November 2, 2018
Nigeria Remembers One Who Was Faithful
From the Superintendent's DESK
After the South Africa camp meeting, I traveled to Nigeria and arrived in Lagos on Tuesday evening, October 30. I was greeted by a handful from our churches here who work in airport security, and so was able to navigate the airport quicker than usual.
The next morning, I met with Bayo Adeniran, the West and Central Africa (WECA) District Superintendent, and then with the Nigeria board members before
going to Anthony Village for a presentation of the work in Nigeria.
When we arrived at Anthony Village, students from the Apostolic Faith secondary school were lined up outside the WECA headquarters office with their musical instruments. They presented a short program beginning with one young girl stepping forward to say, “Our school gives praises to God. We welcome you into our midst and pray God will strengthen you.” Then they played and sang several hymns including “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” and “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.”
Inside, two dozen regional and district leaders had gathered for a presentation on the development and expansion of the work in Nigeria. It is divided into seven regions over a total of twenty-six districts, which on average provides church services attended by over eighty thousand people each Sunday. It was quite amazing to see how the Lord has blessed and the work is progressing.
On Thursday, we drove to Abeokuta for the funeral of Emmanuel Aina who was a highly esteemed member of the Nigeria board of trustees. He was also the Ibadan regional overseer until his retirement in 2015 at the age of ninety-three. We met with his family at the church, and I expressed condolences on behalf of the Portland congregation.
In the evening, a “Service of Songs” was held in Brother Emmanuel’s memory. Among the songs were several heartening pieces including “Sweeping through the Gate” by an octet, “There Is Singing Up in Heaven,” sung by the congregation, and a duet of “I Will Meet You in the Morning.”
A time was set aside for testimonies from family, friends, and neighbors. We learned that in 1955 Brother Emmanuel heard about a polygamist being converted and giving up his wives after contact with the Apostolic Faith Church. He wanted to see for himself, and received salvation upon visiting our church in Igbore, Abeokuta. The Lord established him through sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and he eventually went on to pastor many churches.
The service continued with a message from Daniel 12:3 that encouraged, “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.” This was followed by prayer for the family, and at the conclusion, the congregation sang “On the Resurrection Morning.”
The next day, Friday, the funeral service was attended by over three thousand. It began with a processional as the orchestra played, “Servant of God, Well Done.” The music included vocal solos, ensembles, and mini-choirs singing such inspirational numbers as “Mansion Over the Hilltop.” The message was taken from Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.” The service closed with the congregation singing, “Oh that will be glory for me, when all my labors and trials are over.” A graveside service followed.
We appreciate the witness of Brother Emmanuel and all those who have gone on before us. May we be found faithful also.