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Emmanuel Bithfya

Brothers and sisters, see the rubble of my local church that was bombed by radical Muslims on June 17, 2012 during church worship. There were over 200 children and 600 adults worshiping in church that morning. If everybody were to die in that bomb blast, I would have lost my wife, daughter, and son, simply because they have gone to worship God and they bear the name of Christ.

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My Spiritual Journey

 

1. Salvation

I was born into a Christian family. My father was a pastor, and my parents were strict disciplinarians. Growing in such a home accorded me the opportunity to learn more about Jesus Christ, and it also helped to shape my character and lifestyle.

I do not have a dramatic salvation experience like that of Paul on his way to Damascus, or the prison jailer, or people who came from non-christian backgrounds. However, I am sure that I accepted Christ to be my Lord and Savior at the age of twelve. God in His love and grace opened my eyes at that tender age to see how empty life is without Christ, the effect of sin, and the need for salvation. I am grateful to God because by His grace, He did not allow me to grope for so long in darkness before He called me into His light. And I am also grateful to my parents for teaching me the precepts of the Lord, and the way of salvation right from the cradle.

 

2. Call to Ministry

Like many people, I had a desire to pursue a career that I thought was best for me. But God wanted me to work full-time in His vineyard. I cannot explain how my interest started focusing on pastoral ministry, but I found myself loosing interest in pursuing my dreamed law career, and paying more attention to pastoral ministry. I resisted the thought for a while, but God kept reminding me on how He needed me in the Ministry. When I finally realized that God was calling me into the ministry (given the conviction I had), I responded to His call. Interestingly, two months after my official employment as Assistant pastor in 1996, my father died after serving as pastor for 41 years.

 

3. Ministry Experience

Naturally, we have a propensity to choose a garden with beautiful flowers, than the valley full of dry bones. The Lord called me to do ministry in one of the complex cities in Nigeria, and that is Zaria. Zaria is the second largest city in Kaduna State. It is a city that house the Headquarters of the Muslim Shiite sect, a city where the Emir of Zauzau lives, and a premier University, the Ahmadu Bello University. I hope this information helps you to understand that Zaria is an important city to the Muslims, and a potential danger to Christians and Christianity.

We face persecution in different forms. For instance, the church finds it difficult to acquire land for expansion, or for building new churches. The Muslims refuse to sell lands to churches. Sometimes, the church uses its members to buy land and resell the land to the church. Pastors and members face threats to their lives. In spite of all these forms of persecution that we face, the church is thriving to the glory of God.

 

4. Why I Chose Asbury

There are two reasons why I chose Asbury Seminary for my further theological studies. The first reason is the statement of faith of the school. And the second reason is the ethos of the school.

 

5. Future Plans

I plan to return to my home country as soon as I complete my studies in the US. Having seen the plight of widows and orphans in my community, the Lord is impressing on me a very strong concern for them. That is the new ministry I am planing to do. Because many of them are vulnerable, voiceless and helpless in the society, especially in Africa.

 

About Nigeria

Is a country with an estimated population of over 150 million people, 250 – 350 languages, rich cultural heritage, and a country with many religions. However, Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions. Although Nigeria is a rich country, but the wealth of the nation is in the hands of few greedy people who care less about the majority of people that live in penury.

 

How to Pray for Nigeria

  1. Pray for Christians to stand firm in their faith even in the midst of all persecutions.
  2. Pray that Christians will learn to let God handle situations for them, no matter the level of provocation. Revenge is the worst slippery path that Satan wants Christians to follow, thereby disobeying God.
  3. Pray that forgiveness will be the ornament of beauty that Christians will wear to distinguish them from the world.

FORGIVENESS is the only healing balm to all the injustices and persecutions meted on Christians. Once again, pray that Nigerian Christians will forgive those who have caused them so much pain and grief.

I emphasize so much on FORGIVENESS because without it, we are not eligible to say the prayer Jesus taught the disciples, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we say this prayer, but refuse to forgive those who persecute us, we are liars.

Christians should remember that they do not just follow a shepherd who is good, but a Savior who is God.

In Christ,
Emmanuel.

 

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