Nigeria Mission Trip – Bro. and Sis. Ostis Wilson

More Missionaries to Labor in Nigeria

(Faith & Victory : May 1964)

After praying over the matter since last autumn and consulting the feelings of a cross-section of the Church in regard thereto, Bro. and Sister Ostis B. Wilson, ministers of Pacoima, Calif., have felt impressed to make definite plans to go, the Lord willing, to Nigeria, West Africa to labor with the Church of God mission there for a few months. They have already secured their passports, and their application has been made to the Nigerian government for visas to enter that country. They have booked passage by ship, to leave New York on June 9. If their visas arrive in time and the Lord continues to will it so, they will be leaving the States on that date. Their plan is to go cross-country by train or car to New York, and make a number of stops in route.

Bro. Etuk and the other native gospel workers in Nigeria have been informed of their proposed coming to labor with them, and they are looking forward to their capable assistance with joyful anticipation.

Personally, when word came to us that they were praying about going to Nigeria, I felt that it was a good sign pointing to an ultimate answer to the many prayers and appeals which have been made for the past two or three years for some one or ones of American gospel workers to go to the aid of the native Nigerian Christians who had gotten a glimpse of the truth as we know it. I have known Bro. and Sister Ostis Wilson for 35 years or more, and recommend them as qualified to represent the Church of God.

Of course, they are going by faith in God for spiritual and material support, and that is a firm footing. To the extent of the resources of the Missionary Fund maintained here at this office, we will be pleased to relay funds from the saints and readers for their support in traveling and on the field, as well as to the home missionaries.

Pray that the guardian angel of the Lord will surround these consecrated missionaries, and that they will be endued with holy wisdom and anointed in dealing out the truth in order that the work of the Church will be permanently established in Nigeria. May the flame of the missionary spirit catch on to the extent that other gospel workers will seek to enter the open doors in other foreign lands. The command still reads, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

-Lawrence Pruitt

Bro. & Sis. Wilson Scheduled to Leave

(Faith & Victory : July 1964)

In answer to prayer, the visas from the Nigerian government for Bro. and Sister Wilson to enter that country have been granted. The information as of this date (June 8) is that they are scheduled to leave New York by ship on or about June 30. It became necessary for them to cancel their reservations to leave on June 9 because the visas did not arrive in time. They are very busy now making preparations, and will probably leave their home at Pacoima, Calif. about June 24.

Here is just a line from Bro. Wilson’s latest letter: “Time is getting pretty short now, and we are just pretty occupied thinking of things to take along and getting ready for the trip, and when we realize it is right at hand now, our hearts kind of sink a little at times when we think of getting so far away from home and clear out of contact with everything and everybody here. But the Lord will comfort and take care of everything, we are sure.”

Please put yourself in their places and you will know better how to pray for them as they answer this call from the Lord for precious souls for whom our Saviour gave His life. May each one stand behind them whole-heartedly with your prayers and means, and you will be blessed to have a part in this soul-saving mission.

We believe that we can speak for the Church in general and say that the saints are behind these qualified ministers in their new and untried experience in the Lord’s service. As the saints gather in the camp meetings this summer, these missionaries will also be remembered at the throne of grace.

As stated in previous issues, we maintain a special missionary fund here at the Office to support home and foreign missionary work, and we will be pleased to relay any funds from our readers to Bro. and Sister Wilson or to any other minister or missionary as you may designate. The gospel work is the most important work on earth–the highest calling to which a person can respond. Would you not like to have a part in it?

-Lawrence Pruitt

Wilson’s Journey to Nigeria

(Faith & Victory : Sept. 1964)

Bro. and Sister Ostis Wilson embarked on a ship of the West Africa Line on Wednesday, July 15, at New York, having been brought over to the port from KaIamazoo, Mich. by Ralph and Dorothy Wilkins in their station wagon, and they stayed until all their baggage was unloaded and in proper hands.

It was a remarkable coincidence in the time and way in which Bro. Wilson was able to contact, meet and visit about two hours in downtown Manhattan with his brother, Clifford, whose ship had just docked at Philadelphia from Japan.

Leaving New York, their ship passed the brightly illuminated Statue of Liberty about midnight. On July 16 Bro. Wilson wrote us a letter when they had been out 10 hours. They reported that they had real nice first-class accommodations. He was doing well, but Sister Opal had been feeling a little sick. All twelve of the passengers aboard were missionaries bound for different fields in Africa. The ship was going up the coast of New England in route to Halifax, Nova Scotia to take on some more cargo of flour, as this is primarily a freighter. From there, after a one-day stop, it would head out to sea to cross to Monrovia, Liberia. At Halifax he mailed the letter to us which closed with this request, “Pray for us and the success of our mission, and for our safety and health.”

On Aug. 9 Bro. Wilson sent an interesting letter of their sea voyage from their ship anchored outside the port of Lagos, Nigeria to Bro. and Sister Stover. It was received on Aug. 14 and read to the saints assembled here at the Guthrie camp meeting. They had been on the ship for over three weeks, and were anxious to get to their destination at Port Harcourt which was not too far away. At the time of writing their ship was waiting its turn to get into the port of Lagos.

Bro. Wilson wrote in part: “Opal and I have both been sick, but not anything severe like we hear of some folks having. It affected us in different ways-Opal being affected in her head with dizziness and light-headedness, but not bothering her stomach. I was never bothered in my head at all, but it hit me right square in the stomach. I had a few brief vomiting spells,” and did not feel like eating very regularly. “Opal could always get straightened out by lying down and lying still for a while. So we think we have gotten along just fine and have been able most of the time to go out on deck and enjoy the water and visiting with the other passengers any time we wanted to. We are surely thankful to the Lord that we have gotten along as well as we have and, in the main, the voyage has been a very enjoyable one. The trip has been nice and interest-packed all the way, and has supplied us with several new experiences. But now we are anxious to reach our destination and get started in our work there and the experiences it holds for us.

We know there are problems that we know nothing about so could not possibly make any plans or preparations for meeting them only through God. But we are looking to Him by day and by night to qualify and equip us for all eventualities and to meet every problem that arises both spiritually and physically.”

“Give our Christian love and best regards to all the saints . . . and remind them we are depending much on their prayers.”

-Lawrence Pruitt

Wilson’s Ship Docked at Port Harcourt

(Faith & Victory : Sept. 1964)

Two letters in the same mail came from Bro. Wilson just before this paper went to press, telling of their safe arrival at their new mission home in Nigeria, W. Africa. Thank the Lord for answered prayer thus far! Following are excerpts from each letter:

“We send you greetings of Christian love in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who has kept His good hand stretched out over us and brought us safely to this place. We docked in Port Harcourt about 7:00 yesterday morning (Aug. 12).

“We thought maybe Bro. Etuk would be there, as I had sent him a letter from Monrovia letting him know we had reached Africa and telling him where and how to check on the ship as to its arrival time. So we stood out on the deck leaning over the rail for quite a little while when the ship docked so in case he was there he could locate us. But he was not there, and after so long a time we went on about our affairs. The immigration officer never came on board until between 9:30 and 10:00, so we never got off the ship until about 10 o’clock. We could not leave the ship until he had cleared us.

“The agent of the steamship company was there and took charge of us as soon as we were released, and got some boys to carry our baggage, and we trailed them away on down the line to the customs office. They went through all our [hand baggage] and decided it would cost us 15 pounds customs duty. The shipping agent kept arguing with them and telling them we were missionaries and were not going to stay in the country long and there should be no duty. …Since we could not understand them enough to get the connection of their conversation, about all we knew to do was just let the ship agent argue the case and tell us what we were to do. …Finally he came out and said they would settle for five pounds.” We paid them a sum “which would amount to about 112.80 total. …Pretty soon they came out and put their mark on all the pieces of luggage and cleared it.

“Then we had to go back up to the ship and get the trunk and two large boxes which had been carried in the baggage locker of the ship and not unloaded yet when we had left with our hand baggage. Then we had to go back to customs with that.” The agent went in and talked a little, then the authorities “came out and put their mark on all those pieces and cleared them without anything.”

“The agent stayed with us until we got everything cleared and got our stuff out to the gate.

“As we were going up the road leading to the gate out of the docks, a man walked up to us and wanted to know if we were the Wilsons. We told him we were, and it was Bro. Alalibo. Bro. Etuk had been down last week when the ship should have been in and had come back and left instructions with Bro. Alalibo to keep check on the ship and send him a telegram when it would arrive. So he came to meet us and took us out to his place, arriving there about noon or maybe 1 o’clock, and spent the afternoon there with him and went to service with him that night. He asked Opal to preach to them, which she did, and Bro. Alalibo interpreted for her. …I suppose there were about 25 at the service. …They seemed like an earnest, sincere group of people, and really made the room ring with their singing, and listened attentively to the gospel.

Bro. Alalibo, his wife and three children live in two rooms, and they have a cousin living with them, “so we proposed to go to a hotel that night. . .. He took us down to one. We got a room with bath, but the bath did us very little good as we could hardly get enough water to wash our faces and to get shaved.” Until a late hour they kept us awake with loud music and talking. . . and we never slept much that night.

“Bro. Etuk and Bro. Friday Ekpo and a few others came after us yesterday (Aug. 13) in a Volkswagon bus which they had rented. …We got out here about 5:30 or so in the evening and they delivered us right to our place. And our place far exceeds anything we imagined we could get in this area. The Lord has well provided for us a real good situation. They had rented for us the upstairs part of a real big house. We have three large rooms with a covered porch front and back, and wood floors instead of dirt, and lots and lots of windows so we can get all the breeze that is available. It costs us $21.20 per month. They had paid one month’s rent, but we refunded them that money and are really happy and thankful to the dear Lord for providing us with such a good place. It is about a mile from the chapel. Our house is right out in the jungle, but has been cleared out all around the house and is nice and clean around it. But it is just a short distance to real jungle in any direction.

“When we got here they had already carried water for us, so we set up our little kerosene camp stove we had bought in Port Harcourt and soon got us some water boiled so we could have a drink. …This morning by the time we got up some of the sisters came carrying us more water for today. There have been folks coming in all during the day today to welcome us and to get acquainted. Different ones of the elders and pastors have been in and all seem real happy that we have come. They all speak reverently of David Madden, and how grieved they were to hear of his passing and said they feared when they heard of that, that we would change our minds about coming. But they say they are real glad we did not change our minds but came on, and they thank God for bringing us here for the sake of the truth. Bro. Friday Ekpo says they are convinced that what the Church of God is teaching is the truth.

“It has not rained for a few days, but they say it will come again a little later for a month or so real heavy, and then the dry season will start in October. We have had some pretty good sweats when we exert a little, but so far it has not actually been too hot-perhaps not as hot as there.

“Bro. Etuk’s car is in the shop now until about next Saturday, so we are about grounded until he gets it going again. The chassis broke and he is having to have another chassis put under it, and some other work, maybe.

” . . . All of you pray for us all the time.

“Will close now with Christian love and prayers from –Ostis B. and Opal Wilson.”

–Lawrence Pruitt

Wilson Missionary Report

(Faith & Victory : Oct. 1964)

The letter dated Aug. 25 was the first received from Bro. B. U. Etuk, native minister in Nigeria, since Bro. and Sister Ostis Wilson arrived there on Aug. 13, and he enclosed the above picture. He writes:

“Bro. and Sister Wilson arrived here on the 13th. . . and we all have been very happy indeed. You will never realize our joy… That they will be a blessing to us and to the Lord’s vineyard here has been demonstrated by their keen interest in us and our work and their willingness to unfold us the true light in the Gospel of our Lord. I have no doubt that their continued stay, guidance, advice and leadership will save many more souls which would otherwise be lost. Praise His name! They feel happy and seem to love their lodgings. They are looking after themselves and love it that way. I wish they could stay longer than their visas can allow them, but the Lord knows more than we do.”

Under date of Sept. 2 Bro. Etuk wrote us another letter and enclosed the August report of the mission activities written by Bro. Friday Ekpo, the mission secretary. In this letter Bro. Etuk is again rejoicing in the arrival of Bro. and Sister Wilson, which, as he says “is adding more blessings to us than ever before.” He continues: “Bro. and Sister Wilson have already won the confidence of all the congregations and their presence is helping a lot to spread the Gospel–the purpose for which they came.”

The secretary’s report covers the activities for August, mainly the complete typewritten minutes of the welcoming service accorded the Wilsons on their first Sunday in Nigeria on Aug. 16 at the new headquarters chapel, at which place all the outlying stations were represented, numbering perhaps 300 to 400. In the welcoming address on behalf of the Nigerian Church of God a petition listing eight projects or ways to advance the cause of Christ was handed to the Wilsons. They in turn were expected to certify these financial needs to the Church in the U. S. A. Through an interpreter, Bro. Wilson responded to the welcoming address, his entire response being recorded.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, the regular monthly combined service was held at Ikot Ebak, a congregation about 8 miles from where the Wilsons live. Bro. Wilson preached through an interpreter to this large gathering, the full text of his sermon being typewritten in the reports. A new convert, the village chief of Ikot Ebak, came up to be introduced, and he thanked Bro. and Sister Wilson for coming and assured them of his and his subjects’ coperation.

On Aug. 27, the regular monthly sisters’ meeting was held and Sister Opal Wilson was asked to address the meeting, which she did. The full text of her sermon is also typewritten in the reports.

We have also been receiving encouraging reports of the work direct from Bro. Wilson. Two of these letters were dated Sept. 1 and the two most recent were dated Sept. 6, just received today (Sept. 16). He writes: “We are both quite well, for which we are thankful to God and to the saints for their prayers. Your prayers on this behalf are working fine, so just keep the good work up. We also need prayer for divine wisdom and guidance in our entering in unto these people, and we are sure we have that, too.”

“They requested an adult school, and also a domestic science center. Now that adult school seems to be a common request among all of them, and Bro. Etuk and Bro. Friday Ekpo are just real urgent about that and do not want to delay longer. They are anxious for their people to be able to read the Scriptures in Efik. They realize that will give them additional inspiration when they can read the Scriptures for themselves and not have to depend on just what others tell them. We know that is true, and Opal and I are real interested in getting that going also.”

He pointed out that these classes for adult members would be held to teach them to read and write, using the Efik Bibles as textbooks. That would involve the purchase of a number of Efik Bibles at $1.00 each, and which are available there. An Efik teacher can be secured at $22.40 per month. Bro. Wilson had proposed that classes be started at various stations in the area so that no one would have to go too far to attend classes. The first class was held at the Mission’s headquarters’ chapel on Friday evening, Sept. 4, with all of the native preachers and workers present. It was a short session, perhaps only an introduction to their class work. All of the preachers and workers can read Efik, so they will be able to help the teachers in the classes. About seven of the workers can read English. The natives tell Bro. Wilson that there are no Efik Bibles with references, so these seven workers would like to have English Bibles with references. The Wilsons were planning to go to their post office city, some twelve miles away, where there is a gospel literature book store and see if they have English Bibles with references.

Bro. Wilson writes: “The domestic science center would be valuable, also. It would involve the purchase of some sewing machines, yardage materials, scissors, needles, thread, buttons, and other accessories to sewing. We were in Uyo [20 miles away] this morning and priced some machines. A treadle machine in a stand costs $84.00. They have a portable hand-turned machine for $61.20. Opal plans to start a sewing class with the women at one of the stations tomorrow morning (Sept. 7). We do not have any sewing machine yet but they did not want to wait longer, so Opal told them they could start with hand-sewing and work at that until some machines were available. So we . . . bought some needles, thread, and other sewing accessories and they plan to have the first class tomorrow. They want two classes each week. But, of course, when it starts, it will soon spread to other stations around here.”

“It is our idea that the most effective way to reach these people is through the native workers. Having to do everything through an interpreter makes us more or less ineffective in that capacity. Also we do not know the people and their background, and customs and manner of thinking like the natives do. We feel that our principal work is to teach the natives the doctrines of the truth and get them established in those things, and then let them go to their brethren with the message of salvation.”

Let us all continue to pray the Lord to bless Bro. and Sister Wilson, along with all the native workers, and give them special Divine wisdom and courage to meet and solve the many problems which confront them in the process of establishing a permanent mission work for God that will spread throughout Nigeria.

Let us also remember the financial needs involved in purchasing Bibles for the adult classes, salaries for Efik teachers, sewing machines and sewing accessories for the sewing classes, and to increase the monthly allowances for the 14 native workers, some of whom are only receiving a very few dollars per month. At least one preacher at an outlying station has no transportation at all. On the Friday of the first Bible study at the headquarters’ chapel he walked the 14 miles, and arrived too late. The Wilsons met him just leaving their house as they were willing back from the Bible class. They were favorably impressed with his spirit and attitude, and feel burdened to get him a bicycle.

Your free-will offerings for the Nigerian missionary work may be sent to that special fund here at the office, and it will be used for the purpose designated. This service we are glad to render to our readers for the advancement of the missionary cause.

“While a soul remains in darkness,
And in idleness we dwell,
Selfishly the truth enjoying,
Brethren dear, we do not well.”

-Lawrence D. Pruitt

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