LIVE from Nigeria!

Sitting in my room waiting to leave for another day of ministry. This has been an amazing trip so far - filled with celebration of the past and the making of many new and incredible memories. God has been working during my long absence through the HCI Africa Board and our USA Board Members and now I am overjoyed to back and a part of what will come next.

I love this country! Lagos is filled with 180 million people doing life all around us. As we arrived my heart was overwhelmed with the sights and smells and sounds of this place. The feelings of “home” swept over me and it was as if I was here just yesterday…in reality, it’s been much longer. I know that God has restored and prepared me to be here now at a strategic time of transition as HCI again surges forward with new momentum. There is much planning and training that will happen in meetings with the HCI Africa Board and solid groundwork happening at each event. It’s so God!

Every meeting has exceeded our expectations. We originally estimated 1,000 children for the Children’s Crusade - we surpassed that amount even in the rain! (I’ve never preached while drenched in rain with mud-filled shoes before - it was fun!) We estimated 100 for the Youth Crusade and had 183 + many children who attended! 53 of these gave their life to Christ and many came forward later to receive prayer to grasp their significance found in His love for them. It was beautiful! Both of these events ended with Robin and I surrounded by the children and teens, hugging, holding hands, laughing and simply loving them. Is our job awesome or what????? We planned these events for two reasons - to speak to the next generation that they are significant in the kingdom of God and to teach our generation to see them as significant. Both goals were accomplished and our hearts are full.

We preached at two churches yesterday morning. At the first the women are expected to have their heads covered, wear no jewelry and no make-up. While I “go light” with the latter, both Robin and I agreed to cover our heads with scarves out of respect. With my soft hair, the scarf didn’t want to stay and repeatedly slipped to my shoulders as I tried to preach. I pulled it up several times and then the pastor signaled to one of his women leaders to come and take the scarf from me. I was allowed to finish the ministry with no covering which is a BIG statement here. They received the word with joy and a new base for HCI to work here in Nigeria is established. I am so grateful!

Today I speak to two Pentecostal Fellowship Network gatherings of pastors. What an opportunity to share the vision of HCI! We will invite them to come to our Awaken the Shepherds Conference tomorrow. We estimated originally 80 pastors would attend and already have nearly 200 registered! After today there could be many more - which is amazing and also past the budget set for the event. Our growing numbers make our limited budget stretch beyond capacity and yet how can we say no to what God is doing? He is so obviously granting rich favor and opening so many doors to hearts and churches here.

I try not to bombard you with requests for funds but I will say…NOW would be a great time to make a donation to HCI. :) Help us to cover the additional costs due to the increased numbers with a one-time donation. Simply note that it is for “Nigeria Trip” and 100% of what you give will go here. We so appreciate your prayers and faithful support! We are doing this TOGETHER. It is OUR victory to celebrate, dear friends!

Keep praying…I will post another report in a few days to update you. In the meantime, check our HCI’s Facebook page to see videos and pictures of all that is happening here. Blessings!

Carla Ives