Serving in Missions – Nigeria

Serving in Missions (formerly Sudan Interior Mission) has been in existence since the late 1800’s. It was started by men who wanted to reach Africa with the Gospel which most, at that time, thought was impossible. The men, Canadians Walter Gowans, Roland Bingham and American Thomas Kent, strove to evangelize the 60 million unreached people of sub-Saharan Africa. In the many years since then, SIM has seen many changes merging with several other organizations; however, their goal remains the same, to reach Africa and the rest of the world with the Good News.

Rick and Martha Bradford have known about Galcom International since its inception, and have been associated with SIM since 2009 when Rick became a regional manager at SIM in Canada.

Early in the 20th century, a missionary from Hamilton, Ontario, Tommy Titcombe, became a missionary in Nigeria. After seeing the great health needs there, he started a small Christian hospital. Rick visited the village where the hospital was and found out they were in need of a Maintenance Manager. Rick quit his job at SIM Canada and became a SIM missionary to fill that role.

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His wife, Martha, then joined him the following year, after making sure that it would be a good fit for her health-wise.  They have been full time missionaries since 2014. Martha runs a music school and has set up a theological library there.

Aside from the work at the hospital, Rick tries to encourage the local evangelists and pastors and the national missionary force. One of the ways he aids the missionaries when they go out to remote villages is to provide them with Galcom International audio Bibles.

Nigeria has 250 different dialects, of which 40 languages are now available in the New Testament.  In the area where the Bradfords are, Yoruba is the most common language, but requests also come in for Hausa, which is a trade language. Many merchants are from this tribal group and speak this language.  At the hospital, patients come from the smaller dialect groups, and when they spend long periods of time in the hospital, the audio Bible helps them pass the time.

A retired hospital employee travels to pastoral conferences and demonstrates the usefulness of the audio Bibles. Then he asks the Bradfords for audio Bibles that have been requested from the various pastors. When he receives them, he delivers the audio Bibles with the correct language to these pastors, along with solar speaker boxes which amplify the audio Bible. Because the electricity within the country is poor, the solar panels allow the audio Bibles to work continuously.

The Fulani people group are a semi-nomadic cattle herdsman traveling all across West Africa.  Several seasonal villages are within 30 minutes of the hospital (they move somewhere else during the rainy/dry seasons).  These villages have no electricity at all, but the solar panels power the audio Bibles, and every evening, people gather around it to listen. Even young Muslim boys who have been taught to memorize the Koran now are memorizing the Gospels in their heart language.

Solar speaker boxes amplify the audio Bibles using solar power, but they also have the capability of charging cell phones.  Cell phones are inexpensive,

and service for them is extremely cheap in Nigeria compared to North America. Cell phones are the lifeline to the outside world.  The solar speaker boxes empower the evangelists while they are out in the rural villages. The amplification can reach about 20 people with the Gospel.

Please pray for Rick and Martha as they serve in Nigeria and spread the Good News.

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