Oasis Church

Mission to Nigeria

Jesus loves Nigeria because the people of Nigeria love Jesus! It was like nothing I have ever experienced before and the trip surpassed all my expectations. I have only been back two days and I can already feel the effect of this life changing stay in Nigeria has had on me. Having travelled to many countries, and some breathtakingly beautiful, the beauty of Nigeria is seen with spiritual eyes and the heart of Christ. The red soil, the rich fertile land, (despite the lack of water), the vibrant colours of the costumes, (despite poverty), and the incredible hospitality that can truly only be matched anywhere else in the world if you happened to be a movie star or a member of the Royal family. In fact the greetings were even greater, because no one would dare hug anyone in the Royal family the way we were hugged! We could so easily be in the Guinness Book of Records for receiving the most hugs in one minute in the world. Now that is something even our Queen cannot receive. In the Word it says we that we should greet each other with a Holy Kiss, and I have heard and experience ‘group hugs’, but these where incredible Holy Hugs. The children often asked for our autographs and we even had a professional photographer, who became very much a part of our team.

Nigeria 1

The Campus where we stayed was so safe and a miracle of God’s provision for the people who work and live there. It contains the Bishops home, where guests stay and we ate in the dining room. We stayed in a separate guest house, where there was always kind young people working. Nothing was too much for them. Also on the Campus is a school, a huge beautiful church, living quarters for staff and an amazing new hospital. Recent equipment has been installed, donated by St Hillier’s Hospital and Epsom Hospital, which comprise of baby incubators and other large surgical equipment.

We visited approximately five churches a day and sometimes more, and we danced and sang at every church! The music would start as we arrived and during the service in worship and as we left. So we danced into the churches and dance out to them. “I will enter His courts with Thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His House with Praise.....” Well we actually did constantly! They loved us dressing up in their costumes as they showered us with gifts of fabric and they danced with us so we could learn how to dance with them. I even found myself singing their words and only Jesus knows what I was saying. We were actually showered with gifts everywhere we went with the outpouring of Christ’s love. We went to give them what little we had to give from our abundance, but they gave abundantly out of the little they had to give. It was so humbling. It was like Christmas daily and even several times a day. This gave new meaning to ‘All my Christmas’s came at once!” Various team members would say, “Just when you think it can’t get any better than this.... it does!!” I likened it to Jesus changing water to wine and keeping the best till last, and the only difference is that we were given the best last over and over again!!!!

Nigeria 2

Many of the churches we visited were connected to schools and having two young grandchildren in primary school, I could tell the level of education given to these children was at an extremely high standard. As we entered the class we were welcomed by the children standing to say in one chorus, how pleased they were to meet us and God bless us, Amen and God bless our families, Amen. Some of these children, if in our own country, would be in nursery classes. The love in their hearts for Jesus is astounding. Loving Jesus and He being the main part of their daily lives is as natural as learning the alphabet! As Pastor Sam said, that we have so much junk to rid ourselves of when we first get saved, because Jesus did not dwell in our hearts as children, but these hundred’s of little ones, know Jesus is the reason for everything.

Despite our photographer, many individuals wanted to take their own photos with us with their mobile phones. Without words, they seem to say “I love you and I want to remember you always.” I cannot remember the names of most of the people we met, but we were truly One Family with the same Father. I often thought as my heart burst with Christ’s love for these people, that we will have an eternity to know each other and as Peter and John knew without introduction, that Elijah and Moses stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, we will all know each other by name individually. An awesome truth too overwhelming to totally grasp! As well as imperishable gifts, we were given fruit drinks, cola, bottles of water and food. This is their custom for visitors. Water was provided for us on our travels in the mission bus and one time, after receiving drinks from the latest church, my heart was pierced as I got back and drank some water, and Sam said, “These people have no water!” He showed me a water bore hole within walking distance of the small church and added, “The man who owns that water charges more than they can afford!” Even as I type this it brings tears to my eyes. But they gave us drinks. They needed them more than we did. Jesus said “Consider others better than yourself”. They really gave their all to us.

Gabriel, a young Cannon with a young family was or guide. He had a constant smile on his face and although Nigerian had an English sense of humour. Sometimes we laughed in the bus till it hurt and we sung as many worships songs as we could think of. We worshipped together all day long, in the churches and in the bus. On Sunday we went for a short walk to a local store and music boomed out of so many different churches. It was awesome. There are churches everywhere and signs with the most amazing titles of places to worship. My only regret is that I did not write down the most incredible inventive names of places to worship as well as keeping a daily journal of all we did. There are so many churches, I guess they have to come up with names that will make an impact. Jesus was advertised everywhere and loving Him is just a normal part of daily life as is should be. The time went too quick and yet we did so much it seemed as if we were away a month!

Nigeria 3

Before we left the UK, we had prayed for Divine encounters. And there were so many, but one really stayed in our heart. A church that should have been first on our list to visit, became the last, as it would have meant doing a U-turn on the motor way to reach it. So it made more sense to stop there on the return journey. This was the Lord’s plan. It was at this last stop, that we had time to walk around this wonderful rural village and chat to the people before the church service. Matthew went missing and we learnt of his story when returning at the start of the service with a Moslem man who came to give thanks to God for answered prayer. Matthew has spotted a boy who should have been in school. He had on his uniform. He informed Matthew that he gets sent home because his dad cannot afford to pay the fees. This touched Matthew’s heart deeply, because this had happened to him as a child. So Matthew took the boy to find his father, who was with his sister. The daughter had the same problem. For a small amount of our money it can provide so much towards a child’s future. Matthew had enough on him and walked with this family to the school and settled the bill. The father came to the church to give thanks and will always remember the day Christ’s servants helped his children. If we had stopped at this church first, that Divine Appointment would have been missed!! I also have to add that this was not the only venue we were late to visit. Quite a few expected us without actually knowing what time we would arrive. With so many churches, it was impossible to put our visits to a tight schedule. So many people waited all day for us to come. Other than telling us how long they had waited, never once did anyone complain about the long wait. They had so much joy when we finally turned up. They have so much dignity.

One man I will remember is a tall gentle blind leader. He so had the Presence of God on him. It was late and dark and we had visited so many churches. It was very rural, but children shouted danced and sang as we arrived. Then round the corner the celebration burst forth as it must so often in Heaven. Words can’t describe that deep meaning The Holy Trinity Church made in our hearts that day. The best wine last........... and still yet another church to visit. With stamina fading this past few years in the evenings, it is so strange how the worship of God with the people of God rejuvenates our human spirits. Then followed even more of the best wine, from a church with a history of being knocked down and rebuilt and soldiering on for the Kingdom of God, was a greater out pouring of Holy Hugs, and dancing like we never danced before. So there were so many ‘firsts’ for me. The first time I sat through a four hour service, that seemed like one hour and I wish it would not end. The first time I have danced with a group of young men younger than my own sons, and at the end of a long day, danced as energetically as they did. My sons would have been so embarrassed. The first time I have been told by so many strangers, “I love you!” and hugged all at once by too many to count. The first time to dance into a church service and dance out of the service and repeat this often. The first time to sit on a chair in a church and come out with an arm full of gifts. The first of walking into a church with one outfit and come out wearing another over the top. The first of being given a drink by someone who had nothing to drink........ The first of carrying a bucket on my head from one building to another. The ladies with me did not hold onto their buckets, but in order not to cause damages, I held my hard. By the time I made it back to the kitchen, my head hurt, so that was a first and last, but it was fun to try.

The wonderful fruit of this trip is the faces of people I shall never forget. Also there was the image of a small boy bending over a small amount of water in the red soil, to take water back to his family. Wells are cheaper than Bore Holes, so wells are being planned by Matthew for rural villages. Our water supply in the guest house disappeared for three days. On the second day we got a bucket of water given to us to wash and fill up the toilet tank to flush and bathe. It was inconvenient and so profound to use the same small bowl of water to wash my hands a few times, and how complicated it was to wash hair without running water. It was so time consuming and so profound. I am glad to have experience three days without a running tap. A tiny glimpse of life without water, yet we had a daily supply of bottled water!! I could not really imagine what it would really be like to have small children and not have fresh water for them whenever they needed it. I pray that money will pour into this ‘Wells for Nigeria’ project so water can pour to these people who love Jesus so very much. Streams of Living water were certainly poured out upon us in abundance!