime he will be up there. We have email communication. Some additional problems that popped up have been solved. I had three discussions with Patrick while in Efa.
Bauchi – This has not been successful, so that after discussions with the men, I terminated our support there. We have had no Muslim converts. A congregation was not established. Patrick Johnny came back for his father’s burial and that took time and then he hurt his knee from an old injury and that laid him up.
Our little synod and sister church in Nigeria found what has been seen down through the years about work with Muslims, it is far from easy.
Quote from ‘VOICE OF THE MARTYRS’)
Raymond Lull, 1232-1315 “First Missionary to the Moslems”
At age 55, Lull believed he was ready to go to northern Africa to share Christ with Muslims filled with bitterness toward Christianity because of the Crusades. Friends gathered at the ship to see him off. But the ship sailed without him when he panicked. Lull overcame his terror and boarded the next ship for Tunis. He announced his presence to learned Muslims and offered to debate them in public. He promised he would become a Muslim if they proved to him that Islam was superior to Christianity.
As a result of the debates, some Muslims became interested in learning more about Christianity. Others did not. They had Lull thrown in prison. He was deported, and stoned on the way to the ship.
At the age of 75, Lull returned to North Africa to try again to reach the Muslims there. He invited Muslims in Bugia, east of Algiers, to a public debate. Lull employed some techniques that would not be accepted by many missiologists today. He presented the Ten Commandments, then claimed the prophet Mohammed had violated every one of them. He also said that Islam was full of the seven deadly sins. He was soon back in prison. Lull returned to Europe, but traveled again to Bugia in 1314 when he was more than 80 years of age. He visited a small group of former Muslims he had led to Christ, and tried secretly for ten months to draw still more to his Lord and Savior.
“I had been fairly rich,” Lull wrote late in his life. “I had a wife and children. I enjoyed the pleasant side of life, but I gladly renounced all this to tell Muslims the truth about Christ. I studied Arabic. They put me in jail and flogged me. Now I have gotten old, but I don’t give up hope. God willing, I wish to persist until death.”
Zwemer said of Lull, who grew tired of hiding and spoke again in an open market: “He pleaded with love…but spoke plainly the whole truth…Filled with fanatic fury at his boldness, and unable to reply to his arguments, the populace seized him, and dragged him out of town; there by the command, or at least the connivance, of the king, he was stoned on the 30th of June, 1315, and he died shortly thereafter.”
And here is a headline to pray about that you won’t read in the media in general, but it is true:
Nigeria accounted for more than half the worldwide killings of Christians in 2015.