Encouragement in Port Harcourt
We are grateful to God that he had led us through the first half of 2010, although the Niger Delta is troubled by renewed kidnapping attempts.
Here, in the south of Nigeria, everything and everyone has been Christianised. One newspaper wrote this ‘Christian’ comment from ‘Mike’ about the World Cup: ‘Boy, I have been enjoying myself. I have been indoors, enjoying every minute, every second of the World Cup.
‘I am sure the hosts of heaven are also watching the World Cup. There must be TV sets in heaven. Yes, there must! Whatever is on earth must be in heaven. Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven, so says the Bible.
‘Ah, what would the world be without the World Cup? Beloved, let’s continue to bless the name of the Lord as the World Cup progresses, as Nigeria moves into the second round. And as the Bible says, let’s make a joyful noise. With our vuvuzelas let’s praise the name of the Lord, from South Africa to the ends of the world! Hallelujah!’
How wrong Mike’s theology and knowledge of the Bible is! Yet, maybe he, or someone like him, will tomorrow become a pastor with a mega-ministry. If you tell Mike, ‘Your theology is wrong, and you need to be born again’, he will say, ‘What is theology? Away with your theology! I am right. I can do or say what the Spirit tells me!’
This is why we need your prayerful support in our ministries as we labour to bring the knowledge of Christ to our people. Earlier this summer, the Reformed Foundations Theological Seminary of Southern Nigeria had a 4-day academic conference. Lecture subjects included: ‘The practical aspect of missions in the 21st century’ (David Alaba); ‘The importance of discipline and diligence in life and ministry’ (Emmanuel Aaron); ‘Modern missionary tools for the 21st century’ (Ikechi); ‘The supernatural authority for the ministry as opposed to the Charismatic claims of today’ (Ani Ekpo); ‘God’s chosen fasting’ (Luke Onukem); and ‘The importance of linguistic studies to hermeneutics’ (Sabastine).
We continue to have an influx of children and praise God for his protection of this work. Many parents praise God for the changes wrought in the lives of their children and are thankful for the free gifts of Bibles and other literature from time to time. Our Sunday school has two growing branches. One of our church officers planted a Sunday school branch at his village with the help of voluntary teachers; they now have above 100 children.
On Sunday 20 June 2010, thirteen new believers were baptised and three read their testimonies before joining the church in membership with a congregation of 300 present. Each candidate was given a pack of booklets by Dr Masters, sent from the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London.
Among those baptised were three former Roman Catholics. One man attending for the first time testified that he liked everything, especially the reverent worship and exposition of the Scriptures he heard that day.
The pastor preached from Acts 24:22-27 on Felix’s procrastination. For two and half years, with some breaks, we have systematically been going through the book of Acts.
The theme of our Reformed Conference in November 2010 is ‘Union in Christ’. We again hope to have the opportunity of a 1-hour live promotion of this on local radio.
Ani R. Ekpo