How I spent Easter – My First Road Trip Outside the Country (II)

July 1, 2023

This morning, I uploaded the first part of this gist here.  Quickly catch up if you missed out on it so that you can have really soft landing on this one 🙂

Before I go on, I want to sound the long read alert. Loooool. You’d be done before you know it though 🙂 And also to my non-Christian readers, you may have to bear with me on this one because this one is a post on my faith. Please come along, I’m sure you’d enjoy it too 🙂 🙂 🙂

I enjoyed my sleep the first night. Soon after daybreak, we had devotion and everyone got ready to go to their respective mission fields. Like I said here, we were divided into two groups: each was to go to a different village.

I never knew how un-sweet their bread could be. It was like unleavened bread, no jokes 😂 But it was warm and their was tea – so yeah, I enjoyed the meal with thanksgiving 🙂

The first group was about five hours away from Cotonou where we were and so they had to leave some hours before the group I was in. Our own trip was just about an hour and some minutes. It was incredibly hot when we set out, I couldn’t even sleep in peace, Lol… We had to stop to get some cold water.

Honestly, if I was to document every single act that was done, I would not be able to write it all – and even if I was, you may not be able to read it all. So I decided to streamline to major highlights and things that stood out for me on the trip.

The first major highlight for me was somewhat a culture shock – there was light even in the village! I honestly didn’t know what to make of that so I actually ranted about it a bit with some of the guys in my group and I just moved on. There was work to be done.

The second was a conversation I had with a woman, one of the older women in the church in that village. She was to help us with the kitchen matters. Actually, we were informed that people would be on ground like mothers and sisters from the church to help us with cooking and all that kitchen logistics. Unfortunately and fortunately (depending on how you see it), that didn’t happen so we had to resort to shopping and cooking ourselves. But we had this really kind woman with us who went with myself and three other people to shop as we didn’t know the language and we also didn’t know where to go.

As we moved from shop to shop,this woman told me her story of how her children were to be taken away from her to serve idols and how she had withstood them even when her husband’s faith wasn’t strong. She told me how she stood in the face of those people and declared that her children would serve the only true God and none other. This led her to fleeing with them in the midnight down to Nigeria – all six of her children, the last being three. Today to the glory of God, three of her children are ministers of God, like pastors. And honestly, It seems like film now I’m writing it or just a story but what hit my heart the most was the length this woman was willing to go to stand for God. Many people have their faith shattered in the face of difficulties but her story inspired me so much, I had tears in my eyes.

Sometimes, standing by God’s side is hard sincerely. It’s difficult. It is not easy but there is grace available and it takes strength, God’s strength to stand in the face of difficulty to say yes to God and no to the devil.

Sister Ozioma of the Lord 🙈🙈🙈

The third major highlight, I’ll merge together the stories of two people who had been priests for idols and stuff. The first one, a mother to the church there – an amazingly courageous one came to know Christ through her son. She was sort of a high priest for the idol at the time and then all of a sudden her children started dying. It was so bad that she lost six out of her twelve children. Then, she was being accused of killing them. Her gods seemed to be on deaf ears despite her faithful service to them. After a while, another child fell sick and then desperation set in. The oldest of her children found a church outside that region because at the time there was no church in their region and he took the sick child there. It was there God healed this child and their family was delivered of the death that plagued them. After this incident, she renounced all and gave her life to Christ.

This story is super amazing to me because sometimes we get too used to the truth that God is. So when we hear God heals and delivers, we don’t really get it. We treat it lightly. Hearing this testimony was a strengthening for my heart, a reassurance that indeed there is no other God as Jehovah, a reminder that at the name of Jesus, EVERY knee bows.

On one of those beautiful mornings, we found Dolait! Blissss 🥰🥰🥰

The other story is the story of her nephew who was equal a priest for an idol. His own story is similar because he was also left for dead and then this woman took him to her home and said a “simple” prayer (he emphasized that) and gave him food. And he was able to eat even though he hadn’t been able to hold down anything or even liquid for days. And then at night, He was divinely healed and by the next morning he was up and about. Now, while people could not really threaten Mama when she was converted because the truth is they still were scared of her, in his own case he faced several confrontations and yet, he has stood his ground for about 13 years now.

This dissolves any doubt that may have been lurking in my heart. There has got to be something real about this gospel that men like this are able to risk ALL and give ALL to follow.

The final highlight for me was the Sunday service. Okay guys, for this one I cried. Honestly, I went with the mindset that I was going to be a blessing and yes I was by God’s grace but these people were such a blessing, encouragement to me. First, a good number of people were seated when we got in. So we were paired because there were quite a number of churches. My partner was a very wonderful woman of God, Anu (Hiya Anuuuuu if you’re reading this 💜💜💜 )… Like, I was saying people were seated by just few minutes past nine and although, some people came late, they were less than 10%. Also, there was a brother who had a register in front marking attendance at that time. Now, that for me was a serious level of discipline and family. With that, they could track people who were not around and follow up. With that, the church members could be accountable to their leaders. The one that just broke me was the worship. Guysss, these people didn’t have a lot. Some of these children didn’t have slippers and stuff. They were dressed in the simplest wears even though it was Easter (which means it was probably one of their best wears reserved for festive seasons)… Despite, all these I sincerely have never seen a group worship God with so much fervency and energy.

Best Sunday service in a while! 🙂

Now, I often say fervency is discernible. I mean, I may not understand what you are saying but fervency, passion for God can be seen. And these people had it. It challenged my devotion to God. At a point, when the worship leader was rounding up, a woman raised her hands and started a worship song in their language. You could literally see passion, thankfulness in her eyes. It was at this point that I wept as I joined them in my own tongue even though I didn’t understand what they said – their fervency was that contagious.

When we left, they gave us 10,000cefa! A whole 10,000! When I heard it, I sincerely felt unworthy. I infact was going to protest, when someone said to me, “Why do you want to deprive them of the blessings attached to giving? And then the person reminded me also of how in the Bible, it was said of the church in Macedonia that even in their trials, they still gave and I was both humbled and challenged.

We went from church to church, praying on the site and for their needs… Awesome privilege if you ask me.

We had a part of the church come over on Friday after we arrived and settled down to share their testimony. On Saturday, we went to all the churches in the region, praying there for the church (even though they were empty) and noting down their needs (for when God would lead us afterwards). We also visited some members of the church, fellowshipped with them and heard their testimony and then we went back home where we had sessions among ourselves about life, God, relationships, marriage and all that. Then on Sunday, we visited the churches again, this time in pairs and fellowshipped with the members.

We returned to Cotonou after our Sunday church visit and lunch. We got there at about 5pm and some of us went to the local market. I went with the mindset of getting indigenous accesory designs and all that but I couldn’t get sadly maybe because it was Sunday and evening already.

The journey back was not as eventful. Well, we had lots of gists and laughs and feedback among ourselves and it was an overall beautiful trip.

Would I do this again? Absolutely! Over and over and over again as God would help me.

Awesome family! Thank you for making this trip a super memorable one 🙂 I love you all 💜🤗💜🤗💜🤗

I just want to use this opportunity to encourage believers who are a part of my audience here. Missions is very important to God. It is not good to just be super comfy in your own zone and not care about evangelism. The last words of Jesus was the Great Commission – those were His parting words. Just as a dying man often times tell his most important details in his last minutes, that’s how it is in this case. Even if you are not opportune to go, pray for missions and the work of God among those who do not believe. Pray for provision and protection for the missionaries and give also. You’d be amazed the kind of conditions some of these missionaries live in.

If you would love to be a part of this in anyway, please send me a message on any of my social media platforms or leave me a message in the comment section, I would reach to you.

Thank you so much once again for reading!

God bless you muchhhh 💜💜💜

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