4 days to Abraka 2013 – We have landed. On a mission to break down strongholds and take back our territories
We arrived on time in Lagos. There were 8 of us on the same flight – Yemi, Kemi, Dolapo, Sis Benny, Sis Hannah, Sis Elizabeth, Tanito and I. I had checked in online. At Heathrow, I asked for my seat to be changed so I could sit beside Tanito. The lady did her thing, smiled confirming that I had been allocated a new seat but it did not happen. I was disappointed. What is her Dad going to say? I had waved him good bye promising to look after his little girl. But guess what, Sis Benny sat beside me by design. God had a hand in it. I did a couple of visits to enroute just to make sure she was okay.
The flight was smooth. Mid-flight the toilets on the left side ceased working. Thank God, the food was nice. You cannot imagine the consequences! We alighted from the plane and were hit hard. Yes, hit hard by the heat and humidity. Welcome to Lagos Mr Adewumi the elements announced; my jacket went off in response. Passport control was smooth but our luggage collection was a task on its own. Our luggage seemed to be the last off the conveyor belt. Well, I should not complain. 35 pieces excluding ladies hand bags was a lot to claim. Remind me to visit the gym next year. We cleared customs with ease and then faced the next frontier – please show me your baggage tags. Bag tags? The bags were all mixed up on different trolleys. Please do not hold us back were my hidden thoughts, the anointed has been unleashed. We are ready to take the Abraka by storm.
With great expectation we strolled into the baking sun of Lagos and the glory of one thousand naira per day phone bill. Oga – you wan change moni (money), I go give you good rate. Another tout pleaded Oga let me carry your luggage because your tip is our family chop money. In the midst of this all we saw a familiar face – A warm hug from Mr Togun ushered us on journey.
Why are we here? echoed around me again. My response was, we have been sent forth to Abraka to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, give sight to the blind, empower the weak and preach the love of Christ to all. Abraka, here we come to break down strongholds and take back our territories. I hear a resounding, Amen.
3 days to go – We are Family.
I was woken up at 5.00 am in Ibadan by the sounds of the muslim call to prayer. Come on guys, give me a break. I need some more sleep. I prayed and went back to bed to be woken again not by our neighbour’s megaphone but by the sweet voice of my mother in law blessing me. Olorun a to ju e, wa a da gba, Olorun olupese a
pese fun e, omo ati iyawo re ma so rire. What a wonderful mother; I am blessed.
This episode brought two things to my mind. The love of an earthly parent and that of our heavenly father. Of an earthly parent, we will always be their children no matter how old we are. How obvious that might be but we still need to be reminded of this important fact. Parents have a deep passion and care which I cannot describe. As a side note, I miss our family Morning Prayer time where I bless my children. Our Heavenly Father waits at our door every morning knocking with blessings of love, joy, peace, protection, favour, insight, direction, revelation. We just need to open the door for Him to deposit what He has in store for the day. His mercies are new every morning. Halleluyah.
Our journey from Ibadan to Lagos was uneventful. For that we give God praise. Landed at the Nana Arena called the Events Centre. What a show. The Liberty team arrived in numbers to support the Togun’s at Femi’s engagement party. It was a glorious day. Rice Soup Very Plenty. The biz girls came out in full force with matching uniform and colour coordinated shoes and bags. The glorious God given beauty of my sisters was on display. You cannot imagine how long it took some to get ready. I think we should keep that a secret. The Liberty table was filled to the overflow. We played musical chairs for a while.
The engagement entertainment was progressed smoothly. With every step money was dropped into a basket or sheet. Good business madam engagement coordinator. Suddenly everything stopped. It was not because of Mr Nepa or for a rest. The Governor of Ogun State entered the arena. Within a blink of an eye, 30 people rush in. What is happening? The Governor had made a personal appearance. Good one, Guv. I marvel as he slid in, greeted the celebrants with the paparazi all over the place. Within a few minutes, it was all over. He disappeared as he had appeared. This brings me to an important fact. Jesus will appear suddenly with His entourage proceeding – trumpets and the angels. Only those who are prepared will follow Him. Are you prepared for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? Suddenly, He will arrive.
We all arrived home safely after a long weekend. Halleluyah.
2 days to go – Day of Rest.
Today is Sunday. I decided it was going to be my day of rest. Locked myself in the house and did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I cannot describe the peace and sense of renewal I felt after a whole day rest. My friends, who had more energy than I, decided to visit the beach. Reports from our in house papazari indicated that they
painted the town white. I do not blame them. There is a 7 hour journey ahead and lots of work to do in Abraka. E ma jolly ooo.
1 day to go – Our Journey to Abraka
Arrival time at the bus depot for our bus trip to Abraka from Lagos was 6am. I woke up at 4.30 am, left home at 5.30am ensuring that I was not late nor delayed the rest of the group. One out of the fourteen missionaries arrived on time!. At 6.30am I asked myself, where are the rest? The phone rang with the answer. Bro Kayode
We are leaving home soon, just waiting for the driver. At 7.00am, another response was – we are at the wrong place. Others tried to contact me but no mobile phone network!. The list goes on. I could not give up nor leave without them. God into your hands I commit myself.
We left at 8.07 am. David, the driver, was drafted in for this special trip. We thank you Lord as you have sent your angels to clear any traffic hold up before us. It turned out to be a smooth and enjoyable trip. Seven hours of first class company. The ladies had cooked Moin moin (bean meal) with bread on tap. Mr Biggs meat and chicken pies were used to supplement the solids. Loads of water went down to quench our thirst.
As we travelled the roads, I realised why there are no theme parks in Nigeria. The Sagamu to Benin road will give you the thrill of a lifetime – driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, overtaking on a bend, overtaking uphill on the wrong side of the road, dodging pot holes 18 inches deep. Avoiding pure water, chin chin and plantain sellers with skill and precision as well as rounding FSRC, Army, the Police, special crime squad barriers which littered the roads. What could have been a totally Alton Towers experience was truly, truly a LEGOLAND expedition courtesy of a Mr Badejo (my dear friend) who we picked up on the Expressway. He was “giffafing” at the speedometer the minute we left Mr Biggs. Softly, softly he beckoned the driver every inch of the way. The driver knew he was under control.
We arrived at Gordon resort after seven hours on the road. Lord, we thank you for journey mercies. The resort was built by an Irish naturalised Nigerian, Mr Gordon McCarthy. It was a beautiful place. The River Etiope meandered behind the property which was used to create a manmade lagoon for the pleasure of the residents and town fun seekers. I was amazed at the beauty and ingeniouity of the creator. Nice place. The water was as clear as daylight exposing the hidden reefs and beautiful fish swimming in shoals. The lagoon was calm but the undercurrent of the river was very powerful. An instance executive decision was made – no swimming throughout our stay. I was not a popular man.
We had a couple of hours to rest before our 6pm appointment at the Ovia of Abraka’s palace. The reception was wonderful. We were introduced to some traditions including the breaking of the kola nut. Well, this tradition bagged us a handsome present. Food and drinks were free flowing. What touched me most was the volume and quality of data the Ovia reeled off to us. Stats upon stats about the socio-economic structure of his kingdom and a comprehensive needs analysis of land. He is truly a shepherd who has a passion for the good and development of his people. More of his type, dear Lord across the nation, I pray.
Everyone had a wonderful time of fellowship that evening. There was a heavy presence of the Holy Spirit. Off to bed. Abraka we have arrived oooo to regenerate the kingdom. Light for darkness.
Day 1 – Let there be light
We all woke up with great excitement. The worship session in the morning was excellent. This is the first time we had joined the host team to fellowship in the morning together. We all headed off to the camp site with great expectations.
We jumped off the bus at 8.45am into a work in progress venue. It had rained
consecutively for the past two days. The canopy which was supposed to be used could not be erected because the ground was too soft. What? 75 minutes to go the stage was still being constructed by the carpenter, the table and chairs were being laid out. The masons were still in the proposed medical room slapping mortar on the window frames. We all got into action, chairs and tables were laid out, the medical facility was washed and the speakers plugged into the electricity. The speakers came alive with a loud hallelujah. We were on track and ready to go. This reminded me that this is what Liberty is all about; we are all willing servants ready to serve in whatever capacity.
The people were now all seated eager to hear and receive the word of life. Their hearts had been prepared by the Holy Spirit. The impact of 100 days of prayer and fasting were gently bubbling on the surface. The preacher, Rev Adegun, gave a powerful message of hope and deliverance. He made an altar call and there was a surge of people forward. Yes, faithful Lord. Here they come. The people’s response to the gospel was a joyful sight to behold. While the counselors started to counsel, the ushers were getting ready to usher the people around the grounds.
Today’s medical team on the camp site consisted of 3 dentists, 8 doctors, 6 ophthalmologists, 2 opticians, 6 pharmacists with 8 nurses. Many more were in the General Hospital setting up the theatre to be used later in the week. The people assembled under tents, ready to go. The dilemma was how to sort them out as everyone wanted to see the doctor and eye specialists all at the same time. Divine chaos is the appropriate description. Taking them in twos, tens and fifteens did not work. Each person was given a number after much ado. The medical team commenced their duties. It was a wonderful sight to see a year’s work of praying and planning translate into people, hundreds of people surrendering their lives to Jesus and accessing free medical care. The touch lights were out; the hunt began for the cataract patients. 20 candidates were earmarked for cataract surgery and 8 patients were referred for general surgery such as hernia operations. It was a rewarding experience making available free medical services for over 300 people today. A service they might be able to afford in their life time.
Thanks for making it possible to set people free
Day 2 – Coincidence or a God incident
Thanks for reading my chronicles. I thought a bit of reflection today on how we got to Abraka, Delta State would be appropriate. “Why Abraka?” was a question I heard over and over again leading up to the mission. To be sincere, the criteria used for choosing the place is unknown to me. Abraka was tagged a high risk area far from
our local support network. Travelling was a whole day affair by road; it cost an arm and a leg by air. We were advised that movement by road was an unnecessary risk for a bunch of “foreigners”. But it was an inspired decision by the Ife Conference Centre leadership team to go. There was no promise of ease or comfort when Jesus asked us to make disciple of nations. The process requires faith, commitment, sacrifice, some risk taking and the leading of the Holy Spirit. All of these came into play during our stay.
We all left Gordon resort for the site. The programme had started by the time we arrived. The people were in free flow of worship. The drama was excellent, a good prelude to the message. The preacher Pastor Olanrewaju was short but sharp. It was clear what he had said as the people stood up to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. A sea of new soldiers stood at attention. Some with their hands raised up in surrender. Yes, surrendering to a higher power; inviting the King of Kings and Lord of Lords into their lives. What an awesome sight. The counselors had their hands full. The medical team was drafted in as counsellors. A field commission for another regiment. All hands on deck. We were all geared up to receive our new brethren.
We were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to see either an optician or ophthalmologist. Over 200 people waited patiently to access the Eye clinic. While another 200 were sitting on the other side of the tent waiting for the GPs. All the doctors who normally ran the Eye clinic were in surgery. Only one optician was available for consultation. The people were becoming restless. God understands each and everyone’s need. A screen was put up and Christian films were shown to the waiting patients. They became engaged and engrossed in the films. Another type of evangelism in practice.
In the midst of the crowd, I spotted an elderly gentleman. Sir, what are you doing here I asked. He was supposed to be in surgery. They say make I come here, was his response. I was puzzled. I wrote him a note for the Ophthalmologists – Sirs, please give him your urgent attention as he is due for surgery today. Two hours later I saw him again. Wetin happen? I asked again. He explained that he left early yesterday to resume work at 5pm. As a result, he missed his pre operation screening and medication. I felt a fountain of emotions swell within me – that of compassion and empathy rather than irritation. I appreciated that he needed to keep his job as well as enjoy a breakthrough into his future. The operation would make a difference but must be weighed against his daily bread. I offered him a chair under the shade and monitored him until his next pre-op check many hours later. I became his guardian angel.
51 candidates from yesterday were given priority slots for their eye tests while another batch waited in the wings. The Eye clinic started at 3.30 pm for glaucoma and other eye issue consultations. Another group of 20 people was selected for cataract and other eye surgery the next day. Amongst the group were two boys, one 10 years old and the other 14 years old. The general medical team consisting of nurses, gynecologists, dentists, a pediatrician, psychiatrics had their hands full. Over 200 people came through their doors from all over Abraka. The pharmacy was well stocked with drugs donated by local pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies from abroad. These were being given out free. Every team had its work cut out. We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.
We started the business empowerment courses covering soap making, sewing, bead and jewelry making. The Akure team was overwhelmed by the interest from participants. Dress patterns were cut while the soap making was demonstrated. Necks laces and hand chains were made out of glass beads. Some new businesses were being birthed.
In the midst of this all, quietly one to one ministration was going on. People were sharing their faith on a one to one basis and the power of God was being made manifest. A woman whose husband had left home a couple of weeks before mission responded to the gospel. The counselor asked her about her family and she busted into tears that her husband had left her and she had not heard from him for weeks. They prayed about the situation for a turn around. A couple of hours later the woman ran back with joy, she had just seen 7 missed calls on her phone. Her run away husband had run back! He had been trying to contact her. Coincidence or a God incident. I hope you agree with me that God can turn every stony heart to flesh.
Day 3 – My money don change for my hand
Day three on the Liberty camp was a life changing experience both for the served and servants. Gbenga and I jumped off the bus and headed for the General Hospital where the general and eye surgeries were taking place. It was time for the blind to see. Sis Funmi, Dr Toyin, Sis Lola and many more in the medical team were already
at work. Liberty had taken over the General hospital’s accident and emergency ward. Our doctors for the first time carried out both general and eye surgeries. Some of the general surgeries were undertaken under general anaesthetics. Whoa, that was a first. 10 catarrhs and 8 surgeries had been carried out. This was the hospital’s whole month’s caseload undertaken in two days. Surgeries started the previous day around 10.00 am and closed around 7pm. What a wonderful overload!
There were rows of people sitting down who had been operated upon the day before. The air was full of anticipation. What will happen next? We first met Alice who had been blind in one eye due to an accident at home. She had spent a lot of money on both orthodox and herbal medicine. She was overwhelmed by her emotions of joy and appreciation: joy of seeing again and the appreciation that her treatment was free. “I done spend money oooo but the solution is free!” She uttered. “Thank you Jesus, I thank God for the lives of all you people who come to Abraka,” she continued. She was happy and so were all the medical personnel around her.
Our attention was then drawn to Comfort who was ecstatic, jumping for joy with a wide beautiful smile on her face. “Wetin happen?” We asked her in Pidgin English. Her response was “my money done change for my hand!” We were taken aback by her response. Had she lost some money? But her response was “Sir, money don change for my hand ooo! The colour of de money different from the one I last see!” She further explained that she could now differentiate between the colours of the different currency nominations. She went on to show us the difference between each denomination. As she was describing each note a chill when down my spine. How many times would this woman have been defrauded by tricksters who would give her a 500 naira note for a 1000 naira one? The surgery has set her free from economic bondage. Thank you Lord for her sight and the team. Amongst the crowd were two families who had a 10 and 14 year old boy respectively. The father of the 10 year old said that he had been saving for 5 years for the operation but could not afford it. The boy stated that he wanted to be a doctor to help other people. I was moved to tears. It was touch and go whether the children could be operated upon. Lord, we need a miracle.
Off to the camp site we trudged. Sounds of the melodious music were booming from the speakers with the congregation dancing to the songs in their local dialect. They were excited. The drama presentation was thought provoking but more importantly it prepared the way for the preacher and a great move of the Holy Spirit. After the
message, an altar call was made with a great response of around 300 people for the 1st time. Bro Abiona, the preacher, then asked those who wanted the baptism of the Holy Spirit to indicate over 100 responded. What a Pentecost experience.
The general medicine team was slow to start as people were being counselled but the eye clinic had over 60 patients waiting. This was the beginning of a very very long day. The eye clinic had over 200 patients waiting but only one optician and two ophthalmologists in attendance. This was an improvement from yesterday. The doctors were in surgery doing a wonderful job. God we need divine intervention and more hands in the field.
This was a special day. The general medical started with the children as we had a paediatrician, Dr Bolaji and her husband a surgeon on the team. She had her hands full. The kids from the children and youth groups took over the waiting area. Suddenly Mummy Christmas arrived with some teddy bears, MacDonald toys, tooth paste, tooth brushes, soaps and creams. Out of the black sack popped out clothes and shoes. The atmosphere changed. One by one each child received a gift. Toys, hmmmmm, I still have fond memories of my electric train set, football and bicycle when I was young. My little Raleigh bike was a winner any day; maybe you had a chopper or bought one for a child. I regularly took it to a field down the road from our home and hired it out to the kids around the block. They had fun and I received extra pocket money. What a good deal. Toys allow children to be children; they both learn and play through their interaction. I hope more of these next time will be distributed.
Just as the clinic opened Faith, a 12 year old girl, have a sickle cell crisis. She collapsed in excruciating pain. Before I could blink the doctors, nurses and experienced carers had gathered around her. Within minutes, drips were up and she was comfortably stabilised on the floor. She and her mother were with us for the whole day while the team took care of her needs. She was prayed for and asked to return the next day for follow up. Her drugs and care will be taken over by two members of the team. What a wonderful Jesus we serve.
I popped out of the medical centre into the welfare enclosure in the afternoon. They were swarmed by people. “Buy one free, get another for free” was the slogan. Yes, everything was free. People were issued with tickets for their shopping spree. Shoes, bags, books, a wide range of clothes for everyone. A big well done to the Abraka Church and donors. Over to the Empowerment tent, I sojourned for a glimpse of the work going on there. The Akure ladies had kitted out a mannequin with a lovely dress made during the day. They were showing Mummy Kate what they had taught the participants. There were women sitting around sewing sequins to pieces of cloth to be attached to the displayed dress. These could easily be sold in the market. In the next tent was the bead necklace making demonstration. Both church members and villagers sat attentively while the instructor demonstrated the technique of threading beads through wire. Another entrepreneur was being birthed. I concluded my empowerment tour at the soap making tent. A couple of ingredients were mixed together and washing up liquid was produced. Around the instructors, were empty plastic bottles from our water consumption. We drank a lot of water. I was given two bottles of washing up liquid which the children have started using to wash the plates at home! Liberty for all. Beside the business empowerment were the children and youth sections. Four groups of around 25 children sat still listening to the Gospel. Many responded with joy. Water the seed and you will have a healthy tree.
There were still many people sitting under the tent at 5pm waiting for the medical team. Over 10 families wanted to see the paediatrician. Nearly 100 patients were also waiting for the eye clinic while another 20 cataract surgery patients were being processed. Our optician assistants – Hon. Drs Stella, Dolly and Mrs Agbetile were steadily issuing test results and prepping them for the opticians. The crowd refused to go home and return the next day. Lord, please help us. Then the heavens opened with thunder and lightning as never before. It was all sudden. I was one of the last people to run for cover. I should have started off earlier. The wind blew the smaller canopies over. They were overturned like a flipped burger one collapsing on my way into the clinic. I got struck by a pole but nothing broken. The few people who ran into the clinic got treated as the doctors had nowhere to go. The others made their way home until another day. What a wonderful day.
Day 4 -We give thanks to our Lord
Hallelujah. It is day 4. Most of the Liberty team who travelled from abroad had packed their bags the night before. The bus arrived at 6.30 am. As usual we were not ready but justifiably this time. Everyone was exhausted, so we had to move the departure time forward. We all needed the extra wink. At 8.00 am, it was time to
leave. Some were flying while others would be repeating the scenic route. Those who were flying were handed over to the Camp Commandant. Bro Femi, thanks for the help and endurance.
Into the bus we reluctantly threw our bags and said our good byes. We had to leave because many had to catch their flights back to London on Sunday at 11.00 am. The other people later in the day. While the stragglers later in the week.
Lagos is quite a unique place. The volume of traffic is high while the roads are bad. Many of the car models are not seen on the streets of London. You really cannot plan your day in Lagos. Hitting 3 of 5 appointments is an excellent achievement. By the grace of God, seven hours later and we were back in Lagos. The sirens had gone ahead. Angels at work. The children of God heading to Lagos.
Reports started coming in from the camp site and hospital as we approached Ondo State. The two children had been successfully operated upon. Halleluyah, that was a miracle. The good news had spread across Abraka and its environs. The camp site was covered with people like locust. This was our busiest day. Whoa. More people came forward to receive the gospel. Everyone available became a counsellor. Sis Beatrice reported that the work was truly overwhelming but satisfying. Satisfying that more people abandoned the kingdom of darkness for the kingdom of light. There was a shift in the power base. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.
On reflection, should we have left? Hindsight always has 20:20 vision. But we will learn from this experience for another day.