Saturday, August 28, 2010

Africa Outreach 2010 Summary

Africa Outreach (AO) 2010 in summary

God has been so gracious to us as a family and as the ministry of Africa Outreach. 2009 came to an end in a grand style and 2010 took off in a wonderful way. We give God the glory for what He has done and what He will be doing in and through the ministry of Africa Outreach. As the name implies, it is our desire to reach Africa for Christ. He has blessed us with the various arms of the ministry.

AMF (Africa Ministerial Fellowship): God is using this ministry to set the pace and institute a new dimension of serving Him in the vineyard. This year AMF started with a very high level of expectation with respect to reaching out to other parts of Akwa Ibom State and beyond the territorial boundaries of Nigeria. We have accomplished this to some extent. God had provided for us many openings within West Africa and Africa at large. We made our first move to the Nation of Liberia in April for a pastors conference. I took four other pastors to this great history making event. It was well attended by the Liberian pastors. The material we left behind was also duplicated and taken to many other counties in Liberia. In short, AMF was well received in Liberia. We look forward to subsequent conferences in that war torn nation. This nation needs Christians to step in and help strengthen the movement of the gospel while the people are so hungry for it. As I am writing this, one of the AMF Pastors, Rev. Abundance Igwela, has concluded our arraignments to revisit the pastors early next month.

Ghana is our immediate neighboring country. Pastors have been waiting for some time for AMF to come and help them. The concept of forming a common front by uniting the pastors together was very well received among the various church founders and workers. In May I took to the road to see things for myself. The weekend I spent in Ghana will ever remain ingrained in my memory as long as the vineyard business is of concern. I went there based on an invitation to speak in two different cities that are about eight hours driving time from each other. I came back home and was more humbled to see what God is doing and can do if we are available to be used by Him. By His grace I have a young man on the ground that is following up from where I stopped. The AMF is also making plans to have a conference in Ghana early next year. By His grace, we also have a standing invitation to visit Abidjan and Togo sometimes next year.

FBC Fellowship Bible Church: “I will build my church . . .” The Master Builder and sole owner of the Church is doing what He said He would do. We started this year with our new resident pastor, Ubong Stanley, and his family, after a long, hard, and rough journey last year. The church is regrouping and more people are visiting. Some are joining the church as members. The joy of oneness and the sincere love for the Lord can once again be felt in the church, even after the mass exodus of those who left to join our founding resident pastor as he started a new church few blocks away from us.

We had many reasons to thank God for seeing us through the last year and early this year. The church has taken a new dimension and more mature people are making her their church home. Our program of events continues as scheduled, praise and worship is receiving good attention and it is complementing our sermons. God has also blessed us with a new worship leader and she is truly a worshipper of the most high God. During the second quarter of this year I spent some time training some the potential leaders who are now leading our House Care Fellowship ministry. We kick started the home cell groups on the first Sunday of July and it is doing very well. The members are very involved and it has become one of our most effective tools for soul winning. Our biggest obstacle today is accommodations. It has been frustrating looking for a new temporary place to relocate the church. We have had some promises, but so far, none have materialized. We are trusting God that He will make a way for us very soon.

FBC Itak is also moving on with their leader. They have been adding new souls to the church according to His divine plan. We are making plans to host a revival meeting in early November. We had a joint meeting in June at Ikot Ekpene. It was well attended and many souls were touched. Pastor Ubong Stanley has taken charge of the day-to-day running of both of the church campuses.

AFRICA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (ATS): The Seminary, since her inception, has been enjoying God’s leadership in all her activities. The student population is growing, as is the teaching staff. We have also added new courses in subjects like the Hebrew language.

On the 31st of July we had our 3rd matriculation with over 30 new committed students. This matriculation was witnessed by our VBS missionaries who themselves helped to grace the occasion. The guest speaker was a professor from the University of Nigeria Uyo. He challenged the students to look unto Jesus who has called them to service and they will be faithfully rewarded by Him. Rev. Innocent Otuk, who is currently serving as the dean of academics, is taking charge of the day-to-day running of the seminary. We are proud to share with you that 99% of past students are actively serving God in respective capacities somewhere in Nigeria or beyond. One has just left for the mission field in Northern Ghana, thanks be to God. We are trusting God that, in time, this will be the best evangelical seminary affecting the lives of those in and around Akwa Ibom State for eternity. Pray with us as we are planning to relocate and for the completion of our library project. Join us in prayers as we seriously look for affiliate institutions within and outside Nigeria.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL (VBS): VBS has come to stay. Each year the number of children attending has increased. This year we had an average of about 2000 each day of the week long program. The theme this year was the “Fruit of the Spirit”. Thanks to Fellowship Nashville for sending us a team of eight. Also thanks to Richard Scott who came to us for the first time in 2004. He returned this year for VBS and brought his son Levi. The teams visit was a blessing to the children of our community and the state at large. They worked very hard under the leadership of Pastor Jonathan and Leah.

For the first time we were able to use both the premises of Monika kindergarten and St Paul secondary school. We had ample space. We are thankful to all of you for coming directly or indirectly. Thanks for all your prayers and support. A special thanks goes to Mark McLaughlin for taking time to travel to Nashville for a special coaching of the team, making sure that they dot all the “I’s” and cross all the “T’s”.

We are looking forward to 2011 with the hope of a minimum of 21 missionaries coming to help the VBS. Yes, I mean twenty-one. We will need that many to keep the VBS running. Thanks for all who have come in the past. The ripple effect of the VBS is going around in the city and the state. Children are gathering in groups singing and rehearsing what they learned during the VBS. To me, it is an investment of time that will help change the community, the state, and the country at large. Thanks for your involvement.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

December 2009 Report from Aniefiok

Fellowship Bible Church, Ikot Ekpene and Itak Ikot Udo campuses came together in a 3-day convention at the resource center from December 17th to 19th, 2009. The theme of the convention was “Follow the Star” and people were reminded to refocus their direction and follow Christ.

Christmas Celebration: Christmas season a time of celebration and fellowshipping with one another. Members were encouraged to exchanged gifts and come together on the 25th to sing Christmas Carols and to worship the newborn king. Your generous donation made it possible for all members as well as other poor neighbors to have dinner on their table. Sixty seven families were presented with Christmas meal packages- a bag of rice and some can tomato sauces. Some widows and orphans were given new Nigerian Fabrics commonly known as (wrapper). One of these families, the father, and the mother is dead and three children left to cater for themselves, the oldest boy who is 17 years old has stopped his education and gone into petty trading so that the other siblings could continue with school. An elderly widow with no hope at all, had a smile on her face, as a bag of rice and a piece of wrapper was given to her. Many people have had a smile put on their face because of you. It is hard for you to know how much a bag of rice can go for a family who did not know where their next meal would come from.

This year, your donation has also enabled us to go a step further by appreciating those people that have played a vital role in the Africa Outreach conferences. Some gift baskets were given to some of these significant people, among them was Mrs. Monica Essien who has freely let us used her school premises for our VBS program. Mr. Asuquo, the government official who arranges for the bus that conveyed the missionaries to and from Calabar airport and the VBS center, of course, our city Mayor, Pastor Sunny Ibout, was also treated to a gift basket.

The orphans at the orphanage were also remembered. A 100kg bag of rice, biscuits, candies, and another gift box from Nashville VBS team arrived with shoes and clothing was given to the children. And what a great joy among the children and the staff. Most of the staff was very grateful that the orphans are fondly remembered by the ministry of Africa Outreach. They prayed for all the contributors with a sincere heart.

On the 31st, members of FBC watched the night with prayers, songs, testimonies, etcetera from 9pm to 12 midnight. They were very grateful to God for seeing us through another year. The year 2009 was a very trivial one for FBC members and we are very grateful that we all survived it.

1st of January marked our yearly great event. Over 100 children from all nooks of the community including Itak Ikot Udo village, and many adults gathered in the mission house to play Soccer, Basketball, Frisbee golf and to kick the year 2010 to a great start! A lot of merriment in the air as children and spectators cheered drink and ate their New Year dinner. We are very grateful to you for being our source of putting joy on the face of many people. We couldn’t have done all this without you.

Thank you very much. May His reward be your portion. AMEN.
Yours in His service
Aniefiok Udo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fall 2009 Pastors Conference

I am excited to say that we had a fantastic trip to Ikot Ekpene to be with Aniefiok and be a part of the 6th Leadership Conference for AOI. Five of us from Fellowship Bible Church Nashville arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, October 27th. Dan and Dian Belbeck, RoseAnne Coleman returned for their second time and Tom Clagett joined us for his first trip. As we got off the plane and took our luggage through customs, we went outside to find that Aniefiok wasn’t there. It was the first time in my four trips that he was not there to meet us. His flight from Calabar to Lagos was delayed by two hours and we waited outside the Lagos airport for about 30 minutes before he arrived. While it was a little unsettling, we were fine and it confirmed for me the importance of having Aniefiok meet teams as they arrive in Lagos and then travel on with them. He took us to a nice local hotel and the next day we flew to Calabar. From there, we met up with Innocent, Godwin, and Pastor Greg who helped us travel on to Aniefiok’s home.

The five of us took 10 suitcases, one each for personal items and one each for supplies that included 400 New Testaments to give to the pastors as well as some medications that Dr. Vanderpool sent with us to take to Aniefiok to give away to those that needed them. As part of our resources to give the pastors, we paid for 400 Marriage Bible Study books from Precept ministries. Through Dan’s association with this ministry, he arranged for the printing and delivery of these books from within Africa. Stuart Kemsley from Precept Ministries joined us from South Africa and brought the books with him. He met us in Lagos and was with us for the duration of our stay and we are very excited that we were able to establish a relationship with him. He may join us again and participate by teaching in a future conference.

The conference began on Thursday. Dian and RoseAnne had more women than they anticipated as they taught from and gave the women the Precept book by Kay Arthur, Teach Me To Study The Bible in 28 Days. Several of the women shared how excited they were that they were learning how to really study the Bible as never before. I’m thankful that for the second time, we have been able to include a track for women and RoseAnne and Dian are excellent teachers. Dan Belbeck continued his teaching to help the men improve their marriages, Tom Clagett presented a series of lessons on the Five Core Values that we teach at Fellowship (Worship, Community, Growth, Service, and Generosity), and I presented Leadership Lessons from the Life of Joshua. The conference concluded on Saturday and over the three days, there were close to 400 participants.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak at Aniefiok’s church while Tom and Stuart attended and spoke at Godwin’s church. It was a good day to worship with our brother’s and sister’s as we danced and celebrated our Lord together.

On Sunday afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet with Francis, a local doctor that will be crucial to Aniefiok’s leadership team for the future medical clinic. On Monday, we had the opportunity to visit the school where the VBS is held in August and we also visited the local orphanage to deliver some gifts and toys that were delivered from our Nashville Inversion team while we were there.

Every time we go, God does amazing things and we always realize that while the material we teach is valuable to the pastors, the most important thing is the time we spend encouraging each other and bringing glory to God through our walk and ministry together.

In Him,

Jeff Runion

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Dearly Beloved,

It has been another great year for us. The Lord has taken us toward steps of training this year. The ministry has flourishes. This year we succeeded in hosting three international conferences. Pastor George and his team from Grace Community Church in company with Steve Pulley, a friend I met in College days since 1982, and his church assistance pastor – Jim Stockdale came in February. Jeff Runion and his team from Fellowship Bible Church Nashville, TN came in may. In these two conferences, over 800 pastors and church workers were ministered to. These conferences has helped many churches to and become more effective in soul winning and discipleship.

Our third conference took place in August and this time was geared towards children. About 500 children in attendance in Vacation Bible School organized by Bob Rudy and the team from Watermark Community Church, Dallas Texas. The children in our community have never been exposed to such an event like this. They were blessed and are looking forward to same next year.
For the first time this year we experienced what is called the “Empty NEST”. All our boys left home for the boarding school and indeed the house has been empty and quiet. They are all in the same school- Top Faith Secondary School.

Stephen is 15 years old and in his final year in senior high school. He is preparing for his certificate exams called West African School certificate. This is a major comprehensive exam in Africa that covers all materials done in high School. Please keep him in your prayers. He shall be through in May next year and thereafter head on to college.

Samuel is 13 years old doing in ninth grade, the final year in junior high. He is also preparing for the Junior West African Examination. He will also receive a certificate at the end of this exam and thereafter head on for senior high School.

James is 10 years old and is attending boarding school for first time. It has been a tremendous change for him and sometimes he still wishes he were back home. We hope that he will get the hang of it by the end of the year. He has done wonderfully well academically. Sincerely speaking all the boys are doing very well academically, socially and otherwise. WE owe it all to God for He has been very faithful.

We are very happy to have them home for Christmas holidays. It is a good time for fellowship and bonding. They will be with us till the 4th of January before going back for their second trimester which will last till Easter then they will be home for another two weeks before going for the final trimester to be home for summer holidays by late July.
We wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Keep us in your prayers

Aniefiok, Judy, Stephen, Samuel, James

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Aniefiok Shares His Story (October 2008)

I was eight years old when my dad died. He went out with ten people barely twenty-four hours before Nigeria's civil war ended in a cease-fire, and he never returned. About two weeks later, I tried to kill myself. I got up from sleeping on the floor with my mom and brothers, and I took a rope with me out into the night. But when I got outside about 1 AM, a woman living in the same compound saw me with it and tried to stop me. I struggled with her for about two-and-a-half hours.

I was so bitter. I would fight with anybody to retaliate. I kept a broken bottle in my pocket, and I did a lot of damage. I have a machete scar on my face, and I inflicted a few. It was a very rough childhood. My last fight happened in a church a few days before Christmas 1971. Someone upset me and, holding my pocketknife in the midst of about sixty seventy kids, I told someone, "Either you kill me or I'll kill you." My uncle, after a long struggle, stopped me by calling me by my nickname. I handed him my knife and left. The pastor and the church committee called me to mediate, but I stopped going.

A few years later, I fell sick. And someone—a nurse in a doctor's office shared the gospel with me briefly and asked me to go back home and meet a Nigerian man (who now lives in Houston) who could tell me more about Jesus . That night I prayed to receive Christ.

For the first time I got up in the middle of the night to sing. I had thrown away the only Bible I had. I went back to the church I was attending in my town and apologized for my previous behavior.

I saved money and wanted to go to the USSR to go to college. But that meant a year of language school. So I wrote to my friend in Houston and he asked me to mail him my transcript. He took it to an agricultural college in Georgia and turned it in to them on my behalf. Within two months I received a letter of acceptance along with Form 1-20. So I came into the States in the spring of 1981 to start college. Later I transferred to Arkansas State University, where I earned a degree in Finance.

I wanted to go to flying school next. I left Arkansas and traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida. I applied and was accepted to the MBA program in Aviation at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Yet most people around me kept calling me pastor or preacher, because I enjoy telling others about Christ . I headed to Clearwater, Florida, to visit a pastor friend a few days after my graduation, and while I was there, a man I didn't know dropped by. He said to me, "You're from Nigeria? If God is calling you, I'll pay for the first year [of Bible college]." He was a stranger! (Since then I've never laid eyes on him.)

My soul was disturbed by this development. So when I finished visiting my pastor friend, I decided to stop by the Bible school. The only person I saw was the academic dean. When he met me, he said, "Someone came this morning and said ‘a Nigerian may be coming to your school.' By the way, class starts on Monday." That Sunday at 10 PM, I packed my car, gave my roommate rent for the month, and drove all night from Daytona Beach to Clearwater. That was the beginning of two years at Florida Beacon Bible College. During my final semester, I joined a mission team to Guatemala for 10 days, and it was an eye-opener to me to minister in a third-world country.

Following graduation, in 1987 I returned to Nigeria to see my mom, whom I'd not seen in years. While there, I got engaged, and was married. I taught in a Bible school, and my wife was an artist. Two years later, our first baby was due in January 1990. But when my wife went to give birth, she was in labor for thirty-six hours, and thereafter she was operated on. We discovered the baby had long since died. I buried the child that Sunday morning, and on the following Friday, I buried my late wife. And I told my mom I'd never marry again.

Some months later, I flew to Tampa. I told my host that I wanted to go to seminary at DTS, but it was too late in the year to apply—or so I thought. A friend called the school on my behalf and helped me get all the forms faxed. And amazingly a few days later, I received a fax informing me that I'd been accepted.

So I started at DTS in fall of 1990. That winter a drunk driver hit my car and provided a false address, so the expenses, including surgery, were laid on me. Once I got through that, the following year I had peace about marrying again. I told my prayer group, and they prayed with and for me. I told the Lord, "God, I'm ready for someone to work with me. " My friends asked if my wife had to be from Nigeria, and I said, "I don't care if she's black, pink, purple, or yellow—as long as it's from God, its fine with me."

Three or four days later, I met Judy. So I called my friend from Houston and asked him to come to Dallas. Then I told Judy, "Someone is coming whom I'd like to meet with you." I picked up my friend from the downtown bus station and went to work. The two of them talked long into the night and most of the next day. Then she said she wanted to pray about it. And a few days later, she called. A few weeks after that, we met with my pastor, and we stared planning a wedding. I asked her, "Would you be willing to go back to Nigeria with me?" And she was and is. There is no one I could have married who is more fitting for me and the work we're doing. She changed her major from computer engineering to study nursing so that we can go back and be of help to our people.

When we had our first boy, Steven, I thought I would have to drop out of Greek because we didn't have childcare. But Dr. Dan Wallace, my professor, called me and said, "You've been passing your tests. Do not drop out. Bring the boy to Greek review class." So for two months I took that baby to my Saturday Greek class. And I graduated the spring of 1995.

Two years later Judy took her board exam. We got the results a month later, and left to go to Nigeria within a week. She never worked one day in the U. S. with her nursing degree. She was four months' pregnant, and we had no idea where we would live or stay. But our hearts were in Nigeria. So we moved there and had another child. All four of us lived in one room.

Before long I was appointed the rector of a Bible college and was teaching at the Bible school and pastoring. We did that for seven years.

Eventually I felt led to a different ministry. I resigned from all my responsibilities and my wife, kids, and I started meeting and praying. We started Fellowship Bible Church and Africa Ministerial Fellowship (AMF), an organization for training and equipping hundreds of pastors through conference ministries and helping them form accountability relationships. I also started a Bible school that now has fifty-six students. We charge them $50/semester and we have to live by faith.

Today we also hold kids' clubs. Two years ago, we had only a few kids. So my wife went house to house to convince the parents to send their children. This summer a pastor friend that we met at DTS and his friend, also a DTS graduate, brought a team to help us teach hundreds of kids at VBS. The mayor of our town, Ikot-Ekpene, even came and led them in a message and singing. He said he would like to see our work with kids expand to include a multi-city effort.

Today we operate on a 32-acre lot in the town where I terrorized people with my bullying. A man who had never sold a piece of property to anyone else sold that land to me for a fraction of its value because he wanted to improve the community, and he believed in what we're doing. And I've seen God in a different dimension!

We have many more plans…vocational training, teaching girls to sew, and welding and carpentry for the men. We want a clinic. And I also have grave concerns about the lack of grounding in theology; we started a Bible school to train these pastors. These pastors need each other—they need a network and accountability. Everyone wants to be independent. I am trying to do what is not common in my area. I tell them, "If you have a problem, come tell me." I want them to talk to somebody instead of doing ministry alone. You cannot do it alone. I cannot do it alone.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

August 2008 VBS

Report on VBS, August 2008

VBS has been real unique this year! Unlike the previous years, five missionaries from Watermark Community Church. Dallas, TX, came in to help organize the event. The team was led by Mr. Robert (Bob) Rudy in the company of his wife Elizabeth Rudy, Mark McLaughlin, Roxana Deadman and Robbie Russell. It was a cross-cultural program as the team worked in collaboration with Aniefiok and Judy udo and other ministers.
The program lasted for 6 days, started Tuesday, 6th August and ended on Sunday, 10th August in a variety show. Event was held in the premises of Monika Elementary School owned by a German lady who is married to a Nigerian. Over 500 children were in attendance and each day was met with an increase.

Theme of VBS was “The pirate who don’t do anything”, a veggie tale VBS series. Fortunately, most of the children here do not know much about the pirates nor veggie tales, hence they were real eager to find out. They were so fascinated by the skits presented by the mission team as well as the movie clips. Other features included Arts/Crafts, games, soccer competition, etc. Over 25 volunteer teachers were recruited from about 14 churches pastored by the AMF pastors and 10 classrooms were used. Lunches and snacks were served daily. Thanks for helping us do so.

Sunday marked the highlight of the program as children and parents from 3 different cities in the metropolis trooped into the hall of Fellowship Bible Church, Ikot – Ekpene, Nigeria. On attendance too, was the city mayor, who was very impressed with the event and expressed interest in continuity of such programs to help our youth and children live Godly lives.

VBS, 2008 has been the ‘talk of town’. Parents are greatly impressed and our children are happy. They are looking forward to participating next year. Our heartfelt thanks goes to our missionaries who worked tirelessly and sacrificially to make the program a great success.

1. Prayer of Thanksgiving to God for all his goodness towards us.
2. Divine provision to meet our budget for the year.
3. Wisdom for growth and expansion of our frontiers

4. Pray for divine blessing on all our partners,

Monday, August 25, 2008

AOI July 2008 Report

PREAMBLE : The month of July was a wonderful month for us as we set it aside to give thanks to God for successfully bringing us to the second half of the year.
ATTENDANCE; the attendance at the Ikot – Ekpene main campus stood at 160 for our Sunday services and 75 for the Itak assembly.
We started the New month with a day of prayer and fasting committing the new month into the hands of the Lord. This took place on Tuesday 1st of July.
Thanksgiving Service: Sunday 20th of July was a day we set aside at FBC to corporately thank God for bringing us to the second half of the year. It was a great time of jubilation and rejoicing as the choir was on hand to lead us into the presence of God.
YOUTH FELLOWSHIP: By 4:00pm of the same day the Youth Fellowship gathered for a time of sharing Gods word, Bible Quiz and other activities.
ALL NIGHT SERVICE; Friday 25th of July, was an all-night of praise, prayer, Word exposition. The event started by 9:00pm and ended 5:00am Saturday morning.

AFRICA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: Preparation is on top gear to welcome both old and new students to a new academic session in August. The
entire Faculty Board had a meeting in July to map out plans for the new school year. Dr. Udo presided over the meeting.
AFRICA MINISTERIAL FELLOWSHIP: The month of July was a very busy month for the executive members in preparation for the first National Pastors Conference at Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria. Friday 25th to Saturday 26th of July, Dr Udo and the wife led other 7 AMF pastors to facilitate the conference at Port Harcourt. There were plenary sessions on leadership led by Dr. Udo and family life and marriage by Judy Udo, as well as break out seminar session on church growth and worship led by other AMF pastors.
The high point of the event was the official Inauguration of the AMF Chapter Rivers State. This was another milestone in the progress AMF is making to reach out to Pastor in Nigeria. Plans are on the way to soon have another National Conference at other locations.