“Some missionaries bound for Africa were laughed at by the boat captain. “You’ll only die over there,” he said. But a missionary replied, “Captain, we died before we started.”
– Vance Havner –
His friends and relatives urged him not to go. They were concerned for his safety.
ITMI partner, John Jere, graciously reminded them of Paul’s words to the Corinthians. Paul said the Body of Christ is one; when one member suffers, we all suffer. (1 Cor. 12:26)
“Our brothers and sisters are persecuted, killed like chickens or goats in Africa. They need our prayers and encouragement as they serve and endure the hardships in His field,” he said.
Enough of his friends and contacts believed like John that earlier this year, he was able to raise the funds to get to Kaduna, Nigera. Kaduna is in the north of Nigeria where the Muslim population is the most dense. A group of Muslims, called “Boko-Haram,” which roughly means ‘Western education is sin,’ seemed to be aiming to “carve out an Islamic state in Africa’s largest oil-producing nation.” (BosNewsLife, 2014)
The US declared Boko-Haram a terrorist group in 2013. (BBC, 2014)
Boko-Haram was killing and kidnapping Christians, according to the report John saw a day before his scheduled departure to Nigeria.
Encouraging Believers in Nigeria
They left Zambia on the 15th April 2014 and arrived at Abuja International Airport, Nigeria on the 16th April 2014. They immediately drove to Kaduna, Nigeria and preached that evening.
It was a joy to meet brothers and sisters in the Lord and to encourage them in the work of the Lord, John reported.
John’s heart was especially burdened for the more rural areas around Kaduna, where ministry personnel can’t make a living and are scarce. John wants to see the gospel preached to all.
While in Nigeria, John’s two priorities were the same as they are wherever he is: preach the gospel and visit the poor.
John reported, “The good news is that people in Nigeria are receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of the crisis.”
These new Christians will need all the prayer and encouragement we can offer up. According to the BBC, on August 14, “Militant group Boko-Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria.” (BBC, 2014)
John Never Stops Caring for the Poor, Widowed and Orphaned
John Jere has taken James’ definition of true religion very seriously. He is a passionate advocate for the poor, widowed and orphaned, constantly doing everything he can to alleviate their situation and encourage them with God’s truth.
Now, he’s headed to the western part of his own country. Lukulu, Zambia is quite remote, and Lukulu West is cut of from the rest of the country by the Zambezi River to the East – which is impassible for several months each year – and the border of Angola to the West. Because of its remote location, the only water they have is in the croc-infested, also-used-for-bathing Zambezi river.
Twelve women from one of the villages where they will be drilling have been snatched by crocodiles as they retrieve water.
John will be accompanied by ITMI Director, Steve Evers and ITMI partners, Timothy Keller and Gerhard Le Roux. They’ll be meeting a drilling company that has been hired to drill boreholes, providing clean, safe water for several villages in Lukulu.
As in years before, the dedication of each well will be a great demonstration of the glory of God. The villages will clearly hear the good news and know that this blessing came from the Creator God who cares about them.
Gerhard Le Roux will also be providing gardening clinics to build upon the seeds and garden advice they delivered last year
“Travel” With the ITMI Team!
It’s going to be an exciting trip. We want you to get as close to experiencing it as you possibly can!
This year, Steve will be posting photos as he travels (technology and circumstances allowing, of course!) on Instagram!
BosNewsLife. (2014, April 18). Nigerian Christians Mourn Hundreds Killed by Islamic Militants, Many Kidnapped. Retrieved from: http://www.bosnewslife.com/32641-nigeria-christians-mourn-hundreds-killed-by-islamic-militants-many-kidnapped.
BBC News. (2014, August 25). Boko Haram declares ‘Islamic state’ in northern Nigeria. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28925484.
Summer Kelley is a writer who lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three kids. She has had the privilege of telling ITMI’s stories since 2006. She loves to write uplifting stories of God’s work overseas, read and learn about the world around her and enjoy her family.