Dear Prayer Partners,
The Christian mission is not simply about the multiplication of the church; it is about the discipling of the nations. It is about the penetration of cultures and ways of thought by the Word of God. Indeed, it is about translation of Scripture into thought and action, as the Word about Christ is brought to bear on the points of reference within each culture, the thing by which people know themselves and recognize where they belong (Walls 1996:85).
This year in April, the first Emmaus Bible Conference was held in Lagos on the subject of eternal security for the believer. The speakers were the Emmaus coordinator for that area and his assistant from the exclusive brethren, as well as Cyprian and Steve Phillips. Steve Phillips is an assembly missionary who had arrived into Nigeria just eleven days prior to the conference. Jim Gillett was present and helped with counselling. Attendance was over four hundred (400) and was made up of Emmaus students who were either about to complete their first twelve courses or had completed them already. Out of this group thiry-nine received their diplomas of completion.
During this year's emphasis, the Aba Zone of Abia State was visited and a coordinator recognized in the person of John Chukwu, who was one of last year's graduates. It was during this visit that we were arrested and held in prison all day, being allowed to go only after Cyprian had posted a bail bond on self-recognition and, of course, paid some money. The arrest was the result of Jim being caught taking a picture of a site along the highway. The officers suspected that the pictures were being taken to promote bad publicity of Nigeria overseas.
Speaking of incidents, the one that stands out the most was the deliverance the Lord provided from the jaw of armed robbers on the Jos-Kaduna road. We left Kaduna about 6 AM heading south for Jos. At the Kudan junction just a few minutes drive from the city of Jos we were stopped by an anxious crowd, who told us that armed robbers were operating just 1.5 kilometers ahead of us. It turned out to be true, for a victim of such an attack came through with sad stories to tell. When we arrived at the scene, after two hours of waiting, we saw the cars wrecked, belongings of passengers strewn everywhere, and even a lorry bus that had wrecked itself in trying to escape. To all of you who have been praying for our safety, THANK YOU. The Lord has kept us thus far.
In May '91 students in the Lagos Zone submitted for the award of a diploma of completion. A workshop was held to train them in the skills needed as correctors for the Emmaus courses. This exercise was also repeated in Ghana. As a result, Emmaus has now recognized two coordinators who are to work with other correctors in Ghana. These are Lankine Lante of Potuase-Accra and Mrs. Elaine Bowron of Kumasi, a Canadian whose husband is serving with a mining company in the gold fields. Pray for Cyprian as there are many requests for him to travel to open new centers for Emmaus in Nigeria and Ghana.
Last year in 1997 when we were at Kumasi holding seminars, Mike and Elaine Bowron were among the attendants. Elaine completed the first twelve courses with another member of their fellowship, Mr. Offori. At that time we encouraged them to study the courses, encouraging others to do so, and to start a fellowship. They did and today they are remembering the Lord in their home. In fellowship are about 25 who gather with them unto the Lord. It was this young assembly that organized all the seminars and workshops we held this year in Kumasi. May the Lord repeat this experience many more times.
Steve and Patricia Phillips, new assembly missionaries to Nigeria, have left Ibadan for Makurdi, the state capital of Benue State. Pray that the assemblies will be strengthened as they serve assemblies and others in need of their ministry. Cyprian has introduced them to the assemblies and believers in the state.
Modern African Christianity is not only the result of movements among Africans, but it has been principally sustained by Africans and is to a surprising extent the result of African initiatives. Even the factor of the Western missionary work force must be put into perspective. Please continue to pray for Africa.
Yours in His Grace,
Joy and Cyprian
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