Nigeria Mission Trip – Bro. and Sis. Carver

Carver’s Leave for Nigeria

(Faith & Victory : Oct. 1965)

Bro. and Sister C. C. Carver, Shreveport, La., left New York by airplane on Sept. 6 bound for Nigeria, W. Africa to aid in the missionary work for a period of 28 days allowed by their visas. Arriving at Amsterdam in Europe the next day, they made a side trip to the Holy Lands where they visited the scenes of ancient events of the characters of Bible history. Reports have come in of their safe arrival at various stops along the way, for which we thank the Lord. Now our latest telegram from them, after their return to Amsterdam from Palestine, states that they plan to arrive at Port Harcourt in Nigeria on Sunday, Sept. 19. The main mission station is about 80 miles inland from Port Harcourt.

Pray that their presence and labors at the mission stations will be very profitable for the cause of Christ, and that they will have a safe trip home.

-Lawrence Pruitt

Letter from the Field

(Faith & Victory : Nov. 1965)

Nigeria, Africa-Oct. 6

Dear Ones: Little did we think when we were in Pacoima, Calif. last Oct. 5, for Sister Opal Wilson’s funeral, that a year from that date we would be here. But we are here by the grace of God; and by your prayers and God’s mercy, we are keeping well. How we praise the Lord for what he is doing for us daily!

It seems that now, as it is almost time to go home, we are learning how we can be of help to them. All of this time we have gone from one Mission to another for “welcoming ceremonies,” mostly one every day, and sometimes twice a day. At most of these Cecil has been able to bring a message since Nse has learned that he wanted to. Otherwise, they had their service in their own way; read a long sheet welcoming us, and outlining their needs to us, and they are many, and then bringing their tray of fruits and other gifts and a rooster. Cecil has been able to have several talks with their teachers and elders, and they seemed eager to accept his teaching and answers to their questions.

They seem to have great faith in the Lord. A young girl was brought to the Mission soon after we arrived. She stayed out there for a week or more, first unconscious, then blind and partly paralyzed. She is now well. Two nights ago they brought an unconscious woman in a basket. The drum beating was real loud that night. Today the woman and her little baby were over here at the house. Bro. Brownson Udeme, one of the preachers, told me of a woman who was in the congregation tonight. Last year she was in the swamp about two miles from here. She came face to face with a tiger. She said, “I command you in the name of Jesus to leave.” The tiger ran off. Today Bro. Etuk’s oldest child, an eleven-year-old boy, came here sick. He was unconscious in the afternoon out at the mission, and while they were praying for him, he sat up. One of their requests is a place where their sick can be cared for. We see that when they get desperately sick they are brought here for prayer. There are no accommodations out there, for their care, only the bare benches, yet they are able to go home. I don’t know who feeds them, unless the Etuks divide with them. I have sent food out several times, and I almost always make a big pot of cocoa and oatmeal in the mornings; and later on in the day make extra of what we cook and take to the Etuks. They nearly always have several sitting out in the back yards where they cook in pots over the fires.

The fame of this Mission has gone out ’round about, how the Lord is blessing in healing the sick. They are very faithful in praying for the sick. At 4 o’clock this morning we heard them praying and again at 8:30 o’clock. When we first came to the village (Upkom) elders came with a long letter welcoming us; telling how they had given the land here for a mission, and how this mission had been a help to their community, and promising more land if they needed it.

Another request is for a maternity home, all staffed and equipped. One letter said many of their mothers and babies died in childbirth. And you would not wonder why when you see their poverty. In fact, I wonder how so many survive. They do not know much, if anything, about sanitation, yet their children at the missions look healthy and fine. At most of the missions the request is for a new building. These buildings are made of bamboo canes stuck in the ground with palm fronds tied to them. Then mud is plastered on each side. The floors are made of sand wet down with water until quite hard, and charcoal covering the sand. The roofs are thatched, made of palm fronds stitched together and laid over squares of crossed and tiered bamboo canes like our largest fishing poles. The beam across the front of our porch and the posts at the sides are large bamboo canes perhaps three inches in diameter. These thatched roofs last about two years and have to be replaced. They are replacing the roof on the mission here this morning. The walls of many of the missions are cracked. One small mission asked for windows and doors.

One young preacher asked for a bicycle. His home is 13 miles from his mission. Cecil is talking of granting his request himself as soon as he can. (A bicycle here costs about $60.) Now, this morning there is another young man who needs a bicycle.

Nse Umanah, the Field Secretary, needs a house. He and his little wife live in a small room in Bro. Etuk’s home. The driver, Patience, and his wife live in another room. Bro. Etuk’s brother and a number of children are there; a sister also and a number of orphan children he has taken in, more than 17 people in all. It is no wonder Bro. Etuk left home and came here when he became ill. Nse tells me the house we are in now costs around $75 or $80. He would like to have one with a corrugated zinc roof which would not have to be replaced, and that would cost around $180. This little house has a set-in front porch in the middle of the house and a door opening into a probably 12′ x 12′ room. Off the front porch on either side is a small room about 10′ x 10′, and a door opening into a smaller back room on our side of the house. On the other side a small room opens out of the large one. Nese’s idea is to have a part of his home for the missionaries when they come. I told him the rooms should be lived in, but saved for the missionaries. We were so grateful to move into little clean rooms, although the walls are made of mud and the floors were dirt. We are blest to have linoleum squares that cover a part of the rooms, and some matting over that, but at that we take much dirt to bed with us. If missionaries do come it would be good to have their own place with a concrete floor and a good roof.

Good bye for now, and may God bless each and one is our prayer.

-Cecil and May Carver

Missionary Report Update

(Faith & Victory : Nov. 1965)

In a letter dated Sept. 30 from Bro. Nse Umanah, mission secretary in Nigeria, he reports that the presence of Bro. and Sister C. C. Carver among them was very encouraging and that “everybody enjoys them.” He is their interpreter, and is concentrating his efforts in serving them in every possible way. For that reason he expressed his regret that he did not have the time to produce the report of the Mission activities for the month of September.

In the same letter he informed us of the physical condition of the mission superintendent, Bro. B. U. Etuk, who had suffered a stroke in his right side the first part of September. In answer to prayer, he is definitely improved, but is not yet “able to write or speak properly.” Bro. Nse requested the continued prayers of the church for Bro. Etuk’s complete recovery. This is a very urgent request, as he certainly needs a well body in order to direct the mission work.

It became necessary for Bro. Etuk to purchase a new car for the mission work to replace the Volkswagen that was damaged in a recent flood. The new car is a Taunus, a small one built by Ford in West Germany. They still owe about $600.00 on it, and are asking the church to pray that this obligation will be met.

Bro. Ostis Wilson wrote me that in making contacts with many people during the summer he has misplaced the names and addresses of one or two saints who desired to support and sponsor a native minister in Nigeria. Now if any of those have not already had a letter from him about this project, you may know that your address was misplaced and you should contact him about the matter. His address is: Ostis B. Wilson, 12312 Osborne Place, Pacoima, Calif.

No doubt many of our readers have been receiving the mimeographed reports of the Carvers through their son, Lynn, who has been mailing them out to all those who had requested them. This service has been appreciated.

In addition to these reports, we have received three or four very interesting letters directly from them. They have accumulated many varied and strange experiences which they will never forget. Their hearts were touched and moved with compassion, seeing the poverty of the people, and the extreme spiritual darkness that prevailed in that heathen land where millions of people grope in ignorance and superstition.

Oh, who will consecrate to meet the challenge in Nigeria? Right now there is an urgent need for resi­dent missionaries in that great field. Who will answer the call?

Returning from Nigeria at the expiration of their 28-day visa, Bro. and Sister C. C. Carver arrived at Amsterdam in Europe on Oct. 16. Prior to that date we had contacted them in Nigeria about making an extra trip to India on their return home to investigate the promising prospects of opening a mission work in that great field. Bro. Carver felt burdened to answer this “Macedonian” call. They decided that Sister Carver would fly on home from Amsterdam. Accordingly, the two reluctantly parted company there, and she arrived safe and sound at the home of her son near Washington, D. C. on Oct. 18. Soon after arriving there she phoned us expressing her appreciation to the Lord for a safe and prosperous trip by the will of God, and asked us to extend her love and thanks to all the saints for their prayers for them on this missionary trip. She also requests special prayer for Bro. Carver’s safety in the long journey to India and return home.

Bro. Carver remained in Amsterdam, and is scheduled to leave there on Oct. 20, by air, bound for Delhi, India. From there he will have to travel several hundred more miles to reach his destination. It is not known how long he will remain in India, but we are asking all the saints to pray that God will give him good success on this special mission, and that those hungry souls who are calling for the gospel will be greatly benefited. We trust that this personal contact will open the door for a permanent mission base from which the whole gospel will be carried to India’s millions. Will you pray to that end?

Let us “sow beside all waters” and pray that the gospel message to all the world will not return void. Adversities will come, but “he that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” EccI. 11 :4. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Dan. 12:3. May God help all of us to be faithful in His service.

-Lawrence Pruitt

Report on Nigeria Trip

(Faith & Victory : Feb. 1966)

To the dear saints scattered abroad, we send greetings of love:

First of all, we want to thank you for your gifts of money which made our trip to Nigeria possible. In all our lives we had never thought it possible that we could make such a trip.

My husband, Cecil Carver, says that when mention was first made in the “Faith and Victory” paper that someone needed to go to Nigeria, he felt burdened to go. Then we heard that Bro. David Madden was going; afterwards that Bro. and Sis. Wilson were planning to go; but his burden never left him. When it was decided that someone else needed to go, he was ready to say, “Here am I, Lord, send me.”

I had no burden to go as a missionary, for I do not preach, nor could I speak their language, and so felt there was little that I could do. But I did have a burden to go to help take care of him-to cook his food, boil the water, wash his clothes, and to help him take the precautions necessary to live in that unhealthful climate. And, so, against the advice of children, relatives, (some of whom thought I had lost my mind) and many of the saints, I made preparations to go. I suppose this was the hardest thing I ever did. When the saints at Monark, Mo. camp meeting bade us farewell, there was much weeping; also a short time later at Pacoima, Calif. Camp meeting, the saints there bade us farewell, and again there was much weeping. I can understand and appreciate their concern for us, as our first missionary to Nigeria, Bro. David Madden lived only a few days after his return to the United States. Then our dear Sister Opal Wilson died while in Nigeria. We hardly know how to express our appreciation for the love and concern of the saints for us, all unworthy though we be, and especially for your prayers which, we are told, went up for us day and night, and much fasting as well. We felt your prayers underneath us, lifting us up, and it seemed that with them and the everlasting arms of God underneath us, we had nothing to fear.

We found ourselves among a very sweet and warm­hearted people, eager to learn more about the word of God. When we went to the various missions, of which there were seventeen, we were welcomed with smiles and much appreciation, and were showered with gifts, which we felt was a great sacrifice to them. After the services, the women and children gathered around us, eager to touch our hands, as if we could bestow some blessing upon them. Many times we were brought to tears to see their eagerness to be near us. It rained almost every day we were there, but that did not keep them from coming to the services. They came through the rain with their little ones strapped to their backs, and an umbrella, or banana leaf, or a large “elephant ear” (caladium) over them.

Their church buildings, or missions as they call them, are built of upright bamboo canes with palm fronds woven between them, and mud or clay plastered over the walls inside and out. The rafters are made of large bamboo, with a thatched roof of palm fronds. The floors are dirt, or clay, packed down hard with some charcoal mixed in. The thatched roofs last about two years, as the rains and the white ants cause them to deteriorate, and they have to be replaced. The roof on the mission at Ukpom, where we lived, was replaced while we were there. There were many requests as we made our trips to the missions. Many were for new missions, where the mud walls were cracked, and they were in general dilapidation. Some congregations had outgrown their buildings and needed larger ones. Some requested zinc roofs which would not have to be replaced. There were other needs, also.

Some requested a place where the sick ones could be cared for, not a hospital in our sense of the word, but really a house of prayer, where the sick could stay while being prayed for. The sick were brought to the mission at Ukpom, where we lived, and lay on a mat on the floor or on the bare benches. There they stayed until the Lord healed them. There were several remarkable cases of healing while we were there. The bell (a brake drum beaten with a tire tool) rang around five o’clock in the morning, calling the congregation for prayer meeting, mainly to pray for the sick. They had meeting each night and stayed sometimes until 10 o’clock. The pastor, Bro. Sunday Udo Udo (Udo means “second son”) was very faithful and others of his congregation in their devotions during the day, and praying for the sick. A girl, perhaps 14 years old, was brought there unconscious. Her mother was a heathen. She stayed there for many days. After a while she was able to walk around, but was led, because she was blind. One arm was paralyzed. Some time before we left, she had gone home well, but visited there almost every day. Another woman was brought there in a basket by her people who thought she was dead, and were ready to bury her. That night the drums beat louder, and we wondered what was happening. We were told about her the next morning. On the next day she was over at our house carrying her small baby around. Bro. Etuk’s son, 11 years old, was brought there unconscious. While prayer was being offered he sat up. The fame of this mission has gone out over the country, and some are coming to be healed.

Some asked for bicycles. There is no means of transportation out there except to walk or ride a bicycle. We did not see a horse or a donkey. Only Bro. Etuk has a car among the group that we visited. Some of the missions were 19 miles from where we lived. One request for a bicycle has been granted since we came home–­to a young preacher who had to walk 13 miles to his mission.

There is little industry where we were. They gather the palm oil nuts and take them to market. Nearly every house has a small patch of “yams,”-a potato-like root which is their main diet, more like our Irish potato, but very large. They have “cassava,” a root which when ground resembles coarse yellow corn meal. Then they eat the roots of the caladium (elephant ear) which they call “cocoa yam;” and one sees large patches of them. There seems to be many oranges and bananas in the markets, also papaya and pineapple. There are many chickens, and we saw lots of eggs at the markets. Peanuts also seem to be plentiful. There are many of these markets through the countryside, as well as in the towns, and hundreds of people gather there to buy and sell.

It is very hard for the children to get an education, as it costs more than the parents can pay to send them to school. However, we saw many schools, and lots of school children; but the poorer ones have little opportunity to go. We visited a mission where adult classes were held three times a week, to teach the young people and the older ones to read their Bibles in Efik. These classes were started while Bro. and Sis. Wilson were there.

We were visited by the elders of the local village, who welcomed us, and told us they appreciated our coming. The elders of Ukpom village gave the land for the mission there, and told us they would give more land if other buildings were needed. They also said the Church of God mission had been a help to the village.

Cecil took every opportunity he could to talk on the doctrines of the Bible. We were visited day after day by ministers and other workers of the missions. One afternoon all of the ministers came together to ask questions on the Bible. He also was able to bring a message at the missions we visited.

One of the greatest blessings of the trip was his visit to Benin City, 214 miles away, to a group there who wanted to be in fellowship with the Church of God. After preaching to them on baptism, Cecil baptized the whole group, pastor and all. Then he preached on the ordinances, and they observed the Lord’s Supper. They hadn’t made enough preparations for feet-washing, but that would come later, they said.

We contacted another brother near us who promised to come out of the organization he was in, and take his stand with the Church of God. He has 52 missions scattered over an 80-mile area.

We have had good reports since we have been home. We left on Sat., Oct. 16 as our visa expired that day. The next day, which was Sunday, over 700 met at the central mission; over 60 took part in the Lord’s Supper, and 117 were baptized. From some of the pastors we have heard that people are stilI getting saved.

Surely this is a great and needy field. The people seem to be hungry. The driver of the car which took Cecil, Bro. Etuk, Bro. Nse Umanah and Bro. Brownson Udeme to Benin City belonged to the Qua Iboe church, which has a large number of churches there. The car broke down (driving through the water so much had washed the grease out of the front wheel bearings and they froze and locked the front wheels, first one and then the other) and they prayed much for the Lord to help them out. Seeing their faith, and how the Lord helped them out, he soon was converted into the church of God.

Bro. Ostis Wilson has been sending Bible lessons each month, perhaps several a month. The preachers come together, and these lessons are read and interpreted to them, so that they can go and teach them to their congregations. People are turning from worshiping idols to the worship of the living God. There was an idol burning in a new convert’s home while we were there. The whole group at Ukpom, with bright lights and drums beating, marched singing down the road. We heard them coming back about midnight, after walking for miles. Only the next day did we know why they went.

I must tell you of the chorus groups who sang for us at the different missions, boys and girls from ten or twelve up. There were two groups of perhaps fifteen or twenty each, and they had good leaders and were well trained. On the day before we left Nigeria, one of these groups walked fourteen miles to sing for us, and walked fourteen miles home. I don’t know how far the others walked. Our hearts were really touched, and how we wished for transportation for them.

We lived in one end of the house where Bro. Etuk and his family were living while we were there. They seemed real close to us and were always so kind and good to us. We were in tears when we said goodbye to them, knowing that we would probably never see their faces again. But we do want to be faithful and meet all of the saints around the great White Throne of God one of these days.

May God bless each and every one of you is our prayer.

-May Carver


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