‘Never have you been far apart from us’

People sitting in a circle smiling
EYN visitors meet with the Annual Conference moderator, moderator-elect, and other U.S. Church of the Brethren staff and members. Photo by Yuguda Mdurvwa

By Eric Miller

On Tuesday afternoon, July 4, the moderator and moderator-elect met with eight visitors from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Annual Conference moderator Tim McElwee welcomed the group. EYN President Joel Billi expressed his heartfelt thanks for the visit of the moderator to the EYN centennial celebrations in Nigeria in March. He also expressed gratitude for the great outpouring of support from the Brethren following attacks by Boko Haram. Finally, he noted the continued relationship between the U.S. church and the Nigeria church.

“Since 1923 you have never been apart from us,” Billi said. “We would not be who we are today without you.” He noted that though Nigeria is far away and has a foreign culture and languages, “yet you have loved us.” 

McElwee responded, “Never have you been far apart from us and we need you.”

EYN General Secretary Daniel Mbaya shared that the EYN has been in prayer and fasting for the U.S. Church, but would like to do more to help the U.S. Church grow.

EYN Vice President Anthony Ndamsai shared a hope that EYN and U.S. Church of the Brethren work together to send out missionaries, to expand the kingdom of God globally. Daniel Mbaya also suggested the need for missionaries.

Salamatu Billi shared a story of a Bible study that was not working when the Danes wanted to do it the Danish way and the British and the British way, and the Nigerians the Nigerian way. Only when they decided to do it the Bible way did it work.

“What joins us together, what will make us all grow, is holding onto the Bible,” Billi said.  

Billi also expressed that for the Nigerians to see a young woman who is also a successful professional in the role of moderator of the U.S. church will be very inspiring. A woman moderator previously visited Nigeria. 

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