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Nigeria Summer Camp 2007

Project Dates: July 22-30, 2007

Paul, Megan, Emily, and Samson

"Finding God in Nigeria"

by Emily Sandilands

God is inescapable in Nigeria. Most of the vehicles we pass have stickers pertaining to God’s love all over the windows. The stores are named things like “God’s Preference Gas Station.” Politicians run for office with banners declaring themselves as “God’s Choice for this Dispension – Trusted, Reliable, and God Fearing.” Bill-boards advertising Christian ministers and their powers to heal are also very common. The name of God is used as a superstitious form of protection, to endorse businesses, to appeal for votes, and to earn money. For someone that comes from a country where the 10 Commandments are being stripped from courthouses and prayers banned in school, finding God’s name everywhere I turn my head comes as a culture shock.   In either culture, where God seems to be everywhere or nowhere, how do you know where to find the one true God? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the qualities in men that identify the indwelling of God’s Spirit, and the characteristics I’ve seen in the brethren in Africa.   Through all of the activities at camp and all the people I met, I was struck by their happiness, gratitude, enthusiasm, and willingness to serve. Our activities were frequently interrupted by rain and power outages, but that didn’t hinder them at all. In fact, the more challenging the situations seemed to be, the more people pulled together to make it better. The highlight of camp was a rope bridge activity, where the three teams had to string a rope between two trees and go across on harnesses. It started raining at the start of the activity, and rained through the entire event. We spent an hour and a half standing in the rain while the kids competed in the challenge, and everyone was singing and dancing and cheering and laughing. We were soaking wet and probably having the best time we’d had all week. The campers and staff were happy to be there and eager to help encourage each other. Their attitude towards inconveniences was really inspiring.  

Ronti, Emily, Shim, Ronke

The bible talks about the difficulty that the rich have in making it to the kingdom. For so many, the blessing of having much comes with the curse of being afraid to lose any of it. Our stranglehold on the physical comforts becomes what defines us, because it becomes more important than learning to give. When you take away those physical possessions, what is left to identify us is the character we develop and the attitudes we possess. By serving in this camp, removing myself from a comfortable and familiar environment and placing myself under God’s protection, I can get better glimpses into my character and that of those around me.

I served in the Ghana camp 4 years ago, and the Nigeria camp this summer, and both times I came away more solidly convicted of the qualities I want to possess as a Christian, and my desire to be a serving member of God’s church. I learn to have faith, to demonstrate Christian love, and to stay positive. I find the presence of God in the brethren in Africa and getting to serve with them, and I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who has the chance to get involved, because the experience is well worth it.

» Related Article: Personal Commentary by Bobbi Kitts

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