Before coming to Nigeria, I worked as a Firefighter/EMT for the City of Winston Salem. Throughout my time there I saw a lot of tragedy and death. Often times leading to the natural, human response of “Where is God in this?” or “Why would God allow this happen?” However, as my journey as a missionary began and through building a closer relationship to God I have allowed myself to abandoned most of these feelings. Instead trusting in and knowing that He is indeed a sovereign God! His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above our thoughts. All He ask is that we trust and obey. Now working here at Egbe Hospital we also see our fair share of death. We also see the effects it has on the families and tribes. Just recently there was a bank robbery in town. The men robbed the bank, and on the way out began firing random gunshots as they raced out of town. Thankfully, many got away safely but a few fell victim to the vicious attack. One of them a ten year old boy, member of 1st ECWA Church Egbe, and on his way to choir practice. Shot in the abdomen, the bullet exited out of his lower back. I stood beside him helping to hold him down as the medical team started IV lines and addressed the wound. While standing there I listened to the ten year old boy groan in pain, but through the pain he prayed to God. A powerful prayer: a prayer for forgiveness, a prayer for mercy, a prayer beyond what a normal young boy would pray. As if God was right beside him. Later that night, around midnight, as we stood outside with 1st ECWA pastors praying, the boy died on the operating table. A month prior to this incident there was another man brought into the ER, also suffering from a gun shot wound to the abdomen. This time it was a thirty year old man, from a Fulani tribe, and professing Muslim. The Fulani are nomadic herders, herding cows from the Northern to the Southern parts of Nigeria. They live in the bush amongst the animals and many are Muslim. This particular man was shot by a farmer because he led his cows over his land. The medical team was successful in treating this mans wounds, and he survived the shot. Working in the wards I got to see him often. He was very shy and always carried a blank stare. However, as weeks went by I noticed a change. Healing was happening physically and spiritually. The body of Christ working in the hospital began changing his heart.- Christ was healing! When finally discharged he did not have enough money to pay his bill, and opted to join our maintenance and construction staff to work off his debt. Consequently, this required him to join us for morning devotions in the workshop. Through this time the change continued. I now see him smiling and filled with joy as he mows and rakes around the hospital. This past Friday he even came to our head of security, Richard Aina, and asked him for a Hausa Bible. He wants to read along in the devotions to learn more about how to have a relationship with Jesus. So, I still often let my trust slip and wonder to myself “WHY GOD?” As I even did with these two recent cases. Why allow a ten year old Christian boy to die, and a thirty year old muslim man to live? Then I saw it, I understood! God calls us all in his own time, our days are numbered, this is not our home. We cannot live here forever. God is constantly calling his creation back to himself. The ten year old boy was ready, and I know without a doubt he is alive and well in the Kingdom of God. However, the Muslim man was on the path of destruction and God extended him grace. A chance to choose. We praise God this Muslim man has chosen to follow Christ. Two similar stories, both seeming like great tragedies instead they glorify God. His ways are above our ways! Both gunshot wounds led to life!
In the month of February Nigeria will hold its Presidential and National Assembly elections. Looking into the past, such times as these have proven dicey and filled with excessive violence. Nigeria, already in a season filled with relentless cycles of violence and distress this can only add to the mix. As of Monday reports of political disturbances have already begun in Jos, Plateau State and once again news broke of fatal attacks by Boko Harram in Baga, Borno State.
I don’t write out of fear or to trigger alarm directing you back to a previous post entitled Safety In Gods Will. The security felt when writing this blog has not wavered, even as I now write living in country. The only deviation from now to then is due to these facts: I have recently walked the streets of Jos and been in the market where reminense of bomb explosions can be seen, I have listened to stories from friends who spent their Christmas feeding refuges fleeing from the North, I have watched a fellow missionary struggle to get home to his family in Cameroon because of borders being closed, and have quite possibly looked into the eyes, touched, or even worshiped with people falling victim to these attacks. Even though I still look on from a distance with our town of Egbe, known for its unwavering peace, being nearly 380 km away from the capital city of Abuja, 600 km from Jos, and 1,000 km from Borno State. This time around I am seeing the heart ache first hand and experiencing the tangible unease as the elections draw near.
Therefore, I am calling out to each member of our support team to rally in prayer! Starting today and spanning into mid march we are asking for fervent, dedicated and daily prayers. Prayers for this country, its people, and most importantly its leaders! Prayers for protection, safety, peace, and above all for hearts to be changed. We hold strong to Gods sovereign reign, trusting His plan, and knowing He allows nothing to be wasted. I love Nigeria and He does too! Lets pray together knowing in the end the election has already been won!
“O Lord, God of our Fathers, are you not the God who is in the heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” 2 Chronicles 20:6