S.O.S. is working alongside an international student family in planting churches
and caring for the poor in three unreached areas of Nigeria.
- Population: Over 100,000
- A.K.A. “The Water Village” as the village (made up of wooden shanties) sits in the shallow waters of a large lake that feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. Or as you may wonder, is it the “Forgotten Village”?
- No electricity, no running water
- Chief’s name: Themede
- Average income per shanty (each shanty having 10 people): $10 a month – this is possible through fishing and a nearby lumber yard.
- The community began initially for fisherman coming and going. Then developed into family units residing and staying….now over 200,000 people!
- Biggest need: a church (no sound evangelical church), medical attention, and education
- 5 teachers for 192 students; teachers make $20 a month – they sit on wooden planks on the floor as there are no tables and chairs for the teachers or students
- Cost of single room shanty: $2000
- Cost of a permanent ministry structure like the school: $30,000 (Made of strong wood and steel)
- Estimated 25,000 children under the age of 12 years old (doing the math – if only 192 are going to school that leaves 24,808 children without an education!)
- The condition of the water in the village is like a lavatory that is used and never flushed.
- They are the poorest of poor – In the Scriptures, Apostle to Apostle: Their words of exhortation to each other (of all the doctrine and challenge they could have given each other this is what they said…), “remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Gal. 2:10). This village is the poorest I have seen on the 6 continents I have preached the Gospel on! Are we eager to remember and help the poor?
Testimony of Visit: Upon entering the village, we had to rent a canoe to get around (canoes made of wooden planks and tar holding it together…not water proof!). The only way to visit even your neighbor is by canoe (remember the condition of the water). The Chief welcomed us, and surprisingly and immediately provided a venue to preach the Gospel (which the many that had gathered in a listening ear were very inclined to hear). We looked at how Christ came to heal the physical and spiritual need of a man born blind in John 9. A couple of men actually broke out clapping when we got to the part of the story when the Pharisees had rejected the man healed of blindness, only to have Christ reveal Himself to him which led to him believing and worshipping his new Savior (vs. 38)! This set the stage for the rest of our time there.
The Chief then toured us around to show us the village. Within three hours of us being there, he offered S.O.S. land (that is “water”) to build on, right next to the school. This was a considerable gesture as the hopelessness on the people’s faces was evident and somber. The people, including the Chief were gracious to allow us to lay hands on them, pray over them, and then speak the Gospel in each of the class rooms.
My journal entry the following day of my second visit reveals the sober impression:
What does it mean to “remember the poor” (Gal. 2:10)? Upon my second visit to the Forgotten Village, the air was saturated with putrid burning fish smoke, awful sewage and waste smell, filth of human odor, etc. Leaving that place more sober than my first visit, my clothes were drenched with that smell. Upon returning to the place where I was residing, I removed my clothes and hung them up to air out (for they were too smelly for even the dirty clothes pile). As I lay in bed, trying to sleep as it was a hot, steamy night, the stench of my clothes began to saturate the room.
Instead of removing the clothes from the room, with tears in my eyes I began praying for the village that God would have mercy, provide, and listen to their cries; I also began for the next few hours considering them, their condition: no Scripture, no hope, wondering how many were hungry as they try to sleep on their floors made of wooden planks, how many were hurting and suffering from disease and bacteria…with all these thoughts and the stench still in the air…I was moved with compassion! Is this not what it means to “remember the poor”? Remember the smell, the condition, the hurt, the hunger, the tears, the hopelessness?! And God help me when I get back to the states that I, we, the body of Christ, would actually do something and engage in ministering to this village!
In the words of a godly man, “Do you feel their pain, has it touched your life; can you taste the salt from the tears they cry?” I offer no apologies. The Lord has chosen, called and placed His redeemed children to remain in this world that we may have “beautiful feet”. Please join us as we embark on this new frontier mission in Africa.
Did you know? – Nigeria has over 155 million people, half the population of the U.S. – It is the most populated country in Africa and the 8th largest population in the world – The average income per family is $330 a year (that’s only $28 a month!) – There are 470 spoken languages, with