By Carl and Roxane Hill
“Man does not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).
When Galen Hackman retired from pastoring Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren last October, the congregation collected money in his name in order to provide Bibles to Nigeria. The congregation knew that he had a heart for Nigeria because back in the 1990s he and his wife spent time there teaching at Kulp Bible College. The church raised more than $3,000 to purchase Bibles. This money along with a self-inking stamp to mark each Bible was sent with us to Nigeria this past January.
When we got to Nigeria we were able to purchase 612 Bibles, 300 in the Hausa language and 312 in English. As we visited some areas in northeast Nigeria, we took a box of Bibles--10 in English, 10 in Hausa--to 5 different churches. Every church that received the Bibles was so grateful. At one of the churches, the pastor had been a student at Kulp Bible College while Galen Hackman was teaching there.
The remaining Bibles were given for future distribution to the general secretary of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), Jinatu Wamdeo, who also is a personal friend of the Hackmans. It was a privilege for us to be able to personally take part in this gift of Bibles for our Nigerian sisters and brothers.
Safiya Byo, EYN’s director of education, requested that some of the money donated would be used to replace theological books for two Bible schools. These libraries had been burned during the insurgency, so numerous theological books were purchased for these schools. In appreciation, she wrote, “I write to express our gratitude to the Ephrata Church of the Brethren for their donation of theological books and Bibles for EYN Bible schools. These books will be kept in the reference section of the library while the Bibles will be shared among the staff and students. May the good Lord replenish your resources.”
Daniel Mbaya, pastor of EYN’s Abuja church, commented, “This is a great gift for our people who are without God’s word. Money for food is important but we know that ‘man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). Thank you Ephrata Church of the Brethren!”
The crisis in Nigeria has resulted in a tremendous outpouring of love and assistance by the Church of the Brethren. The Ephrata Church is just one of many churches that have stepped up to really make a difference.
-- Carl and Roxane Hill are co-directors of the Nigeria Crisius Response, a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yanuwa a Nigeria (EYN). Find out more at www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .