Apr 7, 2021 | Gilbert's Journal

I just returned to Nigeria after a close to 4-week teaching trip to the US from March 6 to April 2, 2019. The dream for me to travel to the US on a teaching trip was born during one of the Ministry Training Academy (MTA) visits to Nigeria by Michael Burns and James Becknell, both Teachers in the Midwest family of Churches, based in Minneapolis and Chicago, respectively.
I personally know very few people like Michael Mbuso Burns who have understood and champion the need for diversity in our global family of churches. He strongly believes in the power of culture and the need to harness it as we strive to reach out to all nations, tribes and tongues in becoming all things to all men.  (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). As the months went by and the count down towards March 2019 progressed, Michael kept reminding me of the commitment to come to teach a formal course on the New Testament in their school of missions in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Twin city church (St Paul and Minneapolis).
In spite of a previous visa refusal, barely 6 months before the March 2019 commitment, God opened up the door and blessed my fourth attempt with a two-year multiple entry visa which affords me the possibility of travelling back and forth between the US and Nigeria up till February 2021. My wife was also granted the same visa.
On the back of the invitation to teach in Minneapolis, trips were planned to Chicago for me to take part and also speak during the fourth edition of the Midwest Teachers’ Summit. I was granted the honor to also preach on Sunday at the Midpoint Region of the Chicago Church. Before continuing to Lexington, I decided to take advantage of some free time to visit and reunite with my brother in the Maryland/DC area after 15 years of separation. My last stop was going to be Houston Texas, for yet another reunion with, yet another sibling of mine with whom I’ve been separated for over 17 years; with him going through two near-death experiences.
The school of missions’ students in Minneapolis had a childlike hunger for the Scriptures and were willing to brave a snowstorm to attend the sessions on the first day of the course while others resorted to joining the class online. Our Sunday sessions began early, being interrupted just before service.  We then joined the rest of the church for the Sunday service during which I taught a lesson on Unity drawing, from the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians. This was in sync with a series the twin city Church is currently going through entitled ”Called Together.” I had a rather brief but wonderful fellowship time with the disciples because we did have to resume classes in order to conclude the last few of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. I found a culturally intelligent and diverse group in Minneapolis and St Paul with great plans to reach out to both the Somalian and the Hispanic communities in the Region.
During that week I also had the opportunity to lead a devotional lesson with the staff of the Minneapolis Church and spent some great time in fellowship. Staying with the Burns afforded me the opportunity to interact first hand with Michael and I learned a lot in the process. We also worked on our joint-lesson for the Chicago Teachers’ Summit which we later co-taught on “Becoming all things to all men/Ignoring our Task: The Power of Culture in the Church.”
This year’s summit in Chicago was entitled ”Deeper” with classes ranging from “Spiritual Transformation,” “Meditation: Going beyond reflection and contemplation,” “The Life of Calling,” “the Power of Culture” and “Toward a deeper spirituality-” addressing the mystical nature of our relationship with God. About 50-60 participants took part from all over the Midwestern Churches.
I preached a message based on the book of Romans entitled “Life in the Spirit” at the Midpoint Region in Chicago and went on to teach and preach the same lesson the following two Sundays in Lexington, Kentucky and Houston, Texas. In the three places, the Spirit emphasized different aspects of the lesson.
In addition to the class on Romans, I also spoke to the Young Professionals/Singles/Grad students’ group and the leadership group in Lexington. I also spoke at the Midweek service of the North Region in Houston, Texas on the Business & Professionals’ Ministry and our Partnership in the Gospel.
I did pay a visit and share some good news during the midweek service of one of the sectors in the Montgomery County, in the DC area.
While in Texas, I also paid a visit to say hello to the African leaders in San Antonio.  What a great time of fellowship it was, as we took advantage to catch up on the last several years, especially with those I hadn’t met in a long time, some as long as thirteen years.
Two of my brothers came to Church in Houston along with a friend and they all loved it thoroughly. God moved throughout my stay in the US as every interaction seemed to be at the right time, with the right people and in the right place. I met some great and open-hearted people even during the eight flights I took.
I was very encouraged by the desire of many disciples to support the work in Africa. I had a great time of fellowship with three mature brothers of African descent, who basically were interested in finding ways they can support the work in Africa, especially through the teaching ministry.
In Summary, these four weeks spent visiting and sharing in five churches in five States achieved multiple purposes – a global perspective was shared from an African vantage point, students and disciples’ appetite for deeper Bible study was aroused, I made new friends and partners in the Gospel, it served as a personal development program for me as a Teacher and hearts were drawn closer to God through Paul’s understanding of the Gospel.
I’m getting ready to leave for South Africa to teach another formal course at the Ministry Training Academy for the second consecutive year.
Many thanks especially to the Minneapolis Church, the Chicago Church, the Lexington Church and the Houston Church for supporting me throughout this trip and for the Africa Missions Association in partnership with the German-speaking Churches for Supporting my Teaching efforts in 2019!


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