The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40

I often think of this passage when I visit the mission stations around Nigeria. It’s a very simple command that we should carry out in any country or with any person we come into contact with. However, living this out in a practical way is a different matter at times. Sometimes we miss or do not take the opportunities that God brings our way, whether it’s helping a colleague through a difficult situation or assisting someone in need. At other times it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the situation that you are not sure where to even start. I look around both at home in Northern Ireland and where I am now and I see such needs. How does one start to make an impact?

One particular day turned out to be a sad day for me, but a reality for many here in Nigeria. Before Christmas I had my first sad experience of witnessing a young child, with whom I had grown close, die. Moments before, his little hand was clinging on to my finger and his big dark eyes were staring into mine. In moments like that, we can become overwhelmed and struggle to understand why such a thing would happen. Our faith reminds us that God is still there and is a God of love and compassion. We should not lose hope. 

“We aren’t really called to save the world–not even to save one person; Jesus does that. We are just called to love with abandon. We are called to enter into our neighbours’ sufferings and love them right there” – Katie Davis

Among all the challenges here there are many blessings as well: Having an eight year old ask me when we can read the next Bible story together; hearing the children sing at the Kingdom Kids Bible programme, “Yes, Jesus loves me”, with big smiles on their faces; visiting those I have come to know and we laugh together as I try and practice the Igala language. I hope you also can see the blessings God brings into your own life, through the big and small situations you are in.

Over the past few months I have had the privilege of visiting many of the Mission Africa stations. There are two major aims for this. Firstly, to build relationships, on behalf of Mission Africa, with the UEC leaders and congregations. Secondly, to seek opportunities for, and help settle, future Mission Africa workers willing to serve in Nigeria. It is my prayer that I, and future workers coming to serve, would continue to work in partnership with the Church, seeking to bring God’s love to the people.

While based at Holley Memorial Hospital, I have the opportunity to become involved in some areas that I am very passionate about: visiting patients and those within the community; running a children’s and youth Bible programme; and helping out at a nearby orphanage. Kingdom Kids is a children’s Bible programme that takes place every Thursday within the HMH compound. The name reminds the children that they are important to God’s Church and that He can use each of them for His kingdom. Some of the children walk up to 40 minutes to come to the programme. We are currently working our way through the Old Testament. Each week we teach them the Bible and leave them with a simple practical application for their own lives. As I go round and visit I am encouraged to hear some parents share an interest in what their children have learnt that week at Kingdom Kids.

Pray for these young people who could be future leaders in the Church or even leaders within Nigeria. There is no limit to God’s power. I am care deeply about the lives of these children and young people. I pray that they will grow up having a personal relationship with Christ and be guided and influenced by positive role models in their lives. God continues to remind me of how the world can be changed one life at a time. Let us continue to enter in to the lives around us and show love the way Christ would love.

Let me leave you with this one precious snapshot. It was time for the giving of offering in Church one Sunday. As the rows of people danced to the front one by one to place their offering, I noticed an elderly woman, clearly struggling to walk, moving up to the front. This lady was dancing as best she could and praising God as she gave her offering. As I watched, I was moved by her passion and determination despite the pain she must have been in. No matter what situation we may be facing, let us continue giving thanks to God. May He be given all the glory, honour and praise, always.