When we were told that we were going to evangelize at Marakana in Ajegunle (Lagos), I did not know what to expect. I was not scared. I just wanted God to teach me things by making me meet with other people, and probably use the opportunity to reach out to someone. Below I share my experience / point of view of meeting 3 sets of people out of many. I left Marakana with a different perspective to life and a decision to be thankful to God every day of my life. I say that I am privileged to be where I am today, and with what God has blessed me, I must use to bless others.
I wake up in the morning and worry about my fuel tank that is near half, about my job that is too demanding, about the generator that cannot carry the electric cooker or the bed sheet that is not soft enough. My experience at Marakana made me realize that there are people, human beings like me, who do not have food to eat. They do not have fire to cook. They do not have beds to lie on. They do not have cars to drive. They do not have livelihoods. And the churches, or whatever they are called, around them, have exploited them in the name of God. There are people who do not know that they can have a better life. Their mindset is limited. They do not know what to hope for. They do not know that they have purpose.
But what touched me was there are people who are sick, who are blind, who are deaf and able (previously referred to as deaf and dumb) that wake up in the morning to praise and worship God. They are thankful for life, and believe that God is able. I was humbled yet encouraged. Please find below my experience with some people.
Esther: She vigorously fanned the wood awaiting the first flicker of fire. She had been trying to fry her egg for over 15minutes but the fire was not lighting. I came to bring the Good News to her.
“Come and join me to church,” I said. “Today we came with doctors who have medicine for those that are sick.” I hoped that would lure her.
She laughed mockingly. “Will they test me for AIDS?”
“I am not sure about that, but maybe we can go and find out”.
She said nothing, but continued at the fire. It seemed she was getting upset with the fire for she had started murmuring. I offered to help but she did not accept. I was at loss for how to reach her.
“Will you come to church?” I asked again. She laughed. Final answer. I left.
How could I explain the Good News when she had no food to eat (and was scared that she had contacted AIDS)?
Case 2: They all lined up for their “breakfast” – Weed. Both male and female. Those that had taken their dose sat around the man who had the full basin of weed. They were all quiet and dazed. My companion talked about the church and the free medical services. From my point of view, it was as if they could not understand what he was talking about. “Church you say?” One of them managed to mutter. He sighed and went back to his “breakfast”.
The children that grow up seeing this every day, how can they know better if people do not come and tell them?
Faith: After a brief fellowship, we were asked to have a one-on-one with the people. I was assigned to Faith. Faith is a lovely, playful, “faithful” lady. She told me her story. The day she was born, her father was being buried. She has no siblings. She grew up with relatives because her mother did not have enough to raise her up. Her education ended in secondary school. She is a nurse and a hairdresser. She works hard. She came to know God through evangelism by members of God Bless Nigeria Church. She has a fiancé and plans to get married this year. We prayed together. If you hear her talk, every word that comes out of her mouth is filled with faith. Life and joy bubbled within her. “Are we going to see Pastor Tony today? The tall Pastor?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. She became very excited.
I was really encouraged by Faith and the others in the fellowship. These are people who live in Marakana but had chosen to be separate. It was evident that transformation had begun in their lives – thanks to the word of God and the work of God Bless Nigeria Church to reach out to them with the Good News.
I thank God for God Bless Nigeria Church (can be located at Onikan Stadium, Lagos). I thank God for those who accepted the vision, for those who decided to be partakers and for those who have made sacrifices to reach those places most of us will not. I have seen how people’s lives have been transformed from darkness to light, and from doom to purpose. Drug addicts, armed robbers, prostitutes, the sick, the incapacitated and the homeless have been reached by the church. God bless Nigeria. As we decide to change and make better a life today, in no time, we will see that many lives will be changed for the good of Nigeria.