Going to Ogeye for the monthly Immanuel College Village outreach was what we, the Mission Team, looked forward to. And we reached the village but spent twice the estimated travel time. It was September 8.
No one is complaining as it is not unusual for a combination of bad roads and very bad weather, in the rainy season, to cause delays.
But all the same we smelt a rat. How come that the sky was reasonably clear, until our Chapel Bus turned off the old Ibadan-Oyo road, that what appeared to be a sea of water suddenly and viciously descended from above, just about half a kilometer to Ogeye. Mercifully the brakes were good but the downward gradient of the road was steep. Visibility was poor. The driver had to rely on his 20 years’ experience to guide the descent of the vehicle at about 20 kilometres an hour. A deluge of water was everywhere as if, somewhere, someone was bent on causing an accident or at least disrupting our plan.
If you say, from christian experience, that it is the devil, skeptics might say you are naïve. Why should satan bother himself with a handful of Evangelists, going on a village mission, when he can make headlines by causing disaster, in a city-based crusade, where a lightning strike can cause mass death and injury, and no one will actually suspect that he was behind it all! Whereas a motor accident, in a village setting, will hardly attract media attention.
The truth is that satan walks about seeking whom he might destroy, I Pet. 5:8-9. Believers must resist him through prayers, prior to and at the end of every event, as our Mission Team do. God saved us, not just because we prayed, but on account of His mercy. Satan is after the blood of christians especially the Missionaries / Evangelists for daring to attack his strongholds.
On arrival at Ogeye, 52 villagers were already waiting despite the continuing downpour. Rather than disperse they took refuge in the newly built Christ Apostolic Church auditorium, looking forward to our arrival.
As we entered the church we and our hosts broke into Praise Worship led by our Assistant Chaplain, Very Revd Joseph Ayodele. To see the villagers, despite the adverse weather, was a delight, a source of encouragement, seeing clearly that the devil had failed.
Following the opening prayer by the Dean, the Very Rev Dr William Egbetakin, our Chaplain, Very Rev Ebenezer Idowu Ariyo, gave the Message on the theme, “The Word of God”, which, he said, has power and is sharper than a two-edge sword, Heb. 4:12. Why is it so powerful? It is the means by which God created the world. So without the Word of God the world would not exist, which means there would be no human beings, no earth, no plants, no animals, no water, no fish. There would be darkness everywhere. God’s word brought light into existence and everything changed. Darkness gave way to light Gen. 1:3. And, as you know, Jesus is the light of the world although, at the point of creation He was yet to manifest Himself, John 8:12.
Where then is the Word of God? It is in the bible. This is one reason why we go from village to village preaching and distributing copies of the bible to people who are able, ready and willing to read and study it. But the word is not just the bible. It is God Himself. Because Jesus is the Son of God He is also the Word of God, John 1:1-2. This is why the Word is so powerful. The bible tells us about who God is, that He is a Spirit and that those who worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24.
God is in this auditorium but because He is a spirit we cannot see Him. Yet we know that He is here. It is by His word that we were sent out to preach the gospel and He has given the assurance that wherever we are He would be there. The devil cannot touch us. But we can heal the sick because He has commanded us to do so, Mk. 16:15-18. We can even deliver those who are demon-possessed as Jesus did many times when He was in the world, Mk. 1:21-28, Lk. 8:26-35.
The Preacher, Very Rev Ariyo, told the villagers that they can use the Word to heal the sick, as the disciples of Jesus did in those days, Acts 9:32-35. But they must fulfill certain conditions:
1. They must study the bible, the Word of God, everyday, Joshua 1:8
2. Avoid sin because God will not trust you with his power if you live in sin, Ps. 7:11
3. Love your neighbor as you love yourself, Matt. 19:19
4. Forgive your enemies. Otherwise God will not forgive you, Matt. 6:14-15
5. Be a witness for Jesus in this village and everywhere you go, Acts 1:8
After the sermon the Mission Team distributed the Back-To-School packages to children, as we did at Idigba, in August, along with refreshments to everyone else. The Dean, the Very Revd Dr William Egbetakin, closed the outreach with a prayer and Benediction just as the rains mercifully but reluctantly ended.