Saturday, April 21, 2007

Isaiah 56: Prayer update

".... for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." Isaiah 56.7

1. Praise God for the victory we enjoy in Jesus Christ when he rose from the dead. Hallelujah! Pray that God may comfort all those who have lost loved ones during these last weeks. Christ is risen, and all who believe in him will also rise with him.

2. At Unijos examinations for undergraduate students are finished and most students have already returned to their homes and villages. But examinations were hardly over when the association for university faculty announced a Nigeria-wide strike. Colleges of Education are also all on strike at the moment. Although there are some legitimate grievances, it may well be in the interest of the federal government to have students off campus during an election period, to prevent violence on, or originating from university campuses. We are grateful that our undergraduate students at least were able to finish exams before the strike. Pray with us that this matter may be resolved quickly, and that universities may resume work in due time with the new academic year. We would like to be able to finish lectures in the graduate courses, so that our students can start writing their theses.

3. As you know, we are in the middle of an election period. Elections here proceed in three stages, on three separate Saturdays of this month, on each of which no movement of vehicles is allowed. Last Saturday elections were held for state governors. Although this exercise was rather peaceful for most of Nigeria (there were some problems in Kano and Port Harcourt), we are now hearing of troubles in places where results are contested as they are announced. Please pray that the elections of this coming Saturday for the presidency may proceed peacefully, and that the result may indeed be one that the country can accept. Pray for Nigeria, that God-fearing leaders may come to power, and that justice will be done for all Nigerians. After that there will be one more Saturday with elections at the local level.

4. At the moment we are at a critical level in receiving both electricity and water. For some time the water board was on strike; but even after the strike was resolved it was days before any water came through the pipes. Many in Jos are in a far more precarious situation than we, since we do have holding tanks. There are reports of people lining up hours just for a few pails of water. We did have some rain about two weeks ago, but it is not yet steady enough to alleviate the situation. For quite some time now electricity has been reduced to a few hours during the night, and we hardly receive enough to recharge the batteries on which we depend to keep our computers active when we have no light. Sporadically we receive some relief, but it is by no means consistent. Please pray with us for a solution to these problems.

5. Please pray also for our children Sharon in Toronto, David in Istanbul, and Greg and Pauline with the little ones, Gracie and Christopher (who hopes to celebrate his second birthday next week, April 27), and especially now during a time of tension and violence in Nigeria. They are concerned for us, as are many of you, no doubt.

6. Praise God with us for safety in traveling over the past weeks. Last week we took a trip to Donga, to lecture at Veenstra Theological Seminary, the theological institution of the Christian Reformed Church in Nigeria. We traveled back and forth without incident, though we realize that at a time of elections one can expect some irregularities. Thank God with us for a warm reception and fruitful interaction with students there.

7. Pray for us as we plan to lecture in various universities in South Africa early in May (North West University, at the Potchefstroom and Vaal Triangle campuses, Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch). Our intention is to build bridges between universities in Nigeria and South Africa, especially in the area of philosophy and theology, and network with faculty and schools which may be able to help our Nigerian students. Please pray for the lectures, seminars and workshops that we have been asked to lead. Pray also for safety as we travel there and within South Africa.

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