Imini Chronicles 2009: Day 4 (Thursday) – The Love of a Father

Liberty Nigeria Trip Eye Care

We all trooped into the van once again with the faith that God would convey us safely back from Imini without a hitch.  Tuesday evening the van broke down. The fan belts were already giving signals that they were on their way out, as they squeeked whenever the driver throttled down or changed gear.  The bad bumpty ant Church

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road increased the strain, putting more tension on the belts as the engine shifted with every manuever in and out of the ditches.  On our way back, the inevitable happened, the belt snapped and bus started overheating.  The dials on the dash board indicated a pending disaster the gasket may blow if the engine did not cooled down immediately.

The van was stopped for some minutes to allowed it to cool down.  Mr Omolewa looked nervous knowing what had happened.  He gentlely opened the hatch to the engine resulting in a large cloud of steam filling the van.  Our airconditioned bus instantly turned into a sauna.  For the van to move on it needed water.  The engine became an associate member of the Liberty team which needed cold “pure water” to function properly.  If only the engine knew how precious the water was.  Thankfully we were driving through a town.  Help was at hand from a good samaritain who brought a large bowl of water which was poured into the engine.  The driver looked under the van only to see that the water was flowing almost entirely on the ground below.

We were informed that a mechanic was closeby.  So the van staggered 300 or so yards to his workshop.  Four poles and a couple of scrap metal pieces dangling from the crossbar was a welcome sight.  He brought out his tape measure, only to realise that he did not have a fan belt long enough to fit.  The decision was made to drive on and top up the water as when necessary.  Bro Peter became our mechanical engineer tasked to stabilise the engine’s temperature.  He did a good job.  Mr Omolewa was very experienced in handling the sitiuation, downhill he would turn off the power to allow gravity push the vehicle downhill.  Gradually, the coaster was coasting towards IITA.  We were carried on eagle’s wings.  We thank God we got back to base safely.

Ian Palmer is Robert’s dad.  I have grown fond of both father and son over the past couple of months.  This was the first time Ian would travel to Africa.  I am sure he had plans for what he wanted to do and high expectation of what God would do through him.  On Sunday at Ilupeju, Ian shared his testimony of salvation.  For 40 years, his mum and aunt had been praying for him to become a Christian.  They never gave up.  16 years ago he made the decision to follow Christ all the days of his life and never looked back.  I was encouraged.  On Monday, I saw Ian dance into the Oba’s compound. He’s got the rhythm.   Later in the day, he was with the kids talking to them with other team members about Jesus.  I remember someone brought two young boys to him.  This was the first time they had seen a white man.  This was like a scene from the bible – Jesus with the little children.  Overnight, Robert fell ill.  On Tuesday morning, Ian abandoned all his plans to stay with his sick son.  Robert got back on his feet ready to return to Imini on Friday.  Then, Ian also fell ill.  God knew all that was going on; I believe He just wanted to show us the sacrificial love of a father for his son.  Remember when things are not going the way you planned it or your plans change mid stream – I AM who I AM is with you.  The episode made me think about my relationship with my family members but most importantly the relationship my Father in heaven has with me.  His love never ceases.  His banner over me is love.  He loves me so much that if I was the only man on earth He would still have sacrificed His only begotten Son for me.  I am forever grateful for His love.

I was privileged to attend a meeting on Tuesday with Mummy Kate, Mummy Nylander, Pastor Gbenga and Pastor Isaiah (Pastor of the Imini Church) regarding the needs of the church.  The list was long, very long but we agreed the priorities for now would be supporting the building of a church and the purchase of 8 Okadas (bikes) for the village pastors.  We visited the site for the proposed church building.  The foundation had been dug.  Blocks were required to raise the structure.  The story behind the piece of land was that it was donated by a villager who had recently died.  He had desired a church presence in the village.  Staring at the land, this scripture dropped into my heart. Deut 6:10 “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant.  By Friday about £600 was raised by the team towards the building project.  What a wonderful and generous set of people we have.

On our way back to IITA our bus got stopped by an old man.  It was a friendly road block without a gun nor the need to grease his hands. His hands were blessed but he did not know it.  Someone had given him a $5 note but he was unable to spend it.  He was perplexed and frustrated by his inability to spend the green note.  He cursed, the worthless money “Owo buruku ti o se na” and gave it back to us in frustration.  His Tesco express had rejected it while his local corner shop refused to exchange it for food.  We told him it was worth around 750 naira.  750 naira he exclaimed.  He could not believe his luck.  Instantly, the expression on his faced changed, life came back to him.  I could not have imagined what a handsome man he was until he smiled.  He repeated it again; a whole 750 naira. Mo ti so rire (I am blessed) he started to dance.  He received the money and went home a happy man praying for the giver of the gift.

The experience itself was quite humbling for all of us in the van.  There were a couple of lessons to be learnt.  Knowledge is key.  He required knowledge about the value of what was in his hands.  He could have asked someone in the know rather than a market trader!  Secondly, life is about perceptions. It is what you perceive life to be, is what it would be.  He thought the gift was worthless and went about frustrated.  On the other hand, he could have gone about rejoicing that he had been given “money from the white man’s land”. Thirdly, our miracle is in our hands.  He had in his hands 750 naira which would have solved some of his problems.  We can make a difference with our gifts and talents in another person’s life.  Finally, God has given us the greatest gift – the complete gift in His Son Jesus Christ.  You could receive the gift or throw it away.  This gift includes peace, joy, healing, deliverance and most importantly eternal life.

I spent some quality time at the Eye Clinic for the first time.  The clinic had two sites – Opticians and Ophthalmology.  Due to the specialist nature of their work, the local primary health centre was renovated and turned into an operating theatre for the Ophthalmologists while the Opticians practiced from the main site.  Nearly half of the participants including volunteers wanted to access both services.  The team did a marvellous job.  We really did not see much of the Ophthalmologists as they were in the operating theatre.  Dr Soetan and Prof Baiyeroju popped out occasionally in search of more patients.  Dr Atinuke Omisade was in charge of the front house.  She undertook eye tests, organised the people, prayed with the patients and ensured everything was running smoothly.  It was a tiring but rewarding experience.  51 surgeries were carried out (42 cataract surgeries, 7 pterygium excision, 2 excisional biopsies of lumps) .  The blind were given sight.  Many Glaucoma patients were referred to UCH.  Further follow up and after care will continue until the patients are discharged in December.

The opticians were overwhelmed with patients.  I threaten to shut down the clinic as the queues became rowdy and uncontrollable.   The noise started to disturb the preacher in the main tent.   Everything came under control after a lot of negotiations. Dr Emeka and his colleague patiently dealt with the endless flow of patients.  Hundreds of free prescription reading glasses were given out.  I commenced the screening of cataracts!.  Cloudy retinas, grey rings around the eye lens, big grey blobs on the retina to be sincere anything that looked unusual was set aside.  Off to the Ophthalmologist I took them.  This became a regular event.  I heard of the story of a girl who had sight problems.  She had gone to a quack medicine man who had given her a local eyeliner and eye drop.  Tragically, she lost the sight in one eye.  If only!

Olumide witnessed to a number of youths reflecting on the word of God shared by his father.  Pastor Gbenro told them the story of his salvation and how he witnessed the death of his friend gunned down by armed robbers the day after his friend had given his life to Christ. The youths stare with wide eyes and amazement as he described the way the driver’s brain was bulging out of his skull and the pain he felt for the loss of his friend.  The youths applaud and began to give thanks to God as Pastor Gbenro described laying hands on the driver’s chest and the corpse began to move.   The youths began to give glory to God as they heard how the man was raised from the dead and taken to hospital.

The Liberty Youth team (Sisters Catherine, Kemi, Adetutu and Bro Peter) and colleagues laid hands on the youths as they prayed for them individually.  The team prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill their lives that He may give them the boldness and power to serve Him.  The youth are warned that they may have to change their friends.  They understood the importance of also trying to win their friends to Christ both through lifestyle and through asking for God to reveal His purpose for their lives.

The youths are invited to pray for deliverance from all idols and evil covenants that they have entered into or been given to by their parents. They show a great deal of shyness and reluctance to admit to such activities.  This will need 1-1 counselling to be effective.

Both the young and old were baptised today.  Many of the youth under the supervision of Sis Adetutu were baptised.  At the end of the day over 40 were baptised.  It was amazing to see one of the young local Pastors baptised.

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