Pray BFF Letter #152
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Dear Support Team,
If you want to see some pictures of Kenya, please look at the prayer letter before this.
Reflections on Nigeria (June 7-13)
Praise the Lord for safe travel as well as smooth flights. From bed to bed (USA =>Nigeria) it took about 30 hours of travel. It is a long time to be upright. And this was a direct flight from Atlanta to Nigeria! I had some interesting conversations on the way either sharing the gospel or building up the faith of others. One brother started singing his Nigerian devotions right on the flight. It was wonderful.
I stayed at the Spread the Word Mission Home again. It is about 45 minutes out of the city in the area Rev. Godstime grew up. My schedule was very regular. We had group devotions around 6 am standing in the living area in the dark. One person would lead a traditional Nigerian song of devotion. A little scripture was read. We were told to pray individually for different needs. And then a designated person closed in prayer.
I was deeply grateful that I was not seized with allergy problems this time. Last year, I had a constantly runny nose and a cough. This year, I took an allergy pill once and its effectiveness (and your prayers) lasted for about 3 days. Praise the Lord. I almost did not return to Nigeria because of it. God was gracious.
I forgot to pack three things: camera cord to download pictures, a bed sheet (I could get by without it this time) and mosquito repellant. Thankfully, I was only bitten once or twice the whole time (I do not take anti-malaria medicine). The biggest frustration of the whole trip was the amount of time we had no electricity. No electricity means NO FAN.
No electricity in Nigeria means that it was stifling hot. It also meant that I had little light and could not work much on my material. Editing audio/video consumes the laptop's battery power quickly. On average we had electricity for only about 1-2 hour each day. Thankfully, the seminar site had generators so that we did have electricity for the critical times. The messages were taped (though the quality is so-so). I am so glad I brought a little battery-powered light so I could find my way in the dark.
For four days we started the day with devotions. Around 7:30 am we would leave for the seminar site. I gave three lectures of about 1 and half hours each (no translation needed). We were able to provide a fish roll and soda drink for the pastors and wives who attended the "Building a Great Marriage" seminar. They really appreciated that. They often just eat one meal a day.
The car trip back and forth to the seminar was a great challenge. Rev. Godstime's car needed repairs about 3 times while I was there. It broke down while traveling from the airport. I could not get out of the hot car (security). To highlight the trip and make city traveling more speedy, we were escorted by the police both ways. They would make the traffic pull to one side or the other as we wove down the streets. They thought it was great. I felt uncomfortable with it. But we were kept safe. Travel on the rural roads was painfully slow. We spent a significant amount of time traveling along the side of the road because it was better than the road itself! Part of the car repairs were from scraping bottom.
At night I would give the same lessons but in less time. The pastors in the evening session hold full-time jobs at a factory and so can only come at night. They come and go walking in the dark. But they are so grateful for the training.
The two seminars were wonderfully received. Many individuals told me how God was working in their lives. Others publicly testified of how God was working in their lives. The time was right for this marriage seminar. So many people are struggling in their marriage. This seminar focused on three aspects.
The design revealed God's plan. This raised issues of polygamy. The sessions on reconciliation showed how to restore broken relationships which is good not just for marriages but for handling all relationships. The last point showed how to gain the full glory of marriage. Most people try to keep from problems but do not know what it is or how to reach a great marriage. Again, this concept also challenged these pastors on what kind of church Christ is building.
Budgets for Nigeria and Kenya were pushed to the limit as more and more people attended the seminar. This is better than less people attending, but it does require closer examination of the finances. But we are thankful that God has provided again.
Before each trip I share with my children how much money we need to pray for, something like US$6-8,000. Their eyes pop open wide. But we pray night after night and they see the Lord provide as He has in this case. Praise the Lord! And many thanks to all of you who take part in giving and praying.
I would especially give thanks for the Lord's working deeper in hearts in both Nigeria and Kenya. People were greatly moved. The Lord enabled me to cross the cultural boundaries. So many times He helped me to answer difficult questions. Perhaps the greatest good was to see how God brought a measure of healing from the pain of the political unrest in Kenya. Pastors could not get along with each other. Even though this was not our major focus, God still worked so much that many testified to how they can now join hands and work together.
I want to thank the Lord for no big problems since I arrived home (3 days ago). I have been able to work regular hours without any jet lag (except the first night). No sickness or computer problems. I am steadily catching up on my work and have processed two podcasts since coming home. Now I have to address other issues like running out of room on my computer and website (I got a danger notice this morning).
Do keep praying for the impact of these seminars.
I thank each one of you for your faithful giving and prayers!
In Christ's Majestic Love,
Rev. Paul J. Bucknell, President
Biblical Foundations for Freedom
Phone: (+01) 412-398-4559
3276 Bainton St.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA