Several years ago, my wife and I sang this song, completely unaware of how real and how soon God would would bring it to fruition in our lives.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior....
While I’m sure my wife meant every word of it, I was a little more hesitant. Quite frankly, I wanted God to lead me somewhere excitingly predictable that was comfy, awesome, and not-too-deep-so-my-feet-didn’t-wander-too-far-away-from-my-safety-net.
I don’t think Jesus heard that prayer.
Yet, it is with great joy, a certain heaviness, but also with a clear sense of calling that Dupe (my wife) and I can now share with you that in obedience to the Lord’s leading, our family will relocate to Jos, Nigeria to plant and launch a Church through an organization known as, Beautiful Feet.
THE LOCATION AND THE NEED
Jos is the capital city of Plateau state and is located around the middle of Nigeria. It is a spiritual battleground site where the predominantly Muslim north meets the nominal Christian south.
On four different occasions since 2008, God has opened ministry opportunities for me to travel to the city to preach to pastors and students, and to invest in the lives of ministry leaders. Among several issues I’ve identified along the way, what has been most prevalent is the troubling fact that Nigerian Church culture is predominantly linked to the “health and wealth” prosperity-gospel. Many churches operate like dynasties led by magnetic personalities rather than biblically-qualified leaders.
As a result, many Nigerian Christians, including a growing number of residents within the American/Canadian expatriate community in Jos are Biblically malnourished and spiritually weary. They are “running on empty”, and struggle to find a home Church where they are Biblically revived each week. In addition, northern Christians who have endured decades of persecution, and who were once willing to die for their faith, are also beginning to experience faith fatigue and discouragement, while widows and orphans of persecuted believers feel neglected.
OUR CALLING TO JOS, NIGERIA
In our family time of prayer and fasting, the Lord Jesus placed on our hearts the pastoral burden He felt in Matthew 9:35-38. We read there that He looked at the crowds and saw that they, “were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” For years, Dupe and have felt this same pastoral burden for Nigeria, and in recent months, it has intensified for the people of Jos who are hungry for a church with strong Bible teaching and New Testament leaders.
On our most recent trip to the city, we met a family, David & Kristy Ratcliff, and their three beautiful kids (pictured below, left) who had just moved from Ohio to serve in Jos with a ministry called Back2Back. As my wife and I sat and talked with them, I heard God speak clearly and say:
“Segun, the Ratcliff’s are not from this land. These are not their people, this is not their language, or their culture. They have more reasons to be anxious than you can imagine, yet they have left everything behind to come serve me here. You have less to fear than they do! SO, WHY ARE YOU NOT SERVING ME HERE?!? These are your people! This is your homeland! You speak the language, you know the food and you get the culture! Why are you hesitating? Segun, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-39).
And that was the green light we needed! From that point on, it wasn’t even a question anymore as my wife and I prayerfully concluded that God was indeed calling us to come shepherd His people in Jos!
OUR HEARTBEAT FOR JOS, NIGERIA
Our vision for the city of Jos is threefold and will occur in three phases:
PHASE 1: Plant a Christ-centered, Gospel-focused Church in which every member is an evangelist, and every member is a missionary.
PHASE 2: Train and equip pastors for effective ministry in local churches.
PHASE 3: Train and deploy Church planters who establish Christ-centered churches among unreached people groups.
Dupe’s role will involve utilizing her training as a social worker as well as her teaching experience to minister among the widows of persecuted believers and sexually exploited women and children through a ministry in Jos called, GRACE GARDENS.
This certainly won’t happen overnight. It will take planning, preparation and lots of prayer. Our timeline for relocation will take place sometime during the summer of 2020. In the mean time, however, you can jump on board this mission with us in a few ways.
2 PRACTICAL WAYS YOU CAN JOIN US
PRAY FOR US. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of the men and women in the city of Jos to respond to the ministry of God’s Word. >>>> DOWNLOAD OUR FULL PRAYER LIST.
PARTNER WITH US FINANCIALLY on a monthly basis as we follow The Lord’s call to serve in Nigeria. Below is a layout of our financial goals.
Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.