Nigeria Trip 2016 – Reflecting Back by Bernie Torrence
Jim has asked us to write a report on the impact of the ministry and focus in Nigeria. He asked us to be specific regarding which facet of the trip had the greatest personal impact. As I have pondered this question it is nearly impossible to answer. Our trip clearly had three distinct facets. The first was to see the Miracle taking place in the village where the orphans are being cared for. They are known nationally as “internally displaced people” (IDP), but in God’s eyes he knows exactly where he has placed them! It is so hard to fathom the conditions that they live under without being there, however as believers we can fathom the love and care that they are receiving. God has assembled helpers from other nations to stand with Jim and the team as they continue to focus on the education and development of these blessed souls. God wants to see that indeed, there is no child left behind! The love that we received from them and the hope that was in their eyes was overwhelming. My eyes were open to the plight of these orphans and widows and their incredible trust in God. There are images I will retain for a lifetime. A solid gold opportunity to sow into the heart of God; widows and orphans in their distress.
The next part of our mission involved visiting prisons, reformatories, and a prison farm. This was a very strategic portion of the trip and involved the relationships and equity of the local team as well as the insight of Lieutenant Tim Reed, who represented the prison system in Ohio. We had the opportunity to meet with some high-ranking officials in the Nigerian prison system and they thanked us for understanding and bringing hope. Lieutenant Tim was able to connect on a professional level that instantly brought credibility and focus to what the ministry could offer. We were also able to pray for each of the high-ranking officials. In Nigeria, prisons are used primarily for punishment and not for correction and rehabilitation. They are overcrowded and unfunded in many cases. Lieutenant Tim explained that the hope that comes from prison leaders who are developed by the principles of the kingdom of God can powerfully impact the prisoners for their return back to society as contributing members. We were able to see this seed sown into the youth in the reform school as well as the adults in the maximum security prison. Jim introduced Lieutenant Tim as our Advisor for the prison system. God raised up two people locally who have tremendous impact and equity. Louis in Lagos, and Margaret in Port Harcourt. The third facet of our trip involved the continuous divine appointments that God brought into our path. Every day we would be able to pray for, minister to, and impact people that God had scheduled an appointment with! We were moved with the compassion of Jesus in all settings. The Gideons International provided Bibles for us to take into various venues. We were able to sow the Word of God into these places and plant deeply into lives. Jim explains GTGIM as a bridge that brings various organizations into Nigeria to provide true collaboration. His local team (in Nigeria) is impeccable. Many of the relationships go back as far as 25 years so the trust is automatic. This is so important in a nation that is known globally for its corruption.
The trip showed me just what the Kingdom of God looks like and I was honored to represent LaRed Business Network in this ongoing effort. Jesus is alive in Nigeria! Bernie Torrence