For quite some time now Neal has had a desire to spend some time in Nigeria – his home – and be a part of what is happening in Church of God Mission International, (CGMI) the ministry founded by the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa.
Neal and his family moved to Nigeria in 1977 and were part of this ministry for many years. He’s always dreamed of preaching in Miracle Center and Faith Arena – the two churches he attended. He also has had a passion to teach in the Bible School that his Dad was the principal and director of for many years. That dream has now become reality.
Tobi has been wanting to visit Nigeria for years. Hard to believe but he’s never been. He’s having a blast…
As for me, It’s been good to spend some extended time in my husband’s homeland. The first time I met him we were at Oral Roberts University more than 24 years ago. He struck me as a bush boy. One could easily make that assumption when a tall, skinny white guy is heard speaking a language that has some English words in it, but doesn’t sound like English at all. And when that same skinny guy is oohing and ahhhing over the sheer size of what was downtown Tulsa in 1989 as if it were New York City. That bush boy intrigued me. I have been to Nigeria before and I have since learned many things about the people and things that have influenced Neal and made him the amazing person he is today. But it’s been fun to spend some extended time here and to see him fit right back into this niche – even as an adult.
We have felt the Lord leading us to do more teaching on missions and church planting – and recently he’s been opening some doors for us. This has been a great place to begin!
We arrived on Thursday, January 31st and got settled in. Friday morning we did things like get SIM cards for our phones, get internet working, and get Neal’s teaching / preaching schedule nailed down.
Miracle Center is the church that Neal attended the most when he lived here. He also lived on this compound. The church is the building on the right.
Here he’s showing Tobi where he lived. The 2nd floor apartment.
Neal was invited to preach at Miracle Center on our first Sunday. So fun!
Here’s the choir. They were great!
And the congregation. They were great too.
Neal doing one of the things he loves doing most – preaching!
Great message. Great response.
Lot’s of greeting after the service. This is Bishop Imafidan. He was the Principal of the secondary school that Neal’s Dad taught in when they first arrived in Nigeria in 1977.
Bishop Imafidan is explaining to Tobi that he is the one that took his dad to the bush when they first arrived in Nigeria. So sweet.
Here’s Tobi and I after the service.
Next on the schedule was the Bible School. Neal is privileged to teach in several classes while here. He’s teaching in the English class of course using English, the Hausa class using Hausa, the French class using an interpreter, and he’s also teaching in the evening school and the degree class. Those are in English. He’s teaching missions/church planting to them all. Tobi and I went with Neal on one of the days to meet and greet the students. Here Tobi is greeting the Hausa class – in Hausa of course!
My prayer has been that our time here would not be just about bringing inspiration, but that true revelation about God’s heart for the unreached would take root and produce fruit.
Neal in the Hausa class.
We LOVED the chapel service. Here the choir is singing.
This is the song the choir sang. No, those aren’t typos. This is Pidgin English. Love it!
Wish everyone could experience this worship.
We showed our 5 minute video and the students really seemed to enjoy it – but their favorite parts were definitely those of Tobi dancing. Here I am introducing the video.
More of Neal preaching – Passion for His Purpose. An amazing building to preach in.
Neal asked for those who were ready to GO – to be passionate for His purposes- to come forward.
God was speaking to hearts and we were rejoicing!
This is Rev. Andrew Daniels who is the current director of All Nations For Christ Bible Institute International (ANFCBII). Here he is praying for the students.
With Rev. Andrew and Jenny Daniels. They’re from the U.K. and came to Nigeria around the same time as Neal and his family.
After chapel we joined the Daniel’s at their house for lunch.
They’ve been in this same apartment for 30+ years. Neal’s family lived above them and the layout is exactly the same. This was Neal’s room – a floor below.
That same evening, Tobi and I went to the evening class with Neal and greeted the students there too. They love it when Neal speaks Pidgin English!
The evening class takes place in the original building at the Miracle Center Compound. The building above where chapel is held is in another location on the Benson Idahosa University compound. That’s also where the English class (the largest class with several hundred students) is taught.
More evening class…
What a day it’s been.
I’m going to end for now but before I do, I want to say a few words about the impact this ministry and bible school has had across Africa and literally around the world. Neal’s parents, Ron & Jerry Childs, were an integral part of the Bible School here. Anywhere you go in West Africa you will find ANFCBII graduates. And dare I say you will likely find All Nations graduates and ministry leaders from all of Africa and many other parts of the world. And if you find grads of this school and you mention Rev. Ron Childs (said very fast), you will likely hear – ‘he was my principal in Bible school’. The other day we met a pastor that was here visiting from Lagos, Nigeria. When he found out who we were, he began telling us some specific things he learned from ‘Rev. Ron Childs’ that he uses in his ministry and marriage today. Generation to Generation.
These pictures are up in the lobby of Faith Arena, showing the history of the ministry. You can see Neal’s Dad in the middle of the bottom photo, standing to the left of Archbishop Idahosa. Tobi was pretty proud.
Here Neal is pointing to himself in this ancient picture – he wasn’t much older than Tobi is now. His Mom and sister are in the picture too.
Next post will be more about our experiences while here.