Church of the Brethren and EYN volunteers intermingle in Nigeria church rebuilding

Church of the Brethren Newsline
February 8, 2018

EYN president Joel S. Billi takes part in the workcamp to rebuild the church at Michika, Nigeria, where he used to pastor. Photo by Zakariya Musa, EYN.

By Zakariya Musa of EYN

In continued work together to rebuild the devastated church denomination in Nigeria, members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and the Church of the Brethren in the US converged at the tumble-down church building of EYN’s LCC No. 1, Michika congregation in Adamawa State. This is the place where EYN president Joel Billi pastored until Sept. 7, 2014, when the church was attacked, and some members were killed. Assistant pastor Yahaya Ahmadu was shot to death and the entire church structure including the pastorium, offices, schools, library, stores, church building, and property, was set ablaze by the Islamist Jihadists known as Boko Haram.

Six American volunteers–Timothy and Wanda Joseph, Sharon Flaten, Sharon Franzen, Lucy Landes, and Ladi Patricia Krabacher–intermingled with about 300 EYN members for a week-long workcamp on the spot. Some 289 volunteers were present on Jan. 17, just for that day, including the EYN president, general secretary Daniel Y. Mbaya, administrative secretary Zakariya Amos, director of the audit Silas Ishaya, and 15 delegates from the EYN Headquarters staff.

Everyone, old and young, Nigerian and American, was engaged in doing something different, from encouraging the foundation laying, ground breaking, block molding, cement mixing, mason work, digging, watering, chalking, fetching and breaking stones, offloading blocks–to mention but a few of the tasks. It was just like the biblical rebuilding led by Nehemiah.

One of the LCC pastors, Dauda Titus, said the entire membership of LCC Michika was grouped into 13 wards, with 4 groups coming to the workcamp at a time for two consecutive days. He appreciated God for this ongoing work and especially for our brethren who came all the way from America. The work is progressing and we give God the glory because he gives us strength to do the work.

Ladi Pat Krabacher had this to say: “I am amazed by the people who are giving of their own time and service, giving what they can to remove the dirt and make the new church arise. We are one in Christ. This is the work of Christ because the work of Christ is so important. In the church, when our brothers in Christ suffer we suffer too.”

Krabacher called on Brethren within and outside Nigeria: “Come and see, Come and see because it’s only by coming to see you can really understand.”

The building will accommodate 5,000 people according to one of the engineers, Godwin Vahyala Gogura. He assures completion in three years, if things go well. The work is huge, despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is weak especially in the ravaged communities. “So far we have 20 million Naira from donations and an appeal fund,” Gogura said.

— Zakariya Musa is on the communications staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

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