I am absolutely overwhelmed. I hope you have time to read all of this. This day has truly been amazing and I am sure that my limited vocabulary will not do it justice. The people of Gombi are so precious and loving, and loved by the Lord.
We drove about 90 minutes this morning from Yola to Gombi. I was told we were going to a pastors meeting. Pastor Mike gave me no indication as to what was waiting for us. As we approached the Gombi city limits, there was a large crowd assembled of what appeared to be about a hundred or so people. It looked official. At first I wondered what was wrong. It was only as we got closer that I realized that they were there to welcome us into the city. We stopped and got out of the car to greet the people. Suddenly Freddie and I were shaking hand after hand, and hugging and being hugged. Most of them were local pastors and elders, and others were part of the security team. In addition many of the women who have been preparing for our arrival were there as well.
The local government has provided us with a high level of security. I can’t go anywhere without a guard. They want to make sure that nothing happens to an Israeli because, what as I was told, they are only afraid of two countries—Israel and the USA—and they go out of there way to make sure there is not an international incident. They know that these two countries will protect their citizens at all cost.
After the amazing greeting at the border, we headed into the city in a caravan of cars and motorcycles, first to meet with the mayor and second, a man who is like the city father. It is kind of like the Queen of England in that he has no real power but much respect. I was told to refer to him as “Your Highness.” Anyone who knows me knows that I was not made for protocols. I can hardly remember to brush my teeth much less the names and titles of each person I had to greet. Yet it is a huge part of this culture and as an emissary, my job is to honor it.
When we turned into the city hall area there were hundreds of believers there cheering us on, so excited that we were coming to Gombi to preach the gospel. There were banners welcoming us into the city, children lining the streets and uniformed guards from a Christian youth organization. And dozens of real guards with real guns to protect us. Freddie jumped out of our car to get better video and the next thing I knew he was riding on the back of one of the 50 or so motorcycles that were surrounding the procession, all the while videotaping.
Both the mayor and the city father are Muslims. As an Israeli, it made me a bit nervous, but both of them went out of their way to tell me how honored they were that an Israeli had come to their city. They were very kind and pledged their full support for our outreach campaign. It was so confusing for Freddie and me to see these Muslim men supporting us.
No Pastors Meeting
From there, we drove to the church. The crowd had grown. A couple hundred were now walking with the car, with a truck of armed guards leading the way.
I was expecting a pastors meeting and what I found was a packed house of believers from all over the region. This was the largest church building in the city and there were 200-300 sitting outside the building. I had to change my message, as I had planned on a teaching for pastors about Israel.
The Lord led me to Romans 1 where Paul speaks about his longing to visit the Romans. I have never preached from there but by God’s mercy I had a five point message in a few minutes ending with Paul’s saying in v. 11 that he desired to impart spiritual gifts to them. That was how I felt about these people in Gombi. Friends I know that I am nothing special and certainly no better than anyone else, but these people truly believed that a man of God was standing before them. Whether that is true or not is not for me to say, but I so wanted God to honor their faith and hunger by imparting life to them.
I prayed for them and chanted a blessing over them in Hebrew and the Holy Spirit fell. We stayed for a while as the Spirit intensified. When I was finished, I was whisked off again with a full security detail surrounding me. It seemed so surreal and ridiculous. I wanted to say, “Hey, it is me Ron…you don’t need all this.” Plus I wanted so much to shake hands with all these amazing, hungry believers. As I broke free from the security detail to bless a few children, a few children turned into dozens in about two seconds. Some of them even getting in the way of moving cars to touch me and then I realized why the security guys were there. It broke my heart that I could not fully minister to them.
In the second service the power of God felt even stronger at the end. The Lord had me ask if there were those suffering depression. Ninety five percent of the hands went up. We prayed and broke the oppression and depression. There was great joy in the meeting hall. We continued ministering for a while and then went back to the lodge to have dinner with the leadership team for the December outreach. They are so excited that we are coming back. They have such high expectations and faith. We asked them to bring every unbeliever that they can! We are believing for Muslims, spiritists and nominal ‘Christians’ to be born again in the power of the Holy Spirit!
As we left the meeting hall, I was taken into a room where there were a few people needing prayer. One woman was on the floor, doubled over in pain. She told me that she had an ulcer. We prayed and then she told me that the pain was gone. Next a woman came to me in tears saying that she had a baby that died, and has not been able to get pregnant since. She was weeping and it broke my heart. I prayed for her and asked the Lord that when we return in December that there would be a baby in her tummy. We’ll keep you posted.
Lastly, but definitely not least, a group of leaders from Hong came to the meeting, a city thirty minutes north of Gombi. They asked for an audience with me. I eagerly said yes. Pastor Mike Moses, our campaign coordinator, is from Hong. The leader of the delegation got on his knees and told me about their history. He said that their ancestors came from ancient Egypt. It is widely known that the present day Egyptians are not the Egyptians from the days of Moses. The Egyptians of the bible were dark-skinned, while today’s Egyptians are Arabs. This man said that they have much proof of this and that when the bubonic plague came they fled Egypt and came to Nigeria.
He told us that his ancestors were those that killed the Jewish babies “dashing them against stones and drowning them in the river.” He went on to say that they had never met a Jew or an Israelite to whom they could express repentance and from whom they could receive forgiveness and was convinced that his tribe was under a curse because of it. He began to repent for the sins of ancient Egypt against Israel and as he did the others in the delegation dropped to their knees. By this time he was weeping. This was no ceremony—it was something deeply felt by all those gathered.
When they were done I pray for them, expressing forgiveness and blessing for their tribe. It was an amazing experience, having tribal people in Nigeria blessing Israel. This whole week has been one of the most amazing of my life. AND THIS IS JUST THE APETIZER!!! The team is coming in December and by God’s grace we will reap a harvest for Yeshua.
Thank you to all who have stood with us in prayer and finances. You will share in the reward. Having seen the impact that this preliminary visit made on the Israeli young man that came with me, I have no doubt that the December event will change the lives of every Israeli young adult that comes, and sweep thousands of Gombians into the kingdom! What a joy!
Committed with you to the Messiah’s Mandate,