Praise the Lord we got a new small car for the Nigeria team (Peter laughed for several minutes when we ask if the AC worked, he said the mechanic told him he forgot to fix it) but the seatbelts do! Pray we need to get seatbelts for the van!
The larger meeting with the nine organizations and our Nigeria team went pretty well, they weren’t as prepared as we had hoped, but we now know the venue for the large conference, the MBB conference, but not the Hausa background believer conference yet (which will be somewhere in Katsina). They didn’t have the budget ready, so pray that they will be able to come up with the budget. They’re having a second meeting tomorrow to try to hash out the finances together, pray for wisdom and good collaboration!
We are figuring out the lodgings for most of the speakers for the fall conferences, pray for the success of the final plans.
Rich is leaving day after tomorrow, pray for safety in travel to Abuja, and the flight.
Peter is writing an exam on Friday! Pray for wisdom and easy memory! Peter’s water tank is not working, so they are collecting rain water for use in their house. Peter’s wife is supposed to go and see the doctor again for her checkup this week, pray for good news from her tests! Pray for his daughter, Greta, who is still trying to get into university and is very discouraged and frustrated.
Praise God for the safety of the trip prior to this, God protected the team in a number of ways as some very serious dangers presented themselves.
Jos is safe! There has been no crisis in the city or in the villages. Praise God!
DCC chairman and UMCN meeting—pray for better memory and implementation of the strategy. They want to have their own conference in Jalingo, so we are going to pray about this. They said they could bring enough people who would be interested in evangelizing and following up with Muslims in the local area who don’t feel confident.
Everyone agreed again that there isn’t a way that we can send 500 converts to discipleship schools, and this is what we are praying for and what we want for Muslim
Rich and the sheik are continuing to work hard on the Muslim background believer materials, and have gotten to test some of the materials in the field with positive results. Pray for their continued collaboration. They hope to finish writing three follow up segments!
Pray for continued set up of the ministry that Wendy and Gloria Palau are hoping to do among the internally displaced widows and children while they are in Jos for the conference.
One of the ITEC dental trainees has already started removing teeth. He is looking for a place to rent space where he can continue working.
The house where we all stayed during the training and the primary school was all pulled down by a wind storm. A tree was ripped out of the ground. Pray for the head of the discipleship center, as she is facing serious challenges and discouragement.
In Maradi where we hope to have a training, the Muslims burned an AOG church and some vehicles.
Pray that the Lord will put an end to all the attacks on our team and Nigeria.
Pray for the continued work of set-up of the training of the university students in July! At least 200 students are coming.
Half of the students are going to Muslim areas so they need to be trained to share the gospel in Muslim areas, we’re bringing in the head of the department for Muslim evangelism for Kale Heywet church to come work with us training the students. He’s taking care of all of his expenses.
Pray for their short retreat they are having for FFICM trainees end of June!
We are hoping more of our US team will become proficient in “high” Hausa, which is highly respected in the north.
Dara is sick with an infection and is leaving for a vacation, pray she recovers quickly!
Pray for the arrangements, we have found an open door for being able to process visas for people going over in September! We are grateful for this, but continue to need prayer for all the set-up issues.
David is preaching Sunday, prayer for wisdom.
Roy’s memorial service is on Saturday, prayer for the family.
Pray for Rick’s classes at Multnomah and fundraising efforts!
Rich began working with sheik ad his coworker writing MBB materials, they outlined what an MBB needs practically to transition to the church. Praise God! Rich heard many stories about why these materials are necessary. In one scenario a Muslim convert went to church in Maiduguri, and the people at the gate refused to let him in because they were afraid that he was going to bomb the place, they called the police, the policeman was a Muslim and was mad he had converted and accused him of being BH, and put him in jail for two years.
Praise God, there was no trouble over Salah in Jos or in Maiduguri. In Jos, they didn’t let anyone ride the “tricycles” over Salah so they wouldn’t have an easy attack method.
In Kindjandi BH attacked and kidnapped a woman who they later released too send a warning that they plan on killing all the Christians in an area.
Maiduguri is completely calm which is making everyone nervous, because this kind of calm usually means they’re planning a new strategy, pray that God has mercy and averts all tragedy, and thwarts all plans of the enemy.
This week Comfort had 2 people she trained, one is an immigration officer and another local person. She sometimes trains people within her house, pray for her! Comfort asks for prayer that there will be more open doors for her to train more people. Pray for grace and encouragement for her as she works in this difficult region.
Pray for Rich as he travels north hopefully Wednesday, going up for two days. Sheik and his co-worker will be traveling with him. They will meet with the ECWA folks, making sure they’re going to follow through with their muslim evangelism and follow up strategy we agreed on. It has been difficult to help the church accept MBBS, the church got burned recently because they accepted an MBB, there is a lot of fear. Please pray for safe travel because it’s dangerous around there.
Pray for the 500 convert goal that we are trusting God this year! Pray for wisdom as we continue to work with church leaders to figure out how to care for them.
Pray for the meeting to set up all the conferences. Committee meeting on Monday! Pray it will work out well and will be a good time of fellowship.
Some of the people we trained from the??? training. Someone from abuja, a woman has trained about 30 people, she has been sending pictures and reports. Another one in Lagos started training some teenage girls, she is using her training really effectively! Another pastor called from delta, that he has started conducting the training with his church leadership, and need more materials. Pray for people who are using the training that god will give them wisdom to know how to continue to put their training into practice.
Pray for the Nigerian office, they just sold their small car and are hoping to get a new (and better functioning one!) Pray for wisdom!
Pray for Peter, he has just started classes! One of his classes is on Islamic theology and thought. He thanks God that it has come at the right time, there are eight in the class and most of them know exactly how they want to use it in their ministry.
One of the challenges is that the churches are running away from the training, some of the MBBs are using the churches for money, and continually rotating between churches. Peter is brainstorming with other classmates how to best solve those problems.
Pray for plans for the end of the year, thinking of ideas for how to raise funds internally for the Nigeria Office. They met as a team the past two weeks, and agreed on a strategy for developing video clips and newsletters to send to strategic people to share about the ministry. Pray that God will give us more wisdom for how to best communicate and who to talk to!
Pray for Stacey as he develops videos for the Nigeria office! They are hoping to start meeting with some major potential supporters by August. Ten minute video.
We are trying to set up a training in Niger, the week after the fall conference. We need visas to be able to do that!
Thank God, Sam’s father is improving, the problem is heart failure. He will be taking drugs to help with that, pray for God to miraculously heal him, his name is Phungwon!
Pray for continued collaboration with Kale Heywet and our Ethiopian colleagues for wisdom and understanding as we’ve signed the MOU!
Pray for Eskendir’s continued work with us, and also for the set up of the training.
The leadership wants us to go south to a really unreached area where they have indigenous people there willing to be trained! They want us to go in November, but it’s unlikely we will be able to, so prayer for the opportune time to present itself.
Pray that the Cameroonian team will get the funds in time to run their retreat for the FFICM trained evangelists and church leaders.
We’re putting out the monthly newsletter this week, pray for wisdom and grace that people will be prompted to pray and give!
Also pray for knowing who to follow up with as far as volunteers, we need a lot of help…with everything 🙂
Pray for starting to plan the conferences, and also fundraiser!
Pray that the visa process will go smoothly on this end, since the way we had before to get visas without an in person interview is temporarily stalled.
Wendy Palau is wanting to minister to the widows around Jos in the camps, pray for the process of setting that up.
Last week of school for David’s kids before the school year is over! Pray that the kids will be able to finish strong, and the transition process to summer goes smoothly!
Pray for Rick as he begins classes at Multnomah, that he would be blessed and the ministry would also be blessed through his growth in knowledge of the Lord.
It is very hot in Maiduguri! Prayers for everyone for relief from the heat.
Comfort was able to share the training with 6 widows from a Baptist denomination. Some are widowed because of the Boko Haram, they all have between 2-4 kids. Prayer for them for their needs and ministry!
For safety in Maiduguri and Jos, the Muslim Salah celebration starts tomorrow, Boko Haram were saying in Maiduguri, they want to come into town to celebrate Salah. Pray for wisdom for the Christians to understand where they should go and how they should be watchful. Also in Jos there have been a number of threats circulating, prayer for peace.
Pray for Comfort’s daughter who will be finishing her degree in September!
They haven’t been able to run the training in Biu because the rains have come and people are farming, pray for an opportune time.
Peter started his classes today! Prayer for safety and wisdom as he continues to study for the next eight weeks.
Pray for Samuel, his father Tungong has a health challenge in his leg, a boil or a wound that has persisted, possibly cancer, pray for healing!
Prayer for wisdom as we continue to work on plans to help the latest trainees how to begin to apply what they just learned! Some of the trainees from the recent training have been calling and letting us know that they are applying their training, fixing generators and small engine.
Of 8 dental students, there were three that were fully certified, one was only qualified for silver nitrate, and as particularly devastated. Prayer that God will help him as he deals with his disappointment. For the I-FIX guys, four of them were from the same state, and they were talking about trying to set up a central office where they could share the tools and work together to fix generators and motorcycles! They’ll have logistical challenges in sharing the tools that they received. Adamu was able already to fix a generator in his area that has been broken for two years! Praise God
Yesterday the woman who leads the discipleship center called and said that the one man who was treated came to show appreciation for his treatment and gave his life to Christ.
Prayer for one dental student who is having a hard time figuring out where to put the dental chair for his ministry. It’s complicated culturally, he doesn’t want his current boss to think that he isn’t committed to his job.
Pray for wisdom for the retreat that they want to host for the FFICM trainees. Praying for the Lord to lead them to a time that they can do another training.
For continued prayers for peace in the region! May God have mercy on Cameroon!
Pray for Rich as he just landed in Ethiopia! He is scheduled to sign the MOU tomorrow, and is meeting with the deputy general secretary tomorrow.
Stacey’s older brother has prostate cancer return that went to his lungs. They’ll be doing new scans to make sure it hasn’t spread anywhere else. He’s a Christian and says he is experiencing peace, but pray for healing!
Our friend and partner Carl Palmer has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, prayer for healing and grace for him and his family.
We need some prayer for getting visas for our speakers for the conference, there are a lot of issues with the Nigerian consulate, running out of visa stickers etc. Pray that a) the New York office would be able to start working in a timely manner so we can get the visas by mail and b) if this isn’t going to work out that we would have wisdom to know when to move forward with other options (i.e. flying to Los Angeles or somewhere else).
Prayer for Dara’s family as they’re preparing for the memorial, especially for Janice, also for family members that are not Christian.
Pray for Asher, David’s son who is celebrating his 9th birthday, that he wins his baseball game tonight. Pray also for Ben who is struggling with his growth and some emotional issues.
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
Praise God that the Nigeria team is now safely in Jos, praise God for safe travels and a successful program! Nearly every one of the trainees left certified in some skill. Some were able to learn more than others, so prayers for those who were disappointed that they didn’t do as well as their fellow students.
The ITEC team has also safely left the country! Praise God for the fruitful collaboration!
Please pray— Yesterday around Jos Jarawa, early in the morning, the corpse of a 20 year old boy was discovered, assumed murdered by neighboring Muslims. The youth from Jos Jarawa reacted and began forming a mob, security teams were called to the site and shot some of the youth and a number of them died, and houses were burned. Please pray for peace, there is a curfew from 6 pm-6 am.
Please pray for the families of our staff members! Peter’s family in particular only lives 1 km from the place that the deadly violence unfolded. Praise God they are ok, may God bring lasting and complete peace to Jos.
Continue prayers for Ruth’s mother, as she lost her husband last year in an attack and has been having to manage her life without him, prayers for grace, comfort, and strength! Prayers also for Ruth’s family, who had to manage without her this past week as she was ministering with the team up north!
Praise God Rick was able to leave the country after a comedy of errors. Someone at customs on his entry didn’t understand what “theologian” was, and put down “topologist”, necessitating a correction to the visa. After two months of waiting, he got his visa and passport back the day before his flight left. God is sovereign!
There are about 8 new converts from the program! Please pray for them, may God strengthen them and encourage them, and may they grow in the word of God, may God give us the opportunity to go back and follow up further with them!
David was very sick over the weekend, but recovered in time to preach on Sunday and is doing much better, praise God!
Water was a big challenge during the program they had to go by motorcycle to get water! It was a struggle to get enough drinking water, but God provided, we are thankful!
Comfort further update:
Praise God that we received the draft of the final MOU that Rich is to sign! Pray for the continued strengthening of this partnership!
Pray for continued wisdom and grace to the set-up for the July training of 200 university students!
Praise God that Comfort is safe, she is planning her outreach on Thursday! Prayer for grace for her as she ministers to widows today.
Prayer for Florence, Linda, Lily, and Pastor Yisa, and the 113 FFICM trainees in the country! May God give us wisdom as we try to set up a forum where we can keep in touch with them and encourage them while it is not safe for us to go and support them with additional training in person.
Prayers for peace in this country that has been so ravaged by war and the hatred of the enemy. May God work powerfully in people’s hearts to bring peace.
Rich leaves for his trip through Ethiopia and Nigeria on Sunday! He will be gone for three weeks. Prayers for grace for him in all the ministry that God will accomplish through him and through the brothers and sisters he will work with!
Praise God for the grace that he has given Rich and Dara’s family as they mourn the loss of Roy, prayer for recovered strength and encouragement.
Prayers for David’s family as he will be en route home for a couple more days!
Prayers for Rich’s daughter-in-law Joelle who is still recovering from labor and exhaustion related to having a new baby and being there a lot for Roy’s decline.
Prayer for Roman as he continues to evangelize and train church leaders to follow up with new believers throughout Eastern Europe!
Comfort asks for prayer for the villages of Lassa, Dille, and Tarpaya, that are all under attack by the Boko Haram, and no one is coming to their aid! Please pray for mercy for them. In her words, the situation for those vulnerable villages is this, “If you can run and escape good, if you cannot run away nothing has been said, no one knows anything or is doing anything to help…”
Praise God, Maiduguri is safe this week.
Comfort asks that we pray for a spirit of encouragement and endurance for Christians in the north, for many people are turning away to cultural religion or guns to try to protect themselves.
Pray for Comfort’s daughter, who is finishing her degree in September! Comfort is trying to set up a training in Biu, pray that the Lord anoints this effort, and provides safety for everyone.
Pray for the Firm Foundations Nigeria team, they are all in an area outside of Kano where there is very limited cell-service, Peter had to climb to the top of a nearby hill to give us an update! By his account, every thing is going very well, all the teams are there, including the ITEC team. The only complication is that most of the participants speak no English so they needed to find more translators. Three people have come to know Christ, two Fulani Muslims by listening to audio bibles that trainees were given, and one woman who came to ask for food and who ended up speaking to the former sheik who works with us. Pray for them as he is following up with all of them! It is also very hot, though they have been able to keep a generator running to power fans, there is of course no AC and the heat is unrelenting. Pray for grace for the teams.
Pray for Rick, he’s traveling, and is due in the US tomorrow. He was headed down to Lagos last we heard.
Peter is trying to develop a plan to reach Niger with some of the trainees in Northern Nigeria, please pray for this effort! The trainees from the north are really excited about the training that they have received thus far. they said that they’ve never had training or substantive material to help them evangelize, they’ve only had tracts.
That God will continue to have mercy on the ITEC team for dealing with the food and the heat. Tomorrow they are going to start practicing removing teeth from people. Pray that God will give them courage. Also pray for the new MBB converts. Yusuf is following up with them. Pray God will continue to use us all.
Pray for protection and comfort for the bereaved, Fulani Muslims killed a woman and a Christian Afizere boy at Jarawa bridge.
Pray for 113 FFICM trainees that Florence and Linda are working with!
Pray for Reverend Yisa, as he continues to try to figure out how to minister in Cameroon’s dangerous climate
Pray for Cameroon, for mercy from our Lord Jesus on them in this terrible war. May God protect the innocent and bring a miraculous and lasting peace.
Pray for Stacey’s brother, the initial biopsy from his lung was inconclusive and more doctors are taking a look at it; pray that the results are favorable for healing, and pray for patience and peace while he is waiting. He is a believer, praise God.
Pray for the Gardner family and the Schlesser family as Roy is now with Jesus, having fought a long battle at the end with Alzheimer’s. We praise God for his life, and for the legacy of hope, forgiveness, gentleness, love, and strength in daily friendship with Jesus, that he leaves with all of us.
Praise that the set-up for the training of the university students is still going well! Continue to pray for all the preparations that need to be made and that God will bless and work in the hearts of the trainees.
Praise God that Firm Foundations is working towards an MOU with the denomination we’ve been working with, Kale Heywet. Rich is planning on flying over in early June to sign it, pray for all those arrangements and our continued partnership with them!
Continue to pray for peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and for the borders to open!
Pray for believers in Eritrea, Open Doors posted that 141 Christians, mostly women, some men and children were arrested
“Love conquers, more than violence…the word of God is pushing us to love them, even though they are doing what is not right to us, we are compelled” (Peter Wash, Nigeria Director, Firm Foundations)
Christians in northern Nigeria (where Nigeria Director Peter Wash lives) suffer near-incessant massacres at the hands of both Fulani Muslim militants and the Boko Haram. However, most Christian communities remain committed to peace and to loving their Muslim neighbors whatever the cost. As Open Doors has documented, 70-88 percent of the victims in the “herder-farmer” conflicts are Christians. Most Christians do not retaliate. As Firm Foundations begins to work even more with Muslims in northern Nigeria, we decided to ask Peter how he can devote much of his life extending mercy to Muslims when just last year he lost his niece and her three children to a Fulani Muslim attack.
Peter told us, “I have a heart to reach them because they haven’t been given the privilege of listening to the gospel. They have been denied that privilege….if I were born in that community from childhood, how would I live my life?” This compassionate stance gives him a passion to give even the most hardened enemies of his community and faith the chance to hear the truth about who Jesus is and what His followers believe, and use every opportunity to show them Jesus’ love.
When I asked him about the losses he had suffered personally, he acknowledged that it hasn’t always been easy. Once, Fulani Muslims attacked Peter’s home village the day he left to share about Jesus in a Fulani Muslim village in Gombe. They took two hundred people away, including Peter’s brother and cousins. He said, “That was really devastating. They [the Fulani from Gombe] went and called the chief. Unless the chief answered me, I wouldn’t be allowed to speak anything to them. As I was sitting down quietly waiting for the chief, I was just imagining, these are the people that went and killed my brother. I felt in my heart, ‘Why can’t God just send fire to consume them?’” But then Peter thought, “If I do that, they will all die as sinners…if I bring hell-fire on them, I judge rightly, but this is not what will bring peace. I have to preach the good news of love.”
Peter then said, “I talked to the chief, even though none of them received Christ, they told him that they have benefitted a lot [from Christianity] and none of them would touch me, it would safe for me to go there now.” When he talked with them more he discovered that the local Christian who was hosting him, paid for a Muslim to go to a hospital and be treated for their illness every year at Christmas and Easter, so they know what Christian love is, in that area.
“Islam has been struggling to overcome other religions through violence…but Christianity has been passing through much persecution and it is still here, even in places like Egypt, Tunisia…yet, it still survives. Love conquers, more than violence. They [the Muslims] were brought up to react anyhow to Christians, to insult, to abuse…immediately they will fight or kill. It is because they don’t really know God, and they don’t have the Holy Spirit who controls their temperament. In Islam, they still practice an eye for an eye, if somebody did something to you, you can have revenge….if they understood Christianity, and believed in God, a lot of the crisis would be stopped. The attitude we have here, is that the word of God is pushing us to love them, even though they are doing what is not right to us, we are compelled.”
DaraUnderstanding Christian love in the midst of Nigeria’s ethnic cleansing
Please continue to pray for peace for the country between the English speaking region and the French speaking region, that God would change the hearts of those in power.
Please continue to pray for healing for Florence and also for her husband!
Pray for the young evangelists in Mbingo and the new believers that Florence is ministering to.
The small office car broke down while Peter and David were on the way from Abuja, but they were able to get it back on the road again! Praise God for protecting and providing for them. Pray that God helps Peter as he attempts to sell the car and replace it.
Pray that the printers in the office will begin working! We need to be able to reliably print materials. One of the computers is also malfunctioning. In addition, they are having trouble with the internet at the office, pray that all technical difficulties are resolved as the enemy tries to prevent our trainings by any means possible!
We’re working on a memorandum of understanding with one of the larger denominations in Nigeria, COCIN (church of Christ in Nigeria), pray that this all goes smoothly!
Comfort reports on the 11th, 4 men were killed and 7 women kidnapped in the north, please pray for the families of the bereaved and the safe return of the kidnapped women. One of Comfort’s friends in ministry, Falmata, has also lost her father, please pray for her!
Pray about Rick’s situation, he wasn’t able to leave before his visa expired, so he needs to figure out how to get out! Pray God is with him and causes this to go smoothly.
Pray that Peter’s visa application goes through! We would like to fly him to the US this fall to meet people and coordinate efforts more closely with our US office.
Some of the people for our Kano training this week couldn’t make it in time to the training, because they were trying to travel from Katsina, and it was difficult. Pray for safety as they are still en route and for the trainers currently in Kano that God gives them wisdom and grace as they adjust.
The former sheik is having some difficulty coming to the training, pray for travel mercies and additional strength for the other trainers.
There was some confusion about the timing of the ITEC training locally, and some of the ITEC trainees have come early. Pray for the kinks to be worked out and clarity in communication.
Pray for our goal of having 500 new Muslim believers by the end of the year!
Pray for Rich’s trip to Ethiopia in June to sign an MOU with Kale Heywet and check on the churches we are currently partnering with. There are a lot of details we still need to work out!
Praise God for all the funding that has gone through for the student training!
Pray for enduring peace for the country, and peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea!
Please continue to pray for our Eritrean trainees as we do not know how they are, but we know they are in constant danger.
Pray for us as we follow up with people from the fundraiser! We are hoping that God will prompt the right people to volunteer with us.
Pray for Dara’s mother-in-law, she has been having fevers every week since November and is having difficulty getting the insurance to pay for her testing. Pray for healing for her!
Pray for David’s family while he is away, for mercy and for energy for his wife Denise and comfort for his family as David is missing Mother’s Day and his daughter Hannah’s birthday.
Please pray for Roman as he continues to train and travel!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous[….]Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-45, 48 (NIV)
While Rich, Peter, and the FFICM team were training in Northern Nigeria on this last trip, they spent three hours listening to the stories of Muslim background believers about their experiences, in order to better understand how to support them and reach out to others like them. One MBB had just received Christ 2 weeks ago and was being followed up by someone that we trained. He looked scared as he spoke; many MBBs in the area are beaten and threatened with death. He said that what drew him to Christ was watching the life of his friend in the village, he was confused and deeply impacted by the fact that this man was kind to even strangers and enemies. So one day, he asked his friend why he did this. The man answered him, “it is because of my Christian faith”. The former Muslim believer said that this caused him to believe in his heart that Christianity was better than Islam, and he believed in Jesus.
We praise God for the hearts of fellow Christians like this man’s friend, filled with the Spirit of our heavenly Father, loving enemies and strangers. May God grant us each the grace to love those around us like this man, that they may know the depth of the Father’s love for them and no longer be strangers or enemies, but brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus!
This next week FFICM starts their training for Muslim background believers in Kano! There are 60 people registered. We have four staff members who will be up there running the training, please pray for safety in travel, and prayer for the trainees who will be there that the Holy Spirit prepares their hearts.
ITEC training starts the week after! Prayer for David, the additional members of the Nigeria team, and ITEC as they all travel!
Last week Thursday and Friday there were attacks around Miango, pray for peace, pray for comfort for those who lost people. The Muslim Fulani are stopping people on motorcycles and killing them sporadically. Pray that God supernaturally puts a stop to these horrific murders immediately.
The government has now banned the use of motorcycles in 8 northwestern states because the Boko Haram and Fulani Muslims are using them so frequently in attacks, pray that this is effective!
Sam’s son is healing well, praise God! He still need the stitches to be taken out, continue to pray for health for all his family!
Pray for one MBB convert from Azare, the former sheik went to see him last week Wednesday—they had a good time talking about his life and the Christian faith. The man gave his life to Christ and has been attending church, but needs somebody to continue to follow up with him and build him up in his faith.
Muslims have started fasting in the north, so new MBBs are in a tough spot as their families might find out that they’re Christians, or they might feel uncomfortable not fasting in front of their families.
An elderly Fulani man gave his life to Christ this past week, praise God!
Materials for the next trainings are getting printed, and they look good, with typos and printing issues resolved, thank the Lord!
In Maiduguri, inside the town is relatively safe currently, but only three days ago, there were three suicide bombers. God prevented many casualties, but people were still killed, pray for their families. Muslims also killed 26 people in a village outside Maiduguri. Pray for peace and protection!
The weather is harsh right now in Maiduguri, pray for relief for Comfort and her church members from the heat, it is between 108-111 degrees.
One of the young ladies Comfort trained in Lagos is already training others! More people in Lagos are calling us to come down and train them in June/July, or August. Pray for wisdom as we consider their request!
Please continue to pray for Florence and her family, Pastor Yisa, and especially Mbingo as they continue to face hardship!
Please pray for peace in the country!
Praise God that we are almost completely set up for the program with the 200 university students this summer! God was gracious and provided all funding.
Please pray for continued peace!
Thank God for his miraculous response to our prayers! We have all our funding covered for the year and are still in shock praising God. We felt like our goal was too big, and God showed us our goal was too small!
Praise God for Joelle’s baby! Avalei Hope Abus Rhodes is healthy and the birth was very smooth! Pray for continued healing for Joelle as she recovers.