In August, Pastor Dean Bjorlin of Valley Christian Church (Breckenridge, Minnesota) and an elder, Vern Aaseby, attended Nigeria’s two-part FCA Convention. Here is Dean’s inspiring report:
What are the odds that the Nigerian man next to me on the plane would have a son attending an American college in, of all places, Fargo, North Dakota-40 minutes from my home? He kept saying, “Wow, this is a Divine circumstance!”
This was not the first such connection. I had traveled to Nigeria once before, in 2005, when I “happened” to meet Bishop Success Samuel. That was the start of a friendship that brought him and his group into the FCA. The work there has now blossomed into 103 local churches, plus more twelve churches in nearby Ghana and three in Togo, and a Bible school. Not bad for a chance meeting five years ago!
This year’s convention was held in two cities (Lagos in the southwest part of the country, and Owerri in the southeast) to make it easier for more pastors to attend. Over the three days in Lagos, speakers included Eric Black (YWAM missionary from Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, who is living in Port Harcourt), Rev. Mrs. Success Samuel, and the two of us from Minnesota.
The graduation ceremony was a moving time, with the congregation singing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” as only a crowd of 450 Africans can sing. I challenged the 33 graduates to do their best in what they attempt, to prepare well, and then to trust God to open doors for their ministry. Vern Aaseby shared about the importance of building up the leaders in your church and trusting them to serve with you.
In Owerri, the two-day convention drew about 275. Bishop Stafford Nwaogu shared as well as Eric Black, Vern, and myself.
We came away very impressed with the integrity of leadership among the FCA pastors there. They were very transparent with their members about financial matters. They realize their need to become self-supporting, and desire to do so.
The FCA is alive and well in Nigeria. Keep praying for them.