Was it worth it? Nigeria

Written by | February, 2015
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From the Field February 27, 2015

Our initial work in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, dates back to Prof. Erpenstein’s correspondence with his students who returned there in 1970. We had visits and then missionaries there with other helpers for many years. Now Missionary Ude visits there once a year in conjunction with our brothers in Togo and Ghana and has now returned to India from the most recent visit. The most recent statistics (’12) had 978 souls served by 19 workers in 17 congregations and preaching stations. It of course is not just the present numbers that we look at but the individuals who were served over the years and went to heaven. We tried to establish congregations in over a dozen places in the space of fourteen years. In 1989 we had fifteen congregations and preaching stations. By 1997 we had ceased work in five of those places, though we had begun work in three new ones. This is a picture of the hard struggle in that field.
Another part of the hard struggle for our Nigerian pastors is seen in that of the 13 trained pastors we had in 1997 eight of those have since transferred to the kingdom above and one has retired. Of the eight who died four were well below sixty. Life is harder in some places than others.

Recently, David Ufot wrote me that his dad is now the mission’s president. His dad was in our first class to graduate from the five year program at the Bible Insitute. He came over to us from a Reformed church. A knitted yarn cloth his wife Comfort made for us we still have on the piano bench in our house. Brothers and sister in Christ.
We as a synod cut our teeth so to speak in foreign mission work in Nigeria. In 1986 the large numbers that were expected did not materialize. In 1989 the church numbered 659 souls and in 1997 849.
Nigeria served as a springboard for us in Africa because from there we then worked in Togo, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Congo. And most recently we have dedicated men in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Disappointingly, the two opportunities we thought we had in South Africa did not turn out.
Looking back we remember that His Word will not return to Him void. What a joy to be co-workers with Him in a world strewn with its Boko Haram and Ebola. Then and now our pastors there press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Better to change the question from ‘was it worth it?’ to ‘is He worth it?’