Doug’s Mission Trip Update
Well, after a couple of laps between Lagos and Benin City, we were finally able to land and get to the work of the mission trip. While we were not able to see the new A2S office or Andrew’s childhood home, we did get to spend time renewing friendships with the Nigerian A2S staff and spent meaningful time at the IDP camp today.
Before discussing the IDP camp, I really want to take a moment to say that next time you are sitting on I-77 South frustrated by a delay (while there is construction going on to remedy the issue), be thankful. The traffic here is not only crazy hectic, it lacks certain elements that making driving in America safe, like generally rules. Enough said.
Every year, the A2S staff is impressive in the heart and soul they bring to every aspect of the ministry. Working at a basketball camp, after school academy, Bible school or the IDP camp, they are always energetic and serve with a love of the Lord. It is a great honor to know them and to work with them on this mission trip.
The IDP camp was impressive in how far the camp has progressed in only a year. Pastor Salomon (the camp director) has done an excellent job in building schools, a health center and dorms. While sleeping 150 young people in the size of half a basketball court is not ideal, they are not in a canvas tent exposed to the elements [like they once were]. The best progress I saw was the camp’s use of their land.
The camp has several acres that are useable for crop production, which last year went unused. This year there was maize, plantains and sweet potatoes planted. The drive for self-sustainability, while probably not ever totally feasible, speaks volumes to the heart and drive of these wonderful people. While surviving some of the worst imaginable tragedies, they are hard-working, dedicated and very thankful. They live Philippians 4:6-8 praying continuously and are thankful in all circumstances.
After spending time with the young ladies on personal hygiene and distributing dolls and dresses, we had the opportunity to listen to six teenagers recount their stories of persecution at the hands of Boko Haram. They told stories of families being separated, family members being martyrs, stories of escaping to the bush and running for their lives and migrating to foreign countries. These young people have truly lived a persecuted and oppressed life for their faith in Jesus Christ. While these stories are heartbreaking, what was amazing was the background sound. While we were listening to their testimonies in the background we heard joyful praise and worship at the evening worship for elementary kids. The children were singing and celebrating with a love for the Lord that I found inspiring.
A2S is very proud of Andrew for a variety of reasons. The reason I am proud is that Andrew is a man of God who follows the Holy Spirit’s leading. He took the microphone and closed the worship time with an inspiring talk of how those young people inspire us. I am sure it is not a message they hear often.