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Iowa Nigeria Partnership

 For a complete list of Iowa Nigeria Partnership Work Participants cick here








May School Teachers for Nigeria
Bishop Trimble Helps Nigerians See the Light

By May 8, all three of the Nigerian students at Africa University, Zimbabwe, have completed their coursework, taken all the exams and are free until mid August. Without funds to return back to Nigeria, they will stay on campus with jobs in exchange for meals. Jacob Tahiru and Doris David will work in the library where they can do some reading for fun. Both of them have joined the Volunteer in Mission Club on campus. This group travels to deliver donated food and clothing items to needy families as well as doing some minor construction, painting and clean up for them. Jacob writes, “Thank all the Brethren of Iowa Conference for the support they are giving me.”


Cletus David and Adama Grace Kefas will graduate on June 5 and then return to Nigeria. Cletus anticipates spending much of his time with his daughter, Delight, before heading back to AU to start work on a two year Master’s Degree in August.


A freakish wind storm blew down the girl’s pit toilet building on the Junior Secondary School (JSS) campus so this has been repaired. A pit toilet building for the boy’s on campus is being constructed.


At Didango Bible Institute, this same wind storm that happened at JSS, partially blew down an older classroom which is being reroofed.   


The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership has taken a step in faith and authorized the construction of a boy’s hostel/dorm at JSS. There is only one boy’s dorm so this building is crowded with some disciplinary issues cropping up. The new dorm will be a God-send for the school because then the school administrator, Jarama Filiya, can increase the intake of male students. Money will be paid in installments as each section of the building is completed starting with the foundation and floor, walls, rafters and roof, installation of windows and doors. The approximate cost is $50,000 so funding is requested from Iowa individuals and churches.


Carolyn Carter, the individual volunteer teaching in the JSS science department, will be leaving the school on June 30. A concern for prayer is that the Nigerian Immigration Office will extend her visa by two weeks to allow her to stay.  Her former roommate, Angie Thulstrup, will be one of the Iowa work team members traveling to Nigeria on June 2 and June 11.  Rachel Burrow of Earlham will help unload the books from the sea container and get them shelved at the Mavula Library on campus. Carolyn, Rachel and Angie will give a two day “Computer 101” class to UMC staff including Bishop Kulah.  


Rebecca Anderson of Lawton will assist with teaching of computer classes at the Beverly in Bambur. Rev. Kathy Olson, Morningside College Campus Pastor, will be teaching at the Banyam Theological Seminary in the field of counseling including HIV/AIDS. Warren and Verna Thompson of Akron head to Bambur; Warren to do handyman jobs on the BTS Campus and Verna to reorganize the Bishop Rueben Job Library as well as set up a mini-library in the Gwaten Conference Office. Nolte Communication Center


The Iowa team of 14 persons are members of our yearly work trip to Nigeria. Do consider being a part of this volunteer group that travels the last two weeks of June each year. You can help make a HUGE difference in the field of education.  Your influence is needed!


Any monetary gift you wish to make may be sent through your local church to the conference treasurer designated INP #230 and your designated project. Prayerful support for school teachers and students is always requested.

Knives in the Drawer

If you open up your knife drawer in the kitchen how many knives will you find? A paring knife, serrated edge knife, butcher knife, bread knife, steak knives plus a few more.  These are helpful and necessary items in preparation of our meals.


Dr. Gideon Avar, the Nigerian Eye Centre surgeon wants a different kind of knife—crescent and keratome. These will be used when he performs delicate eye surgeries including removal of cataracts.  Angled or bevel up, these microsurgical instruments are expensive. For one knife, the cost is between $3,500 to $5,000, but can be used for many years. We can also purchase knives in boxes of $6 for $51 that are disposal…but not after Dr. Avar uses them, sterilizes then and then reuses them about 5 times before discarding them. If you would like to share in the cost of these ophthalmic instruments, send your donation through your church treasurer to the conference treasurer designated, INP, #230, Eye Knives. It costs $150 for each eye surgery being planned at the Eye Camp in Pero, Nigeria in June. Let’s help the blind to see!


 To see clearly is a blessing many of us take for granted. Good vision is not always a reality for many persons especially those in Nigeria. There river blindness, cataracts, accidents related to the eye are not addressed. In 2008, the Eye Centre, part of the UMC Rural Health Program, held an “Eye Camp” whereby 107 patients had free eye surgeries. Assisted by two eye care nurses from Cedar Rapids, Dr. Avar was able to bring sight to these persons. For his successful eye surgeries he was honored as “2008 Eye Surgeon of the Year” by the Christian Blind Mission of Nigeria.


Nigeria’s blind population?  Your gift may be sent through your local church to the Conference Treasurer designated #INP, #230, Eye Camp.  

On The High Seas
The 40’x8’x8’ container filled with 1,166 boxes of assorted InGathering kits, 2 metal beds for the clinics at Worom and Bagarmi, two solar refrigerators with solar panels, robes, paraments, medical supplies and tools (to name a few items) is on the high seas headed to Lagos, Nigeria. With the help of 10 men and Keagan Dolphin, a 9 year old who came with his grandfather, the container was loaded in 2 hours on March 4. Bishop Trimble joined the manpower group to share in the work.  He offered prayer before the doors were shut and a seal was placed on the container.

The container traveled to the east coast, was loaded on a ship to Antwerp where it was transloaded for Lagos. Paperwork has been sent to Stephen Habu, a United Methodist Police Department Executive, in Lagos who will take charge of the shipment upon arrival approximately March 31. He will secure its release, get it through customs and have it loaded on a truck with driver/guard to travel to Jalingo, the final destination. Here it will be met by our Iowa work team volunteers, who with the help of Nigerians will get the boxes, equipment and supplies to their designated destinations.


A big thanks to all the persons/churches who collected and prepared kits, who donated requested items, gave postage money, to Russ Potter our INP shipping coordinator, to loading helpers for the gifts of time given to get this gift of love sent to our U.M. Church family in Nigeria. What is the cost to purchase the container, provide travel documents, shipping, customs charges, demurrage and transportation to the UMC Secretariat in Jalingo? Approximately $23,000! A lot of money but contents could/would not be purchased if money were sent instead of items. The real value of the container’s contents is close to $220,000.  


SO, Iowa United Methodists,

   The kits you prepare here in Iowa will get to Nigeria.

   The kits are expression of Christian love to our partners in ministry in Nigeria.

   The kits are needed and welcomed with bright smiles, shy looks of gratitude,

tremendous joy and lots of curiosity!

 Nigerians say “Na gode” to you Iowans as they see Christ’s love in each kit.

 NA GODE (Thanks) To Iowans

To all Iowa United Methodists who contributed to the Iowa Nigeria Partnership in any way in 2008, we say NA GODE (thanks in the Hausa language). In spite of the economic downturn and the natural disasters in our state, $143,000 (yes! that much) was given for projects ranging from purchasing bikes to funding literacy programs, from providing student tuition grants to offering teacher’s stipends, assisting the agricultural programs with funds to purchase chickens, giving A3 seeds for planting to reduce malaria suffering, purchasing treadle sewing machines, constructing a staff house on the Junior Secondary School campus…all of these mission outreach ministries benefited from your generosity. This does not include the hundreds of kits for Nigeria prepared for the InGathering.  


Personally I used to think that when I wrote stories to tell about NigerianChurch work, their wants and needs that no one read them and that my writing was in vain. But I’m a believer that YOU DO READ and that YOU DO RESPOND! For 20 years the Iowa Conference has been partnering with the NigerianChurch. Bishop Kulah sends words of thanks on behalf of our friends there. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing and together let’s continue our support to spread God’s word in a country a half a world away! Consider supporting one project in Nigeria during 2009, our celebration year!  


Laptops or notebook computers have been requested for use in Nigeria by the various program chairpersons as well as at the Junior Secondary School Computer lab in Jalingo and the BeverlyNolteCommunicationCenter in  Bambur.  These laptops/computers need not be new but portability and battery power are necessary to make them a useful communication tool.


Nigerians are eager to learn keyboarding and e-mail which would greatly facilitate communications and coordination between Nigerian and Iowa, not to mention reducing our phone bills. Wireless connectivity is increasingly important, but may not be essential in this learning stage. The only required software beyond the operating system would be a typing tutorial, plus internet and e-mail clients, but the software might also be purchased if a computer without it is offered.


We would like to take 15 laptops to Nigeria in June. In 2008 while in Nigeria, Computer Workshop 101 was offered to 25 persons, all members of the UMC of Nigeria. How delighted they were to be able to type their name, a sentence and then become sufficiently proficient to read and write e-mails. If you can donate such a computer, preferably with battery and Windows XP, please contact Beverly Nolte, 515 237 8544 or e-mail: If generosity is your forte, watch for sales of low priced new laptops/notebook computers as these would be most welcome.


April School Teachers for Nigeria In 2009, Dr. Avar proposes another “Eye Camp” in the rural area around Pero. Upon hearing about this opportunity to bring sight to the blind, Bishop Julius Trimble has provided $150 for one free eye surgery. Won’t you join him as we bring spiritual as well as physical sight to

John Jako, the young Nigerian student studying an ophthalmic course at AmaduBelloUniversity, has completed his studies and successfully passed the prescribed examination. He has reported back to the Eye Centre at Zing where he will resume his staff position. John is looking forward to being one of the two surgeons to perform eye surgeries at the June Eye Camp. Thanks to individuals and churches that supported John in his ophthalmic studies.  Persons wishing to help with the proposed 100 free surgeries during the Eye Camp may send their $150 through your local church or to the conference treasurer designated INP, #230, Eye Camp.


For four years, Cletus David, has been supported by Iowans at AfricaUniversity. He will graduate from the Faculty of Theology in June. His dream was to continue at AU pursuing a Master’s Degree.  The Iowa Nigeria Partnership committee had no money to help him continue his education so he was prepared to return to Nigeria. As God would have it, funds have been found for him to fulfill his dream and he was notified by e-mail this week. Here is his response in reading the news: “I am lifting my hands, smiling again and again, my eyes filled with tears and everyone is wondering what’s happening as I read this message in the library. In my heart I am just saying prayers for you and all those who have been instrumental in giving me this opportunity. I pray that God will infinitely bless all of you with great blessings.”


Because Cletus has been gone from Nigerian for two years and has not seen his little 6 y/o daughter, Delight, he needs to return to spend some “daddy” time with her as well as get a new Zimbabwe visa. Travel costs will be approximately $1,500 for airfare and bus to Jalingo. Can you help with any of his travel expenses?


The Gwaten Conference wants to set up a mini-library at Bambur in their church headquarters so that guests may have access to theological books while attending meetings and conferences. Work team members, Verna Thompson, Rebecca Anderson and Kathy Olson, will help with this project when they go in June.


Thirty-five students will graduate on July 18 from the JuniorSecondary.  Each year Darci Hartman, in the UMC Communication Department, prepares Certificate of Graduation for these graduates. When the sea container arrives, Bibles will be collected to be given to the graduates in the name of the Iowa Annual Conference. Your presence is present at their graduation day! School


Africa University is helping Doris David, sister of Cletus, hone her leadership skills as she was selected to chair a press conference April 10 on “Challenge and Relevance of Regional Bodies in Africa.” She was nominated as secretary general of the AU Choir.  She sends her regards to all those who support her.


Simon Benjamin, a layman and director of the Sunday School Program for the UMC of Nigeria, tells of providing teacher training in the three conferences with a total of 214 in attendance. Iowa funds have allowed him to purchase needed materials and supplies for these teachers to use as Christian educators in their churches, both urban and in the bush.


Each year donations from local Iowa churches have made it possible to provide a small stipend to all academic and non-academic staff at the Nigerian church schools. This gift is given, along with a certificate of thanks, by Iowa team members as a gesture of support and encouragement to educators as they provide a quality Christian education in Nigeria.