Covenant Center is the largest A/G church in Calabar and recently completed its construction. Building takes years and years to be completed here. The premise is to build until the money is gone and then start again when money comes available. It’s a beautiful building for such a place as this. The members are vibrant and joyful.
Many special events were scheduled for the day, one of which was child dedication. Parents brought their babies forth for prayer and dedication at the altar. Babies are so precious here as infertility and miscarriage is quite common. As the people were singing and praising God, I had closed my eyes to pray as we sat on the platform. After I finished praying I opened my eyes and saw to my left, two goats about 10 feet from where we were sitting. Something new for me…. I’ve preached while goats were bleating outside the church windows but never with them in the sanctuary before. The families had brought these goats as offerings: one goat was for missions as a group would soon be leaving into the heart of the jungle for an outreach and food would be necessary to feed those going; the other was given as a sacrifice for the child being dedicated. It’s a new thought for many of us but a gift unto God is a sacrifice of what we have. These people had goats and it’s what they gave….not for the purpose of shedding blood but for the purpose of putting God before their substance.
I had been asked to minister the Word there earlier in the week and so I came prepared with a message. Each time I am asked to minister, I prepare a message but in most cases the messages I prepare are not given the day they’ve been prepared for. Most of the messages are tucked inside the back cover of my Bible and given impromptu on the occasions I speak without any notice. Being ready ‘in season and out’ is a necessity here. Studying throughout the week puts the message in my ‘belly’ and keeps it there until the occasion arises to bring it forth. This day was no exception. Although my message was prepared, when my feet hit the floor of the sanctuary God began to give another message. He took me to Ezekiel 34 and so I read the chapter and taught on the shepherds. He also took me to Joshua and the story of Achan and that there was sin in the camp – not a comfortable message but an obedient one, nonetheless. The question was asked “whose camp are you in?” expanding on the fact that not only Achan was stoned but all his family and possessions as well. The word in Ezekiel was also that God is judging between the sheep and the sheep……God is moving in Nigeria.
We closed the service with communion ….
we’ve been blessed to have communion two Sundays consecutively….
we are very grateful .
Jon and Eli accepted an opportunity to join on the missions trip that the church is doing. It is Monday the 6th through that Saturday. A group of members (about 15) will be going 6 hours by road and then walking 14 kilometers into the bush…..(remember I said Jon and Eli…..). They are going to three different villages with the gospel. We’ve been told that the gospel has not been presented there before so this will be an amazing opportunity. The church has gathered much food to carry into the bush for the people. They’ve also gathered clothing as many this deep inside are not yet wearing clothes. I know it sounds little challenging and perhaps a bit risky but we trust Rev Theodore and his wife Mary …and most of all we trust that God will only lead where He has gone before us. Rev Mrs. Mary will be going as well which is a comfort to Jon since they have traveled together before. We will be gathering more information as the week progresses and will keep you informed of what is happening.