Thanks for reading my chronicles. I thought a bit of reflection today on how we got to Abraka, Delta State would be appropriate. “Why Abraka?” was a question I heard over and over again leading up to the mission. To be sincere, the criteria used for choosing the place is unknown to me. Abraka was tagged a high risk area far from
our local support network. Travelling was a whole day affair by road; it cost an arm and a leg by air. We were advised that movement by road was an unnecessary risk for a bunch of “foreigners”. But it was an inspired decision by the Ife Conference Centre leadership team to go. There was no promise of ease or comfort when Jesus asked us to make disciple of nations. The process requires faith, commitment, sacrifice, some risk taking and the leading of the Holy Spirit. All of these came into play during our stay.
We all left Gordon resort for the site. The programme had started by the time we arrived. The people were in free flow of worship. The drama was excellent, a good prelude to the message. The preacher Pastor Olanrewaju was short but sharp. It was clear what he had said as the people stood up to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. A sea of new soldiers stood at attention. Some with their hands raised up in surrender. Yes, surrendering to a higher power; inviting the King of Kings and Lord of Lords into their lives. What an awesome sight. The counselors had their hands full. The medical team was drafted in as counsellors. A field commission for another regiment. All hands on deck. We were all geared up to receive our new brethren.
We were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to see either an optician or ophthalmologist. Over 200 people waited patiently to access the Eye clinic. While another 200 were sitting on the other side of the tent waiting for the GPs. All the doctors who normally ran the Eye clinic were in surgery. Only one optician was available for consultation. The people were becoming restless. God understands each and everyone’s need. A screen was put up and Christian films were shown to the waiting patients. They became engaged and engrossed in the films. Another type of evangelism in practice.
In the midst of the crowd, I spotted an elderly gentleman. Sir, what are you doing here I asked. He was supposed to be in surgery. They say make I come here, was his response. I was puzzled. I wrote him a note for the Ophthalmologists – Sirs, please give him your urgent attention as he is due for surgery today. Two hours later I saw him again. Wetin happen? I asked again. He explained that he left early yesterday to resume work at 5pm. As a result, he missed his pre operation screening and medication. I felt a fountain of emotions swell within me – that of compassion and empathy rather than irritation. I appreciated that he needed to keep his job as well as enjoy a breakthrough into his future. The operation would make a difference but must be weighed against his daily bread. I offered him a chair under the shade and monitored him until his next pre-op check many hours later. I became his guardian angel.
51 candidates from yesterday were given priority slots for their eye tests while another batch waited in the wings. The Eye clinic started at 3.30 pm for glaucoma and other eye issue consultations. Another group of 20 people was selected for cataract and other eye surgery the next day. Amongst the group were two boys, one 10 years old and the other 14 years old. The general medical team consisting of nurses, gynecologists, dentists, a pediatrician, psychiatrics had their hands full. Over 200 people came through their doors from all over Abraka. The pharmacy was well stocked with drugs donated by local pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies from abroad. These were being given out free. Every team had its work cut out. We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.
We started the business empowerment courses covering soap making, sewing, bead and jewelry making. The Akure team was overwhelmed by the interest from participants. Dress patterns were cut while the soap making was demonstrated. Necks laces and hand chains were made out of glass beads. Some new businesses were being birthed.
In the midst of this all, quietly one to one ministration was going on. People were sharing their faith on a one to one basis and the power of God was being made manifest. A woman whose husband had left home a couple of weeks before mission responded to the gospel. The counselor asked her about her family and she busted into tears that her husband had left her and she had not heard from him for weeks. They prayed about the situation for a turn around. A couple of hours later the woman ran back with joy, she had just seen 7 missed calls on her phone. Her run away husband had run back! He had been trying to contact her. Coincidence or a God incident. I hope you agree with me that God can turn every stony heart to flesh.
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