Nine members of First Baptist Church and Pecan Grove Baptist Church participated in a mission trip to Nigeria in partnership with H.E.L.P. West Africa mission organization headquartered in Dallas. Our San Saba team worked with a team from the Heart of Texas Baptist Network in Brownwood. The group spent approximately 10 days in travel and ministry, staying in the guesthouse of HELP in Egbe, Nigeria. HELP has been involved in Nigeria about 12 years providing water wells, health clinics, Christian schools, an orphanage and improving the local hospital. The mission team focused its efforts in the city of Egbe and Fulani villages located near the community of Okeloke.
The goal of the team was to exalt the name of Jesus Christ among the Nigerian people in order to share the good news of God’s love and the eternal life that is offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There were four facets to the trip that helped us reach that goal: 1) Providing eye glasses through eye clinics; 2) Encouraging the orphans in the HELP orphanage; 3) ministering to the children through two different Vacation Bible Schools; and 4) building a relationship with the Fulani people who are primarily Muslim. The trip also included leading a Pastor’s Conference in Egbe and ministering to the patients at the hospital.
The mission team conducted four eye clinics throughout the week of the trip. Two of these were in Egbe and two in Okeloke. They serviced approximately 300 people with glasses, including both prescription and readers. The Midland Lion’s Club provided the glasses and the team used eye charts and a focometer to determine the needs of the patients. We appreciate the assistance of Dr. Kramer who provided training for these clinics. According to HELP, no such clinics had been provided through them or in Egbe in the last decade. The new glasses were tested by asking patients to read Bible verses or view Bible story pictures. The gospel of Jesus Christ was shared frequently through these clinics.
The mission team stayed in a guesthouse next to the HELP orphanage that housed 20 orphan boys and received nine more during the week. The boys ranged in age from around five years old to 18 years old. We ate together virtually every day and enjoyed times of recreation. The team also provided music lessons on the keyboard and guitar for
eager students. The HELP boys played a soccer match during the week in which our own member, Patricio Rodriquez, also played. The match was followed by a youth rally in which members shared their testimonies, sang songs and shared the story of Jesus Christ. The team also worshipped with the boys on two other occasions, encouraging them in their faith. Honestly, we received more from these boys than we gave. We left blessed.
Four days of Vacation Bible School were conducted in two different locations through the week. Approximately 130 children attended the VBS in Egbe and 65 in the Fulani village. The children in Egbe spoke English and learned about the creation of the world and the salvation of the soul through crafts, stories, songs and games. The Fulani speak Fufoldi that made the school a greater challenge. The team received permission from the village chief to conduct a Bible school. Though a devout Muslim and observing the holy period of Ramadan, he gave us permission to teach any Bible stories we desired. Our translator was a Fulani Christian who converted to Christ from Islam. He was very bold to speak of Jesus, the forgiveness of sin and the resurrection of the dead.
The Fulani village consisted of ten to twelve mud/grass huts about the size of small dome tents. There was no running water or electricity. Dirt paths connected other villages a short distance away. Children came running from all over when we arrived and eagerly waited for us to come the second day. Tarah Crosby taught them games that brought laughter and delight. Lisa Valdez, with the help of others, made balloon animals. Other members threw the Frisbee, played with the soccer ball or told Bible stories through our interpreter. Being with the Fulani was like living in the pages of National Geographic. It was a joy to exalt Jesus among them.
We wish to thank everyone who provided finances, spoke words of encouragement or prayed for us during the trip. We are glad to be home but very thankful for the experience. It is a joy to share Jesus Christ to ends of the earth. Team members include: Sam Crosby, Tarah Crosby, Alvino Valdez, Lisa Valdez, Darrin Barker, Glenna Boyd, Patricio Rodriquez, Stuart Beckwith and Lauren Beckwith.