Monday 23 October 2017 – Epe, the city where the Lord dwells, we have arrived
Mummy Kate, Bruce, Sharon, Pastor Durosaro and Sister Dayo returned from a visit from the Oba Aladeshonyin of Odo-Noforija Kingdom full of joy.
The King, an avid Man Utd supporter, was given a replica shirt his countenance changed.
He became very happy. He welcomed them warmly and receiving the gospel. He read the salvation prayer and gave 100,000 Naira towards the programme.
After the meeting, he drove down to our camp site and spoke to the construction foreman who had refused us permission to erect our tents. He decreed “No man should trouble you”. This echoes the words in Galatians 6 “From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus”. We have the seal of the King of Kings who says, “No man should cause us trouble”.
Epe, the city where the Lord dwells, we have arrived
Funmi, my sister, dropped me off at the airport with 5 cases to grapple with. No, I am not leaving town. I am off to Liberty 2017 in Epe. Three of the suitcases were for me and two for Sister Hannah. I pushed the trolley with the skills of a Formula One driver into the checking-in area. Bro Kayode, I heard. Bro Sam gave me a warm bear hug. Sisters Hannah and Beatrice busted into laughter. We weighted the bags and made some slight adjustments. I asked the customer service lady to please check in my hand luggage which she obliged. I strolled through security with my wallet and iPad.
The flight was smooth. We landed at 4.35 am in Lagos. We waited patiently for one piece of luggage which refused to come. At 6.05am, we reclaimed all our luggage. I bulldozed my way through customs followed by Sisters Hannah and Beatrice. Nobody was going to stop us from marching into Epe. Bro Adekoya had arrived at the airport at 4.55 am waiting patiently for us to emerge. What a commitment. He raised the Liberty handbill like a placard to identify himself. We embraced and strolled into the newly construction car park. The car was filled to the brim with nine pieces of luggage excluding the ladies hand bags. We could not pick Sister Ayo on our way. A job for Uber. Off to Gbenga’s house for breakfast.
We landed at NCC Ilupeju in their new address at Ikorodu Road at 10.00 am to a warm welcome. Wife, friends, and family were there. Slowly we filled the buses. Every piece of luggage was identified and double checked. We left at 11.20 am, excited and expectant of great things to come. We missed our next pick up due to driver error. Nigerians must learn how to say sorry rather defend the indefensible. Sorry goes a long way especially when you are in the wrong. Eventually we picked Sisters Fola and Tope up. Now it was Epe “straight”.
We were amazed at the physical transformationof Epe. Last year’s dusty roads were professionally laid with a good drainage system. The recreation centre had been transformed into a multipurpose sports centre. The waterfront was being sand filled. We could visual the proposed development. What a transformation. The light is shining here.
As we arrived at Noforija Town Hall, a bus drove in with the American contingent. Warm “Eku a ti jo” greetings filled the air. As we did not know the way to our hotel, we asked an “okada” man to lead us with his motorbike. Lo and behold, the blind was leading the clueless. He took us to the wrong hotel! He did not give up. The man wanted to complete the contract without knowing what to do or where to go. I have seen and heard that before. An endemic problem here.
We arrived at D-Rock-M hotel to meet our advance party – Sisters Shade, Tutu, Grace, and Bose. Ms Ifeanyi our hotel manager and her team were all Out to say hello. Where are thou Sister Enny? Mama Isale of Akata. Grand opening of “Akata” was scheduled for later but I will miss Akata this year due to an otherwise pressing engagement. We went on a mini tour of Epe later in the evening. Epe gateway, main market, waterfront, and recreational centre were our tourist points. They were all beautiful. A couple of waterfront selfies were taken. Contraband roasted corn was also purchased.
Further to a conversation with Mummy Kate, I ask, what does a King do? He counsels, fathers, solve problems and resolves conflicts, respects and is respected, welcomes, represents his kingdom, encourages, gives gifts. Well, the list goes on. The Oba Aladeshonyin of Odo-Noforija Kingdom is a good King who fulfils all the above-mentioned roles and many more. You will and can see the difference of the reign a good monarch. Prov 29 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice”. Good governance makes a big difference.
Epe, the city where the Lord dwells, we have arrived.
Tuesday 24 October 2017 – You are Special
I crossed the road over to Mummy Kate who was speaking to a shop owner and her customers. Bruce and Sharon were also dishing out leaflets. Suddenly an SUV stopped and 8 kids jumped out. Explicit Dance Group took over the walk way. The music boomed from the car stereo. Within a couple of minutes over 30 children and adults had gathered around to watch the wonders of the Lord. Summersaults, splits, flips and other acrobatic acts won the hearts and minds.
gospel there and then on the street and over 10 people including children responded. I remember a young boy called Michael who asked that his photograph be taken with Mummy Kate.
A new generation of believers and champions were being raised.
You are Special
More people arrived at our hotel. The place was now filling up. After many false starts, at 1.50pm we all jumped into the bus, and off we went to the orientation camp. Orientation with the Nigerian team commenced at the 2pm. The Camp Commandant, Pastor AkanbiOluwa, welcomed everyone to Liberty 2017.
Training began with Pastor Akinola who reminding us on the key things to do and say when we go out to evangelise.He talked about the “Roman Road” scriptures. Sharon showed us a practical way of leading people to Christ using the “You are Special” booklet and multi coloured beads wristband. Pastor Omisade spoke about what to do during counselling. I had the privilege of explaining the purpose and arrangements for Healing School. Pastor Tolu rounded up and gave us instructions regarding the praise rally.
After the orientation, the praise rally began. The workers were divided into two groups. Off we went led by a pickup truck filled with people exuberantly praising the Lord with a shout. Every house along the Epe/Ijebu Ode Road received a flyer inviting them to the programme. The love of Christ was spread generously around the neighbourhood. While trailing behind, I met Tope O and Sarah. I was wondering what are our English-speaking youth were doing. Lo and behold, Sarah was speaking in Yoruba to a woman. My jaw dropped but I had to quickly close my mouth due to the flies and dust.
From the high street, we went to the fish market. It was a happy reunion. We met many of the traders who we had seen last year. Live crocodiles and various species of fish were on sale. Mummy Kate went from stall to stall praying, preaching, and prophesying into the lives of the market traders. Sharon and Bruce also went about distributing leaflets and preaching the gospel. This was the first time I have ever gone to a market with women without spending a penny! We rounded off with Explicit Dance group ministering once again energetically. Their final dance turned into a flash mob where all the market women joined in. It is beautiful when we praise the Lord in song and dance.
The “You are Special” leaflet and beads was a simple but effective way of sharing the gospel. Everyone wants to be specials. But not everyone is told how special they are. The Lord has commissioned us to be creative in doing His business. The gospel must be preached to all nations and tongues prior to the second coming of our Lord. Let’s take the message out of the pulpit into the streets through medical outreach, dance, music, education, food parties, house parties and gala dances.
Epe, the city where the Lord dwells, we have arrived.
Wednesday 25 October 2017 – Some Come, Some Give and Some Pray
Ready, Steady, Souls
Under the tent, Bruce preached a powerful message of Salvation. The response was huge. Rows of people came forward accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Healing School commenced with 1 to 1 counselling while the majority of those who accepted Jesus went to the counselling tent. People started to trickle through to the medical and eye clinics until the dam busted with a flood of people overwhelming both stations. The deliverance team were fed with those who required further prayers and counselling. Liberty had begun.
Some Come, Some Give and Some Pray
Our daily corporate morning devotion starts at 7.00 am. Our appointed town crier, Sister Eucharia, did an excellent job of knocking on everyone’s doors by 6:50am. Thanks very much my sister. Some fully dressed, others half-awake congregated in the courtyard for a refreshing time of fellowship and breakfast. Sisters Grace and Sister Bukky did an excellent job.
Off to the campsite expectantly and excited. Ready to take more territories for Christ. Some knew what to expect; many others were prepared to jump in. Nearly half of the team were first timers (but worked like veterans). When we arrived on site some went under the main tent while others went to set up their work stations.
The main hall housed – the pharmacy, cervical smear tests, doctors, laboratory, and dentistry. The nurses and medical records were outside under tents. Setting up was difficult as there were no chairs, tables, or canopies for the nurses nor enough chairs inside the medical hall. Without the tent, the nurses could not set up nor work. Frantic phones calls were made. The resources arrived and set up with just a couple of minutes to spare before the 1st patient arrived. Pastor Tolu did an excellent job.
The eye clinic was chaotic. We registered 51 people in 2 hours. Lack of ushering personnel and poor layout did not help the team. To add to the stress there was no optician. Sisters Funke, Feyi, Tope A, Tope O, Tanito and Sarah were overwhelmed. The queues were long and the people rowdy. Our English-speaking youths had their work cut out. The business empowerment team had not arrived also. God please help us. God was helping us as the children ministry were well prepared and had commenced operation at 9am. Well done.
There are some hidden treasures which I cannot but mention. The women in the kitchen woke up early and went to bed late. 800 volunteers and around 1000 villagers were fed daily. You could see their labour of love through the smoke and their sweat. The sanitation team cleaned the toilets and kept the place clean throughout the day. Even some of the villagers volunteered to sweep and clean the grounds. The secretariat and guest interface registered and provided administrative support throughout the programme. The Eye team from Ife arrived safely. We give thanks.
It takes a village to train a child. The Liberty village contains a lot of skills and talents from all walks of life. You do not need to be a “professional” to be useful. You just need to make yourself available to be used of the Lord. Everyone contributes to the success of Liberty – Some Come, Some Give and Some Pray.
Thursday 26 October – Part 1: Youth Takeover
New generation of leaders
Tope O and Tanito took the evening fellowship today. We had a wonderful time praying and praising the Lord. We were divided into groups and sent off to share how our day went. The evening reports provides highlights of our discussions. They shared from Ep 4:3 – Be kind and compassionate showing love to each other. If we do not forgive each other, our light will grow dim. The format was different. Different for good. I was impressed with them being themselves expressing their love for God with their youthfulness. Liberty allows you to minister with boldness as you are. God is raising a new generation of leaders in our midst. A big thank you to – Tope A, Tope O, Sarah, Tanito and Akinyemi for answering the call.
We had a wonderful time of fellowship this morning with the final set of people joining us. Transportation was tricky today as we only had one bus for 50 people. The private cars also helped shift people out but there was still 8 people left. Gbenga led the 8 down the dusty road on a quick march to the camp site. Onward Christian soldiers. We work with a miracle working God. An empty coaster bus from nowhere appeared on the horizon, Gbenga flagged it down for help. The driver agreed to take them to the venue if it was not more than 10 minutes. What a great favour with a 1000-naira appreciation gift. This is Nija.
We were informed that there was port congestion at Apapa. Nothing was coming out of the port. There were scores of trailers on the motorway from Tin can port beyond Mile 2. We had shipped 16 bags of clothes, shoes, toys, gifts, and drugs. Lord, what are we going to do? Our God is a good God. We received the news mid day that our cargo had been cleared and it was on its way to Epe. Halleluyah.
A quick meeting was held with our women leaders to agree the distribution of the items. I invited my Sister who was in the “Items Distribution” team along to the meeting. She looked, smiled, and ran. That is a story for another day. We agreed to distribute the gifts to Pastors’ wives, liberty volunteers, church members, villagers and to members of the two Epe Churches. The impact of these gifts was immense. The clothes were also given to children at one of our schools, a wonderful dance group, hotel staff and to Folorunso, our newly adopted baby. A big thank you to all our donors.
After our main praise and worship session, Explicit ministered in dance. Their flips and summersaults would have been back breaking for a 40 something. They moved with elegance and grace. Drama presentation followed this. Bro Lekan was one of the actors. Rev Balogun preached a powerful message of salvation. The people came forward in their hundreds.
The first batch of water baptism took place. It was such a wonderful experience. Young, old, men and women all dying to sin and rising alive in Christ. Some had the Ethiopian Eunuch experience of receiving Jesus and being baptised on the same day.
My wife had cleared out her wardrobe of some unworn clothes. Praise the Lord more wardrobe space for me. Just as we were about to place the last suitcase in the van she ran downstairs with 2 more dresses. Yesterday she ministered to some young ladies. Today 2 of them decided to be baptised in water. While Jumoke was praying for someone she saw that the 2 ladies had been given the same clothes that she had brought from England to be baptised in. What an amazing God.
Dentistry started work. There were queues of villagers and volunteers alike who required access to their expertise. It was not a place for the faint-hearted. You might go in with 32 and come out with 29 (teeth). The good thing was everyone came out not necessarily smiling but thanking God for the relief.
Thursday 26 October – Part 2: Extending the Kingdom, Serving Humanity
He survived against all odds
Sister Hannah met Folorunso who was born prematurely a month ago. His mother died 3 days after his birth. His grandmother was now looking after him. He was tiny from malnutrition but relatively clean. He had the African eye pencil around his eyes and cowrie shells around the wrists. The cowrie shells were to prevent the spirit of his mother from taking him to the “other side”. He had an indescribable fruit in his feeding bottle which could have poisoned him when it rots. On further investigation, he was given quinine and antibiotics! Both would have killed him if taken for too long. Due to lack of funds, his gran mother stretched a tin of baby milk from 3 to 10 days. Against all odds, he survived. God has great purpose for his life
I met Adeoye Olojo yesterday for the second time. The 1st time we saw him was exactly 1 year ago. On Wednesday 26th October 2016 during the Epe Outreach he strayed into the Recreation ground with mental health issues. After some deliverance sessions, he was set free from the tormenting spirits. We paid for his care at a Mental Health resettlement unit in Oyo Town. He was discharged ready for work in May 2017. He shared his testimony today to the amazement of all in attendance. Some of the villagers knew him when he was homeless and roaming the streets of Epe. He has now moved into his new flat. God truly sets free. Liberty has been called to “Making People Free”. Our aim is to minister to the spirit, soul, and body.
Today, we had our 1st children medical outreach. I looked around expecting to see Dr Bolaji Badejoko with her huge smile and heart full of love and care for the children. Sorry Guv, she is not around this year, I was told. I quickly looked for alternative provision. Dr Levi to the rescue – another doctor with a huge heart filled with compassion. He gave me a multi discipline medical team – Four doctors and two nurses. Excellenteee. Mind my Italian. With a borrowed weighing scale, two thermometers and tables, the children’s clinic was birthed.
The new children’s clinic generated its own surgical list. We had over 20 children who required surgery. Some hernias operations were performed today. While over 10 operations would have to be performed through sponsorship either at the University teaching hospitals at Ife, Ibadan, or Lagos. The cost of these operations ranges from £150 to £5,000. We need sponsors for these children. Can you help?
The 1st batch of 12 cataract operation patients were sent off to the hospital for their operations. The eye clinic medical records worked better with four ushers assigned to the team and the registration desk move away from the clinic. The crowd was still rowdy but under control.
The crowds gathered around the business empowerment tents. We agreed this year that we would concentrate on a few trades which people could pick up quickly and start a business. The Akure team gave demonstrations for gele tying, bead making, make up, shoe repairs, and cake baking. It was agreed that those who wanted to learn the trades further will be given additional tutoring.
Liberty is a service field. It is time to serve rather being served. Extending the kingdom while serving humanity. Touching the lives of people who you might never meet again. Leaving an impression on someone who you might work with again in the future. A time to spur on your roommate, mentee, or friend to go the extra mile. Serving the Lord is about giving the cup of water, the food, the clothes, and the word. A word to save and to heal. A word to release forgiveness and reconciliation. A word to encourage and set free. Let’s be a missionary today and touch a life for eternity.
Friday 27 October 2017:Innumerable Company of Angels
Office of the Camp Commandant
Alas, I had forgotten my camp pass at the hotel. We had been warned that our movement would be restricted around the campsite without one. Humbly, I went to the registration desk for a replacement. While everyone was identified with a department – medical, counselling, healing school, business empowerment, children, welfare, one person was in “items distribution”. I had special duties. I am sure you know what that means. I waited patiently while they found a replacement. Bro Kayode, here you are. Out came the golden ticket – “Office of the Camp Commandant”. Whoa, working with the boss today. Bro Peter, thank you seven times. I legitimately had the power to lord it over Mr Oluwagbemiga Badejo A.k.a Baba Ibeji. The court is now in session. It will soon be judgement day.
Innumerable Company of Angels
There was a heavy air of expectation within the main tent. Many of the villagers had arrived early anticipating a sovereign move of God. They sat quietly while the workers set up the chairs and instruments. They were not wrong. Today, we experienced what could only be described as a divine visitation. We could feel the tangible presence of God in the camp. Someone saw angels joining us in worship. Can you imagine an innumerable company of angels joining us in praising the King of Kings? There was evident joy in the workers despite the sweat and dust from the heavy traffic plying the Epe/Ijebu Ode Road. While up to 40 intercessors were praying in the upper room in Epe, we also had a team of those praying and fasting back in UK.
The Children’s section was already in action with puppetry and songs of praise. The business empowerment team was also setting up for another push. Men and women had to be set free from worklessness and poverty. While that was all going on, those who had been earmarked for surgery were assembled under the nurses’ tent by Prof Omololu and Dr Levi in preparation for their transportation to the hospitals. Sister Yemisi daily led the whole medical team in prayers offering their bodies and skills to the Lord. This year we had a contingent of over 15 doctors from LUTH and another large group of Jasons doctors and nurses. They all had their work cut out.
Back under the tent, the “gangan” drum and keyboard belted out melodious sound. Rababa, rababa, rababa from the worship team leader brought synchronised response from the congregation. We all went down and up like a yoyo then swivelling around. It is wonderful to praise the Lord. Pastor Akinola preached a message of deliverance. The response to the message was immense, over 70% of the congregation came forward accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. They were prayed for and taken to the counselling tent. A large number attended Healing School. Many were prayed for and received healing without seeing a doctor. Some required further prayer with the deliverance team.
The youth meeting commenced around 1pm in Michael Odutola College of Education site. They had a full programme of debates, discussions, drama, and a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. Mummy Kate, Bruce, Sharon and Gbenga were on various discussion panels. Football tournaments were also held where Pastor Bruce preached the gospel to the participants. Another great harvest of souls.
Today, was also prize giving/gift receiving day for the children. This coincided with the personal hygiene and etiquette talks. All the gifts – toiletries, moisturisers, toothpastes and tooth brushes from bosses, colleagues, family, friends, and from sponsors filled their goodie bags. Every child received a gift pack. The joy on the children’s faces were indescribable. Thanks everyone for all your love
Dr Femi Idowu, Sister Hannah and I had various meetings with the relatives of Folorunso – father, grandfather, grandmother, father’s sister and, the pastor of NCC Epe 2 were all in attendance. He had put on weight since he had started eating the normal quantity of food. It was agreed that Sister Hannah would sponsor the child. The baby was given a bag full of new clothes, a year’s worth of drugs, food for the week and handed to Pastor Tolu for pastoral care. He definitely received a golden ticket. (The family attended the 1st Sunday service at the new Epe church)
To whom much is given, much is required of. With power comes responsibility. In as much as I had the power to oppress my dear friend. He was to eat only after I eaten or to stay at the back of any photograph taken or to be banned from Akata. Opps, I can’t do that. Compassion, humility and grace are a few of the key weapons in our ministry armoury. We have been given a great responsibility to introduce Christ to people who would form a view of Jesus through their interactions with us. What we say, how we say it and how we offer our free services matters a lot. I heard some of the villagers state point blank that “We were minding our business at home when you invited us here. We are now here. Ensure that you meet your side of the bargain”. We are sorry, please be patient, how can we help you? righting our wrongs made a great difference. Everyone showed an abundance of love. I saw hearts overflowing with courtesy, compassion, and care. I need more of this.
Saturday 28 October 2017: One last great push
Evening Team Reports
Mama Ayinde met a Muslim woman who had a dream. In the dream, her father told her to read the bible John 8:32. Through that encounter, she used the beads to minister to her. After hearing the word, the woman busted into tears. She had a lot of bitterness in her heart due past experiences. She gave her heart to Christ and agreed to be baptised in water.
Dr Anjorin highlighted the power of praying as a team. We need to know when to minister. He met a 23-year-old woman who was in bondage of fear. Fear of when she would marry, fear of when she would get a job, fear of sleeping. She was set free.
Sister Eucharia met another 23-year-old woman. She said she was born again for 9 years but could not explain what her relationship with Jesus was. She went took her through the beads and prayed together.
One last great push
Yesterday at 7pm we sent home around 80 people mainly volunteers who wanted to see the optician. Our sole optician would not be able to attend today’s session due to a conflicting appointment. Dr Emeka, our optician, is a stalwart. A very skilled and patient professional who year in year had held the department together. Frantic phones calls were made to secure some agency replacements to resume work by 9.00am today.
The camp started to slowly fill up. I was expecting a deluge. But God did not give us more than we could handle. The camp was to close at 1pm because most of the volunteers had to return to their homes today. Transporting people to Ibadan, Ife, Abuja etc was a major task. Bus space was at a premium.
We met last night’s 80 and more volunteers patiently waiting for the at the Eye clinic
Mummy Kate spoke to Juliet, the hotel receptionist. She was not initially interested in the gospel. On Sunday, Mummy Kate spoke to her again about the love of God and she dipped her hand into a bag of clothes that had been given to her to give away. Out came a coat with a fur cape that Mummy Kate had given away in England. Juliet wore the robe and Mummy Kate told her the king is covering her with love. The lady gave her life to Christ. Halleluyah. She will be discipled by Sister Grace. Every Thursday, the lady will travel to Ibadan to learn bead making.
Sister Tola – divine connections. From Washington DC to Epe to meet Pastor Thompson in person was amazing.
Sister Enny – God sees all the way. Her husband’s birthday was always during Liberty. She had invited him several times to Liberty but his response was I am not a village doctor. She did not want to miss his 60th birthday nor Liberty. Suddenly he decided to come.
During Liberty, her business flourishes. She receives referrals and wins awards. Finally, she was able tell her story to all the people God brought her way.
Sister Betty thanked the Lord for the generosity of Liberty members. Someone offered to pay half her fare to Epe. Liberty has given her confidence to win souls and minister outside the church. She just came back from a mission trip in Australia. She was baptised by Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues while praying for a convert in 2009.
Sister Jumoke said that she had booked her flight in March but faced many health challenges regarding her balance and eyes that she had to ask God whether it was a good idea to travel. His response was “We are co labourers’. She ministered to some young ladies and a married couple. The young ladies decided to be baptised in water. While she was praying she saw that both ladies where given her clothes that she had brought from England to be baptised in. What an amazing God.
Bro Lekan testified to the power of corporate prayer. Sisters Yetunde, Enny and him prayed for blind man and he received his sight. He noted that he thought he would not be attending liberty as he had travelled on several occasions to Nigeria. Last year, he was a catcher in the healing team. This year he was praying for people.
Sister Grace thanked God for Timothy receiving his sight back. He was written off by the consultants at UCH. But God made a way for his cornea transplant. Adeoye had been on the streets for two years. Liberty rescued him. He is well enough to go back to work. God also provided a total package for her. All her children were present at her son’s wedding.
Sister Kemi L was initially discouraged when the travel arrangement for two of her sisters fell through. She had been signed off from work for six weeks. To come to Liberty would require her to return to work or get another sick note. She returned to work and has received her full healing.