The result of the presidential election in Nigeria on 28 March sent shock waves across the world. There were mixed feelings too among Nigerians. With the conceding of defeat by Dr Good-luck Ebele Jonathan to General Muhamadu Buhari it was felt, in south Nigeria, as if someone great had died.
We are waiting to see how events turn out under the new government. Nigeria needs prayer, as the Boko Haram insurgency deepens, with bombings and killings every day in churches and mosques.
On 2 April, the Reformed Foundations Theological Seminary students’ union had its constitution read out by Christ’s Reformed Baptist Church pastor and seminary president, Rev. Dr Ani R. Ekpo. The students’ executive was then elected. Anthony Adindu, a church elder and lecturer, is to be student Dean.
That same evening, just before Good Friday, the church and seminary came together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. On 3 April, we celebrated Good Friday with a one-day conference on the ‘Seven sayings of Christ from the cross, in relation to our redemption’. Each elder helped expound the sayings, the pastor concluding with Christ’s cry, ‘It is finished’.
On Easter Sunday, five new converts — two young men and three young women — were baptised and another woman, previously baptised in 2010, was received into church membership.
One of the converts was from a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) family. One day she thought deeply about hell, the new birth, Christ’s redemption for mankind and the salvation of his elect, and all her JW arguments crumbled before the Word of God.
The other two ladies were converted through sermons on God’s love for us in Christ (1 John 3:1-3) and Christian suffering.
One former church member, who left the church last year, deceived by Charismatics into a supposed quick fix for her family’s problems, attended the church again with her daughter.
After the sermon, a member overheard her say, ‘This is what I have longed to hear again. You can’t get this teaching anywhere else in this city. Thank God for this place!’
The seminary’s exams were from 18-27 May. From 1-15 June, students embarked on evangelistic mission work in different churches. All our church plants benefited from this, including in one town where 12 persons now gather for worship. On 19 June we had an evening of report-back and testimony from the participating students.
For two weeks in June, Pastor Paul Cookey came from Jos, where he is engaged in PhD studies, and carried out intensive module courses at Master’s degree level with our senior students. Please pray for this group, who are responsible for training men in the seminary and in church leadership.
Work on the back building commenced on 20 May. We are building offices, classrooms, a student library and conference room, and guest rooms for visitors. One thousand books have been donated from Liverpool, UK, for the library. We are very grateful to God for this Christian generosity.
We continue to be deeply grateful for continued support from Christians and churches, with much church-planting work still before us.
Ours is the first Reformed Baptist church in Nigeria. The task before us is very great, but many are coming to a knowledge of the Reformed Faith. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he will send more labourers into this field.
A young man, through his Facebook contact with Judah Ekpo, visited our church two weeks ago and has kept coming. He was in Malaysia for five years and while there came into contact with the Reformed Faith and left his Charismatic church. He studied online courses from Dr John MacArthur’s Master’s Seminary.
The Sunday school quiz and prize-giving took place on 21 June. Two hundred and fifty children gather to answer questions on teaching received during the first half of the year. The new superintendent has done a good job. Bibles, pens, pencils, books, exercise books, and Trinitarian Bible Society colouring picture books were presented to the children.
Our branch Sunday school has grown and now has an attendance of 120 children. The church there is making progress under Pastor Idy Jacob. Please, pray for the growth and sustenance of our children’s ministry in these localities. Because of it, the crime rate in our vicinity has been greatly reduced and the local parents are happy and thankful.
In November 2015, God willing, we will be having our next annual Reformed Bible conference at Christ’s Reformed Baptist Church, Port Harcourt.