Friday, June 29, 2012

Nigeria Update 5, June 27, 2012

Hello everyone,
I am at the halfway mark for my trip here. This last week was very good. I went to Odu- Ofomu (not sure about the spelling) for evangelism this last weekend with an elderly gentleman, Mr. Joseph Adejo. He is a man that I love dearly. He is the one that took me to this village with the evangelism team. He has said that he will not stop going out to share the gospel until he cannot even move. The Lord gives him strength to continue to go. Though he is in a wheel chair because of breaking his leg, he goes with us and prays for the people going out to preach than, he does one of the afternoon teaching sessions. There are two of them. Both of the sessions were in Igala. There were not many people speaking to me in Igala and I was starting to be able to hear Igala much better. I was there Friday through Saturday. We went out two mornings to talk to people. I was able to talk to many people during that time, especially Muslims.  The village is fairly big and many of the people are Muslims.

Friday, we talked with several more people. A few that I would like to mention. The first one I want to mention is the two Muslim women. They quoted what they knew about Islam, but they did not know what they really believed, as we talked many kids came to see us. In the end we gave them all pictures with Igala verses on them. After that we went to talk with an old man who was a non-practicing pagan. He talked with us and told us that he did not need to be a Christian because the Christians in town acted exactly like he did so if that was the case, why did he need to change.  It grieved me to hear of this. I pleaded with the old man to look at Christ and not those who say they follow Him. He said he would think about it.

One of the little boys, Samuel, was following us around and he told me he can hear and speak English. So I told him to come and see me at the church. We went and talked to a group of men and they claimed to be Christians so I encouraged them to live lives after Christ’s example. We went back to the church with the little boy. We found that he could only speak and hear English and Hausa. As we talked with him we found that his parents were both Igala, but they had lived in Hausaland. Therefore when he was born he spoke Hausa and English. His English was very good. He went on to tell us his father had died and his mother was very sick and needed a blood transfusion. We went to see what we could do to help her and prayed for her and shared the gospel with her. She is a Roman Catholic, who had no idea of what Jesus Christ did for her. It was really nice to be able to get to share the gospel with her and to hang out with her son. He is a very nice little boy. He sat for hours with me during our session, not even knowing what they were saying and all he wanted to do was hang out with me. I enjoyed it very much. They said that thirteen people came to Christ that weekend. Praise the Lord.

The whole time I was there I ate Igala food. I love Igala food. I was so happy, because I had not had many of the dishes that I love until then. I even had a new dish that was pounded corn. I have never had that one before, but it was not a surprise that I liked it.  I am so thankful for the Igala lady that cooked for me. She was a great cook.

In the evenings I would stay at Mr. Adejo’s compound. He has some adopted children, five of them from the ages 16-21. I had a great time hanging out with them. We had some excellent conversations. I was very encouraged and they were sorry to see me go. I very much enjoyed my time there and hope to go back there sometime in the near future to go with him to do evangelism again.

Sunday, I was at the Igala church in Anyigba. It was very good. The meeting is held right at Mr. Adejo’s house. I enjoyed my time with the believers there.

I love taking time to hang out with the boys here at the orphanage. We have a great time together. In some ways I wish I could stay out here for a much longer time. I love it here. I only wish I did not have three more years of school left.

One of the other things I am enjoying  is to go to the village and greet the children and elderly and everyone in between. I have gotten many opportunities to share the gospel because I have greeted them in Igala.

Thank you all for your prayers. I appreciate them so much. I will be travelling to Ika to visit Tom and Benji Wheeler, and Spencer Dibble this weekend and hopefully I will stay for a couple of weeks, spending some time with them and helping them.

Please pray:
1.       for the outreach in Odu- Ofomu that the follow up would go well.
2.       for the Igala church in Anyigba.
3.       for Joseph Adejo, that his health would get better.
4.       for Samuel and his mother and brothers and sisters that they would come to know Christ as their Savior.
5.       for repairs on the vehicle I have been driving. That I can either repair it or that it won’t need to be repaired.
6.       for travel to Ika and my time there. I hope to be able to do more language study while I am there so maybe that the lord will help me to have more understanding of it and to be able to pick it up well and fast.

Thank you all, again for your prayers.

Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nigeria Update 4 June 17, 2012

 Hello everyone,
There are many things that have happened this week. First of all last Sunday, June 10th, I went to a village way back in the bush called Ojiyanawo.  The church was small, but I enjoyed it. Joshua, one of the local church leaders took me and interpreted for me. It was a good thing he did because some of the concepts that I was trying to get across were hard to interpret into the Igala language.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was sick with something. I am not sure what it was. It was serious enough for me to stay in bed and rest. They wanted to take me to the hospital, but I declined until I felt that it was needed. After Tuesday, I felt much better and by Wednesday I was only a little weak.

Thursday, I moved into the boy’s dorm. It has been really good. I love the kids here. There are several that always run up to me and give me a great big hug every time I see them. The younger ones call me grandpa. There are four rooms of 7 or 8 boys in each in the boy’s dorm that I am working with. They are between 1st grade and 6th grade. I love them. At night I read to them a devotional and then we pray together. They ask me every night to make sure I will come back the next day. Some nights they fall asleep before I can even get to their room. : )

Friday, I took a trip to Anyigba to Kogi State University to pick up some of the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) to go to the Secondary Schools where they have their own FCS’s. This is like our Campus Crusade groups or Navigators group in our State Universities. So the College students piled into a 15 passenger van and my jeep and we took off to go to these secondary school. There were five secondary schools that we went to. We dropped off three to five students at each school along the road. At the last place I was given the opportunity to speak to the students there. They were in their exams so there were not as many as we hoped.  The students that went with me were disappointed and asked me if I still wanted to speak to such a small group. I told them of course I wanted to speak to them and that these were the students that the Lord wanted there that day. After that we went to one of the students houses, who is also a teacher when he comes back to Otutulu on his breaks. His mother made us pounded yam and soup. I was very happy. I love pounded yam. : )

It has been a long time since I have driven in Nigeria and it seems that it was not as bad as the last time I drove, two years ago. Just watch out for motorcycles and for random chickens crossing the rode.

Saturday, I worked on the school scrapping the walls so that they can paint the walls. While we were there, a dump truck came with a load of desks for the school. It came back two more times that day, with desks and cupboards for the students.

Sunday, I went to a village that was having a conference. The name of the village was Ogonenwigwu Aloko. I got the opportunity to speak there. I found out that my grandfather 33 years ago spoke at that very church. There was only one man who was left from that time. After the service we went to visit some people. The first was the head king, who was over seven smaller kings. He had known my grandfather. He had professed to being a Christian, but now he went to Islam and from what I understand he is nothing now. I got to talk with him about it. He blames becoming king to his falling away from God. I was able to talk to him about the story of Nebuchadnezzar and how he humbled himself before the Lord. He told me he would seriously think about it. I am going back to visit him sometime before I leave. From there we went to another ladies house. She was asking us for prayer for her sons to find wives and for them to find good jobs. Also she has the opportunity to take a leadership position in one of the bigger villages and she wants us to pray for contentment and humility. Her name is Charity Nathaniel. While we were there a Muslim woman, Alimo, whose stomach was hurting her and who had been sick for a very long time came to us so that we could pray for her. Praise the Lord for the opportunity to share the gospel with her. We explained that she herself could ask God for help and then we prayed for her.  She said she could not become a Christian because her father would put her out of the house and disown her. The only reason she could come and visit us at that time was, because her father was gone for the day. If he found out she would be in big trouble, but she felt she had no other option. Praise the Lord for the opportunity we had there.

Please pray:
·         For the church in Ojiyanawo, that they would grow in Christ.
·         For me and my health, as it has not been the best, but the Lord is giving me strength to get what I need to get done, done.
·         For the boys and opportunities to share the gospel with them.
·         For Alimo that she would come to know Christ.
·         For Charity and her boys and this leadership position.
·         For the king that he will turn to Jesus Christ and stay focused on Him until the day he dies.
·         Praise the Lord for wisdom in what to say and for help in everything thus far.

Upcoming events:
·         Evangelism for four days at the end of this week. From Thursday to Sunday. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel and show Christ’s Love.

Thank you all for your prayers they are appreciated so much. I miss you all.

Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nigeria update June 9, 2012

Hey everyone everything is going well. I have been sick with a cold, but it is minor.

This week, I able to go to the village to show a Bible story on power point, on Tuesday. There were both Muslim and Christian children that came and also others that came to see it. We did it on the parable of the tenants. I have a couple of Igala young men interpreting for me now. One is named Monday and another is Muhammad. Many of Muhammad’s relatives came to listen and watch. They are all Muslims, he is the only Christian in his family. At the end I asked if anyone had questions. They had many questions so much so that I could not answer them at that time. So on Thursday, I went back with Muhammad to talk with them. They were very polite and we were able to have a good conversation. They asked questions to trip me up and I asked questions to make them think a little. They speak very little English, but I would like to get to know them more and become friends with them.

I am spending two nights a week with Muhammad studying holiness and going through the book “Pursuit of Holiness” It has been a very good study thus far. Some things that I would not think about he brings up. I am learning so much from him. Muhammad will be my primary interpreter, while I am here. He is also helping me with the language. It has been a very big blessing to have him as a friend. 

During the days, I have been helping out at the school with some of the work there. The teachers have come back from school so there is little need for me to substitute, but I do help my sister with her class every once in a while. I also am working on cleaning up the windows and getting them ready to put glass in. The people who dressed the windows made a very big mess and so I have been given the job of cleaning it up.

Tomorrow, I will be going out to one of the assemblies in another village to meet with the believers there. Please pray that I will have wisdom on what to preach on. Pray that I will be able to encourage the believers there.
Please pray for the Muslims boys, that I will be meeting with. Also for Muhammed, my interpreter that he will know the right words to use in interpretation.
Pray for safety for all of us.
Pray for the people here that their hearts might be softened.
Thank you all for your prayers. Ucho bede Ojo (I am grateful to God)
Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Nigeria Update 2, June 4, 2012

Hello everyone,
Everything is going well here in Otutulu at the orphanage. Last Saturday was visitor’s day, so many of the parents or relatives came to visit. Many of the children lost their mothers, but their fathers are still living.  I spent some time with the kids. That was pretty fun. Sunday was Children’s Day. It is a national holiday, but we decided to celebrate it on Monday, because of the day off from school. So Sunday we rested. Monday, we sent the 4-6 graders to Anyigba to a festival at the local University. The rest of the children stayed behind and did different activities like swimming, crafts, games and watching film. There were six classes from preschool to 3rd grade. I was in charge of the group going to the stream which is a mile down and a mile back. I took three groups and another teacher took 3 groups. In the end I took the 2nd graders, preschool 1 and 1st graders. It was crazy going down to the stream with them. They don't understand English every well so I was mixing Igala and English to get them to understand. Going down is the easy part. I would take them and two of the groups would run down to the stream which was fine, but to get them to run coming back up, that was a different case. :) I had a lot of fun just taking them and playing with them and got a bunch of exercise. On a couple of trips one of the kids hurt themselves so they would need a piggy back ride. :)  On Tuesday I became sick with a virus of some kind. This lasted through Thursday morning when I finally felt much better. During that time I was able to rest and read and do a little writing. It was really good to do some thinking. Thursday later in the morning I was feeling well enough to try to get Crystals car ready to go to Anyigba on Saturday. So I checked the brakes and charged the battery and pumped up the tires. Thankfully there was not much wrong with it.  Friday we got ready for our guests to come. Mrs. Gross's children (see “Alimo’s story” at to find more about Mrs. Gross) and their families came from the US for a memorial service here in Nigeria, some of them came down to the orphanage to visit. It was nice to meet some of them for the first time and see others again. Today we went to Anyigba to the memorial service. It was very nice and I really enjoyed it even though I did not understand much of it. The thing that kept coming to mind as I was sitting there was torchbearers. The Greeks would have their relay races with torches and would pass them off to the next man in line. So also are we in a race and when we die we are to have passed the torch on to another. We are to have passed the Light onto another that they might also continue on in the faith and pass the torch on to others, just as Paul passed it onto Timothy and to Titus and to others.  While we were there a man came up to me and made me do an interview with him. totally caught me off guard. If I had thought about what I wanted to say what I would have said would have made more sense, but I am sure it did not make sense at all. Every night this week it has rained so we have not been able to go out and share the gospel. This next week I will be making more of an attempt at it.
Eric is feeling much better. He is the cutest baby and so happy. We hang out while Crystal needs to do things.
Prayer requests
1. Pray for me tomorrow I will be speaking on Daniel 5 and Humility. Pray for wisdom in what I say.
2. There are a lot of things that I have to understand and that I struggle with. It's not just a tea party over here where we sip our tea and have a good old time. There are struggles and frustrations. Pray for me for patience and wisdom and in cases where I need to confront that I will be bold and not care about what people think about me.
3. Pray for the kids for Salvation.
4. Pray for safety.
5. Pray for me as I am learning Igala more and more that I would understand sentence structure and grammar..
I appreciate and covet your prayers. Pray is such an important thing and I know that we many times say we will pray for someone, but forget to follow through with it. I hope that this will not be the case for you my friends. I hope that you will not only spending time in prayer for these things, but also for others and spending time in general. Thank you so much. Love all of you.
Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula