I arrived Monday afternoon and was met at the Lagos airport by Mike Essien and Pastor Sunday of the local Nigeria-CLC. My flight was scheduled to arrive at 3:10 pm and with Mike's advice we had two plans in place. IF my flight arrived on time and I didn't have any trouble with immigration or customs officers upon arrival, then I should be able to be out of the airport by 4:30 or so we would head straight out of town for the 2.5 hour trip to Badagry where a seminar at the NCLC congregation was scheduled to begin at 9:00 am the next morning. If I wasn't able to get through immigration and customs quickly, then I would be out much later and I would spend the night in Lagos and we would need to head out very early in the morning to arrive at the seminar in time. By God's grace, I breezed right through the airport with no questions at all and I was out the door by 3:45 pm where Mike and Pastor Sunday were waiting. We had exchanged photos by email so we could find each other since it's been almost twenty years since the last time I saw Mike face to face the first time I visited Nigeria back in 1997 when I was still in seminary.
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We had two days of evangelism seminars scheduled with Pastor Sunday from Lagos (who came with us) and the pastor of local NCLC congregation in Apa, along with some of the members of the congregation in Badagry. During the down time, I had the privilege of getting to know Mike Essien and Martin's wife Tina (who was an incredible host) as we spent hours discussing all kinds of interesting topics that included politics, local culture, family traditions, Boko Haram, church work, the history of Christianity in Nigeria, and most importantly, the history of NCLC and what challenges the current pastors and congregations face.
We made the trip back to Lagos today and I am checked into an motel near the airport with great air-conditioning and wifi. I'll get caught up on some work and email this evening, have a good meal at the motel restaraunt, do some laundry, talk to the family back home, and get a good night of sleep before a busy weekend and week to follow.
Tomorrow (Saturday 3/11) I fly from Lagos to Port Harcourt where all the pastors of the NCLC will be gathering on Sunday evening and Monday morning for their general pastoral conference that will begin on Monday and run through Thursday. I'm looking forward to meeting all the pastors and growing together in our faith and understanding of God's saving word as we also encourage one another in this blessed privilege of proclaiming the one thing needful!
If you'd like to read about the history of the joint effort of the NCLC and CLC that dates back to the early 1970's, you can find more information at: www.lutheranmissions.org/nation/nigeria/