So, Sunday. Our 3rd and last Sunday in Nigeria. At least for now. The first 2 Sundays we were in churches here in Benin City – Miracle Center and Faith Arena. We were able to get in touch with a long time friend Rev. Matthew Okpebholo who insisted that we come to his church in Uromi. He’s the overseer of all of the churches in the Ishan area. That would be Sunday #3. We were more than happy to oblige! We arrived there on Saturday to visit and if you read my past post, that day is very well documented.
Rev. Matthew is not only a pastor. He is a Bishop – elect. He is a business man. And not just any business man. A very hard working one. It was such a blessing to be around him. He is an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness. This is a man that has proven God’s principles. He has been faithful, is an extremely generous giver and practices what he preaches. And God continues to bless him. He has built a beautiful church, as you will see. And this is the first church I’ve attended in Africa that has air conditioning. I wasn’t sweating in church. That is notable.
In addition to a beautiful church full of beautiful people, Rev. Matthew has built a beautiful home. This is where we spent Saturday night.
One of the sitting rooms. Pictures of their 6 children on the right wall.
Another sitting room.
I forgot to get pictures of our room, but it was equally lovely. So in case anyone was still thinking we have been ‘suffering for the Gospel’ on our mission trip, think again. We have been well taken care of wherever we’ve been.
After a great night, we were excited to get to church on Sunday morning.
On our way…(it was just down the road apiece)
Archbishop Benson Idahosa Cathedral
The church was dedicated in 2000 and has been growing ever since. Tobi has developed an eye closing habit for pictures – maybe because he has to pose for so many! He’s such a good sport about it.
This is the lobby area.
Neal & I with Rev. Matthew – Tobi’s there too, and some other pastors.
Neal is being introduced. Rev. Matthew is talking about how we live in Niger – in the desert, where no one wants to go. He is saying that Neal’s parents are still there working – and everyone cheered.
So Neal got up and of course greeted them all in Pidgin which as always hits the people first with shock, then awe as they see this big white man sounding like a real Nigerian.
Neal is giving testimony of the honor he received in Emu the day before – about the traditional chief’s robe he was given. He is saying how Daddy will want it, but he will tell him that he has to come back here for himself and get his own.
The preaching begins…
Such a fun crowd to speak to.
The church is both big and beautiful.
Love the slope.
Rev. Matthew was so excited about the message he stood up and helped Neal preach some of it!
Praying for the people.
I hope no one gets offended by this, but I thought it was a beautiful picture. When Neal was done, Rev. Matthew came up and also wanted to pray for the people. Neal’s message was about being mindful of the next generation. So Rev. Matthew told of how he has noticed that sometimes when he prays for women, they hold their breasts. They do this because whenever they receive prayer, they are also thinking of and wanting prayer for their children. So he said, “As I’m praying for you, hold your breasts and pray for your children.” Now I know how this would sound in an American Church, but it was so normal here. No pretenses, no one twisting things into something they’re not. Just a back to the basics way of having a point of contact for your children. That’s what you see here.
It was youth Sunday – which happens 1 Sunday a month. So all the youth were called up to be prayed over.
Here we are with Rev. & Mrs. Matthew Okpebholo. They have 6 children and 8 grandchildren.
After the service — the parking lot.
There are 3 story buildings to the right and left of the church – being utilized for all different ministries in the church.
This picture reminds of what Rev. Matthew said to me as we were chatting after the service — Referring to Neal he said – “You have a great man.” My reply? “I know.”
It was another fruitful day that brought us great joy.