Our 100th prayer letter recaps a time full of activity and with the most visitors we’ve ever welcomed into the home that God allowed us to build over six years ago. The month of July began with an anticipated space of break time, as most of our seminary students were serving in other churches until the first week of August. In addition, there were several days that we were advised to stay at home because of protests that were being held in various parts of the city. Before our streak of three youth camps in four weeks, we welcomed two MKs (missionary kids), Miss Carissa Maskey and her brother Justin, to spend some time with our family.
My son Brian traveled with me as we conducted our 3rd Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism (SMITE) in Ogbomoso on the last week of July. After that successful camp, Evangelist Tunde Ajayi led several young people in Ibadan with SMITE experience to do a Blitz, where Bible Clubs are conducted both morning and afternoon, food is served for those leading the clubs, and a testimony and preaching time is arranged each evening. During that same week, our seminary had an orientation for a fresh semester; we welcomed six new students, and Jonathan (the music minister of our sending church) and Amber Carr arrived for our Abuja camp (Jonathan also taught for a day at the college). They were soon joined by a returning visitor, Tim Meyer, of Grandview Pines Baptist Church, along with Mrs. April Decker and her oldest daughter Lydia. The 9th Annual SMITE for Abuja was unique in several ways: Bro. Jonathan was a wonderful keynote speaker, we planned a tribute to celebrate the memory of Pastor Jared Decker (who had preached SMITE six times), a moving recap video (designed by Bro. Tim) was shown at the closing service after graduation, and we had split sessions for young men and young ladies for the first time to allow us to utilize lessons from our lady American guests. On the day after the Abuja SMITE, Bro. Meyer and the Deckers went to Ogbomoso to visit the Safe Harbor Children’s Home for the weekend, while our staff and I traveled to Port Harcourt for our final and biggest Nigerian SMITE of 2019. Miss Carissa and Mrs. April once again did split sessions during the week, and we all enjoyed the fellowship with the missionary Maskey family. Calabar was the target for the second Blitz after the Port Harcourt camp, as Bro. Tunde combined the resources of two churches to conduct Bible Clubs for five more days. Lastly, I traveled to preach at Independent Baptist Church of Ijokodo-Ibadan on the last Sunday of August to bring an encouraging conclusion to their week when they annually hold a pastors’ conference.
In 3 SMITEs, we had a total of 373 young people registered from 58 churches (a new record); they conducted 74 clubs that enrolled nearly 4,000 children to hear the Gospel. Add to that 2 Blitzes that involved over 100 SMITE-experienced young people in 39 clubs; they had 1,317 children enrolled, with nearly 650 being dealt with personally for salvation. These numbers do not even include the Ghana and Kenya camps that take place in April and November. These figures are just the beginning, for every one of the churches represented received Bible Club materials so that the trained young people can use them throughout the year to reach children with the Gospel in their home areas.
Mark Holmes, written 25 September 2019