Report From Nigeria - No. 2
One preacher said, "Some men should go into the mission fields, but I am a pulpit man, and therefore I do not go." Such kind of statement deserves consideration. If the man means that he must have a pulpit upon which to lean, behind which to hide and, upon which to place his books and outlines, then he is correct. We don't need those kind of men here. They would be hopelessly lost in this kind of work. Furthermore, if he means that he must have a "captive audience" (an announced assembly, inside a building, with a number of faithful brethren sitting nearby to give encouragement and with a handful or less of non-members also present who were brought in by the members) then again he should not come. But, if he means that his greatest ability is in public speaking; that he does his best work as a public proclaimer; and that he wants to be very busy in daily (not just weekly) preaching, then he should come by all means. We need men who will drive their car to some convenient place, park it, stand beside it, with Bible in hand and love for lost souls in his heart and declare the pure gospel to the dozens of hungry souls who will gather in a half-circle about him. There will be hardly any Christians in the group, usually, and there may be some who will ridicule and criticize. If the lesson isn't interesting they will walk away. If the preacher tells the crowd that the Lord has one true church, that Jesus is indeed God's only begotten Son, that the church is the kingdom of Christ and that every obedient one can enter heaven after judgement, many will be offended, but some will be convinced and converted. Don't be afraid to come because you are a pulpit man -- your talent will not be wasted here but you will preach to more non-Christians in one week here than the average preacher does in America in six months! And, you will answer more religious questions here in a week than the average preacher does in a year in America!
The Ajegunle (Apapa) church is now using the new building at 45A Orodu St. It is the first building secured by the churches in this Western Region except for the Idakan church in Ibadan, which was a denominational church with a building and which is now trying to put off denominational ties. The Ajegunle building will seat over 200 and rooms for the native preacher are attached. We realize that no soul was ever converted to Christ by a building, but we believe this meeting place will help to stabilize the work and promote development of the members. Two or three other new churches in this area are ready for a building, and need one badly, but though one can be built for about $1,500.00, that much money is just not available.
Brother Sewell Hall and I are cooperating in another training class (this is the third one in this vicinity), this time with Surulere church in surburban Lagos. Each of us teaches two nights per week and the native preacher teaches all four nights. This naturally reduces the amount of outside preaching we can do, and therefore the number of baptisms are fewer, but this is a very necessary work in strengthening the members. Brother Hall plans to go back to Ghana this month for two weeks, and will not only preach outside there, but will conduct classes also.
Brother Hall also has secured time on a commercial radio station (WNBS, Ibadan) and a fifteen minute broadcast of the gospel at 3 P. M. Sunday is producing considerable interest far and near in this area. Another gospel message is published in the newspaper every fortnight and many requests for more information are received. This is also arranged by brother Hall. In connection with these a correspondence course in Bible study is offered and is being received by people throughout this part of Africa,.
The following is an account of funds received and used by me since last report: Received: From: Antioch church, Charlotte, Tenn., $90.00; Mrs. H. R. Mast, Nacogdoches, Texas, $25.00; Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Odle, Houston, Texas, $5.00; Lincolnway church, Valparaiso, Ind., $60.00; James Finney (the total remainder of funds he had received and which he had agreed to send to me, and from which he had been sending $50.00 per month), $859.00. Total: $1,039.00. Expenditures: Deficit from last month, $70.13; Expenses for local interpreters and trips for native preachers, Feb. & March, $89.33 ; Some support and expenses for native preachers for Warri and Ahoada, $28.00; Major motor expenses $67.20; Final payment for speakers & microphone for address system, $49.86; Help on the Ajegunle church building, $560.00; Total $864.52. Balance remaining today, $174.48. In addition, brother Finney sent $50.00 per month for usual motor expenses for Feb., March, April, May & June ($250.00 plus the $859.00, above, total $1,109.00). Regular support for our work here comes from Thomas Blvd. church, Port Arthur, Texas. We express sincere gratitude to everyone who has had a part in this work. Without your help we could not have been here, and without the help listed this time we could not have completed the Ajegunle building. You have indeed been real partners with us as we all are "workers together with God."
No doubt you heard about the violent demonstrations here in Lagos, Feb. 16. I was spared from being in the midst of it because of the alertness of a friendly native who evidently recognized `my truck and shouted, "Turn Back, turn back" just before I was about to enter the traffic on carter bridge,' the only motor road into Lagos. Once on the bridge, one cannot turn back. On the bridge and thereafter many were beaten. Naturally I was grateful for the warning. We missed a few nights of street preaching, but within the week I was back in the usual work, and had no difficulty at all. So far no further trouble has developed and we anticipate none.
Winter is approaching now in this place. It is now sometimes cool enough to close part of the windows or else sleep under a sheet. The sun remains just about as hot, but it is hidden some by the clouds now, giving much relief. We love this rainy season and are happy that the dry season has ended. But, "in season, out of season" we try to keep busy, preaching the word. Pray for us and for those who hear.
Truth Magazine, V:9, pp. 22-23