Lagos, Nigeria. Today we’ll be featuring the last story from Randy and Sean’s trip to Nigeria to train Catholics how to evangelize. We’re grateful that they’ve shared their experiences with us, and hope that their trip continues to bear great fruit in Lagos and beyond.
The following report comes to us from team leader Randy (Dallas, TX) on assignment in Lagos, Nigeria:
On our last conference day, Sean and I altered the Entertaining Angels program to fit the audience consisting of lay people with only a few members of the welcoming committee, but no “first contact” staff. This change let us recap the entire conference and tie everything back to evangelization. After the morning session on Wednesday, we took two dozen people out for an hour of street evangelization with no supplies—only prayer and proclamation. This delighted those who had not until that time proclaimed the name of Jesus to a total stranger. On this last day, the Divine Mercy parishioners showered us with appreciation, gifts, songs, and prayers. And about 40 people asked for photographs, whether individually or in groups. We were surprised, pleased, and humbled by the outpouring of affection.
The next day (our departure day), Sean and I thought we’d unwind at the hotel since our flight left around midnight. But Divine Mercy had other ideas! Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Msgr. Nwaezeapu, and after a private Mass, a lovely parishioner served as our tour guide to three very different areas of Lagos. First, we traveled to a huge land reclamation project on the sea that is now the site of a developing upscale high rise residential and commercial area, where we had lunch with our hostess. She then took Sean and I to meet an acclaimed woman artist who was a friend of hers. They met several other artists and viewed very impressive works of art. We completed our tour with a visit to a sprawling market area made up of local craftsmen selling food, clothes, and accessories. When the tour ended, we returned to the church to receive gifts from Monsignor and to pray with him. After that, the harrowing journey to the airport began in the Nigerian rush hour.
Reflecting on our entire stay in Nigeria, we were impressed by how the Holy Spirit went before them to prepare the way and provide for them at every juncture, especially when it looked at the beginning that the trip would never get off the ground. This was the result of God’s gracious and merciful response to massive prayer. But what made the biggest impression on us was the congregation of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy and their gifted father, Msgr. Pasqual Nwaezeapu. Through their prayer life, spiritual gifts, devotion, and formation, they were prepared and ready to move into direct evangelism—the topic most dear to Monsignor. Finally, Sean and I were allowed to see a thriving, devout, warm community of faithful Catholics that was quite unlike anything they had seen in the United States. While we felt we could assist this wonderful parish in evangelism, in the end, it was the parish that took us to a new level in our own apostolate.
Praised be Jesus Christ!