Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lagos Nigeria

Today I find myself living among 22 million people in one of the largest West African cities on the continent. This is day  4 of a two week trip here. I am here to learn , teach and instruct leaders. The original foundational reason for this trip was to take a masters level course at the largest seminary in Africa. Other reasons have been added to the trip since , but all to the glory of God. Most of the students here are called of God to prepare for ministry in the country of Nigeria, but many others also come from other nations as well. I meet the Founder of the Seminary who has been a missionary here for over 35 years. Gary and his wife have roots in the Nazarene church so there were many connections. They now live here the rest of their days while pastoring  a church as well as still involved some with WATS. Today I meet the academic dean who also teaches. She is an American here with a passion to help give African leaders the best education possible to prepare for ministry. The mission of the Seminary is very needed as  the vast majority of pastors in this country have never had any formal education regarding doctrine , church history or how to properly understand or study the Word of God. In this nation the prosperity gospel and hyper grace are embraced  by many who have never been rooted in God's Word. In the founders own words he said there is a need for there  to be dozens and dozens of these seminaries like West African theological Seminary here in this city alone. 

      It has been such a joy to learn here,.Today I was able to teach a one hour session in my ethics class as well as one hour about discipleship with others. As an example of my ethics class we have a case study before us we are to read and then write a paper on what should a man do with his 4 wives and many children after he receives  Christ as Savior?  Because Polygamy is legal and practiced still  through Africa ( mostly among Muslims and traditionalist ) how I does the church handle these kinds of ethical issues is very complex. If your interested in reading my paper on this feel free to inquire for a copy. 
This is my fellow students in my Christian ethics class 

This is me and Dr. Gary Maxey the founder of West Africa Theological Seminary 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ministry in the midst of Tragedy

It has been 13 months since I posted a blog post. In the past 12 months my son Levi (who turned 20 years old today) has had 4 seizures that required we rush to the E.R. to keep him alive. We never know when he might just stop breathing and 4 times within 12 months is too much, But yet by the grace of Jesus he is home again and happy as a claim like nothing ever happened. We  might have some new answers and of course new anti seizure meds, but we still don't have solid assurance. I guess none of have that, but you know what I mean.

     It was a Friday night when Levi checked out and we check into the E.R. The next day they recommended we transfer him to Orlando for betters tests. We did this and spent 3 more days in that hospital. It was during that stay in the hospital that I tried to share my faith with a Muslim Doctor from Palestine. He was not to thrilled to chat faith, but the next Muslim women whom we  crossed paths with allowed me to share my  faith. We chatted about Jesus the prophet  before she has to move on to the next medical patient requiring her attention. I found sharing life and faith with those around me easy and exciting as I looked for the people of peace God might put before me each and every day. Wherever the Lord places us in the daily journey ministry can abound even in our tragic moments. .

   Many have prayed for us in our challenges and we thank God for so many people praying, A joy for me was when I got to pray for a couple who just had a baby on the edge of critical care. I was in the cafe eating dinner when I spotted a couple at the table next to me. I engaged them with a joyful fun comment only to see and hear their sorrow and challenge. Baby Mia was there new daughter who weighed in at 1 lb 2 oz. I offered to pray for the baby and this couple and they openly agree. As they left they stopped me and thanked me for caring and praying.

  The following Sunday I shared with our congregation the request of baby Mia for God to give her strength to pull through. The next day at the hospital I felt this urge several times to go find the parents to tell them we are praying for them still. The Holy Spirit prompted me to go and seek out  the parents of baby Mia. I only had a first name and weight. I found a nurse who tried to help me only to tell me 'we need a mother's last name".  Then he said follow me to one more place. I was doubting but following. Then we turned down a hallway and Mia mom Jessica came around the corner. I was over joyed to find this mom. It was a divine moment. She updated me and I have her my card this time and asked her to keep me posted on her baby's progress and that we would be praying.

    Today she sent me a picture and an update. Please pray for this family and precious child. Jessica told me in the hospital that she will get to take her home in 2017 when she is healthy enough.  My hope and prayer is that this mom and child get to go home maybe by Thanksgiving. Would you join me in praying for this baby?

Mia ☺️ she's stable and in maybe 2 weeks they will decide whether to feed her or open her up if she's still not well, so I'm praying she doesn't need surgery . But her blood work is good no infection yet , and the Dr. is surprised that her blood work continues to get better despite her condition . God is good !