I woke up to the noise of my host’s neighbour’s generator.
2 hours away Mummy Kate and Pastor Bruce rose to the sound of a loudspeaker. Their hosts, Pastors Felix and Yinka, had been preaching the gospel from 5.00 to 6.30am daily since they arrived 3 years ago in Epe. Plans were in place for a group to visit the 2 Obas (kings) at 9.00am. However, God had different plans for the day.
The team arrived at the camp ground at 8.00 am to set up for Wednesday. Over 600 people were sitting in an orderly fashion with numbered slips. Mr Jamiu Salami, a local tailor and indigene, arrived at the camp grounds at 3.30am seeking to benefit from the programme. He thought he would be the 1st in line. Alas, he met a hoard of people who had camped there from 3am. He took it upon himself to issue numbers (tickets). The people were ready for the outreach. The Obas’ visits were shelved for a visit of the King of the Kings.
Two hours away, the team started to assemble at New Covenant Church, Ilupeju. Sister Linda was the 1st person to arrive. Gbenga and I joined her later. The venue started to slowly fill up with people. Lots of hugs and kisses were spread around. Luggage also started to pile up. A taxi dropped 4 bags of medical supplies. There were more suitcases than people. It suddenly dawned on us that there would not be enough space for all the people and luggage on the bus. Pastor Bimbo came to the rescue. He shared some of the luggage amongst his church members who were also attending the programme.
The set off time went from 10.00 am, 10.15 am to 11.00 am. Where are all our members, we asked? Most were caught up in traffic. But one was lost. How? Uber had struck. Yes, Uber in Nigeria. Uber took him on a merry go ride around Lagos. After many frantic phone calls, he arrived safely. Zero rating for the driver. Apologising profusely, Akin L joined us on the bus. Onward Christian soldier marching on to war.
Next pick up point was Shoprite Jakande roundabout, Lekki. Great reunion with another group. We met them patronising Mr Biggs. Sit-down meals became a take away pack or a rush job. No waiting around. The bus was now overflowing with people and suitcases. We were short of seating space. My dearest friend became the conductor. He had the joy of standing for the rest of the trip.
The approach into Epe was beautiful. The bridge displayed the beauty of this ancient city.
The jetties and docking ports reflect the character of the town. We saw with our inner eyes potential and riverside homes in the vast expanse of riverside real estate untapped. The main road leading into the town was being redeveloped. The dust on the road was as thick as a harmatan storm. The road works had cut off some communities, with the drainage system acting as a barrier. We arrived at the hotel after a tiring two-hour journey. Another round of warm embraces with the forerunners and the Nigerian team. We are taking Epe by storm.
Back at the recreation grounds, facing a multitude, like Jesus did, the team was moved with compassion to start the programme a day early. No lined-up preacher nor worship team. No pens nor counselling slips. No reason either not to minister the love of God to these wonderful people. Mummy Kate and Pastor Bruce preached. A large number responded to the gospel praying to receive Jesus Christ. They prayed for the sick and many testified to instant results. God messed up our plans for a good reason. The revival had started. One alert townsman started taking names and phone numbers so that each of these early birds could be fast-tracked to the medics the next day.
Off to the Obas’ palaces they sailed. They had appointments with the kings of the land who were staunch Muslims. Sister Grace arrived just in time with Bibles and other gifts for the royals. The workers had a communion service afterwards, bonding and strengthening us for the work ahead.
The indoor sports centre on the recreational grounds was the heart of our medical activity. There was a main hall with six rooms. Two rooms were out of bounds. The main hall was allocated to the doctors and nurses. A section of the main hall was cordoned off for the pharmacy to dispense drugs through the windows. The dental surgery and the cervical smear test team had a room each. The store room doubled up as the laboratory. The pharmacy stored their drugs in the last room. Patients’ waiting areas was carved out of the passage way! We knew there would be trouble ahead.
The eye clinic and its registration area were located under two canopies outside. So was the medical registration tent. Chairs and canopies were limited. Blood pressures were rising. Lord, we need your help tomorrow.
We had our 1st meal and fellowship together. I ate like a king. Upgrade from amala and one-piece of meat to Eba and multiple pieces. Like I told my colleagues, it was beef and a pomo. I could not complain. New roles and responsibilities were allocated. Logistics to Sister Toyin and Brother Akin L. Welfare were Sisters Shade and Eucharia. They did not know what they were in for.
Everyone arrived safely. We thank God.
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