Ruth and I have arrived back in Australia and start speaking in churches this weekend.
It’s the first time we have been away from our youngest son Daniel for this long. Ruth’s mother has been in a Deniliquin nursing home. We would dearly love to stay in Nigeria longer with our team: so much is happening there, and we trust God to make a way for this.
We arrived in Jos last January amid a lot of concern about the nation. Boko Haram was ravaging large areas causing so much suffering to many. There was a lot of concern about the upcoming election: fighting could break out over much of the country. Some were speaking of the nation splitting apart. Large numbers of people were heading back to their own part of the country for safety.
In January we believed things would go well. We believed God had surprises for good in store for the nation. We began to speak in this way among our students, on television, amongst our graduates in Nigeria, within our Christian and Muslim communities. It has been difficult for the idea of community cooperation to catch on, as conspiracy theories so easily circulate and undermine trust and sharing. But we now see real change taking place. More and more, people are moving past religious and ethnic issues towards building a future together.
The election went off last weekend with very limited violence during or after the event. This has taken most people by complete surprise. General Buhari, who emerged the winner, comes to office with the stated agenda of defeating corruption. Though he is Muslim he has said he is not out to Islamise the nation. Corruption is possibly the number one issue the nation faces and we pray God helps this man and Nigerians to overcome this great disease.
But for us the church our agenda and plan doesn’t depend on who is in government. We don’t depend on “Christian” government, nor become at all discouraged at “Muslim” government. God often works opposite to the way we think. Our agenda and plan is to love and care for our friend, neighbour and enemy. This is what Jesus taught us and what changes a nation and this is our witness to governments. No one can stop us from doing what Jesus showed us as the way.
Our students have been on a break for one week and return for lectures after Easter. Some students though did not travel and at CFI they broke into groups (some are pictured in this newsletter) and studied a four book series aimed at leading Muslims to Christ, called People of God, by David Shenk. This is an excellent series designed and revised over many years. We have been granted rights to translate the series into Hausa and spread it among our friends in the nation and neighbouring nations.
Blessings to you this Easter,
Kent, Ruth and the team in Jos