My Blog

God’s Mercy to the North ~ Peter’s Report on the FFICM/ITEC training

The FFICM staff team went north for the training of the leaders, pastors and members of some of the discipleship centers that we are working with. Pictured below is a center where Sarah* (the leader) has some Muslim background believers, and the Maguzawa who are looking for a safe place to stay from their family or relatives who trying to kill them. This was a training which was meant to give them a basic understanding of evangelism and follow-up, and FFICM’s goals do as a ministry, and hopefully we will 

*not her real name

The training started with 18 people in attendance (less than expected) because there had been a miscommunication and many participants did not know that they were supposed to come on Sunday before the program, so that we could begin on Monday morning. Some of these trainees came from Katsina, which is far from the training center, so they didn’t arrive until Monday evening.

This meant that on Tuesday we repeated the teaching of the gospel cards and the lessons we had covered the first day so that they could catch up. Sheik was also there on the second day, and he taught on how to preach to Muslims, and how to conduct follow-up with Muslim background believers. 

After this, we went out for the field practicals, evangelizing in the local area, which the participants found fascinating and encouraging, as people responded very well to their sharing. One woman, a trainee, went and witnessed to three others and they all subsequently decided to come to the follow-up training.

A man named Ahamed came to the training ground with the intention of winning Christians to Islam, he had a list of questions that he uses to confuse Christians concerning God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the prophet Mohammad. He was then given all the answers by Yusuf who in turn challenged him about his faith and the basis of salvation in Islam; who they worship and why do they pray in the name of Mohammad which shows that Muslims pray to Mohammed, which is not consistent with their own criticism of Christianity. So this man he broke his fast (for Ramadan) right there and continued to stay there for the rest of the week and part of the following week to listen to the follow-up lessons.  Unfortunately, he was not entirely there in good faith. He told us on Tuesday that his wife gave birth to twins on the Wednesday that he had given his life to Christ, and he wanted to go home for the naming ceremony. We gave him a little money for transportation, but he stole his roommate’s phone upon his departure, which leaves us unsure of his motives and the sincerity of his conversion.

But another man by the name of Muhammad also met with one of our group who preached to him—he told them that he was in a hurry and couldn’t stay, but he came back the next day to the center. As he listened to Yusuf teaching, he gave his life to Christ.

On Tuesday we also heard the testimonies of Pastor Kabiru and Mrs. Dahiru concerning their field practical experience. According to Mrs. Dahiru, she met her neighbor, a man with two women. She stood before them and started opening the gospel card and the three of them all stood and asked her what she was doing. She asked them if they wanted to know what she was doing. From there she started to share with them and they came to the class with her to learn more about Jesus, though they were Christians already. The same thing happened with Pastor Kabiru. When his daughter watched while he opened the card, he led her through the card. So on the second day, we had 60 people in attendance, even though some of them were already believers, they wanted to learn. We divided the participants into three groups for the field practice and we all went out joyfully. We were instructed not to enter Muslim houses to witness, for safety reasons, but we could safely witness to them on the road. One of the trainees brought a Muslim man to Sheik Yusuf and after he heard what Yusuf had to say, he gave his life to Christ. 

On Wednesday, we collected the reports of the field practicals from the three groups. Group 1 witnessed to 15 people using the gospel card. Group 2 witnessed to 50 people. Group 3 witnessed to 45 people. Out of all this, 30 people prayed to receive Christ. Yet another Muslim man was directed to Sheik Yusuf and spoke with him. He came again the following day and he gave his life to Christ. His name is Muhammadu. After that, Sheik Yusuf and the CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) chairman Rev. John Audu went to visit another Muslim leader who had earlier invited them to come because he wanted to know more about Jesus. They went and many people gathered in the compound to listen to Yusuf as he taught them  about who Jesus is, and how they can have salvation through Jesus. They went out again this day for field practicals and continued to preach. They preached to about 50 people. Eight of them gave their life to Christ, and they were able to conduct follow up with thirteen people in all.

On the last day of the training when the trainees were asked to give a testimony concerning what they had learned from the training, one of them, a pastor, said he had learned a lot from this training. It caused him to begin thinking  about how when he gets a new convert, he usually bombards him with big, heavy theological words. Some people ended up with half knowledge or no understanding at all. But through this training he understood that we need to bring our conversation to a level where the new believer will be able to understand the basics of the Christian faith. Before, he used to just tell people to go to the church and they will be taught the doctrines and the important things, the do’s and don’ts  of the church. He has learned that he needs to go and follow them up, not just tell them to go to church. Another person said that he has never gotten any training on how to witness to people or to follow them up. He has been going out for outreaches. He uses his Bible and he gives them what he would describe as head knowledge. Through the training he learned how to preach using the gospel card and outlining basic things that a nonChristian needs to understand. He has learned how to follow-up new believers also – not just preach and leave them there. He is willing and excited to go out and build up people so that they will be mature in their faith. David recorded part of his testimony on his phone.

During the strategic planning session, when one of the pastors was asked how many members he has in his church, he said about 250. Out of that about 90 of them are baptized. When asked how he many of his church members, based on the way they live their lives, have a genuine faith leading to salvation, he said only 15. Some of them exclaimed that this would be true only from a very linear perspective. We used this conversation to help explain to them that they need to assess the general need of their church and area, not just minister to unbelievers—many believers need to be followed up with so that their relationship with God will be genuine and will grow. All of the pastors lamented that they have the same situation in their own churches. One of the leaders also quickly responded that they have been longing for this kind of training, but they didn’t know how or who to contact. But with what they have heard and learned from us this week, they plan to immediately go and train 50 people. They have already requested materials for that. They have a witnessing group which goes out for preaching, but they don’t have any material to use. This has really opened their eyes about how they can be effective in their preaching and follow-up.

The training concluded at 12:30 and those traveling back to Katsina began traveling back at that time because it is a long journey for them. All of them are hoping that they will be invited to attend a further training soon. If possible they will want us to come to their areas to help them build up their members and also to refresh their memories on what we trained them to do. We also told them about other programs that FFICM will be doing like the MBB conference and the Maguzawa conference.They are willing to partner with us to put all that we have trained them into practice. We are also willing to help them put their faith into action, those from Katsina immediately went and wrote a proposal on how they will start  implementing the training and they are going to train 50 people who are part of their team who will evangelize. We have already sent them the materials!

THE I-TEC  TRAINING

The following week we continued with the training which we have organized in conjunction with a foreign organization (I-tec) which they came to train some members of the various discipleship centers that we are working with in basic skills such as dental work and small engine repair so that they will be accepted in their communities and can evangelize in their home areas. We had two people from Plateau State, two from Bauchi State, two from Kaduna, two from Katsina state (tsiga) area and two from Malumfanci area. Each of the discipleship centers that sent trainees are a part of the MBB conference that we are planning, as we are hoping to help all of the Muslim background believers to stay in their communities. 

 While the training was going on, sheik was busy teaching and witnessing to the Muslims around the community and some of those that come for dental treatment. Two Fulani who listen to the audio bibles (that were given to those we trained in the first week) came to gave their lives to Christ and they joined in with the group to be discipled. Some of the converts lived in the surrounding area; this made it easier as they were always able to come in the next day for the teaching. We had 8 new converts and over 15 Muslims that we preached to!

On Tuesday, he first day that people were to start coming to the clinic for the teeth extraction, the chief was among the first to be there as early as 10am, but he was asked to come back by 2pm as the students were not yet ready. He ended up being unable to come, but many others came and there were over 30 people whose teeth were either extracted, treated with silver nitrate, or cleaned.

On the graduation day, the I-tec leaders told the trainees when they gave them the dental equipment, that this equipment is given through FFICM on loan, so that they must not sell it if they don’t use it, but return it to be used elsewhere. Those that were certified were given either tool kits (for those that took the small engine repair classes) or dental chairs (for those that received dental training) so that they can now help their communities. 

The General Secretary of New life for all visited us and saw what we were doing and was in agreement with us about the need to really use what these people are learning as best as we can. They are going to start a center or create a room in their communities where people can come for dental work or for small engine repair. They were told to be ready to be at the annual conference of the New Life For All in September and the Maguzawa conference, and they will also go with their tools to the outreach in Niger State –Bidda. He is willing to be using those trainings wherever they will be going for outreaches like in Bida, Niger State to help people in the villages.

The report of the training reached the government house and a government official called the leader of the center and told her that he was going to send his people on a bus to be treated. So she told them to come, and that we are ready and willing to treat them. But some of them were too afraid that they would be converted to Christianity, so only those with extreme dental pain came. 

A student from the University of Zaria came with a badly swollen mouth. He said he had sometimes even punctured the swollen place so that pus could seep out. When he heard of what we were doing, he came and as the dentist was try to teach the students how and where to inject in this kind of situation, the wound opened and the “aroma of death” came out with a terrible odor. The student removed the spoiled tooth and the guy was able to open his mouth wide, which he could not do before and so he went back with his mouth wide open and thanking God.

In another situation a young girl had broken one of her front teeth had broke, and it had started decaying, she was not willing to remove the tooth since we could not replace it. Her husband had just divorced her, and she thought if we removed her tooth, who will be willing to marry her without it. We shared Christ with her and she prayed to received Christ as her Lord who can turn her situation into joy

.

Over 85 people were treated with tooth extraction, some had 1-4 teeth to be extracted, some were treated with silver nitrate to delay the decay and for some only the dirt on the teeth was cleaned.

We then traveled to Kano to relax that night and the next day then we departed after taking them to the airport, arriving in Jos by 5 pm. 

DaraGod’s Mercy to the North ~ Peter’s Report on the FFICM/ITEC training