As I nervously prepared for my first day of teaching Principle #3 “Holy Sweat/Wholly Surrender” at the Rafiki Village outside of Jos, Nigeria, I came to a stark realization. The reason I was nervous had nothing to do with bringing glory to God or making a positive impact on the children and teenagers at Rafiki. It had everything to do with my own ego and insecurities. Here I was preparing to discuss the differences between walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh and I was totally consumed with my own flesh. I was nervous because I wanted the kids, who at this point we had already grown quite close with, to think I was intelligent and cool, and even, at some level, to think I was the best teacher out of our group.
It was at this point that I kneeled on the floor, literally put my face on the concrete floor of my bedroom in our guest house and, with tears in my eyes, prayed to the Father asking for forgiveness for the sin in my heart and the insecurity that was dwelling inside me. The message of “Holy Sweat/Wholly Surrender was an incredible lesson, but it would fall totally flat if coming from me. It would mean absolutely nothing if it came from the sinful heart of this man. It could only hold value if it came from the Holy Spirit who is living inside of any follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit was with me as I led our principle that day and the lessons of Holy Sweat/Wholly Surrender seemed to have a lasting effect on the students as God used this sinful man to teach about disciplining ourselves in the relentless pursuit to walk with Christ.
That lesson, this realization that Christ put in my life that morning changed my entire experience in Nigeria and has stuck with me as I’ve come back to my life in Ohio. I wish I could write about every experience I had at Rafiki over the two weeks I was blessed to be there but, like all my brothers and sisters from MOAM, that would take an endless amount of words to do. I will forget many of these things as time takes me away from those two weeks. The mindset though will never leave me and that mindset was that every conversation, every prayer, every lesson, every second that Ashton, Marea, Drew and myself had with those incredible kids was to bring glory to our Father and be a reflection of Christ’s love.
“I love you” in Hausa is “Ina son ka” (ka/ki/ku depending on the context). After about nine days at the village, it was something we started hearing all the time and that we started to say back. It was in every letter that the kids gave me when I left. And it wasn’t just words to be cute or friendly. I absolutely love those Rafiki kids in Nigeria and will always have a very special place in my heart for them. God Bless Rafiki, God Bless MOAM and God Bless my brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
To God be the Glory!