Nigeria 2018…The most Divinely orchestrated missionary Journey I have ever experienced! Read on to see God at work in miraculous ways.
It all started in March of 2017 where I trained about 400 leaders in Nigeria. They asked me to return so I verbally committed to return and train more people in September of 2018. When I made that commitment it was so far off that it ended up sneaking up on me.
Enter the summer of 2018. Five inches of rain flooded our home in June, the flooring in our living and dining rooms plus our ministry office was ruined. What a mess!!
While replacing the flooring, I tore some ligaments in my back which led to losing a month of productivity due to severe pain.
Additionally, we desperately needed to do some major landscaping to keep our home from flooding again. This involved moving literally tons of sand, stone, and gravel (with a tender back). During this time we were blessed to have our five sons help with the work. They made a big dent but still much work remained.
While all this was going on our daughter in-law delivered our new granddaughter six weeks early. We praise God for Alara Meadow Olson’s safe arrival but this took Carrie out of our home for nearly three weeks prior to the babies delivery because she was babysitting our grandson while his Mommy was in the hospital on bed rest for three weeks.We are thankful God is faithful in the midst of the craziness of life.
Before we knew it, we were in the middle of August. I was scheduled to leave for Nigeria on September 2nd had no money for the plane ticket just two and a half weeks before I was supposed to leave. What to do? Of course we prayed and periodically Carrie would ask me what we should do, and to be honest, I never really gave her a clear answer. I just knew that with God, all things are possible. “Normally,” we would have shared the need with all of our supporters, but this wasn’t a “normal” summer!
As you probably already know, God’s timing is always perfect. On Tuesday, August 14th God spoke to my wife and said, “have Kurt call Aaron Winowiski.” (Aaron is a friend, and the pastor of New Day Christian Church in Weston Wisconsin). She said nothing to me. Again, God’s voice came to her, “tell Kurt to call Aaron.” Again, she said nothing. (Carrie wasn’t being disobedient by not sharing. She would just forgot to mention it because life was crazy). Then a third time, the Lord spoke to her saying, “tell Kurt to call Aaron because New Day is going to send him to Nigeria.” Right at that moment, (after the third time), I walked into the room and Carrie shared with me what the Lord had been saying to her. I listened and asked, “what would I say?”
“Just tell him the truth. Tell him God urged me to contact you and I’ve never done anything like this before.” She said.
I agreed to pray about it.
After praying for a couple days, I felt a peace about calling Aaron. We talked briefly before I shared my reason for calling. I told him how I had this Nigeria trip coming up and I felt led to call him. Aaron said, “Kurt, this smells like God.” He then went on to share how he had just finished his sermon for Sunday but only after he had torn up the 1st sermon he wrote on Tuesday. He felt the Lord would have him go in a different direction, with a Great Commission direction. He asked me to visit the New Day worship service in three days as a sort of an object lesson to the congregation, because I was someone who needed to be sent to the nations. Aaron shared from Psalm 67. He showed them from the scriptures, they have been “blessed” so that THE WORLD can KNOW and PRAISE God! Then he shared our Nigeria need with the congregation and they responded in faith and with overwhelming generosity. THANK YOU New Day! (Click here to listen to Aaron’s MESSAGE)
Within 24 hours I had received cash, checks and online gifts totaling EXACTLY WHAT WAS NEEDED, to the penny! Only GOD could do that! God makes ALL things possible. Hallelujah!This blessing propelled Carrie and I into, “GO MODE”. After a frenzy of activity I departed on September 2nd. I embarked on my 13 hour flight to Lagos, Nigeria. Once there, I had to take a local commuter flight to Enugu, Nigeria, (video below), where I was scheduled to train around 100 people
These trainings took place in the evenings because the people were working during the day. Since my day was open, my host decided to take me to a prayer center on the edge of town because he wanted me to meet the woman who had established the center.
This prayer center has many prayer stations along several trails on the side of twin hills. There is a worship center in the middle of the property and there are also lodging facilities for those who want to stay and pray for extended periods.
When we arrived at the prayer center the woman wasn’t there. We called her but were unable to reach her. So, after taking a self-guided tour of the whole facility, (and pausing to pray on one of the hill tops) we decided to head back to the hotel.
It was the rainy season in Nigeria so, true to form, it began to rain. Slowly, we inched our way down the crowded, muddy, rutted road in the heavy rain. We passed a man walking in the rain that my host recognized. He had the driver pull over and offered the man a ride.
Grateful to be out of the rain, the man climbed into our vehicle.When my host introduced me and explained why I was in Nigeria, the conversation quickly turned to disciple making. The man soon forgot he was wet and got very excited. He said that he would attend the training that night and that he would bring his boss. What we didn’t know at the time was that his boss was the senior government official in charge of religious affairs for the whole state! God had us in the right place at the right time to connect with a very influential person in Nigeria! (God at work)
Evening came, and I began the training. About a half-hour into the training, two men arrived. One was the man we had picked up and the other was his boss, the government official. The training continued for another hour and a half. The training that night focused on how God is restoring his church to the powerful simplicity of what His church was like in the beginning.
At the conclusion of the training that evening, the government official jumped to his feet and asked for the microphone. He said, “this night is a turning point in my life! My soul is weeping because I recognize how essential it is that we [the church] mature into true, obedient, disciples of Jesus.” He went on to say, “My father has been telling me to stop playing church and start making disciples for years but I was resistant.”
He was so excited that he asked if I would be able to travel three hours out into the bush the next day to speak to hundreds of Bible School Students at a bible school that his 92 year old father had started many years earlier. I said, “I am the Lord’s servant, let His will be done.”
I later learned that this 92 year old saint had been praying for 30 years that God would send someone to Nigeria to establish, true, biblical discipleship in the church. He thinks that this IDMI training is the answer to decades of prayers! What an amazing thought.
The next morning, we began our journey to the Bible School. We didn’t know that the 400 students had been let go for break and that they would actually have to come back from their break if they were going to hear me speak. Over 100 returned to hear what I had to say.
When we finally arrived at the Bible School, I was given an hour and a half to speak. I talked about Disciple Making Movements (DMM) as the Endgame of God and Jesus’ plan to finish the Great Commission! After my time of sharing, the students had many questions so I was given another 30 minutes to answer their questions.
I knew that I may never have the opportunity to speak to these students again and that I didn’t have time to fully train them, so I told them to do their own research. I said, “Google DMM and The DBS (Discovery Bible Study)”. They did, and it has had a phenomenal impact on this Bible School!
The Government official who arranged the speaking engagement said he nearly had to change his cell phone number because of the barrage of calls and texts from the students. The Students who weren’t there were upset that they missed it but the students who were in attendance have had a fire lit in them that, I’m told, is unlike anything that has ever happened there before! They have started Discovery studies and have a new passion to disciple the world! Glory to God!
God’s timing being perfect, our new government official friend, informed us of a gathering that was happening the next day. About 500 Pentecostal leaders who were gathering right in the city where I was staying. So, arrangements were made for me to speak to them for about 15 minutes. Apparently, God had other plans. As we were driving back from the Bible School on very difficult roads, one tire developed a leak.
As a result of the flat tire, and repair, I missed my time slot. We arrived over two hours late and were quickly ushered to the front row. We didn’t know that we missed our time slot so we kept waiting for my opportunity to speak but it never came. Our plan was for me to speak and then leave rather that staying for the whole meeting. God had other plans.
The Keynote speaker for the day was even late due to a cancelled flight so they let the meeting run two hours beyond the scheduled finish time.
Because I was in the front row, the keynote speaker stood directly in front of me for the majority of his message and we made eye contact several times. This man, David O. is one of the best known Christian personalities in all of Nigeria. When he finished speaking, they ended the gathering with a closing prayer and some announcements. I thought, “OK, God, I guess I won’t be speaking here today, but either way I trust you and I know that You know what You are doing.”
Then, at the very end of the meeting, they called me up to briefly introduce myself and the IDMI ministry. I spoke for about three minutes. That’s it! But when I went back to my seat the pastor of the largest church in the city grabbed my right arm and said, “we have got to have you come and do this training at our church! When can we schedule you to come and train us?” While he was speaking to me, the keynote speaker had grabbed my host and said, “I need this man to speak to a gathering of 400 pastors from all over the SE of Nigeria tomorrow.” My host (Douglas) replied, “I’m sorry but tomorrow we are traveling to another city (Asaba)so he [me] cannot be at your meeting tomorrow.” David O. asked, “What time is he scheduled to speak?”My host replied, “Not until around five o’clock in the evening.” So David O. said, “That is only a three hour drive, please let him come and speak in the morning.” My host agreed and I was given the honor of sharing with another 400 pastors about how God is rapidly multiplying obedient disciples around the world today. (I’ve never seen such hunger for this message of First Century Discipleship). God at work again.
The next day, I had the privilege of speaking to hundreds of pastors and leaders about DMM as the endgame of God! How He seems to be restoring the powerful simplicity of the early church (His bride) over most of the globe at once. Whatever I said must have had a profound impact on David O. because he called every day we were in Asaba, insisting on a meeting when we got back to his city no matter the time. He said he was shaken by what he heard. They recorded the massage I gave, so you can watch it on YouTube if you are interested.
In the next city, (Asaba), I spoke for about four and a half hours to around 300 people (Video below) over three days and God wasn’t done yet. I shared about biblical discipleship for an hour and a half each day. The rest of each day was unscheduled. I’d spend my time working in my room or have spontaneous meetings with leaders who stopped by.
On one of the days, my friend Henry, (whom I had met in South Dakota in 2015), came by my room. As we talked about the original design of Jesus’ Ecclesia (church), he got excited! Henry said, “There is a new bishop in my denomination who has only been at his post for a few days. Let’s go see him.” I thought, “ok God, whatever you want to do here, I’m yours.”
We walked into the office of this wonderful man and found him reading his bible and praying. He said to us, “We are in the middle of 40 days of fasting and prayer for God to move and have His way in His church in Nigeria. I believe that your coming is in answer to that prayer…would you come and speak to 350 pastors (right) and leaders who will be gathered here tomorrow?” Blown away by yet another opportunity to share about what Jesus is doing around the world through DMM, we agreed without hesitation. As a result of the massage these leaders are investigating DMM as Jesus way to disciple the world. (God at work yet again)
A theme was beginning to emerge. We were beginning to sense that The Lord wants DMM to go mainstream in Nigeria (not to mention the rest of the world). I was even given the opportunity to speak about DMM one evening at a tenth anniversary celebration of a large congregation (left). (God again)
After our time in Asaba, we traveled the terrible roads back to Enugu where David O. was anxiously awaiting our return. He had actually postponed his departure flight so he would still be in town when we returned.
I was quite surprised by his urgency to meet. I assumed he wanted to discuss DMM or get clarification on something I had said to his group, but that was not the case. When we arrived at his hotel, he escorted us into the dining room and after some chit chat he asked me if I was free the third week of January to conduct the entire IDMI 16 hour biblical discipleship training to between 5,000 and 10,000 pastors at the largest annual pastors conference in the nation! WOW! What an honor! Thank you Jesus! Only God could orchestrate something like this.
David also asked if I would accompany him for a second week in January to train pastors in outlying regions of the nation. Being convinced that God was doing something big, I was compelled to agree.
Oh, and remember the pastor of the largest congregation in Enugu? The one who had grabbed my arm after I had just spoken for three minutes? Well, we met with him Monday morning before my flight home and agreed to train between an additional 500 and 1,000 pastors and leaders the first week of February.
So, If you are piecing this together in your mind, you’ll see that I thought i was going to teach and train about 450 people but ended up planting seeds of DMM in the hearts of over 2,000 pastors and leaders. Among them are some of the most influential leaders in the country. In addition to that, I’ve been invited back to Nigeria for three weeks in January and February of 2019 to train between 7,000 and 15,000 pastors and leaders to learn how to make disciples who make disciples Jesus’ way! What an amazing honor. Only God could pull off the amazing feats of perfect timing and divine connections that we experienced. ALL GLORY TO GOD!
Friends, I’ve trained thousands of leaders in multiple countries but I’ve never experienced anything like the enthusiasm and receptiveness I just experienced in Nigeria (September 2018). I couldn’t understand why they were so hungry for this message until I began hearing end times prophecies about Nigeria.
They tell me, there are multiple prophecies dating back over a hundred years, that state that in the last days, the church of Nigeria will undergo a type of reformation and will be used by God to disciple Africa and Africa will then be used by God to finish the Great Commission!
When I was speaking about how God is restoring the powerful simplicity of the early Church all over the world today and inviting them to join Him, I was speaking directly to the fulfillment of those prophecies and therefore to the hearts, minds and hopes of my hearers.
Will you please pray that God will do more than we could imagine through the hundreds of disciple makers who are already trained and are reproducing, through the many seeds that were planted in 2018, and through the many more seeds that will be planted in January and February 2019.
Thank you and God Bless You.
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