We thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve Him in various capacities in Abraka. The Lord’s help was evident all through the phases of preparation, during the outreach and even after the programme. We still ponder on His faithfulness; It’s almost like a dream.
Pre- Liberty 2013 preparations
A lot of people were alarmed at the choice of Abraka for this year’s Liberty outreach. There was enough bad press about Abraka, Delta State and the Niger Delta Region regarding violence, ransom kidnapping and armed robbery to query any right- thinking person who decided to take the 2013 Liberty outreach to a ‘safe’ place. The gospel is also meant for people living in dangerous places. God’s help and assurance enabled us to thrust our lives into His hands and decide to go on this adventure with the Lord in taking His love to the ends of the earth.
Abraka outreach is the very first Liberty programme held outside the South- West of the country. Considering the foregoing and that it was to held where there were very little support structures in place, set the stage for a daunting task.
The Lord led us to Himself and there was a 100- day continuous fasting and prayer chain involving brethren within Nigeria and the UK. Some organized all night prayer meetings, seeking the Lord’s hand and His favour upon the task He had given to us. During these series of meetings, He spoke to us in prophesies and words of knowledge about the outreach and these strengthened the hearts of brethren who were initially afraid. We knew during those meetings that the Lord was very interested in our going out to Abraka and preaching the gospel there. The summary of our petitions to the Lord were:
We asked the Lord for the salvation of at least 3000 people. We wanted them to be genuinely saved (not just by show of hands) and to be prepared to be disciples for the Lord. We also prayed that they undergo water baptism and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we asked the Lord to bring about complete deliverance to all who had been held captive by demons.
Knowing that we would not ask the security agencies to provide armed escorts for the various trips the team would be making between Abraka and the Warri airport and also within Abraka, we asked Him to be our guide and indeed to give His angels charge concerning us so that none of us would dash our foot against a stone. We wanted there to be no breaking into our property during the outreach, no kidnappings, no violence and no accidents during our travels.
Setting up new centres
We asked the Lord to help us with the setting up of 4 new centres in Obiaruku, Omege, Eku and Aragba.
Since there were various teams from several centres within and outside Nigeria, we entreated the Lord for unity among the brethren so that the Lord would command His blessings upon our endeavour.
The following committees were set up and included brethren from Ile- Ife, Port- Harcourt and Abraka:
- Medical/ Dental
Several trips were made between Abraka and Ife to coordinate and harmonize the various committees in the two locations.
The outreach held between Wednesday, 30th October and Sunday, 3rd November 2013 at the premises of the New Covenant Church, Abraka. This was an ideal location as it was on a piece of land close to an acre in size. It was also opposite the Abraka General Hospital where the surgical operations were to take place.
Brethren began arriving Abraka from Monday, 28th October from the UK and Lagos by air and road. Most people however arrived on Tuesday from Ibadan, Port- Harcourt, Ile- Ife, UK, Lagos, Abuja etc so that by the end of Tuesday, we had a full house. Other brethren from Akure, Asaba, Sapele, Jesse and Benin City arrived from Wednesday. By this time, there were about 320 brethren from these various centres lodged in various hotels and guest houses in Abraka. Everyone was handed an information leaflet which some brethren aptly called the “Ten Commandments”! This leaflet was an attempt to remind brethren of our purpose at the outreach and to keep us focused on that purpose.
Tuesday, 29th October
We had three programmes that ran almost simultaneously: Visits to three traditional rulers (The two kings in Abraka and The king of Obiaruku); A rally around Abraka town; a short but very practical course on Counselling to prepare us for the outreach. All three programmes were well attended especially as we had almost a full house by then.
Wednesday 30th – Saturday 2nd
We started meeting at the various hotels for corporate prayers between 8 and 8:30am and subsequently proceeded to the tent of meeting for the programme. We had drama ministration by the National drama team, preaching, altar calls, Counselling, prayer room, medical & dental consultations/ Surgeries and film shows. The daily decisions for Christ on the field were estimated at between 300 and 400 people. Some received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on Friday and Saturday and water baptism was done for about 30 people on Saturday afternoon at the sparkling clear Ethiope river. A lot more people would have been baptized if we had more hands because many members of the team had left Abraka by Saturday. However close to 60 people were baptized by the Abraka pastor the Sunday and next after the outreach!
The queues of newly born again believers who were waiting in line to be counselled were remarkably long and indeed some specifically requested special counselling and prayers.
The national evangelism and drama teams also organized market and village evangelistic outreaches and many made decisions to repent from their sins. There were several economic empowerment sessions in dyeing, soap making etc anchored by the brethren from Akure and the UK and these were well attended.
Clothes and other materials were also distributed to the people of Abraka. We had a reporter from the Delta State newspaper, The Pointer, who interviewed Mummy Kate. There was also the case of a two-year-old girl who was brought by her mother and who had a huge abdominal tumour. We could not handle this case because of paucity of instruments at the general hospital so with Mummy Kate’s intervention and Dr Kingsley Tobi’s (A consultant anaesthetist) assistance, the baby was successfully operated upon and had the tumour removed. Her mother was at the NCC Abraka to testify to God’s goodness after discharge from the hospital about 3 weeks ago and has since become a member of the Church!
The team comprised 4 consultant ophthalmologists, 2 ophthalmologists in training, 1 optician and 3 ophthalmic nurses and they distributed about 200 reading spectacles and performed 41 cataract extractions + intraocular lens implantation and 1 pterygium excision. They also treated hundreds of people with minor eye ailments on outpatient basis.
General medical clinic/ Surgery
The team was composed of 1 cardiologist, 1 endocrinologist, 1 obstetrician and gynaecologist, 1 paediatrician, 1 psychiatrist, 1 general surgeon, 1 Cardiothoracic surgeon, 1 surgeon-in-training, 2 general duty doctors, 1 anaesthesiologist, 2 Pharmacists, 2 Pharmacy assistants, 1 medical laboratory scientist and about 10 nurses.
They attended to hundreds of people with a wide variety of illnesses and the surgeons performed 16 surgeries (6 hernia repairs, 2 emergency appendectomies, 2 adhesiolysis for Asherman’ syndrome, 3 lipoma excisions, 1 ganglion removal, 1 hydrocoelectomy and a removal of a huge knee bursa). These were aided by the presence of an anaesthetist in the team who is also a pastor of the NCC Benin City.
The general clinic was in no small way helped by brethren who gave their time in ushering and organizing the people. It was a Herculean task which they carried out cheerfully most of the time.
The dental team comprised 3 Consultant dental surgeons, 1 dental therapist and 1 dental surgery assistant. They performed a total of 83 dental procedures consisting of 49 tooth extractions (one lady had 7 teeth extracted!), 32 scaling and polishing and 2 minor oral surgeries.
Sunday, 3rd November 2013
We planned a service and Mummy Kate was to minister. However, we had a dilemma: should we use the church hall (which could seat about 100 people) or should we use the tent? This question arose because though we had seen the Lord move mightily in the preceding days, we did not know if people would show up on the Sunday service especially since there were no medical consultations on that day. We were also short on ground as the brethren from Akure, Abuja, Lagos, UK, Asaba, Jesse, Sapele and Benin had returned (some on Friday but most on Saturday)
We decided to use the tent and waited with bated breath to see how the attendance would turn out. There were over 500 adults in attendance! Over 100 people gave their lives to following the Lord on that day! The national drama team ministered powerfully. Mummy Kate ministered under the unction of the Holy Spirit. It would have been nice to have continued the meeting till the next day!
We departed for our various destinations and praise God for His favour and grace.
The brethren at NCC Abraka have been doing the follow up of the converts, visiting some of the villages and re-establishing contact.
The attendance at the NCC Abraka has increased from 80 to 120 considering that many of the other converts came from neighbouring towns and villages.
We have secured the venue for a new centre at Obiaruku and that centre as well as the one at Ebede should be starting their first Sunday service before the end of the year. We want to start with these two centres first while the University students (members of the Church) will be visiting Aragba and Oria until such a time when we have someone to pastor the Churches there. The estimated cost of setting up each of these centres is N250,000 to cover the costs of the venues and public address systems. We are believing the Lord to provide most of the remaining funds for these centres.
The eye team visited Abraka again, 2 weeks after the outreach and they saw all but one of the patients they operated on. In addition, 20 new people came with eye problems! It was another opportunity to see them and the NCC Abraka pastor was at hand to minister to them. We plan a follow up service at Abraka between March and May 2014 where we may have a mini- evangelistic programme and reach out again to the people of the land.
It was a great honour and privilege for us to be chosen to plan the Abraka Liberty 2013 outreach. We remain joyful at seeing what the Lord did there. indeed, there was great joy in that city (Acts 8: 8). We probably would not be able to really quantify the impact of this outreach. We will have to wait until we see the Lord and He shows us the smiling faces of those who made Heaven because of this programme.
Lord, let Badagry be better and with greater impact on the people not only residing there but also in neighbouring Benin republic. Amen.
Dr Uvie Onakpoya
Chairman, Planning Committee
Abraka Liberty 2013.
10th December 2013.