Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trip to Nigeria II

Backtracking now, we arrived in Abuja airport when we landed in Nigeria, spent a few days in Enugu, Port Hacourt,and Jos. Before we went to Osunu village we went to a local university in Godfrey Okoye University Enugu where Uncle George (missionary leader, pastor, and biotechnologist) delivered a lecture on Genetics. He also taught a group of Junior Biochemistry majors about basic Genetics and one of our missionaries (Chioma) taught them basic lab techniques such as DNA extraction and Gel electrophoresis. The governor of Enugu state and the president of the university stopped by the lab. It was amazing to see the transformation over 2 days. The first day they could barely hold pippettes {lab instruments} and the next day they knew how to perform PCR {polymerase chain reaction} (fundamental lab technique) on their own. This was an awesome opportunity to minister to the college students. Two people gave their lives to Christ!

Later on that weekend Auntie Ude (missionary Leader, wife of uncle George, and Nurse practitioner) delivered a lecture on Breast Cancer. We left Enugu and traveled to Port Harcort where we visited some family and stayed at a friends house. From there we flew back to Abuja and then drove to Jos. Recently Jos had some Christian-Muslim conflicts where they were bombing churches and killing Christians. Although most people pleaded us not to go we confided in the Lord and had faith that the Lord would protect us from all harm. Our missionay leader was bold and lived a lufe for God: it was total self denial. The Lord literally delivered us form teh mouth of a Lon at Jos we had the blessed opportunity of touring the Faith Alive Hospital: A Non profit organization founded by Brother Chris who studied and Case Western and went back to Nigeria to serve. The organization offers free medical care for the surrounding community in Jos. They have a free HIV clinic, social work, pharmacy, surgery, OB-GYN and regular general physicians. I was fortunate enough to witness 3 surgeries:2 herniographies and 1 herniotomy! It was amazing because patients prayed before their surgeries and the doctors did as well! The faith the patients demonstrated was startling! They barely had local anesthesia to use for the patients. So they numbed the area and sometimes the anesthesia would wear off and the patients would feel the excruciating pain and scream! There were no big lights and no machines to detect the vitals except a blood pressure cuff. In addition there was an aluminum bed tray that the patients layed on with a cover for the patients body and that was it. The resources were scarce but the surgeon was a woman of God and she operated with so much grace and seemed so happy to serve her people. She inspired me to give back to a developing country when I become a trained medical professional! So then we left Jos and went back to Abuja!

We went back to Abuja and attended a youth conference on Saturday which was really cool. Uncle George preached a sermon, His kids and Idara (other college student and aspiring Physician assistant) sang a song, Idara ministered a solo spoken word, and Chioma delivered an exhortation (minisermon)! The youth seemed really engaged and some went to the altar call and accepted Christ! I pray and hope that the Lord touched their hearts! The last day(Sunday) before we left we went to an orphanage in Abuja I believe. The orphanage housed orphans, mentally ill, HIV patients, street boys and street girls(young teens that run away from home and live in abandoned buildings). Nuns ran the orphanage and you could see ghe love of Christ in them. They really cared for the orphans. We brought toys and other gifts for the orphanage. I would have loved to spend more time in the orphanage but the schedule did not allow! Then we visited Pastor Gary's house (college friend of Uncle George). After that we went back to the mission guest house and got some rest before departing in the morning!

The vision Uncle George is to help Nigeria expand their exports by genetic engineering and cultivation of certain crops. He also wants to teach his community and the country of Nigeria how to sustain themselves, train Nigerian professionals that will travel to the US and establish themselves, come back to Nigeria, help rebuild the country and spread the vision of redesigning Africa! We traveled from Nigeria to the UK and from the UK back to the US. During the trip back home I meditated on the journey and was convinced that I would never forget the experience and that no experience I ever had either home or abroad could compare! It was truly an eye-opening experience that made me realize all the amenities and resources I have in the US. In addition it proved to me that God brings hope to those who are in despair, he transforms people, and that he is powerful, mighty, majestic, performs Miracles whenever he wants to, and He will protect in you in your darkest hour and when you are most vulnerable! I want to thank all the saints (Christians) who helped us while we were in Nigeria, gave us shelter, food, love, and warm welcomes! I will never forget any of the breathren I met while in Nigeria and you will remain in my prayers! God Bless you and may the Lord continue to prosper you until we meet again!

Ruth 2:12
May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done

Trip to Nigeria I

The Road is bumpy in the back of my mind I wondered if we would make it in one piece! As we approach our destination I was thinking to myself I haven't seen this many potholes since the Bronx. The natural rocks and the abundant greenery has formed picturesque scenery, man it looks like its straight out of a catalogue. The air has left a fragrance of incense! I saw a goat on the side of the road. As I noticed the faded red cross on a stone building I figured it was a hospital. Then reality hit me when I saw the sign that said Osunu Village, I woke up and told myself DUDE you are in Nigeria lol!

Although my trip didnt start there, these were one of the many adventures I had while in Nigeria. It was a whole new world, with new people, new customs, new culture, new politics, new social norms, new foods, and best of all a new faith experience! Before going to Nigeria I had many expectations and desires for the trip however I had no idea of how Powerful God was. Matter of fact prior to this year I did not think He could move the way He does. Ever since I accepted Jesus as my Lord in Savior (last summer) He has been doing incredible things in my life! He brought me out of the captivity to drunkeness, addiction to club life, low self esteem, and suicidal thoughts! Ever since I have been putting my trust in Him he has done miracle after miracle and he ceases to amaze me! Nigeria was no different!

For the two weeks while we were in Nigeria there wasn't one day God didn't surprise me!
Every day was a surprise from God, I didnt know what to expect. Our first experience was a village outreach. The people gathered in the venue where the village has community events. In Nigeria the major tribes are Igbo, Yoruba, and Housa. The people in the Osunu village were from the Igbo tribe. As the people came in I observed that most of the adults wore natives while the younger kids wore plain clothes. In addition there seemed to be more women than men as they registered on a paper and received a number for their names to be called for assessment of vitals (Blood pressure, temperature), a consultation from a doctor, medication, and pastoral counseling! Everything was FREE 99. Yes you heard me FREE! The system was efficient and flowed nicely! Everybody was delegated a task except me. I didnt see it as any negligence but I decided to take initiative and felt the Lord telling me to go speak to people. As I saw 3 young women congregate I seized the opportunity. I approached them, introduced myself, and we began talking about God. While we were conversing I asked them if they were "saved" or when they gave their lives to Christ. A young lady named Marrit answered yes, I was born Christian! I responded in a polite tone: how is that? She answered well I have been Christian since I was a little girl, my mom is a Christian. I began to explain salvation to her and told her that one must be born again in order to be a true Christian. When she understood salvation I asked her a simple question: would you like to accept Christ into your heart. She was skeptical and was a bit uneasy. I reassured her how her life was going to change as a result of her commitment to Christ. She agreed to say the prayer with me and gave her life to Christ! Her sister did so also! I felt an enormous amount of joy in my heart! After the outreach we shared stories and some of the ladies had sky rocketing blood pressures (200s). About five or so people gave their hearts to Christ! I didn't expect that! The next day it was twice as many villagers and more people helping out.

The Lord always has a twist in our lives. I had the privilege to meet Marit's Mom who claimed to be a born again Christian. She began to speak and she was like a fire-breathing dragon: the word she preached was intense! So intense that my missionary leader came over to me and asked me if everything was alright. I told him everything was ok. Although she was so humble, she was very passionate about the Lord that her speech and face showed it. In my whole year of being Christian I had never encountered somebody with such fervor, desire, and passion for Jesus. She briefly spoke about sanctification then began talking about persecution in the village and the spiritual warfare that exists. She pointed out two men who she identified as idolatrers (men who worshiped ancient gods and offered sacrifices). She began saying that they lash out against the Christians and seek to do harm against them by conjuring spirits and wishing horrible things upon them. Some of her family members developed these skin lesions as a result of their spells and demonic assaults. However through prayer and covering with the Blood of Jesus the demons fled! As I ministered to Marrit, her Mom, a friend, and a woman with a baby I heard a loud and uncanny noise in the back of the room! I turn to see what was all the commotion and I see a guy yelling in agony, twitching and shaking as if he just came out of an arctic pond. I speculated and thought it was a demonic possession. My speculation was confirmed when I asked uncle George (Missionary leader) if it was a demonic possession. He calmly answered yes and said"its a minor one though". One of the pastors on the deliverance team gently placed his hands on his neck and side and casted out the demon. I thought to myself if its a minor one I don't think I am ready for a major one lol! This was an incredible experience that strengthened my faith as the gospels where Jesus and the disciples casted out demons came to Life. This reminded me not to doubt the power and might of our great God. The authority vested on us through Christ allows us to do awesome things like cast out demons.

Later on that day I had a small conference with all the young men and boys in the village where I got their name, email, age, and any health complaints. The most common health complaint was worms in their stomachs. Most of them were still in the world and ranged from ages 9-17. One particular young man sticks out in my memory Onye which was an abbreviation for his Igbo name. He began telling me about the stress and social pressure he was experiencing from his family: he was the oldest (first born) and in the igbo culture the firstborn is in charge of the family and takes care of their financial, medical, spiritual, academic, and any other needs. However he was out of a job and had no way of providing for his younger brothers and sisters (juniors). As I gave him some funds it broke my heart to know he did not have the funds to sustain himself nor provide food or medical attention for his family. The worse part of the story is that all the weight beared on his shoulders! However the miraculous part of the story is that I prayed for him and I trust that GOD will provide. If its one thing that I have learned about God s I have drawn closer to him is that HE answers prayers. When we trust Him, have faith in Him, believe with our heart, and prophesy based upon His word He is faithful to grant us our desires if its in His Will!

Before we left Osunu Village Uncle George declared and decried prosperity and liberation from bondage in that whole village. He also rebuked the ancient Gods (idols) that people worshipped. He has forever shown me to claim and establish Godly authority over any house I enter. The power of the Lord was present and was so much more than I expected!