Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nigeria Update 1 May 25, 2012

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. The last week and a half has been very good. So many things to tell you all about. We landed in Abuja, where we were immediately taken to Lokoja to the orphanage there. We were put up in a small Christian hotel run by the Nigerian people, because the orphanage is not as complete they would like it to be for us to stay in it. The food was great, but they never offered us pounded yam and soup or any of the other Nigerian dishes that we love so much. That was ok.
We spent almost 2 days in Lokoja. The first day we pick up seventeen 4 year olds from preschool. These are the oldest kids at the orphanage in Lokoja. All 17 of them were put in a Toyota Land Cruiser with us and the driver. So much fun. :) We made several stops and at each stop they would get more and more excited that we were coming to see them and play with them. It was a good way to practice the Igala we had lost. That day the kids got twine of all different colors. So we would wrap it up for them in a nice bundle and they would unroll it and make us tie it up again. Several of them wanted to play catch and so we played catch with a soccer ball. The second day being Saturday the kids were all there, but by the time we arrived allbut the babies had been put down for a nap, so it was very quiet and I got time to look around. I land is very nice and it has alot of room. The building is fairly big. They told us there was about 60-70 children at the orphanage in Lokoja and all of them are under 4 years old.
Saturday afternoon we went off to Otutulu village where the original orphanage is at. We were very surprised when we arrived there to find a wall and a gate house all around the compound. (the wall is not completed yet. It is good for security purposes, but I feel like I am locked out from the rest of the world, sometimes. I feel like it is it's own little village next to the other village. There are good and bad things about it. Nigeria itself has changed, but because of the seasons. I thought it was beautiful during dry season. It is even more beautiful during rainy season and much cooler, but way more humid. :) I am really enjoying it. It feels like I have come home once again, that it is natural for me to be here. I love the kids and the people. Monday, I started as a substitute teacher for 1st graders. Wow that was crazy. Many of them act up because they want you attention. It has been hard, but good. There are good and bad things about teaching. :)  That is mostly what has consumed my days for the past week. Some of them I wish I could take them aside for an hour and just work with them on specific things. Others are so smart and are good in their classes. I have also driven the bus to school for the past week for Crystal. (Crystal Gosnell, the white missionary lady at the orphanage who primarily runs the school and does a lot of other things). I have spent time with the children. There are about 200 children at this orphanage. There is always some one who needs attention.
Next week I will be moving into the boys dorm to make sure they settle down and are in bed at night and to disciple them, from what I understand. This Sunday, I will be preaching at the local assembly on Daniel 4. I would appreciate your prayers in this matter and also in that I will be traveling to the different villages to preach the gospel several nights this coming week. I am excited about it. I will be going to a couple new villages. Also a good friend and interpreter of mine from the last time is still around and he will be my interpreter again. I am very excited for that. We have had many good times together. I am thoroughly enjoying myself here. 
I must tell you one more thing before I close this letter. Scorpions are amazing fast. I was very surprised. It was black and about the size of my hand maybe a little bigger. It attacked me. I was suprised how fast I moved to pick up my shoe and kill it. :) No, I did not get stung nor was I really that close to being, but I did almost step on it and it did come after me. The fun adventures of africa. A first time for everything. :)
Thank you all for your prayers. I appreciate them very much.
Please pray for
1. Patience for all of us.
2. Erik a little baby that has been sick that Crystal is caring for.\
3. Pray for Immanuella a two week baby who is being cared for by Shana. She is premature and has been a little sick.
4. Pray for wisdom in what I should be involved in.
5. Pray for the people here that I get to share the gospel with that their hearts would be open.
Thank you all again.
Your bro in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pre Nigeria Update

Hello friends,
One day until we leave for Nigeria!!! We will be leaving for Nigeria from Helena, MT early on Wednesday morning and we will arrive in Nigeria on the 17th at 3:30 in the afternoon their  time. I am excited to see what the Lord is going to do on this trip. I am excited to see the kids again and spend time with them. I will be working mainly at the orphanage this time. When I get there I will be teaching preschoolers or 2nd graders. The churches in Nigeria are stuck in a false sense of Salvation. Most that come to the churches are nominal Christians who come to it because it is a social event and sometimes it gives you more status in the community. I will be working with some of the local churches in the nearby villages on the weekends, teaching and doing evangelism and discipleship. I will also be living in the boy’s dorm to supervise them as there is no adult there at this time to supervise them.

My sister, Shana, will be taking care of some babies and also teaching school. She will be staying with the missionary lady at the orphanage. She will be helping out wherever needed.

  • Some Prayer requests are:
  • 1.       Pray that I would have patience with the kids and show them Christ’s love.
  • 2.       For the churches in Nigeria that they would have a desire for godliness and a desire to grow spiritually and learn what the Bible says.
  • 3.       For Boldness to speak the truth no matter what.
  • 4.       For protection and safety on the way there and while we are driving through the country and while we are there.
  • 5.        There is a spiritual war going on everywhere, but a lot of times it shows up more in Africa. You can pray for the people that they would not be afraid of the pagan rituals and realize that they are free from the power of that if they are in Christ.
  • 6.       Pray for the orphanage that the kids there would come to Salvation.
  • 7.       Pray for opportunities to speak to the Muslims in the village and to sit with them and talk and get to know them.
  • 8.       Pray for us that we would not get sick while we are there. We will be there in rainy season and from what I understand there is a bigger chance of getting malaria at this time.
  • 9.       In the last three weeks the orphanage has gotten three sets of twins and in this last year there has been more twins than ever before, that being I believe 6 sets.  So pray for helpers and pray that they might be cared for well.
This is a short list for now. I will send out more each week as they come up. Thank you for your prayers. My sister and I appreciate them very much.
Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For the sake of the Christ

 I have come to the realization that if I go out and preach the gospel, sure people may get saved, but I also need to help train up these young men so that they might also go out and preach the gospel and that they might also go out and train even more young men to preach the gospel and so on and so forth. The war we face in America with apathy and ungodliness does not stop at our border. It goes out into all the other countries. There is a need for godliness and righteousness and holiness and a fear of the Lord wherever believers are at and that is where a revival begins. If someone wants to follow after Christ it is not going to be easy. If we are in a war we must always be on our guard, and ready to fight for the sake of the gospel no matter what. We sit back and we say well if I say I am a Christian at this job interview then I probably won’t get the job or if I sit back in this class and say nothing about my belief no one will know that I am a Christian and they won’t hate me then. We are to be hated, friends. We are to be despised and we should count it a great joy to be persecuted for the sake of Christ, because that means that we are doing something right. If there is no one who hates you for the sake of the gospel there is something drastically wrong with your walk with Christ. More than likely you look too much like the world to be known to be anything set apart from the World.  Maybe you do not proclaim the name of Christ because you are scared or afraid or just plain do not care.  Is it worth it to be silent as we wait for the coming of our Savior? Is it worth it to just give up and not fight for the gospel? Is there any soul in this world that does not have a right to the inheritance of our heavenly Father? Do we not care about what is going to happen to the people of this world?

 I come back again and again to a passage in Romans 10:12 -15 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!’” (NASB)

Friends, we have been sent, by Jesus Christ Himself do go and preach the gospel, to make disciples and to teach them to observe all that He commanded. We are to be training others up to go out and preach the gospel, but how can we train others up if we ourselves do not go out and preach it. We need to preach it with boldness and strength. The Lord is our strength, do we actually believe that the Lord will help us in this? If we do, we will go out and preach the gospel and rely on the Lord for the boldness and the strength we need.

There is an elderly man in Nigeria who said that he would continue to go out and do evangelism and preach the gospel until he could no longer move and he has been relying on the Lord for his strength. When he was younger, he became very sick for several years. During that time no one went out to preach the gospel or to do any evangelism. When he became well he said that he would continue to go out until he could no longer go. The Lord has allowed him to continue to go. He will take his walker with him and he will go to wherever they are doing evangelism that particular time and he will sit and pray the whole time they are out sharing the gospel. This man desires to see the Word of the Lord go out into Nigeria so much so that he himself will do whatever it takes to get people to go out. He, himself, would go out if he still could. This elderly man should be an example to all of us that it is not just those who are young that can go out and preach the gospel, but also those of all different ages, from young to old.There is a need, not only to preach the gospel , but also to pray for the people that are preaching it and for the hearts of the people who hear it.

You may continue to say that you do not want to go out and preach the gospel, that you want to stay in your little comfort zone with all of your believing friends around you. That you don’t have the gift of evangelism, so that is not how the Lord is going to use you. That is a lie that Satan has been telling Christians for years. 
We are to be willing to be used by God in whatever way He sees fit and we are to be willing to do things that are even out of our comfort zones. All of us are supposed to preach the gospel, by proclaiming Christ first, followed by our actions to show Christ’s love to others. If any of you feel that you have any excuse whatsoever you need to look into your life and your heart and see what is holding you back from giving Christ your all and telling others about Him. There is a great war out there and there is a greater need for believers to fight for the souls of men. Will you join with me in this battle or will you turn your back on those you are fighting with and retreat and give up the fight? It is your decision. Stop saying you’re a follower of Christ if your life does not reflect it and if you truly want to follow after Him then stand with Him and fight. Are you willing to follow after Him even to death?  That is a question you need to answer. Where is your loyalty? Is it in Christ or is it in the World? The two cannot mix. They must be separate from one another.