The Mordecai Project Newsletter
March 2008 / Nigeria
Right now I am still a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience in Nigeria. It was an amazing trip and we saw God move in incredible ways. My heart is full of gratitude for His faithfulness and for your partnership in this awesome mission.
** We had about 900 women at the African Woman Arising conference. They heard about the event through billboards, radio ads, magazine ads and church announcements. The conference was unique because most events of this kind are sponsored by one church and attended by members of that church. Interdenominational conferences are rare in Lagos, so we were breaking ground by uniting men and women from different churches. Each day a different praise team led the worship, and different pastors and their wives hosted the sessions. It was an awesome time of building bridges between ministries.
** All the speakers and the ministry team made it to Lagos safely, even though my baggage did not arrive with me—and neither did Barbara Wentroble’s. (In light of eternity, that was no big deal! We both got our bags a day later.) We had about 27 people on the ministry team from the U.S. and Canada, and these folks were real troopers. They never complained once even though we had to deal with Lagos traffic, African time delays, intense heat, power outages, bugs, thin mattresses, unusual food, miscommunication, thick accents and cultural differences. The love of God kept us in the Spirit and I was so proud of everyone who came to serve. I am especially grateful to Charlie Daniels, who volunteered to serve as the stateside conference administrator. He kept us all sane even when things seemed chaotic.
** Our local conference team in Lagos made the women feel so loved. My dear friends Jackson and Yinka Ekwugun, editors of Lifeway magazine, were the main conference coordinators. They took the designs that we made for the conference and printed beautiful gift bags for each attendee, and the bags had a notebook, a pen, a conference badge, a program and meal tickets. Dozens of women ushers from various churches showed the women to their seats and kept everything in order. Lunch was provided every day and it gave the women plenty of time for fellowship and interaction.
** Each day the presence of God was in our midst to heal, empower and restore. Each speaker had a relevant word and the women (and many men) took every message to heart. Barbara Wentroble electrified the audience with her prophetic teaching about Saul’s lowly concubine Rizpah, whose name means “pavement” (2 Sam. 3:7). Barbara challenged the women to rise above their circumstances and view themselves as overcomers. Each time Naomi Dowdy opened the Word she broke old mindsets of tradition and culture. My Nigerian mentor Mosy Madugba had the women jumping and shouting as he taught on what happens when women pray. Remi Ogunrinde, a Nigerian pastor living in Canada, reminded the women that this is the prophetic hour for Nigerian women to arise and seize their divine mandate. And Funke Adejumo, a pastor from Nigeria, offered some practical teaching on “Seven Relationships You Must Have to Grow as a Leader.”
** In one of my sessions I taught on the parable of the woman who put yeast in the dough, from Luke 13. I explained that Jesus, in His teaching, affirmed women by using domestic imagery. In this parable He foreshadowed the day when women would be empowered to preach the gospel all over the world. On Saturday I also got to tag-team a sermon with Mosy Madugba on “The Father’s Heart for His Daughters.” After that session the floodgates opened and many women came to the altar to be healed from mistreatment, rejection and emotional abandonment. In Nigerian culture, many fathers reject their daughters because they prefer sons. The Lord came in a powerful way during our conference to heal women from the effects of this crippling mindset.
** It was as if the Lord prepared a banquet for these women, and they feasted on the Word for three days. By the last day they were begging Yinka to schedule another conference next year. She was getting text messages each night from women who said their lives were forever changed. Mindsets were shifted. Old wounds were healed. Many women were able to forgive the men who had hurt them. And they shared their revelations with friends so that people were buzzing about the conference. In many ways it felt as if God had sparked a revolution that will spread throughout the country.
** This was my seventh visit to Nigeria and I wondered while I was there, “Lord, seven is the number of completion. Is my time here finished?” But the Lord told me that in this case, seven simply means, “The foundation is laid.” I have never felt such a burden for a nation, and I know I will be going back. In fact while I was in the conference some of my Nigerian friends gave me my new Yoruba name: “Akinwale,” which means, “the warrior has come home.” Nigeria is my second home when I am there.
** There is so much more work to be done in Nigeria. Current laws do not safeguard women who are beaten by their husbands. In fact I met a woman in our conference who has tried to run a domestic shelter. But the police have actually arrested her for hiding a woman who had been put in a coma by her abusive husband! I am convinced that the key to change in Nigeria is in the hands of Christian women. They will rise up and bring reformation as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Please pray that what began in Lagos in March 2008 will spread like a holy fire!
** After the conference, all of the speakers spoke in different churches on Sunday. I spoke at House of Grace Church in Lagos, pastored by Omar and Jane Pela. Jane is one of the leading worship artists in Nigeria. I shared a groundbreaking message at their church about how men are to treat their wives with respect, dignity and affection.
** The next day I took Charlie Daniels and four other Americans to Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, to speak at a smaller women’s conference organized by Pastor Eunice Enujuba. I helped launch Eunice into ministry six years ago when I first visited the city of Port Harcourt. Today she has a thriving church and also a ministry called Women of Substance, a network of women who are in government, church leadership, business and the arts. Our meeting in Abuja was incredible. It seemed like when I spoke there, sparks were falling on gasoline. The women were so hungry for a word from the Lord. The first night I preached on Hannah’s persistence in birthing a reformation. On the second night I gave them a mandate when I preached a message called “Where Are the Women Reformers?” They took the challenge and they seem eager to work to reform their country for Jesus Christ. Charlie, Ruthanne, Valerie, Terry and Donna served as a dynamic ministry team during that event. One of the women in the meeting was Liz Benson, a well-known Nollywood actress who became a Christian a few years ago. Another woman named Deyo, who is a professional emcee and media host, was so touched by the first night’s message about Hannah that she wrote a song about the sermon and sang it in the meeting!
** It seemed that everywhere we went on this journey God was opening new doors to Africa. One female pastor in Lagos who has a burden for French-speaking nations has asked me to come with her to do conferences in Benin, Togo and Congo. The women in Abuja want to do a full-scale African Woman Arising conference in their city soon. There are other doors opening in Liberia, Ghana and Uganda. My dream is that what began in Lagos this month will spread to every African nation. Also, I was able to strengthen many relationships with my Nigerian friends including Pastor Ladi Thompson (who I hope to partner with in doing ministry in northern Nigeria), Miracle (my son in the Lord who I helping to get into Emmanuel College in the U.S.) and Kelechi, a brave evangelist who is reaching dangerous militants for Jesus in southeastern Nigeria.
** In Abuja, a Nigerian woman named Obii Pax-Harry came to the conference on the second night. She had heard about the meeting from her friend Deyo. This woman, who was based in England for years, released a prophecy on the Elijah List several months ago in which she said that God was going to begin something unusual with the women of Nigeria in March 2008. Barbara Wentroble and I had seen this prophecy recently, after we had planned the AWA conference. When I talked with Obii in Abuja she was ecstatic because she felt the meetings we were involved in were the fulfillment of the word she received from the Lord. God had all this planned in His perfect timing!
** Many of you have asked if I got all the money needed for the conference. I want to offer thanks to the Lord for that. He came through in an amazing way. One month before the conference, when I still needed more than $17,000, a widow sent me $25 and included a note saying that she had prayed for the gift to multiply. She said she felt God told here there would be “more than enough” and that we would have “12 baskets full left over.” I am not sure how much money is in 12 baskets, but I can testify that God met every need! I am still paying some leftover bills and the money has not run out yet. While we were in Lagos, Funke Adejumo took up a surprise offering and it covered all the expenses on the Nigerian side of the event. Meanwhile people sent funds to me from near and far and every expense is covered. I stand amazed at the Lord’s goodness.
Thank you all for your prayers and partnership.
Posted by Lee Grady on March 25, 2008 07:18 AM