Saturday, August 25, 2012

Final Nigeria update Aug 25, 2012

Hello everyone,
I have been home from Nigeria for about a week. On the flight home I was sick with Malaria and a cold which ended up taking a while to get over and I am still working on getting over the cold.  The Malaria is gone, but I am still pretty weak.  On Monday, I will be going back to school again so I would appreciate your prayers on that aspect of things. I don’t feel ready to go back at all. I am excited about the ministry opportunities that the Lord has given me though for this semester. I hope to focus more on Evangelism and international students this semester.

I want to thank you all for your prayers as I was in Nigeria. I learned that another Muslim woman came to Christ from Otutulu last week. Praise the Lord for that. I hope that I can continue my language study here. I have plenty of vocabulary and some resources, but it is still not enough for me to know everything. I am starting to understand part of the grammar. I would appreciate prayer as I am studying it, because it is said that no one can learn the language unless they were born in it or were there from a very young age. I am praying about going back next summer.

In reflecting on everything that happened there I really can’t explain everything that runs through my brain. There is one thing that I feel like was a theme for my summer. That was 1 Peter 2:21-25. I listened to “In His steps” on audio book. I was so thankful for that. We are to follow in Christ’s steps. To think about that and dwell on that was very interesting. I came to a realization that my steps did not always match His and that there were areas that I needed to work on. I love verse 23. Christ kept entrusting Himself to the Father who judges righteously. Even if someone wrongs you or does something not very nice to you or cheats you, you should give it to the Father who judges righteously instead of taking it on yourself to get them back. Christ did not revile people in return nor did he utter any threats. He gave everything including Himself to the Father, who will take care of everything. So also we need to be on our guard to not wrong someone else, because we will be judged by God for what we have done.  Christ bore our sins in His body on the cross for the purpose that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Have we died to sin? Are we living to righteousness? Is our goal to live a righteous life or are we just doing as good as any other “Christian”? It is hard to live to righteousness, but that is part of walking in Christ’s steps. Many times we make the excuse that we can’t live a righteous life, so why should we even try? That excuse is what Satan uses to keep us from living a righteous life. Are we going to let Satan win this battle or are we going to start living a righteous life and following in Christ’s steps? Christ went through so much for us and we have His great example, but when it comes to living godly, righteous holy life we give up before we even try because we say it is impossible. It is time to start trying to live a life that matches Christ’s life always striving to become more like Christ.

Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Update 7 August 11, 2012

Hello everyone,
I apologize for not updating any of you in the last four weeks. I have been busy and we had lost internet at the orphanage for two weeks due to a lightning storm. While I was in Ika I could not talk about what I was doing there. So now I will very briefly update you on what has happened in the last four weeks. I went to Ika and was there for two weeks. I spend some time with Spencer Dibble and his son-in-law Tom Wheeler and his grandson Benji Wheeler. We were working on a secret project for Tom’s wife, Lois. We were remodeling the kitchen and master bathroom. I also spent some time with Mr. Dibble and sat and talked with him for hours on end. We also took some time to fix Crystal’s sons bike. On the Sundays I was there, I was asked to speak.  One of the Sundays, I went to a conference. There was one woman who was there who was used to be a Muslim. She was afraid that her family would kill her if she became Christian. Finally, she snuck away to a church and talked to one of the elders. She left her family and went to another part of the country so she could not be found by her family. I had a great time there.

The next few weeks I went with Mepa Adejo on Evangelism. We went to a village just off the Dekina road a little ways. With it being Ramadan there were many Muslims who were not very happy, because they had no food in their stomachs since early morning. Many of them told us to go away, some said they would visit us, but never did.  Many of them young unmarried ladies, that want to marry a nice white man. Yeah that would be me, all of them asking how my wife was in Igala. 

Our evangelism group
The answer from me was either to ignore what they were saying or to answer no wife, which made them want to follow me around. Some even asked if I wanted a wife, others offered me a wife. Both of which I graciously, but bluntly refused. In the afternoons I had an interpreter, which I was very grateful for, who helped me to understand what the Bible study was about. I will upload a picture of our group sometime soon.

While I was with Mepa, I stayed at Mama Gross’ house, with her daughters Esther Nordman and Ruth Carlson, who were there cleaning out the house and taking their mothers things back to the US.  I had a really good time there in the time I spent there.

I have been working on a project of getting Igala words together to be put in dictionary form. It has been a long process and it will continue for a while as I continue to study the language in the US. I hope to also put tone markings on each of the words, in order to make it so I can understand it better and so that others who desire to learn the language can also.

I decided to return to Otutulu on Saturday evening after I went with Mepa. Normally, I would stay and speak at the chapel there, but this time Daniel Edeh and his family were in Anyigba for the giving away of Mama Grosses house to CMML Nigeria (a local denomination). So on Sunday, I went to Abejekolo to visit a small church there with Daniel Edeh. It was an excellent time fellowshipping with the believers there. We took about 8 of the kids from the orphanage with us, because the church is very small. I believe it was a great encouragement to them.

The week that followed I helped with work on the compound and did some other things, played with the kids and worked on my language study. In the evenings I would sit with some of the kids and talk and with my good friend, Freeman Edeh. This last week, I spent many of my evenings with the older Edeh kids, who are around my age. I helped them with office work and talked with them. Last Sunday, I stayed in Otutulu to speak. I was thankful for that opportunity.

I have some very exciting news. I was in Otutulu village doing a week of Bible stories on the life of Joshua with a projector. Every night we went there and told another part of the story of Joshua. One night after finishing the story, one Muslim boy asked me a question and I explained it to him. He continued to ask excellent questions. Finally, he said he wanted to change his mind to Christianity. As it was late he told me to come the next day to see him. I went the next afternoon; we talked for a while. I answered questions then he asked me about the trinity. I tried my best, but I don’t think it got through to him. Almost every day this week I have been to see him. He is definitely a believer. His greatest fear was to tell his mother and grandfather he was a Christian. He knows that they can kill him for that. He also fears his brothers, who are not in the village right now. He went to his grandfather on Wednesday and told him that he was a Christian. The grandfather simply told him, that he did not believe it. I pray that he might be in the church tomorrow, so that he can show his grandfather that he is serious about it.   I gave him an Igala Bible and an English Bible, so that he can understand the scriptures better. We can praise God for what he has done. I only wish I could stay and disciple him. I have given that job over to one young man who is eager to do it, because he is so happy that this boy, his friend has finally become a Christian. I myself cannot even say it was anything that I did, but it was fully the work of God, I praise Him for what He has done. As I came back from the village after the boy had told me that he was a Christian that he knew that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and that he wanted to follow after him, tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. Even if it was for this one boy who came to know Christ, it was well worth the time I spent here. Well worth my time. I would not trade coming here this summer for the most well-paying job. I only wish I did not have to leave.

I am back in Ika until Sunday, visiting Spencer Dibble and the Wheelers, once more with Shana, before I leave. I will be leaving on Wednesday at 11:15pm from Abuja.

I would appreciate your prayers, for my trip back. Please pray for the Muslim boy in the village. Also as I am coming back to the culture shock of America and I have many things that I have to get ready before going to school the next week.

Thank you for all of your prayers. I appreciate them very much.
Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula