Twenty years ago this month, I took my first (and only) missions trip as a pastor. I did not take the trip with anything in mind other than to increase my vision for missions and hopefully to help my church in their vision for missions. I did not realize that the trip would change my life and my ministry.
This year I was able to go back to Ibadan, Nigeria, the city I visited 20 years ago, to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of that trip. I was able to preach a revival for Pastor Moses Kenali. He had a preachers’ fellowship during the day on the Tuesday of the meeting, so I was able to meet many national pastors. Among the pastors at the meeting was Moses Laniren. Brother Laniren has a special place in my heart because he was the man who took us to Oyo 20 years ago on our off day. Oyo is the small village where, without realizing it, I preached to a small group of people while I stood on the corner of a mosque. Below right is the picture of me 20 years ago preaching in front of the mosque.
Moses blessed me this year by offering to take me back to that little village. Below left is me standing in front of that same mosque last week. What memories flooded my soul as I stood looking at that building. Tunde, our driver, decided I should duplicate what happened 20 years ago, so he started handing out tracts. As a small group of people gathered, he urged me to preach to them. Though I did not step up on the same corner as I did 20 years ago, I did preach to that small crowd. I thought that no one got saved but learned later that a boy got saved and a Moslem lady said she understood everything preached but was unwilling to commit to Christ. Praise God! They all heard the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I preached the midweek service for Pastor Henry, whom I preached for last year. I then preached for Pastor Moses Laniren (the man I mentioned above) on Sunday. He promoted my coming to his church, so his people worked hard and brought 13 visitors to the services. Five got saved during the services. We took pictures of the crowd, and it seemed like everyone wanted to get a picture with me. At the end of the service, the pastor gave me a gift and also gave me one for Linda. I now know what I will wear during our missions conference.
Thank you again to all who are praying for my wife in her battle with skin cancer. She had her third surgery to remove some cancer earlier this month and has been recovering well. We are asking for God’s complete healing.