5 days to go (Friday) – Lagos Direct
At the airport both suitcases were on the money. But my hand luggage weighed 15kg. Toyin and Abolade to the rescue. All the luggage fitted well with some room to spare. We all checked in with ease, oblivious to the havoc being created by the elements. The tannoy conveyed the news, flight 595 to Frankfurt had been delayed due to bad weather over Frankfurt. I was at peace as I had heard a similar message a year ago at City Airport on my way to Abraka. We took off after a 30 minutes delay.
At the boarding gate we were all relaxed having a good laugh with some other travelers who were going to Nigeria. Stories of bad food eaten in Hamburg flowed like water. Details for another day. The next announcement took the wind out of our sails. All passengers to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt please speak to a member of staff at gate 36.
One by one the news was despatched in a well-known German style. The lady clinically told us that we will miss our connection due to bad weather. Therefore, they are taking us off the flight. We should pick up our bags at arrival and go out of the airport to the Lufthansa counter for them to re book our tickets. Are you kidding me? A co-passenger laughed that a small aircraft was waiting for us around the corner to take us to Frankfurt. Another joked that he was happy to be lodged in an hotel for the night. I could only but smile.
I am sure you know the 3 tenors. We were not that proficient but 2 tenors and a Soprano glided down the corridors on the Lord’s wings. Off we went into the unknown with a symphony of praise. The corridors of terminal 2 were filled with our victorious songs to our Lord. Why praise? Who do you turn to in time of need? Phone a friend or the Creator of all things.
Immigration said hello as if we had just arrived off the boat. Not funny. The ground crew said we had no access to our luggage as it was in transit. Our luggage will be automatically rerouted to Lagos. A no-show requires a report in Lagos!
Finally, six of us got to the Lufthansa counter. The man said he will put us on BA 0075 leaving at 11.45am. We tried to protest but busted out in laughter. Our God is a good God. Off to Lagos direct.
Make sure you follow the next update in the next few days.
4 (Saturday) – Welcome to Lagos
We left the airport yesterday without our luggage. The suitcases had not been loaded on the plane at Heathrow. I did not have a toothbrush to my name! On getting out of the airport, Edwin refused to pay £10 for a short trip on the airport golf buggy which was supposed to be free. Off we went on a 7-minute walk down the dusty airport back road to the car park. I got home tired. I missed my Aunty who had traveled to America. We would have sat around the table catching up with a steaming hot plate of amala
Today was a day of rest. I did nothing until I was picked by Bro Yemi and his lovely wife for our airport pick up. We drove to the airport car park via the airport back road but it was exit only. The men “on the top” had created an entry and exit arrangement which forced drivers to drive through a 300 naira toll gate. The question is why are drivers forced to drive through a toll gate when reasonable entry and exit points have been provided but blocked by tires? Corporate exploitation.
We returned to the BA desk. Sorry, Mr. Adewumi only one piece of your luggage will arrive today. I could only but smile. I will not be discouraged. There was too much at stake. I waited patiently outside the arrival area for Akin A and Akin L to arrive. In the main corridors half the airport touts or staff were watching the Barcelona vs Real Madrid match. It looked as if nothing else existed in the world. The hoos and arrs filled the air with every kick of the ball. Each move was analysed by the experts. After a long wait, the Akins finally emerged with wide grins on their faces. It was wonderful seeing familiar faces pushing their luggage.
After the exchange of felicitations, I left Akin L to pick up my lonely luggage. I was denied entry into the baggage area until the VIPs had embarked from the plane. It was quite interesting to observe the VIPs walk through customs. In the majority of case, no luggage just a wheelie case. It dawned on me that I am a VIP, royalty, the apple of God’s eyes. Yesterday, I had walked out of the airport the same way with no luggage!
I met a couple of other passengers from yesterday’s flight. Mama Joshua had to stay in Lagos as her final destination was Benin. I had been her baggage custodian while she looked after her children. What wonderful woman she is. Joshua was autistic and a handful. Her care and love reminded me of the love of Christ. She patiently looked after him despite all his challenging behaviour and that of BA.
We extracted the suitcase. It happened to be the one full of medical supplies. God knew what He was doing. He even guides suitcases on the conveyor belts.
We proceeded to the car park on the airport golf buggy. For the price we were quoted I thought Lobster and Caviar would be served. The ride turned out to be the highlight of the day. The buggy highway was like the Florida swamp. A short cut to avoid the evening traffic. We needed a hovercraft rather than a buggy to navigate the route. Pot holes, reeds, streams of red water and the aroma of decomposed refuse filled our lungs and sight. We hung onto our luggage with all our strength. Oga, sorry o, would not do if any of our bags fell into the deep red water. Finally, we got to the car park in one piece. 2,000 naira exchanged hands for a supposedly free service. Another exploitation by the people.
Welcome to Lagos.
3 days to go (Sunday) – Praise the Lord
It was house fellowship for us today. There was no obvious means of transportation. The phone rang. Mr Badejo informed us of an Orientation meeting at NCC Surelere. How do we get there? Taxis were scare and public transport was a different ball game. But we had to make the meeting.
Clothed with garments of praise and the robe of righteousness, Akin and I jumped into one of the cars from the garage. Off we went on a jolly ride!. It was a smooth but drama filled drive down to Ojuelegba. The directions to the venue were given by new money to an old school driver via a new arrival sitting beside me. It was entertaining to say the least. All the senses were tasked including the sense of humour. My hand was constantly on the horn blasting away the dangerous drivers on either sides. All my amusement park bumper car ride skills came into play swerving to miss the erratic drivers left, right and centre. I was sweating profusely in an air conditioned car.
Meeting the Lagos organising committee was a wonderful experience. Putting faces to names was now the job at hand. We had a wonderful time of praise and prayer. Mummy Kate shared a word, encouraging us to go out like an army taking the land of Badagry for Christ.
Updates from all the team leaders were given. Each time an update was read my heart was filled with joy. They were prepared for the task ahead. You could feel the unity amongst the team. An essential counselling training was provided for attendees. I had little to contribute as it seemed that they all were veterans at the job. I could only ask that they should be flexible enough to work in multiple roles. My prayer was that our plans would be fluid enough to allow the Holy Spirit to move.
We all left the church at round 4pm. Everyone was ready to go. But, yes, our car refused to start. I looked up and saw that I was blocking Mummy Kate. I started to sweat again. The men quickly rallied around. The bonnet was popped opened. Wires pulled within a few seconds the car was brought to life. A loose battery connection was diagnosed. It would have cost us 5000 naira if that happened at Oshodi. We all laughed. Well, we were still at Ojuelegba.
Praise the Lord.
2 days to go (Monday) – Welcome to Badagry
Many of us met at New Covenant Church, Ilupeju for our onward trip to Badagry. It was a joyous reunion. All the members of the team had landed except Sister Adetutu, Bruce, Sharon and Alvin. It was a smooth ride to ASCON our base. What surprised me was the beauty of the road from Iyana Ipaja to LASU junction. The roads were pot hole and go slow free. Well done to whoever built them – federal or state government.
We entered the Badagry Town with mixed feelings. The town looked under developed for a major town. We were expecting more physical development. It looked as if the town had been held back in time. We were on the other hand happy because the light of the Lord was about to shine on it; releasing it from all captivity. We saw some of our family members walking up and down the street not knowing that we would soon be related.
We were met at ASCON gate by the ever present and helpful Sister Grace and Bro Bajomo. The rooms were of high standard but the maintenance was poor. The house keeper did all her best to accommodate our requests. It was difficult to reverse years of neglect in 6 days. Despite all her efforts, our room did not have a functioning sink for the duration of our stay! I recall bunk beds at Igbo elerin and the bed bug infested beds in Ibadan during the early years. This was luxury in comparison.
We assembled in the evening for our evening fellowship. It was a wonderful time of praise and prayer. We had a briefing and a 1 to 1 introduction session. I was sitting beside Pastor Abba Peters of Apapa Centre. What a wonderful and passionate man for Christ he is. His testimony was moving.
Food was ready as we left the Chapel. I asked everyone to congregate in room 18 for collection. The room turned out to be the store room for the duration of our stay. However, gari, fried chicken, peanuts and all the other assorted smuggled goods were in my various sisters’ rooms. They know themselves. Thank God for them all.
1 day to go (Tuesday) – Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors
The teams from across the country descended on Pathfinder beach. We occupied one of the tents that had been erected on the white sandy beach by the Marina. Strategically positioned we faced the Atlantic Ocean which was across the lagoon pleading for mercy and forgiveness of sins for the land. Directly opposite us was the Land of No Return. Once the slaves crossed the Lagoon they were destined for a life of indescribable pain and hardship.
It was a time of pulling down strongholds and building platforms of praise. Men and women from the four corners of the nation, United Kingdom and Ireland offered fervent, persistent prayers and supplications to our Lord. For three hours the team sought the face of the Lord.
As the prayers were going up to heaven, the pegs for the main tent were hammered into the earth. Plans for the equipment and stage were made. Positioning of the tents for business empowerment, the eye clinic and the youth programme were all agreed. The physical structures were taking shape as the spiritual atmosphere was cleansed.
On reflection, something strange happened that day. The entrance to the main site was blocked by a heavy laden refuse truck. We could only squeeze through a small passage to gain entry to the site. Why was a refuse truck blocking our gate? I asked. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. It was a spiritual battle indeed.
We left the beach for the Town Hall to design the layout for the medical team. The set up was critical to the free flow of people around the different specialities. Painstakingly we divided the room to accommodate the laboratory, pharmacy, nurse stations and doctors’ consultation areas. The reception and most importantly the patients’ waiting were also carved out. The stage was agreed as the best position for the film screen. We proposed to return to the Town Hall at 3pm when the chairs and tables had arrived for a quick inspection.
We marched back to the marina in the tropical heat. The temperature was in its 80s but we could not feel its full impact due to the cool breeze coming from across the Atlantic. The lorry was still blocking the entrance. The main tent was now upstanding with the stage backing the lagoon. The chairs were laid out in long rows. The estimated sitting capacity was between 450 to 500. The overflow tents were also in place.
Lunch was served after all the work had been completed. Suddenly there was activity around the truck. I watched intensively as the men examined the vehicle as a doctor examines a patient. The tools came out; the rest was a mystery. After a few minutes of activity, the engine was revved and off it went. The obstacle was removed.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.
Day 1 (Wednesday) – We are grateful
The journey to the Pathfinder beach was fun. We started off with a session of spontaneous praise. The coach was filled with people whose heart were eager to praise the Lord and serve on the mission field. In front were the indigenous yorubas praising him in their native tongue while the people at the back were English speaking. The young and old raised their voices in unison bellowing out words of exultation to the King of Kings. It was a glimpse of heaven on earth where people from every nation and tongue will praise our God.
The tent was already 60% filled at 7.30am. The reports were that people had started arriving at 6.30am. Whoa, they were indeed eager to honour their appointment with their Lord and Saviour. We had a volunteers’ team prayer session and briefing with breakfast on the beach. That was life.
As the tent started to fill on the beach so did the Town Hall but with a different set of people. The medics started to unpack and build. The pharmacists unloaded the vans filled with drugs. God was very faithful in the acquisition of all the medicine. The blood pressure machines, thermometers, prescription sheets, anti viral gel all neatly placed on the work stations. Well done to all our team members and sponsors for supplying all the equipment. The registration desk and technical team were also all busy setting up. 8 doctors, 10 nurses, 2 lab technicians, 3 pharmacists, 3 prescription assistant, 3 medical records staff and 10 ushers completed the team ready to serve. Out came the 3 notebooks to record the day’s activities.
On the main site, the drama team literally started the message off with an inspirational presentation. Bro Mike Adegun preached the word with passion. At the end of the message, there was a power surge. Not NEPA, but that of the Holy Spirit convicting men and women of sin. The people trooped forward. The front row and aisles were filled with people who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. The sight was overwhelming. Hundreds of people joining our family was indescribable. Halleluyah, God you are faithful.
On another site, the Well Women Clinic were offering cervical smear tests. The Nurse and team were having a hard time settling down. The allocated space was inadequate for their purpose. It was quite frustrating to be shunted around the site. They wanted to move to the town hall but it was too late in the day. They had to persevere.
Our Camp Commandant Bro Paul, Bro David and I breached the women only area to move the tables and chairs to their newly allotted space. We prepared makeshift screens for the work to continue. It was fulfilling acting as handy men and counsellors. The place took shape. Three hours later, I heard a group women at the Town Hall thanking God that they had been given the clear at the Well Women clinic. They were very appreciative of the work of Liberty.
Our children’s department team visited two schools in Badagry. About 350 children were spoken to about the love of Christ. It was agreed that those who required medical care should attend the camp the next day.
Beside the health centre used for the Well Women clinic stood an imposing building. Badagry Medium security prison hogged the shoreline. They had accepted our request to visit the inmates. Rev Kate Jinadu led a team of counsellors and volunteers to the prison. Both captors and captives listened to the gospel. A team of 4 doctors and nurses saw 40 patients. It was such an humbling experience to see people respond to the gospel in prison.
In the evening Bruce Oliver organised a youth football tournament. Beach football took over the camp site. The locals came in their droves. They proudly adored Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers football kits. These were kindly donated by Kit Aid, a charity Bruce works with.
ATTENDANCE – 584
- No of people counselled – 510
- No of converts during youth’s meeting with Evang. Bruce – 8
- 326 saw medical team.
- Laboratory tests 131
- 49 cervical smear tests
Day 2 (Thursday) – More of you Lord
We left the ASCON at 7.00am with praise booming out of the coach. The villagers along the route had a taste of the joy of the Lord. The camp site was again filled with people from all over – Ikorodu, Republic of Benin, Ogun State to mention a few places. Some travelled for five hours to get the venue. There was great expectation in the air. More of you Lord, we prayed.
As the people raised their voices in praise and prayer, the side tents gradually filled with people who had registered yesterday. They all wanted to see either an optician or ophthalmologist.
The volunteers moved to the counselling section for breakfast while the villager continued to listen to songs of praise magnifying the greatness of our God. The counsellors were briefed and the programme started afresh with prayers and praise. This was followed by a powerful drama presentation and the word of God preached by Pastor Bruce Oliver. The presence of the Lord fell all around the ground. People were touched by the power of the Holy Spirit. The altar call was made and the people trooped out laying down their lives for Christ. The blind saw, the crippled walked and the captives were set free. Halleluyah. In orderly lines, they marched off to speak to the counsellors.
Queues had developed outside the Town hall. We had an early batch of patients. Where did they come dear Lord? I asked. We had attended to everyone yesterday. Some said they went home yesterday after a long wait, some went sent home as the doctors had gone home, some were from the eye clinic while some were referrals. We gave them all the benefit of the doubt and opened the doors.
I peeped into the town hall and the place was painted blue. Hallelujah, the Ibadan team had arrived with extra 21 medical staff covering all types of specialities. We even had a dentist. The extra medical staff were part of the Jason Vincent foundation, a well-established Christian medical outreach organisation, which goes all over the world.
Our medical team was now 21 doctors, 14 nurses, 5 lab technicians, 4 pharmacists, 6 dispensing assistants, 2 medical records staff, 2 registration clerks, 3 medical students and 10 ushers all working together to meet the needs of the people.
Some of the blood pressure machines and thermometers started playing up. To make matters worse, we ran out of triple AAA batteries and urine sample pots. Time for improvisation. Random blood samples instead of urinalysis. Nurses to share blood pressure machines.
The Eye clinic had started work. Over 300 people were waiting patiently under the canopy. One by one they undertook their eye tests. Sis Elizabeth, Toyin and Stella were at hand to conduct the tests. Each patient saw an ophthalmologist to check the health of their eyes. A high level of glaucoma was detected amongst the populace. Many referrals were made to the General hospital.
Our Eye clinic operating theatre was on another site. They had commenced work very early in the morning. 21 patients had been prepared for surgery. Rev Kate and a team ministered the gospel to those waiting for their operations. Eagerly they listened to the love story of Christ. Many received the Lord and sight in one go. Some were blind in one eye, others in both. They were delivered from spiritual and physical blindness.
We walked back to the main site and there was a sweet aroma in the air. The business empowerment team had set up shop. The villagers were taught various business skills. Small scale businesses were being birthed. The sweet smell came from the pastry section. The smell of freshly baked bread always does the job. Women gathered around a home kerosene stove attached with a homemade oven. I had never seen such contraption in my life. That was the touch of a genius. Cakes and bread were being baked in open air!
Beside their stall was the dress making section. I offered to pose as a model for an “apprentices” to take my measurement. They were not having it. The seams mistresses showed the women how to cut patterns, use the sewing machines and put on buttons skirts. It was quite interesting.
A stone throw away were the hat makers. The women surrounded them two deep taking notes. The colours were bright and beautiful. The designs were elegant. The hats were for all occasions – weddings, church service, christening and any other you could think of.
I was quite puzzled to see that chairs under the next tent were covered in satin. Furthermore, the tents had drapes and bows pinned to the poles. The beauty was breath taking. The event planners were at work showing a group of people how to decorate halls and other event venues. We could only but praise God for all these business ideas.
Finally, we saw the bonnet of a car open. I asked Akin L if the car had broken down. Out of the hood popped the head of our mechanical engineer who was tutoring people on how to service a car. The auto diagnosis class was quite popular among both the volunteers and villagers. Without the presence of AA and RAC, I could understand why.
The day was not over as some of the counsellors went out to the surrounding villages publicising the programme. They came back with loads of good reports. Over 50 people responded to gospel on the streets. I forgot to mention the wonderful work of the youth who led the carnival like procession on Tuesday around the town. An onward Christian soldiers march it was.
Stats for the day – 14 catarrhs removed, 377 medical, 126 lab
Day 3 (Friday) – King Cryrus
The morning service was explosive. You could feel the build up of power and expectation of the move of the Holy Spirit. The drama presentation was spot on. A powerful introduction for the message. Pastor Akin A preached. At end of his sermon something different happened, the people all knelt down in front to the altar without being told. I sincerely cannot describe the sight but I can tell you that tears were streaming down their faces. After a session of ministration, over 500 people were counselled.
It was high drama at the eye clinic. The men and women who had been operated on adored their patches with gratitude and high anticipation. There were some many people with smiles on their faces with bandages. One by one the bandages were taken off. The blind could see. It was an atmosphere of jubilation. Liberty, captives have been set free.
We were informed early on in the day that the General Hospital’s management had refused our request to use the operating theatre. There seemed to have been some miscommunication between the two parties. We were offered an unequipped room but that was not the agreement. We had a letter from Alahusa, the state secretariat, giving us authority to use the facilities. If only we had known, we would have transferred our equipment left in Ibadan to Lagos. All the surgeons were resigned to working as general practitioners unable to practice their trade. They were unable to help the long list of patients due to unnecessary bureaucracy. Lord, deliver us from evil.
I followed another team on a prison visit. I surprisingly felt a sense of peace in the establishment and observed order amongst the detainees and inmates. The Prison was a medium security unit built for 160 inmates. It was free of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and clean. I asked one of the officers why was the place so orderly. He said it was the policy of the Charge (chief executive) that the prison was drugs, alcohol and cigarette free. This applied to both inmates and officers alike. I was impressed with his leadership. I spoke to the chief executive later on, he was a man of vision and compassion. He had the welfare of the inmates at heart. He was grateful for our visit. We attended to 30 inmates and officers counselling and ministering the love Jesus Christ to all. Many of whom gave their lives to Christ. I spoke to a young man who was due out in 4 weeks after a long time in prison. I ministered the gospel him. He gave his life to Christ for the 1st time. What a joy to behold. Prescription drugs were distributed to the inmates from our previous visit. We agreed to follow up a case of man on remand whose case was coming up in court soon.
God laid on the heart of Bro Wole to approach ASCON if we could use their operating theatre. On reflection, why should they have one? It was a Health Centre not an hospital. The Chief Medical Officer Dr (Mrs) Ashiru empathised with us. They did not have such facilities. She then suggested two private hospitals in the town if we did not mind approaching them. She picked up the phone and explained our predicament to the owner of The Great Physician hospital. The name Great Physician rang a bell. It turned out that they were the organisation that had visited the Prison the previous day. Rev Dr Akinlade listened to our story. He called the Chief Executive and later the Chief Medical Director of the General Hospital to iron things out. A single phone call turned the situation. Contribution towards the cost of the surgical packs were agreed. It was true divine intervention. This taught me a great lesson of persistence. Thanks for inviting me along – Bro Wole and Dr Bade.
The Business empowerment team had gone up a gear from last year. The combination of the Akure and Lagos teams opened new business avenues. Dress making combined with hat making continued to attract the people’s attention. They sat around three sewing machines listening attentively to the instructions from the seams mistresses. Step by step they were shown how to measures accurately pieces of clothe and take measurements. Patterns were cut and clothe sown. The final pieces of work were proudly displayed on mannequins.
To you and I, cake is baked in ovens. On the beach, the women were shown how to bake cake on a stove. The villagers would never have seen an oven nor would they own one. Baking cake with familiar materials and cooking implements was critical to the success of any business. The cakes were baked on a kerosene stove, open air style. I am still amazed.
Bead threading was another popular business venture. Beads are a very fashionable accessory in Nigeria. Most women wear beads out. Ear rings, brackets and necklaces sets were all made. I have to commend the people who donated their flight fare, and did not travel, towards setting up a cooperative fund. Some people will have access to credit to set up their business as the cooperative takes off.
While a couple of teams went out to the villages, another team went to three significant places to pray. The team visited the slave museum, the memorial to murdered missionaries and the first baptist church where Arch Bishop Thomas Birch Freeman 1st preached the gospel in 1842. It was quite interesting that it was the English who blockaded the port and forcibly stopped the slave trade in 1863. We can only thank God for the men who rose in such a time of great darkness.
The final football match and prize giving took place today. The youths had been playing the matches on the beautiful white sand pitch. Pastor Bruce Oliver presided over the prize giving ceremony. Each team took photographs in their kit donated by Kitaid. Bruce ministered to the youth once again with an overwhelming response.
Stats for the day – 12 catarrah surgeries, 342 medical, 158 lab
Day 4 (Saturday) – Good bye world. I stay no longer with you
Sister Esther left ASCON at 6am. The 1st of a group of 6 to say their good byes. The bus was filled with it booming praise for the last morning. Sis Grace took over leading the worship. It was as if the angels and the host of heaven had descended into the bus. The people walking down the street were peeping into bus to get a glimpse of who and what was going on..
Before we got to the site, the 1st set of surgical operations had taken place. We thank God that 4 operations took place at the General hospital. There was also drama at the Eye clinic where the eye surgeries were held. Those who had operations on Friday had their bandages removed. The people who had been blind in both eyes also had their final dressing removed. Mori ran, mori ran Jesus seun o. (I can see, I can see. Thank you Jesus) filled the air.
While the business empowerment team were setting up for the day, the villagers once again took their seat around the venue. A fire engine had taken a strategic position directly in front of the camp site entrance. The baptismal pool was being set up with the aid of a local vulganiser. Vulganiser might be a new word to you. They inflate and repair tyres. They pumped the pool and sealed all the leaking spots.
Prior to the message, Chief Jengen was invited to say a few words. On behalf of the Oba Akran of Badagry, the Permanent Chairmen of the Lagos Council of Obas. He thanked us for bringing Liberty to Badagry. He was excited and encouraged to see his people learning new skills through the business empowerment. He commended the free medical care provision. He was truly delighted that the gospel was preached in Badagry.
The Olori took the microphone to sing songs of praise and also expressed gratitude for all the work done. This is the 1st time I would see a High Chief’s wife take a prominent role in any occasion like this. Indeed, where there is Christ, there is liberty.
The meeting for the final time commenced with Pastor Bruce Oliver ministering the word. The reaction of the people to the gospel was pure joy to watch. They rushed forward as a group of lost sheep hearing the voice of their Master. Yes, they heeded to the voice of Master Jesus. People were prayed for a set free for different types of sicknesses and diseases
The purpose of Fire engine became clear as it pumped its content into our baptismal pool. It was good to see some familiar faces. Mary who had been a lady of the night prior to her conversion eagerly came toward to be baptised. Here statement was “Good bye world. I stay no longer with you”
Stats – 12 catarrh surgeries, 138 lab, 398 medical. Overall 1441 medical prescriptions, 858 eye patients and 50 water Baptism.