17 August 2018Borno State outreach delayed
Planned outreach into Borno State, in north eastern Nigeria, should commence in September.
Tony Sudan, Tari Bitrus and other members of the Yola volunteer team were due to visit Maidiguri in June to make contact with local church leaders, as well as with Grace & Light members living in the town.
However, their visit was postponed due to renewed fighting between the military and Boko Haram as well as suicide attacks in Maidiguri on 9, 11 and 21 June, and in nearbt Damboa on 16 June.
Already two Grace & Light members, who were studying in Jos, have returned to Madiguri and are recruiting people for a new volunteer team. Ngaruru Yakubu trained at TCNN (Theological College of Northern Nigeria) and is now a church pastor in Madiguri., while Johnson Ahmad completed his degree in Jos and is now a local businessman.
“They are sharing Grace & Light’s message of social righteousness with their families, friends, colleagues and congregations in preparation for Tony and Tari’s visit,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “We are very grateful for their active support.”
Tony and Tari’s September visit will be exploratory to encourage Ngaruru and Johnson, meet the volunteers they have recruited, and introduce local church leaders to Grace & Light’s ethos.
They then hope to return to Maidiguri before Christmas to deliver the five-day new volunteer training programme and commission volunteers into the Madiguri team.
Money donated by UK supporters to date through our June fundraising walk will fund travel for Tony and Tari as well as their accommodation and meals while in Maidiguri. We will be inviting grant making trusts to fund the new volunteer training later in the year.
Please pray for Ngaruru, Johnson, their contacts in Maidiguri and the local churches, Tony and Tari as the travel to Maidiguri and funds for the training programme.
17 August 2018Renewed Nigeria starts with the youth
Students at a mixed Muslim and Christian secondary school in Jos have committed to playing their part in improving Nigerian society over the next 15 years, following a Grace & Light visit to their school.
They are students at the Industrial Training Fund School where 50 per cent of students are Muslim and 50 per cent are Christian. During their visit, the Jos volunteer team inspired students of both faiths with what they, as the adults of the future, can do to reform Nigerian society.
“We saw lots of commitment from the students to make big and small changes in their lives now and for the future,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
“They said they would work hard and do the best they can in exams, as well as show respect to each other and to people of different faiths. Plus, they committed not to tell lies and not to cheat at school and in their lives outside school.
“We have high hopes that they and students at other secondary schools, who make similar commitments when we visit, will bring in a new Nigeria over the next 15 years as they become adults and begin influencing work and politics and religion and family life.”
The Yola and Jos volunteer teams visited three schools during July, sharing the gospel of social righteousness with 1,119 students. Of these, 503 chose to be tested for HIV/AIDS and three tested positive. Forty-nine students made a first commitment to Christ and another 245 rededicated their lives.
17 August 2018People are changing their hearts
Church members continue to commit to changing sexual behaviours and corruption when they hear Grace & Light’s message of social righteousness during church visits.
During counselling our volunteers hear many stories about sexual behaviours that people thought were okay because everyone was doing it. It isn’t until they hear Grace & Light share about how Christ expects us to behave that they commit to changing and leading gospel-centred lives.
“We hear time and time again that they feel, because everyone is doing these things, they are not a sin,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “Through our preaching we help them see their lives from God’s perspective.”
Corruption in the workplace also continues to be something people commit to changing during the church visits. Many say they believed it was okay to clock in for a full day even though they were starting late and leaving early, or lie about buying low and selling high.
“They think it is only the big guys who are corrupt. Once we speak they realise it is also them and that their behaviours are wrong,” said Tassie.
The Jos, Yola, Bauchi, Lafia and Michika volunteer teams visited seven churches during July, sharing the gospel with 1,763 people. Of these, 466 chose to be tested for HIV/AIDS and 436 joined life sharing groups where they will support each other to live lives of social righteousness.
Two people tested positive for HIV and will receive ongoing support. Forty-three gave their lives to Christ for the first time and another 281 rededicated their lives.
17 August 2018New building rises from the Jos earth
Construction of a two-story retreat centre commenced in April at Grace & Light’s headquarters in Jos.
On 24 April staff members and builders held a breaking ground ceremony with Christian leadership consultant Kate Register digging the first hole. A time of prayer then launched the new building work. So far, the foundations have been dug and the floor slab laid.
This work has been funded by donations from the grant making trust Golden Stable and a private supporter. Construction of the ground floor will begin once we have further funding for this work.
“We are building the retreat centre stage by stage as we receive funding”, said international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “We hope to complete the building by the end of 2019. We will then be able to use it for the many training programmes we run in Jos as well as earning income by hiring the building out to other faith organisations for conferences.”
When it is completed the building with have 28 en-suite twin bedrooms with study areas, a large meeting hall, lounge and dining area, as well as car parking and relaxing grounds.
17 August 2018Tea and cakes to celebrate
London’s extraordinary sunshine welcomed Grace & Light supporters to our annual thank you for supporters.
UK trustees and supporters got together in south east London for our annual supporters’ tea in July while Isabelle and Mark Hopkins were visiting. We were glad to have Malou and Gareth Bolton and Trish Chatfield of AMEN join us.
Over tea and cakes Mark shared the latest news on ministry in churches and schools in Nigeria as well as the continuing insurgency in north eastern Nigeria where Grace & Light is restarting ministry.
Earlier in the day UK trustees met with Christian leadership consultant Kate Register of Sunergos. Kate gave us an update on her time in Jos working with Tassie Ghata earlier in 2018. We also spent time evaluating’ progress on our UK strategy since Kate first worked with us in June 2017, plus planning for 2019.
Highlights include a more strategic focus on fundraising, five per cent increase in giving for 2017, and expanding relationships with congregations and church leaders in the UK.