We have encouraging news out of Nigeria. Just a little background for you, if you aren’t familiar. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 150 million people (half the U.S. population, for reference). It’s one of the top ten oil producing countries in the world, with a large amount of oil in the Niger Delta.
Health and general living conditions in Nigeria are poor. Life expectancy for both men and women is 47 years of age. About half the population doesn’t have access to portable water or proper sanitation.
Most Christians live in the South and Muslims live in the North. There is a faction of extremist Muslims in the North whose goal is to overthrow the secular government by force and institute Sharia Law throughout the country. Our TTI district leaders from Northern Nigeria came together for a weekend training. Just arriving safely was evidence of the grace of God.
The training consisted of teaching on practical tools for evangelism via The Four Spiritual Laws and how to mentor/disciple new converts to maturity. There were encouraging testimonies from many of the training centers. The TTI National Director was very impressed with the story of one pastor, Joseph, who upon discovering his church and other churches had been burned down by extremists, slept “in the bush” with his family for four days. You would think that kind of a traumatic experience would discourage him, but it didn’t. In fact, it had the opposite effect. In the days following the fires, Joseph mobilized 150 believers to take part in TTI’s church planting class. This is further proof that church grows under persecution.
Please join us in praying James 1:2-4 for our TTI students, church planters, and our brothers and sisters around the world that face persecution daily.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (NASB)
Even though the National Director was teaching on discipleship, multiplication and church planting, he emphasized that without Jesus, they can do nothing. Jesus is the center of it all, not just the priority or first place in our life but the center. It is by Him and Him only that the leaders can plant healthy and reproducing churches. Jesus was the focus and all the leaders were encouraged. The TTI district leaders left renewed and strengthened; ready to proclaim the Gospel and raise up disciples to plant churches despite very real dangers.
Praise God! Please join us in praying for them.