Kidnapped

By Wale Orekan

The bus taking me into Abuja, Nigeria had a mechanical failure. I was on my way to the capital to renew our passports. Because of the breakdown I had to spend two nights in Owo with the other passengers. I decided to take another bus from that place instead of waiting. After traveling for about two hours the driveshaft malfunctioned on that bus resulting in another breakdown.

At this point I decided to hitch a ride into Lokoja, the next major city. A car stopped. The back seat was fully occupied. One of the occupants was a woman. I sat in the front seat. After about thirty minutes to Lokoja, one of the passengers in the back hit me in the back of the head with a blunt object, and I blacked out.

When I regained consciousness, I was in a small, dark room with four other men. When they heard me stirring one of the men pointed a gun at me and demanded the pin codes to my two ATM cards. I gave it to them. They asked me if I was hungry. I said no, but that I was thirsty. They gave me a bottle of water. After I drank it I experienced memory loss. I couldn’t remember anything. I had been drugged!

On Wednesday, around two or three in the morning I regained consciousness and became aware of my surroundings. The place was very dark and I was sitting on the floor. I remembered that I was kidnapped and listened carefully for a while to try and pick out any voice or sound. Eventually I heard birds and other bush sounds. I continued to be still. I was not afraid, but I worried for my family. I thought of my friends and my ministry; yet, I was not afraid to die.

After a while I heard the Muslim call to prayer and roosters crowing. Then a young man came into the room. He was a young man of about 25 years old. He asked me how I was feeling and if I wanted anything. I said no. I asked him what was going on. He said that the other men had went to town, and that I should remain calm. I was told that they would not hurt me a long as my family paid 10 million Naira ($25,000 USD).

I laughed, and he was taken aback. He asked, “Are you not afraid to die?” I told him that life was like a vapor and that everyone will die. I said, “It is better to die in Christ.” The Lord gave me the courage to continue talking with him. “You seem like a nice guy,” I said. From his broken English I could tell that he had had some college education. He, more than likely, fell in with these thugs because of a lack of job opportunities.

I told him that crime does not pay and that it would not end well for him. If they killed me, my blood would be on them. I said, “I don’t think that you want to get yourself in such a mess, and if you die without Christ you will loose eternally.” He turned nervous. The atmosphere became quiet and tense.

After a time of silence I said, “You should just let me go!” He answered calmly, “I have no problem with that, but I am afraid of what the other three will do to me.” I told him that it is never easy to do right, and that I believed God would help him. He thought very carefully, and then told me to follow him.

Upon exiting the little house I noticed that it was a mud hut. Three other similar huts were visible. He put me on a bike and drove me six minutes and stopped. He was afraid that the others would be coming back that way. He instructed me to go into the bush and stay off the path. He pointed me in the direction of a village and said, “You can get help there.”

After walking carefully, at times crawling through the bush, I came to the village. I spoke with some men. They led me to the hard road where I flagged down a bus to the nearest town. The bus driver said that he would not take any money from me. It was a good thing; I had none—both of my accounts were emptied. The driver then paid for a bike taxi and instructed him to take me to the police. I was able to contact my family at the police station. After filing a complaint with the police I took another bus back to Lokoja. Brother Shola, one of our deaf ministry workers, lives there with his family. They cared for me for two days. From there I took another bus to Abuja.

I finally made it to Abuja to conduct the business I went for originally. I was also able to preach for an American missionary, Mark Holmes. Someone paid for a flight back to Lagos anonymously. I have been reunited with my family. God is good! In all of this I was reminded of the power of prayer and experienced the presence of God. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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Homegoing of Dr. Garvin Dykes

It is with profound sadness that we announce the homegoing of our beloved mentor, leader and friend. Dr. Garvin Dykes slipped into the presence of our Savior last evening. Brother Dykes was a champion for missions. He served and represented missionaries here at BIO for almost two decades alongside his dear wife Faye. Please be in prayer for Faye Dykes and for the entire Dykes family. Information regarding final arrangements will be posted here soon.

His obituary can be read online.

Visitation will be Thursday, June 28, from 6-8 pm at Fisher Funeral Home in Cochran, GA. The funeral services will be Friday at 11 am at the same location.

Fisher Funeral Home
122 S.W. Dykes Street
Cochran,GA  31014

Video of the service will be streamed live at the BIO Facebook group.

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Modern Ideas for Your Missionary Program

Christianity has changed drastically since the days of the Book of Acts. I once read that the Greeks turned Christianity into a philosophy; the Romans turned Christianity into a government; the Europeans turned Christianity into a culture, and the Americans turned Christianity into a business. This is a succinct description of the mutation of modern Christianity. It is no wonder then that Christianity today looks nothing like New Testament Christianity.

Missionary fervor was once the heartbeat of the church. Missions was so much the heartbeat that Paul could write this to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not speak anything.” Here are a few ways that we may be able to recapture that missionary fervor in our modern missionary programs.

Consider Prayer

Turn the Wednesday evening Bible study back into the Wednesday night prayer meeting. Start the evening with a ten minute charge on prayer. After the charge, split up into smaller groups and pass out copies of all the current prayer letters. Wrap up the evening with a public missions-centered prayer or two. I would encourage a corporate record be kept that explains when and how God answered every specific need.

Consider Support

When adding a new missionary to your missionary program, consider supporting them term by term rather than committing to an unending relationship. That way there can be liberty to follow the Spirit’s leading if a missionary or a ministry changes. You could review and renew the missionary support as your missionaries return to report to the church. The emphasis in support should always follow the leading of the Spirit of God rather than loyalty to tradition, an individual or ministry.

Consider Giving

Budget a significant percent of your missionary commitment for Spirit-led random acts of giving. If the money is available when a missionary comes to present a need, the body can participate immediately as God leads. Spontaneous giving is thrilling; it will maintain the excitement that should surround any missions program!

Consider Going

I am not necessarily a fan of short-term missions from a missionary’s perspective. Often, for the missionary, the burden and responsibilities that come with a short-term visit from supporters can outweigh the blessings and benefits. Nevertheless, visiting the mission field can be a life changing event. In Lamentations 3:51 Jeremiah wrote, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart…” Consider a yearly, well planned, strategic, short-term missions trip in consultation with your missionary and his mission board. Many who visit a mission field come back a different person—focused and on fire for the glory of God.

Yes, things may have changed since the days of Barnabas and Paul and Silas. However, God hasn’t changed. Neither has His commission to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Perhaps some of these ideas can help us recapture the missionary fervor in our modern missionary programs.

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Practical Points for a Missionary Meeting

Deputation is a part of the way we do missions. God uses deputation to prove the missionary for the foreign field and to promote missions in the local church. Here are a few practical suggestions that will help a missionary gather support effectively and efficiently on deputation.

Procuring a Meeting

Much has changed since the days I did my deputation to go to Samoa. What I hear from missionaries and what I have experienced recently is that it is VERY difficult to get in contact with pastors. There are several reasons for this. Many pastors are bi-vocational; some pastors work from home or are out ministering; while others have shielded themselves by answering services and staff. Unfortunately many pastors, for whatever reason, do not return missionary calls.

Mass mailings are relatively ineffective as well. There is just so much information that comes to churches. Unless a pastor is looking for the information, a missionary packet will more than likely end up in the trash.

The answer to this, I believe, is for the missionary to build relationships. The cold call may not be effective anymore, but dropping in at a church for a service and meeting the pastor may get the missionary a cell number and a connection. Fellowship meetings are always a good way to meet pastors. Any way that a missionary can establish a relationship is a plus.

Websites and social media are another way to establish relationships and get information out about your ministry. Many of our missionaries are posting their letters to Facebook. This isn’t necessarily my generation’s way of communicating, but it is effective today. If a missionary can establish a friendship, and get an email address or cell number he or she is well on the way to getting a meeting.

Once a meeting is procured it is wise to send the pastor a confirmation letter. This should include all the details for your meeting. It is also a good thing to call the pastor a few days before the meeting. This reassures him that you are, in fact, coming, and it gives another opportunity to confirm any arrangements that have been made.

A successful deputation ministry begins with a full schedule. It can still be done today!

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Proverbs 22:29

Presenting at a Meeting

A missionary presentation should be 7-10 minutes. It is good, if possible, to have two video presentations—a long version and a short version. The missionary could also make a presentation for children to show in a junior church or a school chapel.

There are six essential elements that a missionary presentation should cover.

  • It should introduce the people on the field (nation, geography, culture, language).
  • It should describe the spiritual needs of the people clearly.
  • It should itemize the goals and how the missionary plans to meet these spiritual needs.
  • It should make a soft appeal for participation with the missionary in reaching these goals.
  • It should have references from a pastor, other missionaries, or directors testifying how they believe this missionary is ready and equipped to carry out the outlined plan.
  • It should show association (local church and mission board).

Here, then, are some questions that a missionary presentation should answer.

  • Who are you?
  • What are you called to do?
  • How are you going to accomplish what you are called to do?
  • How can others be involved?
  • Who are you associated with?

A missionary presentation should be done with excellence! Whether it’s a PowerPoint-type presentation or a video, it should be focused and succinct. You should write the script first and then choose the pictures, video clips, and music that will support the script. A picture is worth a thousand words! A presentation should not be a tourist commercial or an aimless series of pictures. It is also important that the pictures or music selected for the presentation be tasteful. They should not offend or shock anyone.

Finally, it is important to have the presentation packaged in a way that can be used at any church with any kind of equipment. One church may have a state-of-the-art media center; another may have nothing more than a pulpit and a platform. Have your presentation available on a USB drive, CD/DVD and through a downloadable link. It should be in as many file formats as practical (mp4, m4v, mov, wmv, etc.).

Present yourself with excellence. Be clear and concise. Be prepared!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might… Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Preaching and the Meeting

Churches vary on this topic. Some congregations primarily want to hear a missionary preach, while others may wish for a more personal connection with the missionary. Be that as it may, a missionary will be called on to preach often.

The missionary should preach missions. That is his calling; that is his specialty. He is an ambassador for the Great Commission while on deputation as he represents his people. It is the pastor’s job to preach standards and to teach doctrine. Hobby horses and pet doctrines will not edify the church in missions or effectively get a missionary to the field.

A missionary should not preach long. “You preach short; you get support,” said a well-funded missionary. Hone your craft. Be concise, illustrate and apply. Preach with passion and intensity! Preach Mark 16:15,

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Deputation does not have to be a chore. It can be a time of blessing and fruit that results in lifetime partnerships and friendships. If a missionary will procure meetings diligently, present his burden clearly, and preach missions concisely and passionately deputation will be completed effectively and efficiently.

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Paul and Barnabas Were Ready. Are You?

In Acts 13 we read about how the church in Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas to start their missionary travels. In the first three verses we see two men who were prepared to go when they got the call.

1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

In what way were these men ready for the call? They were ready by being spiritually mature surrendered servants who were teaching in the church.

Serving

Some people seem content to sit in church and let others serve them, but that is not the pattern we see from our Lord. He said that He came to be a minister, or servant, to others (Matthew 28:20). To prepare yourself for the call of God on your life, you should seek out ways in which you can serve your church family.

Maybe you’ve heard pastors make the statement that we should not be bench warmers in the church. Several years ago I was in an awkward meeting between a pastor and church member in Mexico. The church member complained to the pastor that he (the pastor) put too much emphasis on the idea of the church members getting involved in the ministry. The church member said that he wanted to come to church, sit in his pew with his family, and learn the Bible. He thought it was unreasonable for the pastor to ask anything more of him.

While we may not say those words out loud like this man did, are we guilty of living like we are content to be bench warmers in the church?

Teaching

Paul and Barnabas were teachers in the church. They probably held this position in an official capacity. You and I may not be given a Sunday school class to teach, but we have teaching opportunities around us. There are young people who look to us to be an example.

I had just arrived home from my freshman year in college when a friend from high school told me that he had always looked up to me as a good example. I wasn’t sure at the time that I wanted to accept the responsibility of having people following my example. But whether we like it or not, we are an example to those around us. What are we teaching?

Surrendered

These men were surrendered and ready to answer the call as soon as it came. They didn’t have to debate the topic. Paul and Barnabas didn’t have to “come back to the Lord” so that they could be used. They were ready and willing when the call of God arrived.

You’ve probably heard testimonies of how God called someone but they ran from the call. Thankfully, they eventually surrendered (otherwise you would not be hearing the testimony). And I am glad they did. But sometimes we tend to think that is what makes a good testimony. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can be surrendered and ready to serve the Lord as soon as He begins to move in our life.

Spiritual Maturity

Though these verses in Acts 13 don’t directly talk about the spiritual maturity of Barnabas and Paul, it does say that they were teachers in the ministry in Antioch. We know that Paul spent quite some time, even before his salvation, studying the Old Testament. Through his writings we see a man who knew what it was to pray, study and expound God’s Word.

Are you and I growing in our spiritual life? Sometimes we may say, “I’m doing much better today than I was 2 years ago.” That is great. But are you doing better today spiritually than you ever have? It is possible, especially for those of us who have been in church a long time, to be more spiritually hungry than we were last year, but yet still not desire the things of God as much today as we did 30 years ago.

How are you doing in these four areas? Are you ready to answer the call if God should lead you? You don’t have to know everywhere that God may take you in life. I’m sure Paul and Barnabas had no idea how the Lord would lead them. But, like them, we should be serving in our local church preparing for the day that call might come.

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