This past April many of you contributed to our record-smashing Good Friday offering—to the tune of about $130,000. The money was designated to support two incredible ministries: 1) Zambiri House, a ministry started by Archbishop and Gloria Kwashi to adopt nearly 60 children—mostly victims of terrorist and tribal violence; 2) The Christian Institute, a school that trains future pastors, church planters, and health care workers to bring the gospel to terrorist-ravaged places of northeast Nigeria.
In early September of this year, I had the privilege of delivering your Good Friday offering to the Diocese of Jos in Nigeria. Technically, we wired the money, but because we value this global friendship so much, we wanted to send a person along with the wire transfer. And they wanted to see a person from Church of the Resurrection. So I spent four days in Jos, Nigeria celebrating the friendship in the gospel that all of you have helped to create.
I’m happy to report that I had the best Moi Moi I’ve ever had—a Nigerian spicy bean mash pressed together with an unexpected fried egg in the middle. I ate it in your honor. I also drank some bad water and got horribly sick for nearly two weeks, but I have no regrets for the trip. I cannot tell you the joy I witnessed on the faces of our Nigerian friends to see someone (me, a representative for all of you) from Church of the Resurrection. Their love and appreciation for us runs deep.
I also can’t convey how their faith in Christ can apprentice and disciple us. Let me share one story. I was asked to preach at a Sunday morning service at St. Bart’s Anglican Church in Jos, although I had no idea I would give just one of three sermons in their four and a half hour annual Children’s Harvest Festival service. But what really struck me wasn’t the length of the service or that it was still filled with exuberant praise at the four-hour mark. What really moved me was their deep gratitude and openness to the gift of children even in the midst of poverty and violence. When I tried to explain to them that some powerful and influential people in our country say that every child must be a “wanted” child, or else he or she should not be allowed to enter the world, they looked at me with utter confusion—as if to say, “But why wouldn’t
every child be a wanted child? Why wouldn’t every child be welcomed into the world as a gift from God, someone to cherish and love?” This is just one example of how they can disciple people in our culture, of how we need to be the learners and not the teachers for our African brothers and sisters.
So brothers and sister in Christ, thank you for your 2015 Good Friday gift. Thank you for your generosity. Archbishop Kwashi told me, “I know that even a gift of one dollar means that your people had to give up something else, and that means something to us. We are so grateful to God for your people—not just for your money, but for your love and our partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He meant it from the depths of his heart.