Thursday, November 27, 2008

Two Themes: Nigeria and Thankfulness Encourages People!

I was thinking yesterday as I was writing about Thanksgiving that I was happy that I know how to show my appreciation to people when they do something for me. As a child my mom and dad, but especially my mom was always on me to say "thank you" on every imaginable occasion. As a result, at her insistence, I learned to say "Thank you" and "Yes, ma'am" at every turn. Those lessons, learned early in life, have stuck with me.

Over the years, Mike and I have given away cars, furniture, pianos, money, food, clothing etc. But it was rare that we received a heart felt "thank you". When we did, it almost always was discussed between us. Many people have never learned to say "thank you". They might be thankful, but they have not learned to express themselves. Perhaps this is why God encourages us in the Bible to express ourselves "OUT LOUD".

Many years ago I went to Nigeria several times in order to help a local pastor there. Nigeria is located in west Africa. I worked in Akwa Ibom State which is close to Cameroon.

Yesterday, I received the following note, by surprise via Internet. This note came all the way from Nigeria, West Africa. Although at the time, Rev. Moses Umoh, was not very expressive about his thankfulness for the church and school which Mike and I built for him and his congregation. It is interesting to note that indeed, he was and continues to be thankful.

When I went to Nigeria in the 80s, it was a hard place to travel. Our children were small and Mike and my mother took care of them at home in Missouri. But, after praying, we all felt that I was to go to Nigeria to visit with Moses and to minister there. I am glad that I did.

Moses had a small home, but his wife Apple kept it clean. The typical home looks something like the homes in the photo to the left, but Moses and Apple's home was rectangular.

I slept on the floor on a grass mat with his small son next to me. I bought a gecko from the local kids and put him in my room to eat the mosquitoes at night where I could sleep. I contracted Malaria. I shivered and had high temp in a place that was close to 100 degrees every day, but I returned again and again, because that was the plan of God for my life at that time.

I took my bath outside every morning using a plastic cup and a 5 gallon bucket of water brought from the local river, which was about 2 miles away. The shower consisted of several long sticks stuck into the ground and covered with banana leaves for privacy. There was no roof. One morning I was taking my shower and looked up and to my surprise a Nigerian man had climbed a Coconut tree about 35 feet in the air where he could have a bird's eye view of me taking my shower. I screamed. Rev. Moses came running and told the man to get down out of the tree.

All the women gathered at the river to get water and to wash clothes, but mostly to talk.

The first time in my life I had ever seen a pineapple growing was in Nigeria. I lived on rice, bananas, eggs and yucca or cassava. I was not accustomed to all of the spices and didn't like the the goat stew served with goat meat, skin and hair cut into squares. Yes, you read it correctly, skin and with the hair intact. UGH!

The following note is from Moses. 20 years later. Several years ago Moses showed up at my doorstep unannounced and began to cry, telling me that he wanted me to return to Nigeria. He cried huge tears as he said to me, "You came when I had no bed you sacrificed and you slept on my floor and now I want you to return and sleep on a bed, in my guest room." I could tell he was really thankful.

Good morning Teresa,

It was good speaking with you yesterday. My joy is full as I heard from you, of the great things God is doing through you in Honduras and around the world, through the seeds planted through your ministry. It was 20 years ago, that God brought us together in Oklahoma, at a WMF convention and further used you to lay a foundation of a growing ministry in Nigeria, in the town of Ukanafun.

That seed has grown now and more lives are impacted through the word, Christian school programs and media evangelism - Our Radio program; 'The Hour of Hope' has been on for 15 years now. It is a weekly broadcast on Radio AKBC. Every Monday by 5.30 pm, it reaches 27 of Nigeria's 36 states and the neighboring countries of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

The Christian school you built has grown up to a High School adding one grade at a time; many children have graduated from here to go on to colleges.

INFRASTRUCTURES: The ministry and school compound has over 15 buildings now with upstairs [solid structures], we have branch schools and churches in other places in the state and we even have a technical school in my village. Akwa Ibom State is progressively developing and Nigeria is advancing in so many areas. It is quite safe for travelers, I can guarantee this.

VISIT TO NIGERIA: Please come over and visit us in Nigeria. If you can make it in January 09, it will be fine or any time of your convenience.

Ekponobong has finished college, waiting for NYSC posting. He is gifted in so many ways, music and auditioning in broadcasting, though he read Agric Econs and Extension in the University. He is going to sing in Reinhard Bonke's crusade next month at Ikot Ekpene as the music leader. Pray for him. We are praying for him regarding marriage and a Masters program.

Samuel is 4 years old, Daniel and Deborah are 18 months old. They are growing. Please pray for Deborah to walk. She did fine until when she was seriously ill, she had a set back. Pray she will be okay.

We are praying for you on various topics like ***** that God will minister to ***** and open ***** eyes. We are also praying for your ministry as you move with compassion to reach the unreached with love, around the world. We are praying for your son's political ambition in Honduras as God will surely see him through. Be baptized with the hope that God will perfect all that concerns you. Psalms 138:8.

I pray that the Lord will grant you peace, good health, anointing and wisdom as you serve Him diligently in Jesus name. Please pray for us as we are deeply involved in Reinhard Bonke's crusade in my Akwa Ibom State. It will be a moment of refreshing from God's presence. I hope to hear from you soon.

Bishop Moses Umoh

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