About a year ago the vice president of COCIN, Rev. Obed Dashan, met with Rick Cordell, one of our staff, and they talked about how we could use FFICM’s materials and training to benefit their churches. He referred Rick immediately to the national coordinator of COCIN youth ministries, who was instantly excited about working with us to train hundreds (or thousands) of their youth workers all over Nigeria.
Since then, we have had a series of meetings with Alex (the national Youth Coordinator) about which of the regions to start with. Just a few weeks ago the regional church council in Turu, about 20 minutes from Jos, asked us to come right away. The training began Wednesday 11th April and went through Saturday 14th April at the RCC headquarters, Turu. We had about 50 participants on the first day, and we ended with 65.
The participants said this training was unlike any other conference they had been to, they were trained to share their faith and how to teach the new believers the essentials of the Christian faith.
“In the past I could not stand and witness to somebody, but as a result of what I learned today I was able to witness and the person even prayed to receive Christ,” said Christiana John. Luck Ezekiel Mwanvwang and Tengwong Ishaya said that the devotions on leadership qualities [given by Peter each day] really opened their eyes to the challenges in life and how to overcome them in order to become a true leader.
As they went out to share their faith during the practicals, some parents at one of the houses were so impressed that as young as they were they were going out to preach to their peers and others. They encouraged them strongly to continue with this outreach, to rescue local youths that were into drugs and wasting their lives.
Some women were so impressed with the group, they volunteered to cook them all breakfast on Saturday to encourage them. Of course not all the responses were positive. One of the groups met a man on a bicycle—they stopped him and preached to him, but after a while he said, “Please allow me to go before I will say something that will make God angry.”
The group leaders went to the regional church council chairman to report to him what the training was all about; he then said that he wants to partner with us to train every leader and pastor in the RCC (regional church council) so they can reach all the areas around their churches in the district.
The leader told us that they went out to a village last year where they preached with only their ideas and their Bibles, without any materials or knowledge of how to preach, and had limited results. But now they want to go back there to follow up, and with this training they believe that the fruits of their labor will last. They then came up with their plan for using the training as follows:
- Those trained are to continue to evangelize using the materials they got from their immediate church congregations and local areas.
- They are to be organizing the training from one local area to another, to enable them to saturate the whole RCC (regional church council) with this training, with this material to enable them to get more people trained that can join them whenever they want to go out for witnessing.
- They will set target areas to reach out to every month and conduct follow-up with youths from those areas.
- They want to screen those that can handle the materials well, and use them to conduct trainings in other local areas (and even other RCCs). They are willing to send reports of what they are doing from the church council. Whenever there is a need of volunteers, they are willing to assist us with trainings in other COCIN churches in nearby regions.
Alex, the National Coordinator from COCIN headquarters in Jos, came to see what we were doing on Friday, and encouraged the youth for taking the bold step to implement this in their RCC. He then prayed for them and advised them to put this training to practice so that they will be a model for other RCCs to follow. The Chairman of the RCC also came to greet them on Saturday and he encouraged the youths to take this training seriously and use it.
Many of the youth personally testified how the training had impacted them. Davou M. Mang said, “This training really empowered me, and I am touched to know many things about my responsibilities as a teacher. I learned (1) not to just lead people, but to evangelize and follow them up; (2) to be courageous in my leadership, and not just follow the crowd; (3) to know the training techniques on evangelism and follow-up. I have picked up the challenge to be sure that I evangelize as part of my leadership. Thanks to God for the opportunity to be trained by FFICM!”
Chomo Tengwong Mwanti said, “I would like to commend this ministry for their initiative in this training. Though I had expected it to be a typical church program, I discovered it was unique, and different from what I had thought. Truly this training has changed and affected my life positively. It has spiritually equipped me, especially in the area of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I have learned an easy approach to presenting the gospel and to nurture anyone who accepts the message, pointing them towards maturity.”
Daniel David Dalyop said, “It was honestly an exciting moment, as I was trained to reach out to non-Christians, and also equipped with the knowledge on how to nurture and care for a baby Christian. It was indeed wonderful and joyous to imagine myself reaching out to non-believers and winning numerous souls for Christ!…I extend my profound gratitude to FFICM and to anybody who put in efforts toward the success of this training program, which has deeply inspired me.”
Praise God for his work through the training! And praise God for the dedicated youth that he will continue to move through to draw many to Himself in lasting relationship.