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Seventy Five Years in Nigeria

Written by | December, 2011
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Original Lutheran mission work began in Nigeria with Danish missionaries in 1913. This then was later supported by American Lutherans. For those of our background in the Lutheran Synodical Conference, the work in Nigeria is dated from 1936, so that this year (2011) is the 75th anniversary of that beginning.

While the Danish work began in the eastern section at Yola, the Synodical Conference work was in the southeast. At the Lutheran Synodical Conference meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 8-13, 1934, a resolution was taken to “undertake aggressive mission work in the Ibesikpo country and then, as God may prosper the work, to extend it into unoccupied fields in Nigeria or in parts of Africa adjacent to Nigeria.”

That resolution was soon followed with a shipment of religious books
to the Ibesikpo churches, so that they could start getting familiar with
the teachings of Lutherans.

On January 5, 1935, a survey team consisting of three missionaries,
Dr. Henry Nau, Rev. Emmanuel Albrecht, and Rev. O. C. A. Boecler
left the United States for Nigeria, and arrived in Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo,
on February 4, 1935.

On their return to the United States, and after a thorough evaluation of their report, a decision was reached to take up the work in the Ibesikpo area of Nigeria. Dr. Henry Nau and his wife arrived at Nung Udoe on April 24, 1936 to begin the missionary work of the North American Lutheran Synodical Conference in Nigeria.

Our own beginnings there date from the early ’70’s. Prof. Oscar Erpenstein of St. Stephen’s, San Francisco had led Nigerian students in Bible study. When they returned to their home country, the contact continued, culminating in the first visitation team going there in January 1974.

Since then, for thirty-seven years we have had the opportunity to work with brethren there to proclaim the Word of life. It was the Lord who brought us to Nigeria, a country with a reputation for moral shenanigans and financial scamming.

Our Jesus went into the house of crooked tax collectors and ate with open sinners, showing us the way. He died on the cross for such sinners, and we now work with our brethren to proclaim the whole counsel of God. – The NCLC has 978 souls served by 24 pastors. ”