"Well done.” It is a phrase used every once in a while in America, but in abundance in Nigeria. It carries nostalgic qualities for us now because it brings our minds back to the place our hearts have already established as their home and future burial site. It is also symbolic of the beautiful culture that permeates the land. “Well done” is not something people say to someone after a day’s labor or a month-long project has been completed. It is a form of greeting said upon coming into contact with another person. It is as if to say, “You’re doing well at whatever you’re doing” or “I am satisfied with your efforts.” Before a conversation is even started, the phrase is uttered to communicate approval, respect, and kindness. Those three attributes summarize how we were abundantly treated on our survey trip, and we are anxious to return to our people and give the rest of our lives to reciprocating those gestures by showing them the love of Christ, and teaching them His glorious Gospel.
We are going to be church-planting missionaries in the country of Nigeria, which is home to 200 million people. Out of over 50 countries in Africa, Nigeria is the most populated country, and comprises 1/7 of the entire population of the continent. Currently, there are only four Independent Baptist church-planting missionaries in the country. That is one for every 50 million people. By the way, 50 million people is the equivalent of 2,636 NBA arenas filled to capacity.
There is no shortage of needy children in Nigeria. An estimated 44% of the population is under the age of 15. There are an estimated 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children in the country. God has given both my wife and myself an aching burden to reach at-risk children, and we plan on starting a children’s home during a later term.
Nigeria is predominantly Muslim in the North and “Christian” in the South. There are thousands of churches whose congregants hold the title of Christian, but they in reality are Charismatics steeped in heretical teachings centered on experiences and miracles rather than faith. There are often violent conflicts in some states in the North due the presence of Islamic extremists, especially members of Boko Haram. Where we will be is in the centrally located capital, Abuja, where for the most part, people of both faiths live together in peace. We will be working with and training under Missionary Mark Holmes, whom God has used over the last 14 years to start 37 churches in the country.
With numbers so overwhelming, the most effective way to make an impact in any country, but especially in a country like Nigeria, is to produce exponential growth. We want to plant church-planting churches that will plant church-planting churches. The summation of our long term goal is to work with the Holmes family and the network of national pastors they are affiliated with for 1-2 years, and then go to our own city and start a new foundational work. Our prayer is that by the time we die, there will be 100 churches in Nigeria that can trace their history back to our first church plant. We greatly look forward to being greeted into Heaven by thousands upon thousands of beautiful African faces and Christ Himself with an overwhelmingly satiating "Well done."