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Gede is in Toto Local government Area of the Nasarawa State of Nigeria.
"One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!" Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day," he said to the crowd. "Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath." (Luke 13:10-14 NLT).
Today some churches attach more importance to church traditions than the scriptures; hence we usually find it difficult to walk together. Such is the situation with the Gede Christians.
BACKGROUND: The Gede people are 70% fetish, 5% Muslims and 25% Christians. However, among the Christians, less than 2% practice the Christianity, they still hold on to fetish practice. This is a serious problem.
BURIAL: Nobody cries when someone dies. Instead, a drum is beaten to alert people. People from different clans would assemble in the public ground to dance and the dancing is usually led by the youths chanting some words. We witnessed this on the second day of our outreach.
Today in Nigeria people are very suspicious of things they do not know. This is because of the Boko Haram evil activities. The church is not left out in this suspicion and that affects our outreaches greatly if we did not make a proper contact before we launch out.
In the recent Gede outreach, we contacted a Gede man who works in Jos to make a contact on our behalf which he graciously accepted. The week he was to go for the contact, he fell ill and was hospitalized. Hence we had no choice than to go without the contact.
The enemy used the lack of contact for his own advantage but he failed woefully. However, we had to pay the price before we succeeded.
On our arrival we contacted denomination "A" but never met the pastor. He was said to be attending a conference in Abuja with all his elders.
We moved to denomination "B" and met the pastor in charge. He invited the chairman of the church for discussion. In the course of the discussion, the chairman was very reluctant to welcome us in spite of our explanation.
Despite the calling of our contact man, who was sick, to speak to the chairman, he was still not satisfied because he never knew us and there was no written communication. But with the understanding of the pastor, he took us to the chief for introduction and permission. The chief welcomed us and permitted us to carry out our program without fear or intimidation and guaranteed our security.
After a film show at about 10 pm, we came to the pastor's house and dismantled our camp beds in the compound ready to sleep but the pastor said: "Hey guys, there is a problem. You may not pass the night here." We were shocked and started thinking where to go at that night and we never knew that the chairman was with pastor waiting to eject us. We asked why?
The chairman surfaced and said: "The pastor was not explicit; you guys have to find an alternative for your accommodation because we don't know you. Many people have come in the name of the gospel and left some problems behind."
I said alright, there is no problem; we would go to the open field where we had the film show and sleep there. At that juncture we started folding our camp beds but the pastor insisted that we should not leave. "The Lord is my shepherd," he said. The chairman responded aggressively. "You are on your own! Should something happens, don't involve me!" This was a threatening statement and we didn't want the pastor to run into trouble, so we insisted to leave but the pastor and his wife said we must not leave.
I got up and folded my camp bed but the pastor came and held the bed. I looked at the chairman and said to him in a loving tune, "My brother, you would soon be our working partner." He was shocked with my statement and joined the pastor and his wife to plead with us to pass the night there. PTL!
The next day the pastor asked for forgiveness and gave us a befitting accommodation. That marked the beginning of a good rapport. We stayed there throughout our program and were well fed. What a wonderful ending.
CONVERTS: A good number of people prayed to receive the Lord after the movies, but the challenge still remains: Who would disciple them? Though we encouraged the pastor to take care of them but we are not sure whether he would faithfully do it.