Hello everyone. Quite a number of times, I’ve been asked about my silence over here. My mind has been here but my daily actions haven’t aligned so I couldn’t blog. I apologize.
But by my statistics, I see you keep coming to read and you encourage my heart. ??
I’m back. Where do I start from?
What I really want to do is give you a little gist of one of the events I’ve had in the period I’ve been away.
I guess I’ve never stated it explicitly on here, even though I’ve done so indirectly a number of times: I’m a 500 level Law student of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and I worship at a campus fellowship known as Ibadan varsity Christian Union -NIFES.
My fellowship is under both the auspices of Christian union and NIFES(Nigerian fellowship of evangelical students).
We are very evangelical.
We embarked on a village outreach recently. The village where we had our camp base was called Jarija. We’ve visited the surrounding villages in that location for our outreaches for quite sometime.
Village outreach take off is always on a Thursday and we stay there till Sunday.
Thursday found me at House no 12, Kurunmi road. It’s a residential area for university senior staff, and this one belongs to one of our patrons in fellowship. A number of us were there cooking; mainly sorting out, and frying the fishes to be used for the entire outreach, cooking dinner for that evening + other basics. Someone told me of how the abundance of fish we sorted and cooked, triggered his memory of the Jesus(documentary) film where the portrayal of two fishes becoming an abundance for all was shown. I know right.
Here’s a photo grid of pictures from that thursday:
Everyone had a scheduled take-off time for the village, as printed. Mine was 2:30pm and so at that time, I took off for the chapel within school. At the chapel, myself and the others for my time slot got seated in a bus, the bus was loaded with extra bags of water and we took off.
I led the prayer as the bus took off. I had a book with me which I intended to read the whole journey. However, I couldn’t stop praying once I had started. ? I kept praying on my own.
P.S: why do people always sleep when travelling, even for short trips? I don’t get it. Virtually everyone on the bus slept.
We got to the base, Jarija, circa 4:16pm. We met a team praying on ground, as is always the case every year. We joined and then we prayed, prayed and prayed. And still we prayed. Later in the late evening, we stopped to rest for a while. Before long, we gathered again, and prayed and prayed. That’s the way thursdays go in the village – pray it through.
The final buses were yet to arrive from school. Eventually, the bus bringing our dinner arrived really late, I didn’t take note of the time but I guess it was around 12am already. We ate white rice and stew, then had a camp briefing carried out by the Evangelism secretary and off to sleep.
Hhhhhhhbvh wait, my unit – prayerband, – had a brief meeting where we were counselled to join the entire prayer chain for the night.
We always have a prayer chain during the outreach. Everyone has an hour prayer slot when they’re woken up at night to pray. That way there’s always a group praying all night till dawn. You can always stay for more than your time slot. As prayer band members we were adviced to stay the whole night praying. Erhm, however, after my duly assigned chain of 12-1am, I strolled back to the hostel like a cartoon character, and there I slept.
The next morning, the camp commandants were at it. It was an experience with these commandants. I’ve been in village outreaches before and had commandants but these ones were indefatigable ?. They wore neon coloured orange vests over their clothes. You wouldn’t imagine how annoying their shouts could get in the mornings but I appreciate their dedication to the work( I’m just being polite). Its exhausting having so much noise around you for the most of the day, and a greater amount of it when you’re just waking up!
I had my personal devotion, then we gathered for general devotion. There was time for us to fetch water and have our bathe – all these, under strict time slot accompanied with loud claps, bells and shouts from these commandants. *Sighs*
We had an exhaustive in-house bible study time. Then we ate our brunch.
Each person falls into an axis as per the norm. We had three axes (OBV, a blog reader pointed out the plural of axis to me; Axes not Axises); A, B, C.
Each axis had about four or five villages underneath it. I was allocated Ladele village but for friday, I was among the group that stayed back to pray through out – remember, prayer band member? We prayed till Axis A members got back from the house-to-house evangelism in the early evening.
The camp base was in Axis A. The format goes thus: after house-to-house evangelism in the villages, the villagers are told about the crusade to hold in a chosen village for each axis. So of the four or five villages in axis B, Omu-Aran was chosen, of the five in C, Akindele was chosen. Ofcourse for A, our camp base, Jarija, was chosen.
At the time we prayer band members paused praying briefly, we quickly broke our fast then gathered to pray again for the crusade about to start.
I soon left the prayers to join those organizing the village children. P.S Flashback – Thursday night after I arrived and we had that mini break inbetween the long hours of prayer, I sat outside with a book (I’m the fresh air + book type of girl). I beckoned to one of the village girls and she came to stay with me. That gave a host of them boldness to draw near me too. But I kept mute mostly because I was a little tired, and more because my yoruba was all over the place. These children spoke expert yoruba, I heard them clearly. I was a little skeptical about speaking the yoruba I tend to speak. I never went to a church where interpretation was made from English to yoruba language so when it comes to words like redemption, repentance, other bible words and general lingua flow, I always stutter. I can however speak household yoruba.
Last year’s outreach, I was going to ask a woman which religion she believed in. Religion in yoruba is ‘Esin’. My people, lo and behold, I asked which ‘aisan’ she worshipped. ‘Aisan’ means illness. That did it. It just did it. Yourubas can be very superstitious. How do I go about explaining that error. Did I mean her harm?
now you get my reluctance to speak yoruba in the face of the expert yoruba these children threw about.
So back to Friday when I joined those organizing the children, I made sure I played the firm aunty’s role. I was telling them I won’t tolerate any noise at all, I made them shout and repeat the memory verses I taught them etc. All theses were done with what we’ll call “bold face*“. When it came to teaching the word though, I gallantly left it to the better yoruba speakers. And yes, I taught them some beautiful songs, I hope they still remember.
The pictures below aren’t capturing even half of them.
P.p.p.s: The children were not as gentle as they appear in the pictures. Take my word for it!
After we were through with teaching the children and giving them gift packs, we helped at the crusade ground where the preaching was going on. We prayed with the villagers that accepted Christ, prayed for their specific needs, and jotted down their address details for follow-up. After that, those from the other axes began to arrive having done same where they were. We had dinner. Then prayer chain began all over.
This night, I couldn’t walk to my hostel like a cartoon character after my 12-1 am prayer chain slot. Why? We prayer and members were no longer adviced to stay all through, but mandated to stay the whole prayer chain so I did. ??. It was amazing. We however had continuous rain showers. Not drizzle. Rain that drenched and soaked us. Rain that caused me to shiver. The involuntary shake shake shiver. But still we prayed prayed inspite of the shake shake shivers.
Saturday went pretty much the same way with routine. By 5pm, the children we had at hand were more in number. The commandants’ claps got louder still, their voices louder. It was almost incredulous.
One thing I always look forward to in our village outreaches is the bible study. We always have lots of time to study under the open heavens. It was a beautiful time again. The only issue was that we had an abundance of sunlight. I mean abundance. Guys, I had sunburn. I’m still recovering from that sunburn(well…, I’ve done really well over these two weeks now). Sunburn so evident, it has been the subject of discussion for almost everyone who’s seen me since then. Like I laughed it off with a friend, the bible doesn’t promise beautiful faces for those who preach, it’s beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7). But wait, Daniel 12: 3 says those who turn many to righteous shall shine like stars forever more. ?
Another notable fact: on Saturday, I went for house-to-house evangelism and the prayer band members who did so on Friday were the ones who then stayed back to pray all through the day.
Saturday night, after the crusades in each axis, and everyone had arrived, each axis leader gave a report on the souls won, challenges faced etc. Then we had thanksgiving praises to God for all the souls that had been won. We danced till day break.
We woke up and had devotion time. Then thorough cleanup of the environment began. We cleared the kitchen equipments, cleared out our hostels which happened to be the primary school for the villagers. I spent time picking charcoal from the ground and underneath my fingernails looked very blessed with black coal.
Then, the photo gallery sessions began, as people filed out of the village in different batches.
I doubt I did justice to the experience in this narration, but this is an attempt to encourage someone else who is otherwise very skeptical every time they hear of a village outreach. It is beautiful to serve. And no, no witches will eat your head off if you’re in Christ Jesus.
Added point: It’s a great time doing what Jesus did while he was here on earth. Try it.
Urhm, even though they won’t read this, this post is dedicated to those whose names are still carved in my heart from the village experience. To: Idris, Smart, Aminat, Iya wasiu and that loud woman whose husband has packed out. I’m praying for you.
Ivcu 2018 village outreach: Glad tidings of great joy.
Ever been on a village outreach? What was your experience?
*Bold face means false bravado.