By Nigerian Work
The gospel of Christ reached Nigerian in the year 1949, first at Ibibio land, now Akwa Ibom State, through the late brother C.A.O. Easien. It extended to Ibo land (now Abia State) in 1956. During that time, there was no knowledge of liberalism and conservatism. The liberals had their first Bible Training College at Ukpom Aba (now Akwa Ibom) in 1954. Their second Bible Training College was at Onitchs Ngwa in Aba (now Abia State) in 1956. In 1960 brother Leslie Diestelkamp came to the Onitchs Ngwa Bible College unawares that it was a “church organized institution.” After much effort to correct some errors proved abortive, he left them to move to the Lagos area where he started a new field of work. At this juncture, space may not permit us to tell the history of the church in Nigeria in detail.
In 1971, after the civil war in our country, brethren Ezekiel Akinyemi and Henry Karamu from the West were sent by their preaching congregations, Mokole at Ibadan and Sapale respectively, on having heard and known the erroneous teaching with positions of churches and preachers in Ibe land, to enlighten them on the truth of the more perfect way. First they conducted a six week Bible class with preachers at Enugu. They conducted a second six week class at Aba in 1972. As a result of these classes some of the preachers embraced the truth and were liberated from the error of liberalism.
Since then these preachers have been able to restore some churches, train other preachers and establish more churches. Though Aba has become the dustbin of the erroneous teachings of institutionalism, no classes, undivided assembly, one-cup, one loaf and the instrumental brethren, yet none of these faithful preachers or churches has fallen victim of them.
It is pertinent to note that the Nigerian economy is in shambles. It is also widely known that our rulers are misusing the public fund, thereby subjecting the entire populace to economic difficulty. Moreover, a majority of those who embrace the gospel in our area are poor and cannot support the gospel as needed. Some of the American brethren who have visited Aba area can bear witness to these facts. Though many of the American brethren have visited Nigeria from time to time, that not withstanding, they cannot fully identify the problems facing the work in Aba area because of their brief stay each time they come.
The churches though poor are supporting the gospel according to their ability but not sufficiently to sustain the preachers. Because of such a situation, the preachers also work with their hands to augment what they receive.
We must not forget to appreciate the efforts of the American brethren in their fellowship with us in the gospel.
Because of the foregoing, we are now emphasizing that the churches in the truth in other parts of the country are not of the same age with those in Aba area. We are appealing and pleading strongly that brethren continue to support the work here. It does not seem right to stop those who are receiving support but rather plead that if there are opportunities for new support, do not relent as long as Aba area is concerned. More support to the preachers will help them to give more time to the work.
We know you love the Nigerian work, we know you have been doing your best to support it, we pray that you add grease to your elbows. We are grateful for all you have been doing and will continue to do to the glory of God’s Holy name.
For contact sake write to: Rufus C.D. Akataobi, P.O. Box 1185, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria; Friday Odoemelam, P.O. Box 650, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria; Isaac O. Aku, P.O. Box 12587, Umungasi, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria; Alozie A. Wachukwu, Ampu Ntigha P.A., Via Mbawai P.0, Abia State, Nigeria; or Silas O. Okpuler, P.O. Box 12803, Umungasi, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 2, p. 12
January 20, 1994