Expecting Danger, Beholding Grace
FirstLove Missions Report, November 2022, Nigeria Mission to Lagos
Austin Huggins and Tom Smith had the privilege of ministering at Sovereign Grace Bible Church in Lagos, Nigeria November 3-7, 2022. The focus of the ministry was the 2022 Lagos Bible Conference, Radio Outreach, and the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Sovereign Grace Bible Church.
(Recommend Reading the 2021 Nigerian Report for context)
On October 27, 2022, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria issued a Security Alert ordering the partial evacuation of Embassy staff and family members in Abuja. Coinciding with this, The Travel Advisory for Nigeria had been updated to a Level 4 due to a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in Abuja, and level 3 for the rest of the country.
Due to the ongoing political tensions leading up to the elections, the U.S Government, and several media outlets warned of escalating crime, increased threats and activities of terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnappings. The brethren felt unsure about what would be the correct course of action to take regarding this year’s mission outreach and conference. After many prayers and several discussions with the brothers in Nigeria, it was decided that the FirstLove team would forego its normal work in Abuja and concentrate exclusively on Lagos for 2022. Many prayers went up for the safety of the team members, the church, and all that would attend the conference.
Upon arrival, November 2nd, they were able to get through customs with a total of 8 suitcases full of literature and books for the conference. The Lord showed His mercy in a smooth arrival.
From the airport the group traveled to a coffee shop to meet with some of the elders, and other team members, and plan for the first radio outreach. Together they were joined by Pastors Tony Okoroh and Osinachi Nwoko of SGBC, Pastor Malamulo Chindongo from Malawi, and Pastor Olumide, an elder at Redeemer Baptist Church in Georgia, USA. We arrived at EKO 89.7 radio and were able to have a live Q and A talk show with theme of the church and government. The first evening covered the definition of a true Christian, and the gospel. Listeners were also Invited to attend the Lagos Bible Conference on Friday.
Throughout the mission, we were provided transportation and accommodations by members of SGBC, who cared for us and surrounded us with the love of Christ.
The team returned to EKO studio for radio ministry at 7:00 pm, with the theme of what is a church, and the qualifications of church leaders.
Young People for Sound Doctrine
The next morning (Thursday) we had a time for some rest and preparation. A pre-conference seminar with college age students was held in the afternoon. Many of them had traveled from long distances for the upcoming conference in Lagos. The theme of the seminar was the Doctrines of Grace and our responsibilities to “work out our salvation” and “be careful to maintain good works”. Pastor Austin gave a message on the Doctrines of Grace and Sanctification, Pastor Olumide on the Doctrines of Grace and Prayer, Pastor Malamulo on the Doctrines of Grace and Evangelism. The afternoon ended with a question and answer session.
Lagos Bible Conference
The Lagos Bible Conference began at 9:00 am on Friday, November 4th. The theme of the conference was Strangers and Pilgrims, Separated and Engaged. About 250 were in attendance on Friday, with many more listening and watching virtually. The messages focused on how we as Christians are not of this world but engaged in work and ministry in the world. Many responded with conviction, and thanksgiving for hearing the pure Word of God preached.
After the conference ended at 4, we headed to our coffee shop near the radio station and prepared for our last radio Bible Forum which focused on the biblical view of government.
On Saturday, November 5th, the Strangers and Pilgrims conference continued with over 400 in attendance, the largest attendance at any Lagos Bible Conference. Again, the messages focused on our sojourn here in this world as we prepare for our heavenly home. Many expressed great appreciation for hearing the Word preached, and were greatly convicted. Several who traveled from other cities and towns asked if we could come and help them, and hold conferences in their hometowns. The doors are wide open and the need is great for ministry in Nigeria.
20 Years of Faithful Ministry
On Sunday, November 6, we had the privilege of participating in the 20th anniversary celebration of Sovereign Grace Bible Church. The church was established with the help of Pastor Joe Jacowitz, and Pastor Tony Okoro gave a brief history of the church. Pastor Austin was able to read a letter and deliver a message from Pastor Joe. Members and visitors listened from the hallways in the building, and in tents set up outside. What a blessing to see what God has done and continues to do in Lagos and the surrounding regions of Nigeria. That afternoon, we were able to visit the land purchased for a new building, and hear the vision of the elders and deacons for a new church and ministry center on the land.
We had fellowship with the brethren that afternoon hosted by Deacon Wole and met a young man who had contact with over 90 college students who desired to learn and grow in Christ and the knowledge of the truths of His Word. Let us prayer that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers and shepherds to feed His sheep.
On Monday, November 7 we spent time with Pastor Malamulo, Pastor Osinachi and Brother Joel to discuss current needs and future opportunities for ministry in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. Many doors are opening for ministry in surrounding towns and cities around Lagos, and plans for expanding conferences and radio ministry to other areas was discussed. Brother Joel provided a status report of Grace and Truth Theological Seminary and the need for additional help and material from FirstLove’s Grace Bible University. The population in Nigeria, and throughout western Africa, is growing exponentially bringing opportunities for expanded evangelism, ministry, training, and church planting.
Austin and Tom departed late that evening for the USA, praising and thanking God for what He is doing in Lagos, and the blessing received during the time spent with the dear saints of Sovereign Grace Bible Church.