Nigerian Church of the Lutheran Confession

Written by | February, 2016
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From the Field Feb. 13,’16

Statistics: 13 pastors, 3 in the Bible Institute, 16 congregations, 978 souls.

When I first visited Nigeria in Jan. 1984, I thought I had seen and learned so very much. When I later lived there as a resident alien for eleven years(86-90, 98-05), I found out so much more and had to cast aside some of my first impressions. Cultures differ and living in a different culture one needs to learn and adapt. For instance in Nigeria there is what is called the ‘fattening room’ which basically means that a woman who is pregnant is fed a lot of food because being heavier means to be healthy and she is eating for two. The Ekpe(leopard) Society was no longer active like it was fifty years earlier. The Ekpo(ghost) Society was still active. It was a secret society that could carry out vengeance against its enemies. Women were not to view the Ekpo men when they came in their masks. For those who lingered they could be chased and even beaten. There are diseases there we just don’t experience like Wicklow, the Guinea worm and the 100 day whooping cough to name several.

Consider some of the commandments and how they are broken differently and upheld variously in Nigeria than in the USA.

•Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. In the USA there is a lot of violation of this with cursing and swearing. In Nigeria there was still the old superstitions out in the villages. While tiny houses were for the most part not built for ancestors’ spirits to inhabit and bless the relatives, there was still a reverencing of ancestors to the point of superstition.

•Honor your father and your mother that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. In Nigeria there is far more of the extended family living together and supporting one another than in the USA where there is such emphasis on the nuclear family of dad, mom and the kids. In Nigeria it was well accepted that relatives would take in other kinfolk who had need.

•Thou shalt not kill. Abortion was not seen or heard about by us in Nigeria, while in the USA legal abortion continues tragically. We may also bemoan the murders like on the southside of Chicago. In Nigeria there was far more rivalry that could easily lead to violence between the tribes and sub-clans of the tribes.

•Thou shalt not commit adultery. While we have now so many who just live together without making promises for life, in Nigeria there was the problem of polygamy.

•Thou shalt not steal. In Nigeria I soon learned that the word ‘borrow’ meant get and keep and not repay.

Pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters that they bear witness to the wonderful truths of God’s Word. Pray that in northern Nigeria where the Muslims dominate so cruelly, that more missionaries will go there to show and tell the love of God. Pray for the remaining family members of Pastors Essien and Udo, who have gone to be with the Lord. Of the pastors I trained and worked with at least ten have gone on to be with the Lord, which is indicative of the harder life there. The old juju practices and ancestor worship have declined a lot, while now there is the problem of Islam. Pray for the present leaders of the NCLC, Pastors Ufot and Edwin, who are graduates of our Bible Intstitute that God gives them the grace and strength to lead His people.