With contributions from Zakariya Musa
Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has welcomed a visit from Global Mission and Service executive staff Jay Wittmeyer and Roy Winter, who also heads up Brethren Disaster Ministries. The two church staff from the US have been meeting with Nigerian church leaders including EYN president Joel S. Billi and leaders of EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry, as well as other groups.
Their visit coincides with a continuing “Sympathy, Conciliation, and Encouragement” tour by the EYN leadership. The tour recently was in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, where they met with church members and some of the displaced Nigerians living in IDP camps in and around the Abuja area.
Continuing disaster relief
The next tour stop was to be Benin City, where EYN leaders planned to visit schools for orphans where many of the orphaned children from EYN families are receiving assistance.
EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry also continues to distribute food on a regular basis. During his visit in Nigeria, Winter planned to hold a workshop for EYN leaders involved in such humanitarian efforts.
A recent distribution of food at Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, served 200 people. Each household went home with 50 kilograms of rice, 2 liters of cooking oil, 2 packets of salt, and 2 packets of Maggi Cubes [a popular soup base in Nigeria]. Although EYN’s DCC Yobe [the church district in the area] includes some far distant congregations, they were able to come for the food distribution. Also offered was free medical care--the EYN Medical Coordinator was there for two days of health delivery.
Recently EYN presented 30 goats to 10 Rural Development workers at its Headquarters at Kwarhi, Adamawa State. James T. Mamza, director of the Integrated Community Development Program, and Yakubu Peter, deputy director of EYN’s Agricultural Department, addressed the beneficiaries about the development that the project is aimed at, to help farmers to improve the varieties of goats by feeding on Crotaria juncea grass. This is coming as a result of the workshop by Education Concern for Hunger Organization (ECHO), sponsored by the Church of the Brethren early this year and held in Ibadan, Nigeria.
The beneficiaries are staff who attended the workshop, and were provided with building materials for the enclosures in which they will keep the animals. The beneficiaries are expected to breed more animals, and will be asked to share them in their communities. Around the compound at Kwarhi, they have planted the Crotaria juncea seedlings that will be given to the goats. The grass is provided through the work of Jeff Boshart, manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (formerly Global Food Crisis Fund).
EYN celebrates new congregations
EYN leaders are continuing to celebrate the “church autonomy” of new congregations and grant them official status. Another scheduled stop on their tour is Lagos, where the Lekki congregation will be granted church autonomy.
During a recent granting of church autonomy to the Tongo congregation, a traditional ruler in the area--His Royal Highness Umaru Adamu Sanda, Gangwarin Ganye--attended and expressed appreciation to the church leaders for coming to his domain. The Tongo church is the third to gain autonomy under the leadership of EYN president Joel S. Billi.
District Head of Kiri, Alhaji Musa Gindaw, also graced the occasion despite the fact that he is not a Christian, said an EYN report. He urged the church leaders to establish the EYN church in his domain and assured his support whenever needed, without discrimination. The EYN president in response thanked the traditional rulers and offered them prayers for God’s protection over their territory, families, and for the entire nation.
Evangelist Joseph B. Adamu was praised for being a pioneer of the new congregation, which has 150 members.
-- The information for this report is taken from releases by Zakariya Musa, head of media and a project officer for the disaster ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).