Sunday, March 13, 2011

Journey to Nigeria; a leap of faith

In twelve hours I will be boarding a plane on my way to Ifo Town, Ogun State Nigeria. My connection flight is in Atlanta and from there I will fly to Lagos Nigeria for six days of preaching and teaching. I've experienced a mixture of emotions as each day moved me closer to today. I've gone from fear to peace. From doubt to faith. From aggravation to certainty.
The preparation for this trip has been a journey of faith. During the last eight months I have seen God move in my life in tremendous way.
It all started one July day when I received an email from a Pastor in Nigeria name Gabriel Ogunjobi. Pastor Ogunjobi had discovered my website and felt compelled from the Holy Spirit to invite me to come to Nigeria and minister in that region. I can still see myself as I read that communication for the first time. My initial response was skepticism and suspicion. Seven months prior I was targeted by a fraudulent group who invited me to come to their conference in England. Thankfully that attempt was exposed. So when the invitation came form Pastor Ogunjobi suspiciously I thought that I was being targeted again.
However as I continued reading the communications from Pastor Ogunjobi I sensed a pull in my spirit, a nudge from the Holy Spirit to pay more attention to what Pastor Ogunjobi was saying to me. After a few days of peace I start to seek counsel from others friends. Most of the counsel that I received was negative and fearful. There appears to be a great deal of fear in America concerning overseas travel. But as me and my wife Vantoria continued to pray I was assured that God was extending me a Macedonian call to Nigeria.
After two months of deliberation and praying I accepted Pastor Ogunjobi's invitation. I told him that I would come to Nigeria in March of 2011.
Accepting Pastor Ogunjobi's invitation was a great leap of faith. Believing God for the funds to go was an even greater leap of faith. For the 26 years that I had preached throughout the United States I had never paid my own way to go to a church and minister. I would have to do that this time. And the Holy Spirit led me not to ask anyone for money but just tell others of my plans to travel to Nigeria. The first person, besides the church that I pastor; New Mine Creek Church in Blairs Virginia, that I shared with was a deacon from my home church, New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio. The deacon was Edward Watson. He had called me to order some copies of the anthology HOME AGAIN that my short story JAKE AND ERIC appeared in. When I shared with Deacon Watson that I was going to Nigeria he became so excited that he went to our pastor, Elder Larry Tatum and asked if the church could raise support for me which they did in a big way. I am so grateful to be a member of this church that has blessed and supported me without fail for the twenty years that I have been a member of that church. Again and again I shared my intentions to travel to Nigeria in March and again and again the Holy Spirit impressed people to give toward this venture. Through this effort God has revealed Himself to me in a new way as Jehovah Jireh. I first came to know Him as God my Provider when I was struggling in my first pastorate in West Virginia but these last months I have seen Him manifest as the giver of VISION and the PROVIDER.
Not only has God provided funds for me but He also moved on the hearts of two leaders of New Mine Creek to journey with me. They are Deacon Henry Law and his wife Deaconess Vickie Law. Henry is the first deacon ordained in my pastorate and it was with great joy that I recommended Vickie to serve as a deaconess in the church.
So the three of us are on our way this evening. I plan to write some more blogs from Nigeria this week. Pray for us as you read these words.
Pastor Bernard Boulton.