Sunday, April 11, 2010

Evangelizing Northern Nigeria

We only hear ugly headlines about violence, but the Anglican Church is Nigeria is not on the defensive like the Church in North America. Instead it is growing, advancing and converting people to Christ. The following excerpts are from an article on Virtue Online about an address to a conference held this week in North Carolina:
The Rt. Rev. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop of Kaduna and Bishop of Kebbi from the Anglican Province of Nigeria told conferees at the New Wineskins conference for Global Missions that outreach to Muslims in Nigeria with the gospel is "second nature" to Nigerian Anglicans and that Anglicans "face this challenge every day."

- snip -

Under the banner, New Wineskins for Global Mission 2010, the archbishop said news media stories only tell the ugly side of Nigerian violence, but it is not the whole story. "We are reaching out with the gospel to Muslims and those who practice African religions and creating missionary dioceses in the northern part of the country dominated by Islam. Islam came into Nigeria in the 11th century and today they have a political stronghold. We have started missionary dioceses. It has been geographically unreached till now. We already have 49 dioceses in the north of Nigeria in four provinces. We started with 10 and it has grown as we have evangelized planting churches among Muslims."

"How have we done this when you have a great crisis," he cried. "The crisis is happening because of the Spirit of God moving in the land. It is a work of God. We are seeing revival...God is taking over the north for Jesus Christ. People are being turned over from Islam to Christianity. Twenty years ago 5-7% of the population was Christians, now 30% of the people in northern Nigeria are Christians."

Asked what and where the secret of this evangelistic effort came from, Akanya said, "We pray and fast. We spend time on our knees. God gives us the methods in the power of the Holy Spirit. We leave the results to Him."

- snip -

"The city of Jos, which is closer to the center of the country, is the headquarters of every Christian organization. It is the launching pad to the north and that is why militant Muslims are attacking Christians in Jos", he said.

"We (Nigerians) are going to sweep throughout Africa starting with Nigeria. For every 10 people who are converted in one population group we can reach out to Africa, Asia and to the entire world. Nigeria is sending send out missionaries to other parts of Africa and we need your cooperation in reaching Francophone countries. There are still so many unreached tribes and people that are waiting to hear the Good News. Who will come and help us?"

The African archbishops said Nigeria is experienced in presenting a very holistic gospel. "We go into areas where HIV-AIDS is prevalent. The Mothers Union comes in to help with medical care and classes for young mothers with children. We are also digging wells and providing literacy classes, all of it designed to leading people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

"We will saturate the north with Jesus Christ. We will rebuild schools taken over by the Government and we are introducing the 1-1-1-1 program of one person a year who leads one other person to the lord."
We ought to pray for the Church in Nigeria where God is at work and the Kingdom of God is being made visible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

For more information, go to: New Wineskins Missionary Network.

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