Chairman Mark Hopkins shared news from Nigeria with our UK supporters, including the latest on HIV, church visits, building and our ministry team.
UK supporters enjoyed tea and home made cakes at Sarah and Peter King’s home in Upper Norwood, south east London in late July, along with an update of what is happening in Nigeria from Chairman Mark Hopkins. Mark began by thanking those present for their generous prayers, giving and volunteering over the past 12 months.
He explained that Grace & Light is known for its HIV/AIDS work but it is not our core ministry. Our heart is to bring the gospel into churches and when we get the chance we share the gospel in a deeper way than it is usual.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 encapsulates the gospel for Mark and is the starting place for sharing. It talks about Christ’s love for every human. Christ died for us so that we no longer live for ourselves, instead living a different kind of life that is Christ-centred rather than self-centred. Grace & Light’s Nigerian team see many people rededicating their lives to Christ when they share this gospel at churches each Sunday.
Mark added that when Grace & Light started in 2004 HIV was at epidemic levels in Nigeria. Typically, when the team tested church congregations five per cent on average were HIV positive. Now less than one per cent of people who test find out they are positive.
Most who have HIV already know their status; medicines are available and virtually free. But not everyone is taking their prescriptions; some are in denial others do not practise safe sex, so people are still dying from AIDS in Nigeria. When people do get a positive result now they are devastated; they didn’t expect to get AIDS.
Mark then moved on to talk about the team. He said international coordinator Tassie Ghata is overworked and carrying nearly all the ministry while she recruits and then trains three new team members, one to join the ministry team and the others to provide support. Tony has already joined to head up ministry in Yola. He has been job shadowing Tassie in Jos before returning to Yola where his bride awaits him.
Another challenge has been covering salaries. Mark praised God that Grace & Light has been able to pay staff members on time every month for the past 13 years. The leadership team, trustees and Nigerian directors very much appreciate supporters who faithfully contribute monthly standing orders for salaries.
A second building is now completed on the Jos headquarters site. It houses an office for the international team and a charity shop. Grace & Light is pioneering the concept of charity shops in Nigeria as a source of income and service to local residents. Donations come from the UK, USA and from within Nigeria.
Over the last 12 months Grace & Light has seen a definite increase in the level of church ministry, volunteer teams are being revitalised and now some of the inactive teams are also visiting churches to share the gospel and test people.
If you would like to contribute to the work of Grace & Light through prayer, giving or fundraising, then please contact our UK chair of trustees Ed Greening at firstname.lastname@example.org and 01225 719012.