By Segun Badejo
“AM I NOT WORTH DIEING FOR!!!”
I was relaxing on the couch in the living room, not actually sleeping but meditating with my eyes closed, then suddenly I heard His golden voice in my Spirit, it was a still small voice as usual, gentle but strong like that of a General
‘Am I not worth dieing for?’.
I got up surprised trying to decipher what I heard. I knew it was God speaking, but ‘Am I not worth dieing for?’, I found it hard to comprehend. Does it mean we should go? If we go does it mean we will die for God? God, I’m not d martyr type Lord!
Prior to this time we had met a Missionary at the Mount Zion Institute at Ile-Ife in Osun State, Nigeria. His Mission Stations are some Villages on the Islands on Atlantic Ocean in Bayelsa State. We discussed on missions and he said he wanted us to help open up his Mission Stations to the Gospel through our Drama Mission. He said the land had been hard and mission work difficult. I promised him that we will pray about it
God had given me boldness to enter anywhere in any country no matter the terrain and difficulty it entails. But this was different. We will have to travel in open boats on the sea for hours as we move from one mission station to another. This is not even the issue, the challenge is that during this period, Niger/Delta was the boiling point in Nigeria.The Niger/Delta consist of Eight States and that is where Nigeria Government drill Oil to sustain her economy. The people are angry that the area is abandoned and underdeveloped. So the disgrunted youths took up arm against the Government destroying oil pipelines and vandalizing Oil installations. Thousands of lives had been lost in the clashes between The Nigeria Army and The Militants. The Militants at this had resulted into kidnapping oil workers and expatriates in exchange for huge ransom. The death toll was rising everyday as they clashed with the military. Many innocent people were killed for mistaken identity. The militants at times mistakenly shot innocent people thinking they were Millitary men or spies and same thing happened on the part of the Millitary.
So Niger Delta area was a death trap for anyone. People started advising us not to go saying Nigeria still need us. Many said wisdom is profitable to direct. It’s a very wrong time to go for missions in such place. Then we started listening to news to really know the situation of things. But all we heard daily were bad news as the situation was escalating.Then that faithful afternoon, i was on the couch having my siesta when God spoke to me. Definitely I can go to any extent to see souls come to the Lord but dieing for Him as a martyr is something I’ve never sat to ruminate about. God is worth dieing for, but can i? I had to go into His presence to settle myself first. I had to surrender my life into His hands before I can inform others and carry them along. After arriving at the conclusion that God is able to keep whatever we committed to Him, I let go–. I first informed my wife about it. She agreed to it but on one condition – we go together. I persuaded her to stay to no avail. I told her that if anything happen to me on the Mission Fields at least she will be there for the children, but she said its better we die together. At the end God gave me wisdom to to handle her. I told her that we needed an intercessor to stay home and be interceeding for us. She then relunctantly agreed to wait and stand in the gap. Having settled with her, the members of the ministry was next.
I called for a meeting and they all came. I told them what I heard, Is God worth dieing for! After discussing back and forth, they all agreed to go. But a woman in their midst said she has phobia for the sea. But will buy a dark sunshade to cover her face whenever we are traveling by sea. Having concluded preparations to go, we contacted the missionary and we fix the date for our arrival
On the date agreed, five of us left Ibadan, very early in the morning for Warri because we will have to board a boat in a place called Bomadi in Delta State and journeyed for two hours on the sea in an open boat to get to our first Mission Station, Peretoru in Balyesa State. We got to Warri and alighted, From Warri, we got a cab to drop us at Bomadi riverside, but instead, the driver passed the junction to Bomadi and headed straight for Port Harcourt. The journey that was supposed to take 30 minutes from Warri became one hour and we started to suspect something was wrong. We got to a police check point and I called the attention of one of the police men asking him if Bomadi was still far ahead. The policeman was furious with our driver. He shouted at him and asked him where he was taken us. As a Warri man they said he’s supposed to know Bomadi. They lashed him with words and ordered him to turn back. He did but by the time we got to Bomadi seaside, it was night already. The boat sent to convey us for the two hours journey had left.
We looked around the place for an hotel but none was available. A man came to meet us and ask if we don’t mind to sleep in a brothel with a single mattress. He promised to help get extra one if we don’t mind.
He took us to the brothel, we paid and he got the extra mattress for us. We bought bread, butter and table water sachets. So we all ate and slept off, brothers on one bed, sisters on the other. Early in the morning, we were all by the riverside looking at various activities going on as several boats were coming and going. An hour later, a boat arrived and I saw an unrecognized woman smilling at me, she came towards us with another man and they greeted us Introducing themselves as those sent to convey us to Peretoru. Getting into the boat, I asked for d life jackets I requested for, but lo and behold, they brought only three instead five. How could five of us share just three life jackets. I was not happy but there was nothing we could do about it. I gave two to our sisters, then turned to the brothers and asked which of them want the remaining one. They all said they don’t want, so I spread it on the floor of the boat grieving it to God. Then we close our eyes and pray committing our journey Him that is able to keep our souls.
We all held our breath as the most feared aspect of the journey began – the first two hour journey on the sea on our way to Peretoru in Bayelsa State. We saw The Police and Nigeria Navy patrolling the sea up and down but we landed safely after two hours to the glory of God. The village was beside the sea and we discovered their lifestyle was totally different from ours. The first Crusade took place that same night. We ministered through one of our movies titled ‘Fears to the Wind’. We could not conclude the movie or make alter call as another pastor had to minister after us. The second day, we were able to conclude the movie yet we couldn’t make Alter call as well because another man of God was to minister after us again. When we got to where we lodge, our host whispered to me that he is not satisfied yet because hes yet to witness massive alter call for salvation. So I told him not to bring up any minister after us, but should allow us to make alter call.
So on the third day which was the last day of our mission in that community, we ministered through our powerful stage drama ‘Hell Choir in Concert’. after much dances and praises. The playground was jam packed: the result of the first two days of the crusade. By the time the ministration came to an end, there was an uproar as the Holy Ghost electrified the atmosphere. A tall man stood up and started going up and down praying in agony. Before the alter call was made, he came to the alter prostrated, weeping and rolling on the floor. Immediately the alter call was made, hundreds of the villagers came out with tears on their faces. When the front couldn’t contain them, we told the rest to stay where they are and put their hands on their head as we led them in prayers of repentance and rededication. The Kingdom of Heaven rejoiced that night as the kingdom of hell was massively depopulated. An old man, one of the strongman of the land was among the converts. He played a major role that same night as our host and some other Pastors and Missionaries led the villagers in prayer of deliverance for the land. We learnt later that the man was a strong militant in the area and the father was a community leader. At the end of the program, the choir came out and sang a song to affirm the effect of the three days crusade in the community ‘God had delivered us hallelujah we are satisfied’. God honoured us with bountiful HARVEST of Souls.
On the fourth day, we said goodbye to the villages, they all came to say goodbye to us as we entered d boat to our next place of assignment, Tunu.
INTO THE CREEKS
Our journey to Tunu was smooth. From the great river, we branched into a deep mangrove forest where the river snaked through some undergrowth with trees and creeper hanging overhead blocking out the sun. At some points in the journey, the water ways became so narrow that our boat had to wait for oncoming ones to pass before we proceed on the journey. Tunu itself was situated on an island on Atlantic Ocean, another one and a half-hour journey on boat from Peretoru. It’s the home base of our missionary friend. He has a church there where he nurture his converts in the Word of God. We arrived Tunu around 11am and were received at the river side by the church members. They checked us into two huts built with thick nylons, one for the brothers and d other for our sisters. In the evening we held the first Crusade in Tunu and we witnessed God working wonders.
Second day was a free day for us so we went out to their small market to buy gift for our missionary friends who were celebrating their five years wedding anniversary. They were still childless at the time, so we prayed with them that within the space of one year they will carry their baby. (God honoured our prayers bcos after a year, they called us to give the good news that the wife had put to bed. They said further that they won’t name the baby till we come, but I encouraged them to do so bcos we can’t come again except the Lord sanctioned it, and they did)
DANGER: ICE STORM ON THE HIGH SEAS.
A day after the celebration, we left Tunu for a community called Agbidiama, an hour plus journey on boat. It’s been arranged for us to stay in the palace. So we left Tunu around 1pm, the church members waving at us as we left in a boat the sun shinning above us. About 15 minutes later rain suddenly began to fall without notice. We got to know later that on the Atlantic rain can fall anytime of the year. We all began to feel cold but there’s nothing we could do nor anywhere to hide. Soon, the rain turned to ice storm and we were all shivering with cold as we hide our heads in between our laps. God, is this the end you talked about when you said ‘are you not worth dieing for’? We got to the high seas and the storm was going stronger. I raised my head and all I see was water all around. I pitied the brethren as I looked at them with their heads in between their laps to protect them from the ice. I couldn’t see the front again, the ice was entering my nose my ear and my eyes. If this is the end I want to see how it will be. Then a popular song came to my mind
Emi koni beru iji to nja, Lori agbami aye (2ce)
Nitoripe baba mi lo nwako,
O si mope mowa ninu oko
Nitoripe baba mi lo nwako
Emi koni beru iji to nja
(I’ll not fear the stormy seas because my father who is the sailor is aware of my presence in the boat)
As the song kept ringing in my heart, I was receiving inner strength to intercede. At last we left the high sea and enter the river that led to Agbidiama community and the ice storm stopped suddenly just like it started. In Agbidiama, it was sunny just like it was when we left Tunu. We really appreciated God for the merciful journey He granted us. During ice storms in this area, trees are usually uprooted and thrown into the sea. And this could collide with an open boat like ours and capsize it. Thank God He led us safely to Agbidiama.
The brethren were on hand to receive us, they took us straight into the palace and settle us there. His royal majesty was not around but the Queen received us with open arms. The three days drama crusade was equally powerful and successful. We left for a visit to the Living Living Church in the area and we were asked to anoint the church members and re-ordained the pastor there.
On the fourth day we packed our things and left the community. On our way back to Tunu, we saw numbers of trees and logs that were uprooted and flunged into the sea during the ice storm four days earlier. An evedence of God’s deliverance during the ice storm. On the morning of our departure, the Army Commandant of a Shell Oil Company installation nearby made ready an Army boat to take us back to Bomadi. Our missionary friend and his wife too brought loads of fishes and shrimps. They accompanied us to the river side. Amidst tears, handshakes and hand waves, the Mission to Niger/Delta ends as we enter the boat with some gun carrying soldiers to guard us till we reach the land.
MATTHEW 16: FOR WHOSOEVER WILL SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT: AND WHOSOEVER WILL LOSE HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE SHALL FOUND IT. AMEN.
(Please pray for us as we embark on Drama/Medical Mission to Olunlosin Village this weekend. Pray along for bountiful harvest of souls. God bless you)