A great weekend at the annual meeting of the Overseas Fellowship of Nigerian Christians: This year was different from others in many respects. First, the guest speaker didn’t speak on Friday as usual. His first two sessions were on Saturday morning. Friday was exclusively devoted to registration, exuberant praise from the newly constituted, youthful worship band, and a welcome address from the national chairman.
Then, the age group from 18 to 30 had a session to themselves. Actually, they were given 30 minutes, but they extended it for as long as they liked. They’ve promised to be more active in the fellowship, urged parents to remind their children of the Fellowship, etc. Everyone was really pleased. The assembly prayed for them at our prayer meeting on Sunday and encouraged them further during the closing session on Monday. They appointed representatives for each branch, and Lancaster has two representatives. I spoke to them on the way back. We’ve agreed to work together in our nationally acclaimed programme to introduce students coming in from Nigeria. Most of the 18 to 30 group were either born in this country, or have spent at least half of their lifetime here. It’s not the same for people arriving for a postgraduate programme in the UK.
I found out what was happening by reading my Braille programme. That too was a first. They’ve promised to do even more next year and they’ve even said they’d talk to me as part of the preparation for the next conference. That wasn’t all. I found that my room had been specially chosen for proximity to the meeting venue. Only problem is that the building is also occupied by several guys who have decided that they don’t much want to sleep. I can’t do that, because I’m with the prayer team.
The theme of this year’s conference was “God’s workmanship” taken from Ephesians chapter 2 v10. This year, for the first time since I’ve been attending, the main speaker wasn’t Nigerian. He’s Dr Keith Jenkins, international co-ordinator of Servant of the Lord Ministries in Nottinghamshire. He reminds us that as God’s workmanship, we ought to be totally submissive to His will. To love God means to obey His commandments. Actually, it means to seek His will in everything, even whether you’re to have coffee or tea. And the greatest commandments are to love God with our hearts, souls, minds and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves. It doesn’t just mean to love God, but to love Him with everything; similarly, not just to love our neighbours, but to love them as ourselves. They were very good talks, but I found that he only ever talked about one other person, Joseph Hedgecock. I don’t know much about Joseph Hedgecock, but he only ever mentioned Mr Hedgecock’s books, only ever ralked of him as a great teacher, etc. After four talks, I started to feel that that was a little too much.
I met one of my lecturers, professor Yemi Osinbajo. He taught me at the faculty of law, University of Lagos. Now, he’s the attorney general of Lagos state, a pastor at the Redemed Christian Church of God and an emerging authority on righteousness in government. He’s doing a great job in a state with seventy percent of the lawyers in the country. In 1999, when he took office, it had the most corrupt judicial system. It’s all different now. He reminded us of the command in Genesis to “be fruitful, multiply and dominate the earth”. How can we dominate if we’re not in government? He said that God had told him, within his first few days in office that he’s supposed to be salt. Salt is ineffective in its salt shaker. It needs to come out, to be in the food, and in the same way, Christians are to make a difference in their interaction with non-christians, and not just hide in Christian circles. It was good to know that he still remembered me after 18 years.
I also heard of six year old twins who have both passed their GCSE maths. I’m jealous, because I failed mine. When I meet them, I must ask if they’ll give me lessons. I wonder what Marzique thinks of that!