You probably thought that I’m trying to market One Ninety Nine Series Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Far from it. The 199 series struck a cord in me in relation to something very fundamental for every Christians. So, don’t dream about SLR McLaren for now. 😊
What do I mean by one ninety nine? Well, it won’t be difficult for you to guess. I suppose. But I will go straight to the point.
Anytime I looked at this picture, I smiled. Sometimes laughed so hard. I even felt the Lord was even laughing with me.
How It Started
This picture was taken in 1998. My friend, Emeka, who was serving in a very remote part of our country had come home briefly and he was too ecstatic at what he saw happening there. He urged me to come. “Bum (as he often called me), the harvest is plenty there. You need to come,” He exclaimed. I was just a young believer. No title. Nothing. Behind his voice was another One I heard, “Will you do it for me?” In tears, I said, “Yes, I will Lord.”
I served few years before Emeka in a far eastern part of the country. I would come home on brief passes and shared with him, in excitement, what God was doing as I went with other believers from village to village, preaching and leading people to Christ. It was 1 million times fun for me. I love the experience of someone saying, I’m ready to accept Him as my Lord and Saviour. I enjoyed my service year. Emeka was anxiously waiting for his own turn. He had hinted me that he would go and I would come and join him in the field. We were ‘crazy’ to think about any career but preaching, studying the word and praying for hours everyday, plus the ones we did in church meetings.
So, I was too ecstatic at Emeka’s invitation. I began to prepare. What preparation? You may ask. Nothing elaborate. I just needed some money for transportation for a journey that would last me 24 hours to reach the destination. No SLR McLaren. I just needed money to feed during the mission (though I never knew that’s what it’s called). Money to support my friend too. Money to at least cater for the ones that we would preach to.
You know what! Our glammed city churches can blind side us from the need of lost souls around us and even outside our comfort zones. We are too buttered up to remember the needy close to us, even the unsaved loved ones. Many go to churches but have not had experience of coming to the Lord. That is scary! There is a danger of eternal hell if they exit this earth without receiving the Lord Jesus. You can click here to read my article on I Raised the Dead – about a young man that attends a Pentecostal church like us but never saved until…read it later.
The Unsaved Loved Ones
Back to my story. After receiving the Lord as my Lord, I had believed God for my siblings and parent to get saved. I had prayed and prayed. Wept and wept with fasting for weeks. I had seen the revelation of heaven and hell. I was in anguish. I wished none of them would go there. I grabbed the throne of grace in intercession. I tried. I preached to them bu they would not even listen to me. That made me miserable. It’s like a prophet without honor in his home town. I had said to myself, I would be the most miserable of all men if they did not get save at last. I would not even be happy in heaven even though there is joy all around. I said to the Lord, “I would choose to be sad in Your presence in heaven if they did not come to know you before they quit the earth.” 😊 I was often sad whenever the thought of them not being saved crossed my mind. My friends would not know why.
One time I said to the Lord, “If they would not listen to me, can you at least send someone to them? Can you send someone to go and preach to them and get them to accept the Lord? Can you?” I have enjoyed unlimited liberty to talk to Him like that ever since. I love talking to Him as if He was right beside me. Of course, I know you will mentally accent to that. Fine.
My Missionary Journey
Back to my journey, you want to know how I raised money for the journey? I went to a brother (I was close to) who was always helpful to me. He was like an elder brother. I told him about my planned mission trip and funding gaps. Oh, he was excited. He gave me Five Thousand Naira (my apology I can’t convert to US Dollar because I can’t remember the exchange rate at that time). Oh I just googled it. That was about $228. Nice. I also took to Ojuelegba (a metropolitan area), bought a bundle of second hand corporate ties that were fairly new from a thrift trader. Got home, washed and gave them to one of my best friends to sell in his office. I got about Fifteen Thousand Naira ($685) from that business. So I succeeded in raising enough for my trip.
I took to the road. Embarked on a journey that would last me 24 hours. To the unknown destination. To the land where I have never been before. To another tribe that I speak none of their dialects. To people that I did not know. I left the comfort of my home and headed to the land that I never knew what was ahead. However, I was filled with joy like a child traveling on vacation.
My joy knew no bound. I’m not kidding. I was extremely excited. I wanted to go and tell people about Jesus. In a commercial vehicle, we rode from 6a.m on that fateful Monday till 7a.m the next day before I got to the destination. I was cramped in a 16 seater bus. It was a tough and hard ride. People around me spoke languages that I didn’t understand but I was hopeful of the mission ahead.
Arriving in Jalingo
There were no cell phones as it is today. They were in the hands of few. But I had informed my friend that I would be coming on so-so date. So he was at the park waiting for me.
We arrived. There he was. I was tired but my heart leaped with joy that I had finally arrived like coming to America! We entered a bike to go to his residence. You see the picture of the young boy above, that was the road to his lodge where we stayed.
The town was very hot. I had never experienced that kind of heat in my life. The wind was very hot. To sleep in the night was a tortuous ordeal. We had to spray water on our bed and walls. It was very uncomfortable but we endured.
We set out the following days and went from villages to villages, preaching and leading people to Christ. The number of youth converts increased. We started a fellowship and the converts started coming there. We taught them. We had no formal training in mission work but I wanted to experience it. I’m glad I did.
We prayed with the sick and many were healed. The Lord honored His words with signs and miraculous healing.
Our activities caused chaos in the main village where many of these youths came from. On one memorable Sunday, the chief, some elders and young men stormed the primary school we were using for service. I saw them coming from distance as we were holding Sunday service. Prince of the power of the air had arrived. They burst into the service with clubs, sticks and machetes. And marched my friend and I out into the open field. They queried us for a while. Thankfully, the chief was literate and communicated in English. So we understood the grouse. They were furious while the chief was venting at us because we had turned the minds of their youths away from their traditional religion. Our main offense was that they were no longer coming out to the village square where they socialised, poured libation to local deity and drank local gins every evening.
They threatened us, some uttering diverse words that we could not understand. They were aggressive and charged at us. My friend and I screamed aloud, “Kill us! Kill us!! We are not afraid to die! To die is gain, To live is Christ!” I kid you not. We meant everything. Only that our families would not have known where we died. Neither would we see them giving their lives to Christ.
The chief echoed back to us, “Who will kill you? Get out of this village and never come back again. Never let us see you use this school for church again!”
They carried Emeka and I like a sack over some distance while we were screaming, “Kill us! Kill us!! Kill us!!!”. They did not even listen to us. Death was afraid to kill us. 😅😅😅 They dropped us to fall under gravity the way you let go a stone in your hand. Free fall to the ground. All I heard was a thump as I landed on the floor. It hurt but we got up.
I removed my shoes from my calipers and shook off the dust in obedience to what he Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:14, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.”
We left the village. I got minor bruises and was filled with sands all over my head and body. As we trekked home, we were laughing so hysterically at what just happened. At the same time I had a mixed feeling. We were sad that we would never see those boys again.
But later in the evening, the boys showed up at our lodge. Hallelujah! We were so glad. Too excited to see them. They had come to identify with us. Believe you me, I never fully understood what that meant until much later. The Lord had taken hold of them. They were joyfully carrying the Bibles we gave them in their armpits like Bro. Out of joy, I brought out my rickety camera and snapped one of them – that’s the boy’s first picture above. He was so happy, clinging to the Bible we had given him. Did you see the joy in his face? He had met the Lord.
We continued to hold meetings in the lodge. They followed us every where we were going to preach and sometimes they interpreted for us.
My friend and I decided to head to the neighboring state to also preach the gospel there. We did for about a week and returned to the previous state. We continued for a while.
After a month, I ran out of money and returned to Lagos while he continued his youth service for the rest of the year. They grew in the Lord. Anytime I remember this experience, I will smile to myself. I want more. On my way out of the state, I had a life-changing encounter – a vision – where the Lord spoke in a loud authoritative voice to me on the the career I should embark on. And yours truly the Lord blessed the career tremendously.
Back to my story. Since I could not reach my siblings, the Lord sent labourers to them and my mother. They all accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. He answered my prayers concerning them. They became fervent in the Lord till date.
That is my story. Friends, the Lord commanded us to go and preach the gospel to all creatures. Mark 16:15. To go after the one soul and bring them to Him. To nurture them. Disciple them. What are you doing? I’m still doing the same today and till this end of eternity ceases. What about you?
Are you working on the one out of the ninety nine? Or are you enjoying the comfort and the blessing the Lord has given you, forgetting His command to you?
I encourage you to step out and tell someone about Jesus. Go out and seek the one out of the the ninety nine about Christ. And He will reward your labour of love. I’m not tired. I’m all out even now to show the love of Christ to the unsaved, the sick, the needy, the orphans and the deprived. It is my joy.
What are you doing for the Lord? What is the project in your hand that you devote to the lost? Are you living for Him or for yourself?