Happy New Year everyone! I’ve decided to start the year on WLMVT with a long overdue post. I spent a weekend last year in May with some of the most amazing people on a missions trip at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria (the villages of Imagbon and Ipesi), ministering to people with them, sharing the gospel and providing free medicals. I really just tagged along on an invitation – and it took some courage to do so as I had no idea what to expect. But it turned out to be an incredible experience- I saw miracles with my eyes and I was so inspired by the ministry, Light and Life Global Mission (LLGM) that I decided to interview two of the oldest evangelists in the team (one of which has become a mentor to me) on the way back to Lagos. We talked rural missions in Nigeria, their experience, the importance of missions and what propels them to continue in the work. I hope this inspires you and be blessed x
-Pastor James, you’ve been part of this ministry for some time now. I wanted to know, what is the history behind Light and Life Global Mission? How did it all begin?
P.J: LLGM started over 20 years ago. It was a vision given by God to Rev. Mrs Stevens, to begin the work of bringing salvation to 33 villages around Ipesi, which is her native town. God specifically gave her that vision- that the people were entrenched in idolatry, and God wants her to bring the light of the Gospel to the people. In the vision, God showed her that even as the people were suffering, there was a provision for every one of them to enter a boat and escape , and every one that was able to enter was saved. God showed her that he was sending her to do that job.
So for the past 22 years, the gospel has been taken to different parts of the nation. Even to the Northern states, where free medical treatment is given to the communities, churches are planted, souls are saved, and help is rendered.
-The North also? So even Muslims have come for the medicals?
Yes. There was a particular community in Taraba state where they did not even have good drinking water. LLGM found the funds to go back and sink a borehole, giving them clean water compared to what they were drinking before- which was like milky water. Apart from meeting physical and medical needs, the gospel was given to them, the light was taken to them- that’s our main concern. Shining the light to every part of Nigeria and even outside the shores of Nigeria, which is why it is a global mission.
35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Mattew 25:35-40
-So Pastor James, when did you become a part of this journey?
P.J: I joined LLGM about 5 years ago. There were a lot of people that were there before me. One of my aunts was part of the ministry back then, until at a particular point, God said this is what he wanted me to be doing. So I became a member of LLGM.
-How about you Mummy Theresa? When did you become a part of the Ministry?
M.T: For the past 22 years I have been going on missions with them. When we started, we would ask people from different churches to join us, despite the fact that the coordinator is from Foursqaure Gospel Church. Different churches would come together, and back then we were going with what started with one bus, and then three buses that were taking us to different parts of the country. 30-40 of us would go, and we would preach the Gospel on Friday nights, and then Saturday we would conduct the free medicals. I take part in this ministry as one of the nurses on the medical team, and I thank God that in all our going and coming to almost all the 36 states in Nigeria, God has always been with us. There has never been any evil report. And my joy is that many people have come to Christ through this.
Later on we started playing Christian movies for the communities on Saturdays, when we met ‘Baba’, a member of Great Commission, he would manually turn
the video player with his hand back then, for the films to play. Thankfully now technology has advanced and we can play the films on projectors.
What was good about the films was that it would be in their language, whether Efik, Yoruba, etc, and the people will watch a depiction of the Gospel. And the people would weep saying so someone actually died for me, and paid this price?
-So they were impacted by watching these films?
M.T: Yes! They would come out in masses and surrender to Christ after receiving the Gospel through those films.
-So how often do you go on these mission trips?
M.T: We started once every 3 months, then later we started going once a month. There was a year we started going once every two weeks- we are led by the instruction of the Holy Spirit.
Currently, we are back to going once a month – we go every last Friday of the month, till Sunday. Though when we go to States that are further away, those of us that were able to take some time off work would take the whole week.
-What were you working as?
M.T: Back then I was still working with Lagos state as a nurse, so I had to arrange for my own one week so that I would be able to go, and I would arrange for the medicine to take with me which was very expensive, but when we give the communities the basic medicines they would always be so happy!
-Is it that these people would normally not have access to these medicine?
No! In these places, there is no chemist, no health care centre, no hospitals. When we bring them these medicines, they really value it.
We would normally go with clothes as well. When we go to these places, we’d see a child of 5 years going with just underwear as their only item of clothing.
We would also pack our own food with us for the 3 days, until God spoke to us and said that whatever they give you when you go, eat it. Never refuse whatever food they give you. Even the water Pastor was talking about, that looked milky like palm wine- I brought a sample of that water back from the village to Lagos to show people – at my church, and to the hospital where I worked. It was one particular hospital I showed the water to that gave us 1 million naira to go back and sink a borehole. The people in that community, everybody including the Muslim people and the native doctors, they said, if Jesus could solve this water problem for them, they will follow him too.
“We would also pack our own food with us for the 3 days, until God spoke to us and said that whatever they give you when you go, eat it. Never refuse whatever food they give you. Even the water Pastor was talking about, that looked milky, like palm wine- I brought that water to Lagos to show people – to my church, to the hospital where I worked. It was one particular hospital I showed the water to, that gave us 1 million naira to go and sink a borehole there. The people in that community, including the Muslim people and the native doctors, they said, if Jesus could solve this water problem for them, they will follow him too.”
-Wow. You said this was in Nassarawa State?
-So Pastor James is this what you do full time?
P.J: Yes. This is what I do full time right now. Although we normally go once or twice a month, in other weeks I go with other missionary groups. Sometimes they call me to assist in the area of counselling and praying for the sick. And in all of it there have been so many miracles.
I remember once we were in Markurdi about 2 years ago where God healed two people that were deaf and dumb for 35 years instantly – they were speaking and they could hear me. One of them that was healed said that while we were praying he could hear the footsteps of a man that was walking towards him- and as the sound increased, one of the ears opened and he could hear the sound of the children that were playing on the field (as the programme was on an open field).
And meanwhile, as we were praying a wind came and blew him from one ear to the other ear and the other ear opened. As much as he could hear, he could also speak from that moment. Even one of the ladies who had been interpreting for us, a native of that town, was shocked. She said she’s known the man for years and has never heard him speak. This is a man that has never heard or spoken in his life and Jesus opened his ears and loosened his tongue and he explained his experience of how he heard the footsteps before his ears opened.
“Before praying for him I heard in my spirit that the time has come where even the deaf and dumb would hear the voice of the Son of God. So I spoke that word out saying to those that were- there ‘don’t worry, he’s not deaf and dumb’. No ear is closed against the truth of God.”
Another time a man had been using a walking stick for three years – he had a fractured bone and I told him that God can fix that bone. After leading him to Christ, I prayed for his healing. As the scripture says in James 5 v 14-16 that we are permitted to use anointing oil to pray for the sick. I gave him a little of the anointing oil and told him you go to the doctor’s stand and use the anointing oil to rub that fractured bone and the waist. As the man went to do so, Jesus fixed the bone! He came back and said he feels no more pain and is healed; he said this is my walking stick I don’t need it again. Should I drop it here because I don’t need it again! I said to him, drop it here because this is our testimony. I give God the glory because that night that man went home with his own legs, he went to sleep that night and jumped out of bed the following mornig with his own feet and from that day it became a testimony.
Even in Benue state one young man who had a stroke came to one of our programmes- because of the stroke he was dragging his leg and he dragged himself to the programme. We prayed for him that day and I told him after he was led to Christ that this Jesus can fix all these problems. So after we prayed for him we told him to raise his hand and he said no, you know I cant raise my hand. And I told him maybe you don’t understand the Jesus you have received. He can fix this. And as he made an attempt and tried to raise his hand the miracle took place. He began to lift his hand up and down to his own surprise! And then I told him, run from one end of this room to the other. And he said no, something is telling me that I will fall. I told him, even if you fall, we have ministers here, we will lift you back up, that is why we are here [laughs].
“7 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18
Jesus said you will go, heal the sick and cast out demons, and that has become out motto. So we are not afraid of any challenge – whatever the Lord brings before us, we also present it to the Lord. To cut the long story short, that brother was totally relieved that day. He was healed of that stroke without taking panadol or anything. He kept lifting up his hand in disbelief. Mummy Theresa here gave him her own bible. That brother used the same hand that had been useless for years and wrote his name on that bible, and also wrote his name and phone number and gave to me. When I got back to Lagos I called to find out how he was doing and he said he’s fine, narrating his family’s shock at his healing when he got home. And so from that day it became a testimony for him.
“I want to reiterate again and again that there is power in the name of Jesus. We Christians must come to embrace the truth that all the attributes of God are embedded in that name, and when we call on that name, principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and wicked spirits, they bow to that name. So I thank God – we have seen strange miracles on the mission field. In LLGM we have seen people with eye defects healed – I cannot even count how many people and its always immediately! With other ministries also. I have gone on missions with the Revealed Arm of God Ministry and I saw many people experience instant miracles- eye problems, paralysis, children that could not walk – they began to walk instantly, people with all kinds of ailments, healed. And I give God all the glory because the work of missions have become a part of me and I love doing it. To God be all the glory.”
-So to Christians out there, what would you say is the importance of evangelism in their Christian walk?
It is extremely important because the scriptures made us to understand that we are the light of this world. This world is a world of darkness. Many people are going to hell daily, and God has saved us- so he expects us to also help others
into his kingdom. As a wise man once said, we are saved to serve- not to just enjoy ourselves. God wants many people to enter into his kingdom. Our neighbours must find Christ, our friends must find Christ. Scriptures also tell us that when you win a soul, even one, there is a great rejoicing in heaven. This is the heartbeat of the Father, because God wants the whole world to be saved. God wants the light to shine to every heart and to every soul.
-Mummy Theresa how would you say that evangelism has impacted your walk with God?
“The only thing God gave man to do, that is the only assignment, is you are saved- go and save others. This is the assignment given to the whole world, to everybody. Not pastors alone. Everyone, as long as they have given their life to Christ. I discovered that when you are doing the will of God, the heartbeat of God, you find joy. That joy that has no end, and joy that money cannot buy. I discovered that when you do the will of God, which is evangelism, he gives you peace. Peace that people are looking for, you will not be looking for your own because God will give it to you freely.”
The only thing God gave man to do, that is the only assignment, is you are saved- go and save others. This is the assignment given to the whole world, to everybody. Not pastors alone. Everyone, as long as they have given their life to Christ. I discovered that when you are doing the will of God, the heartbeat of God, you find joy. That joy that has no end, and joy that money cannot buy. I discovered that when you do the will of God, which is evangelism, he gives you peace. Peace that people are looking for, you will not be looking for your own because God will give it to you freely.
Another thing is that when you are doing the work of God he stands by you- you are not the one doing it , he is doing it through you, working signs and wonders.
All the miracles Pastor James spoke about, I witnessed it with my two eyes and I will just open my mouth. Permanent healing! God just demonstrating himself through missionaries and evangelists. Someone was sharing with us that they had been very sick for years, and after the one capsule of ibruprofen we gave them during our medical missions, the person became well. So because of that the entire family came to that church that we did the programme. You see that because of that alone, that person became an evangelist in an instant, because whole household had now come to know Christ. So if we just kept that medicine in our cupboard and did not go, would that man have given this testimony?
All these years, I never had any issue of sickness for me and my entire household – that is divine health. Nobody around me has fallen sick.
-So even when you go to these rural areas on missions, and drink the water and eat the food, (like the milky water you encountered in Nassarawa State) there have never been health complications?
M.T: My dear, God sanctifies the water, food and everything for us with the blood of Jesus. Because if we don’t drink the water they give us in these communities or use it to bath, they wont listen to what we are saying. And none of us fell sick. He has given us divine health as workers in his vineyard.
“There’s not much to it, all it takes is the willingness to obey God. It takes a willing heart to move for God.”
-So when you go on the missions, where do you stay? What are the logistics like?
Okay, before we go to a particular state or community, there must be a church there that we’ve communicated with. We contact them and say we are coming as missionaries to your area, can we come? And they would usually say yes and direct us to perhaps a school that is on holiday or any shelter we can stay.
There have been times we have slept under trees because we had no accommodation and we say no problem. Even in Taraba State we slept under the trees. And there was no issue at all. This tells you that it’s God that is going with us – he said in his word that He will be with us even to the end of the age. And truly God has been perfecting his word in our lives, in all the mission fields.
“There have been times we have slept under trees because we had no accommodation and we say no problem. Even in Taraba State we slept under the trees. And there was no issue at all. This tells you that it’s God that is going with us – he said in his word that He will be with us even to the end of the age. And truly God has been perfecting his word in our lives, in all the mission fields.”
-Its interesting, that scripture, ‘and I will be with you even to the end of the age’ Jesus said that after he gave the great commission didn’t he?
Yes, Matthew 28:20 ; the two go hand in hand. It is the gift we receive as envangelists, when we perform the work of God. Is it normal for someone to pray for a person on a wheelchair and they get up instantly ?! And they have never called us one day to say any of these people became paralysed again or returned to their wheelchair. Nothing like that. The testimonies have been countless.
-I assume there are several expenses involved with the mission trips – the medicines for instance. How are the trips funded?
It is funded by individuals. People who God has touched their heart to help, who feel that this is important work, impacting those that the government has forgotten. Because this ministry goes to the interiors, people who are cut off from any form of government benefits. So there are people who will say, I cannot go, but let my money go. They donate money, clothes etc which we then take to these people that don’t have access to these things and the communities are always so happy when they receive them. So anyone that is God-fearing and would also like to contribute to what LLGM is doing, please also make donations. We are always in need of equipment, transportation, etc.
-What is your advice to readers who would like to start evangelising – or going on missions? How can they start? Especially to those who feel that it is too great or daunting.
P.J.: Missions are an interesting adventure with God. I believe it should begin with enquiry- find out about missionary organisations. There are many of them, especially with the big churches. I know in Redeemed and Winners for instance, they have mission groups. When you enquire, someone who has gone before will be able to give you details. There’s not much to it, all it takes is the willingness to obey God. It takes a willing heart to move for God. When you are willing, you are willing to face the challenges also. It may not be palatable- because sometimes you may have to leave the comfort of your bed and your environment to go to where the people are, because you want to do that which is pleasing to God. And God will always give us the grace.
When you find out from missionary organisations you can write to them or call them. And then they will give you their programme, and the schedule for what trip is coming up, and then who to contact ahead of the day. Once the details are given to you, you prepare yourself prayerfully also. And once you’re able to attach yourself to one of the groups, from there, others will come your way- because initially when I started, when God said I should stop what I was doing then and go to the field, that’s when Mummy Theresa invited me. When I obeyed that, it has been a source of joy. And from there other ministries have been hearing about what God was doing. Normally, there is no week that I have not been on the field with one week or the other.
The miracles you will experience on these trips are incredible. God will speak to your heart and you will just say it- and people will be amazed, wondering is it you speaking or God speaking. The mission trip we are just coming from now- we met a man last month and the man said he cannot urinate, an elderly man. I saw him just yesterday, I asked him how has it been? And he said from that day you prayed for me, everything normalised- do delay, no problem. He gave his testimony. And there are so many of them that we do not even hear about, because as soon as we leave, God continues working on them.
So for those who want to join I encourage them because if you are called into it, there is Grace available for you. I see more miracles happening even in my life- often as I return to the mission field. And God has never left me. Most times when I return to the house from the mission field my wife will tell me- we just received an alert- when the rent payment is due. And the full rent payment will be made from it. And above house rent which is physical, the spiritual reward is greater. God is with me. When I speak to some people, they look at me as if to say, what are you talking about?? The conviction within me it so great that I know I carry the presence of God, and I don’t fear the devil, I know that the devil is just under my feet. I speak with that boldness and confidence because I cannot deny the the reality of God in my life.
So I want to encourage anyone who wants to join- you can contact us. We also have a facebook page. There are others also on facebook such as Praise of His Glory, Heart of Compassion, the Revealed Arm of God, etc. You can also go to major churches, and just tell the pastor – I want to join a missionary group.
I pray as you also make up your mind to serve the Lord in this capacity, God will see to it also that you will fulfil your ministry in Jesus name. Amen.
Thank you so much to Light and Life Global Mission for granting me this interview. You can request to join their Facebook page here if you feel led to join them on missions. You can also comment below/ send me a private message on our instagram page @worldlightmvmt and I will put you in contact with Pastor James. To give to Light and Life Global Mission (they are actually currently in need of a bus for transporting the missionaries), the account details are as follows: Light and Life Global Mission, First Bank PLC, Account Number: 2014856110