As is the case with many of our prayer letters, this one begins similarly with a report of two successful Soul-Winning & Leadership Conferences in Port Harcourt and Ibadan. Evangelist Jeff Walters flew directly to Port Harcourt and preached for the Maskeys on the last Sunday of October, while Evangelist Craig Bryan arrived in Abuja for his first visit to Nigeria. Bro. Bryan preached in both churches where our family is involved, and then we traveled together for the conference in the southeast region. Upon their arrival back to Abuja, Bro. Walters and Bro. Bryan conducted an Open House for Providence Baptist College & Seminary. They preached and presented their ministries, and then we had a special time of prayer for the ongoing work on our dormitory building. At both conferences and during the Open House, Bro. Bryan enjoyed meeting the pastors whom he helps to support through the Ron Middleton Missions Outreach, which not only partners with us in church planting, but also has contributed greatly to our building program and assists an orphanage with whom we are associated.
A unique aspect of having our ministry in the capital city is that the great majority of our members are not from Abuja. Therefore, we do not host many funerals here; instead, the church will normally send representatives to the home village of any of our members who have passed on. So, when one of our trustees unexpectedly passed away in August, our church was shaken, but we were also thankful to be able to honor Dr. Wole Ajayi’s life in November at the church where he was a founding member and served faithfully for several years. On the night before the burial, a touching service of songs was held, with plenty of singing, moving tributes, and messages by two pastors from Ibadan (where Dr. Ajayi also had filled the office as a trustee in two different churches). I had the honor of preaching the funeral service at Grace & Glory Baptist, and then we went with the family for the internment at a cemetery in town. Many thanks go to our co-pastor, Bro. Adewale Adesina, for his communicating with the family and officiating ministers, printing of programs, setting up at each venue, and planning the orders of service.
In late December, after a two-week delay because of COVID complications, we were thrilled to welcome Caleb and Emily Christiansen, along with their daughter Emma. They’re the last of three missionaries we’ve been expecting to arrive this year. The Christiansen family reached in time to take part in our traditional family activities of opening presents on Christmas Eve, a special Christmas Day service at Truth Baptist, a few days of recreation at a local hotel, and a New Year’s Day fellowship for Grace & Glory Baptist.
Mark Holmes, written 8 January 2022