By Rohan Nandkisore
In 2017, I had promised to find ways to bring victory for True Mother, even though it looked impossible in my surrounding to make a sustainable progress. However, once True Mother opened the doors to Africa for us there was suddenly a way and in the end of 2018 we sponsored Blessing of 430 couples in the Benue state of Nigeria.
A very busy Japanese sister from the same island as my wife, Hokkaido living in England, Mieko Davies introduced us to Dr. Raphael Oko in Nigeria. I must say that he is an extraordinary brother; I never met someone like this in our church. I rarely praise anyone, but this person is like Joshua.
We received names and pictures of our tribes in October 2018 and registered successfully through the European office. Promising Dr. Oko to come and visit our tribe, finally two weeks ago I went along with a couple from England and two Japanese sisters from Germany to Nigeria. The first night we spent in Abuja, before greeting the National Leader and one elder of the same name, George, at the peace embassy. It was very moving to go to the same place True Parents had visited in 2011.
My intuition told me it would be a dangerous trip, without knowing the true situation. The first measure was that the car hire company brought a soldier as security guard with a fully loaded automatic gun. As we drove the road to the outskirts of Abuja, the road was sometimes almost blocked by hundreds of fundraisers. As a fundraiser, I never had so much competition. I truly respect those people who demonstrated spirit, teaching me the strength of the human mind.
The ride to Benue state took us more than six hours with worsening road conditions towards the south east.
Altogether we visited four tribes that had been already blessed in our names during five days of our trip. They welcomed us each in big numbers gathered at their churches with fiery cheers, beautiful people and lovely children whose hands I touched as much as I could as I gave candies to them. The Christian pastors not only had studied Divine Principle but liked it, which is what the minister of Buruku where my tribe comes from told me. They gave me traditional clothe, signifying that I became part of their tribe and they gave one set of clothes for True Mother as well. To tell the truth at home we had been a bit suspicious as many of you probably still are.
But True Mother declared Africa is emerging like mushrooms after the rain, so in the end we believed it and were proven right.
Dr. Oko had introduced microcredits to ladies which is very well received and we all supported additional 3 to 4 ladies with loans as well.
We found all was true and happening: the indemnity stick, the 40 days, three days ceremony etc. Dr. Oko had prepared a wonderful environment for Blessing in Benue. On our last day, he invited 12 representatives from each tribe, many of them Christian ministers who received the mission to educate 36 families each. We assisted and got to know them a bit and have now direct contact with those 12 who we take care.
It was so wonderful to see and meet beautiful people, the spirit was so high.
There was one incident that was quite special: For weeks Dr. Oko tried to contact the chief of Benue in order to meet him, but was prevented. So on the third day of our visit we went there for an audience for the first time. As we entered the small residence hall, it was like as we entered through a time machine into a different epoch in time. Beforehand it was decided that I will give the response speech to the chief, even though Mieko san was our chosen leader, but because this is a male society it had to be like this. We entered the room while outside was nice weather. Beside the throne a servant was kneeling in black and white stripes. The air condition replaced another servant who may have circulated the air around the chief or king as they called him. I wondered if he has a taster in possession as well. Dr. Oko gave a speech explaining about what we were doing straight forward, offering a peace ambassador award and auto bio in the end. The king responded increasingly negative mounting in strongly criticizing on what Dr. Oko had been doing without asking him. He demanded an immediate halt of all our activities; otherwise, he would chase us out of his kingdom, the state of Benue. Actually he had ordered a letter to be sent to Dr. Oko two weeks earlier, but his secretary suffered a stroke while writing, so this letter was never sent. More strange things happened: Suddenly during the chiefs speech the light went off leaving the room in complete darkness. The staff panicked in trying to fix the problem. A little later strong rain hammered like thunder on the roof making it hard to hear him speak.
He showed no sign of changing his mind however but continued joking about the 40 day separation period and asked the Christian pastors present if they had done it. They lifted their arms in acknowledgement that they had done 40 days separation; it looked like a silent protest to his speech. In the meanwhile we Europeans were so intimidated and frightened. Now it was up to me to speak. I was so desperate and could only think to fight for True Mother and two sisters who not had met their tribes and were so much looking forward. Now they looked like all hope was gone. At the end of my lousy speech he at least lifted the ban until the end of our trip. Actually, our brother Trevor Davies filmed the entire drama, I hope we can see it soon.
On the day of the proposed visit to my tribe the driver and our security guard had disappeared. We still do not know exactly what happened. Probably the driver was caught in the night by the police due to an alarming situation in the region. Dr. Oko bailed him out and we could start our day.
Dr. Oko says that since the Blessings in the area started the attacks by so-called herdsmen had subsided. I believe no European member would have dared to host us in such circumstances, but Dr. Oko (Joshua) did with confidence and heavenly protection was granted.
Blessing is not given at an easy place, this we learned from True Parents and we are happy to follow their way, even though it was only a little bit.
As we returned to Abuja I learned about the other side of Nigeria which is wealthy but less attractive to me. At Sunday Service we gave a testimony to members and learned that 15 members in Nigeria are HTM victors. On the other side there are 143 members form overseas that did up to 430 couples Blessing in Nigeria, many from Europe and more would like to join as we expect after our testimony. Please take delight in our victories in Benue, the beautiful Garden of Eden in Nigeria with beautiful people majestic trees in an abundant wealth of nature.
There is so much more to report, if you like please watch the films of Trevor Davies. I have not seen them, but trust they are of good quality.
I close now, thanking Mieko Davies for her big effort and connecting one of the great men of Africa, Dr. Oko.