Nigeria Blog - Day 4: Words Can’t Describe
I sat down three times trying to put into words a description of what we experienced these past 24 hours. Words just don’t quite give it the justice it deserves. The enormity of what we are walking through and all the activity and opportunity to share that is going on around us is almost beyond words to describe. I could (and will) tell you what we did physically during that time, but even that is hard because of all that happened in a short period of time! I tell people all the time that when we go on our MLOs in Croatia we hit the ground running and the pace is fast and furious. With all the ministry that takes place and so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep track of it all. But what just occurred during a 7 hour span over the past 24 hours goes above and beyond even the normal pace of an MLO. That doesn't even take into account the visits and connections we made since arriving in Ilorin 3 days ago. At times I am tempted to write nothing for fear of leaving out something, and my head begins to spin trying to recall everything. So I’m going to do the best I can at putting down all the facts, explain the details as best I can, and tie in our understanding and grasp of what occurred. Bear with me as this is not easy and in many ways very emotional.
To start with I will share an overview of what took place during that 7 hours and the places and people that were involved.
- 1 Coaches Clinic
- 3 visits to homes and offices of government officials: Minister of Education, Minister of Information and the home of the Senate President. (Yesterday we visited the office of the Minister of Sport)
- 2 School visits presenting programs introducing baseball and sharing Jesus
- Received a visit from the Governor's wife at our chalet
All this was done going back and forth across a city of 750,000 people on roads that many tractors would have difficulty navigating and would never have been possible without our police escort! The traffic on the streets was bumper to bumper and we have yet to see a stop light or stop sign anywhere on our adventures! Take that Houston traffic! Now with that quick overview revealed, I will try to provide some detail to each of those events and add in the impact each has had on them, as well as on us!
To start, we conducted a 1-1/2 hour Coach Clinic for The Game Masters from several schools. We had over 20 teachers interested in learning the game of baseball so that they could become coaches (Game Masters) in schools across Ilorin, including both private and public schools. This is how Double T Academy, our partner and the ones who invited us and organized this whole mission, gets into schools and provides the coaches to teach. Following our introduction clinic, Double T Academy will spend 3 months training these teachers to become baseball Game Masters in schools across the city. Double T has received permission to conduct this marvelous outreach project from the administration of the government! The excitement, attention and joy these teachers exhibited during the clinic touched our HiS PRINT team. It was a pleasure to see their enthusiasm as they tried to grasp how the game of baseball is played. These teachers had never seen a game of baseball played or witnessed it in any way. As we progressed during that hour and a half I explained the rules of balls and strikes, the goals of the pitcher and hitter, the setup of all the defensive positions, as well as what a hitter does if they hit the ball. Then we set up a game, split the coaches into two teams and played a game with a tennis ball. The smiles on their faces when the action began was priceless and by the end of the game we had over 200 students line the field to watch us! It was crazy fun and I couldn’t begin to write all the words they used to describe their excitement and joy after we finished and were taking pictures.
|Game Masters Coaching Clinic|
Maybe I should just stop there and save the rest of what went on for another time. I realize I have already written a short story and to add more would take up way too much of your time. But I will tell you this: the favor we received from each of the government officials was over the top and the respect we were extended was fit for kings. We were able to share our HiS PRINT story with each one and expressed our honor in having the opportunity to meet with them. Each minister was excited at receiving us and expressed their interest to help the Double T Academy achieve its goal of getting into schools, involving children in an alternate sport and involving them in an activity that will keep them off the streets and involved in something productive. I must also mention that in two of those office visits we had prayer in Jesus name and His name was elevated! It was remarkable to see God's hand at work. We could all write letters to our own government officials, let alone ones in a foreign country, and never get a letter back in acknowledgment. Yet here we were with the opportunity to meet face to face with Nigerian government officals. Not just one but THREE! "Wow" is a pretty good word to describe the enormity of that!
|Moment of Silence and Prayer at the office of the Minister of Sports|
|Minister of Sports|
|Minister of Sport|
|Minister of Sport receiving a gift from Baseballism|
|At the Minister of Education|
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention what happened on the school visits and the opportunity we were given to do the presentations. We have found in all of our travels with HiS PRINT that you must always remain the little letter “i“ and allow the power, love and patience of the Holy Spirit to lead your every move. You never know where He is going to take you next or what He is going to have you do! You see, we knew that we were going to be visiting schools to see the principles and school officials, but had no idea that we would be entering into two student assemblies that had 400 and 700 students in attendance ready to listen to us speak! That is what we mean by hanging onto the robe! Just like the bleeding woman had faith in knowing she would be healed if she could just touch His robe, we want to have the faith that can move mountains and know that we can, if we can just hang onto His robe. Going blindly into this situation definitely created our total dependence on the Holy Spirit to conjure up our thoughts and direct us in what to say and how to communicate it effectively to those in attendance! The beauty of all this was that God orchestrated the entire thing: He created the opportunity to share, gave us the words to communicate and presented us with 1,100 young children ages 7 - 17 who listened intently, without interruption, to what He had to say through us! To share the love of Jesus, explain what HiS PRINT is all about, the meaning behind our name and the footprint, and to share the importance of teamwork and dependence on one another was something I will never, ever forget! We serve an Awesome, Amazing, Maximizing God!
|One school assembly building|
|Girls from school wanting pictures with the three Americans|
HE DID IT!