by Charles Nicol
Several years ago, I was privileged and honoured to be part of two UK-based short missionary trips to Enugu, Nigeria. I can testify that the Holy Ghost moved so much, during the two visits, which lasted 3 weeks apiece and so many were delivered, healed and blessed, however, the impact, on my own spiritual life and walk, was also immense and definitely set my feet upon a solid rock, which has sustained me, ever since. I trust that experiences and observations, shared here, will help encourage others, who are taking their first steps into God’s mission field.
Do Not Limit God
I would counsel the prospective missionary not to limit God and rule out areas of the world, you would prefer not to go to. Before heading to Nigeria, I had no inclination to visit Africa, yet the Lord pointed out that part of the world to me and I clearly understood that He was calling me to go there – not my own flesh or desires. I was ready to head out to what, in my own mind, was unknown, but fully put my trust in the Lord to guide me.
Apart from the amazing things which I experienced out there, I have had a lot of contact with Nigerian people, since returning to the UK and can minister to them in a special way, due to my experiences and insight. 27 years on, from my first visit to Enugu, people there are still asking me to go back and, God-willing, I hope that my family and I will be able to return and minister at some point in the future.
Pray, Pray, Pray
Secondly, when the Lord has called you to a mission, pray, pray, pray. To embark on a missionary trip into a continent like Africa, there are often potential risks to health and well-being. Many problems can arise, if depending upon one’s own strength and I certainly realised that I had to be prayed up and consecrated to the Lord, every hour, every day. You never know what is just around the corner. En route, the first time round, our airliner caught fire in mid-air, over the Sahara Desert and we were miraculously delivered from certain death through the power of prayer, when fires were extinguished and a fully loaded jet was able to glide back and land at Cairo Airport, avoiding disaster. I also learned that I had to be prayed up, when ministering to others. People, from other languages and cultures, cannot always express their needs clearly and you need to exercise a lot of discernment, in order to pray intelligently for them.
Only by HIS Strength
Thirdly, although very rewarding, I found missionary work to be physically tiring and was on the go all the time. Our hosts arranged special services and crusades and hundreds of people turned up every time. We had no option but to roll up our sleeves and get involved in all kinds of ministry- preaching, testifying, leading worship services and, especially, praying for those in need. When services ended, we would spend another few hours praying with people, who had come to the altar. We witnessed many healings, as well as people repenting of their sins and being gloriously filled with the Holy Ghost. When you go on mission, ask Jesus for spiritual, emotional and physical strength. You will pour so much out, so wait upon the Lord to fill you afresh.
It is worth remembering that “Greater is he, that is in us, than he that is in the world”. The devil is going around, “seeking whom he may devour” and, in some parts of the world, there is more apparent spiritual darkness than elsewhere. Due to its history and culture, you can feel heavy spirits in some parts of the African continent, however, you have to be bold and strong, binding demonic forces and pulling down spiritual wickedness in high places. Undoubtedly, the enemy of our souls tried to throw some obstacles in our way during our trips, however, the Lord Jesus gave us the victory and we overcame, by the blood of the lamb and by the words of our testimony.
Persevere to the End
Finally, I would counsel the new missionary to persevere. I was only in Nigeria for two three-week stretches, however, it is more common for people to be in the mission field for months or years. At times, it does not seem that everything is going as you might like; we indeed see this within our home churches too. However, the Lord is still moving and that spiritual awakening – that revival – is just around the corner. When it happens, you will be facing ministry on a much bigger scale than I ever saw in Nigeria, so hold on, believe in faith that great blessings are on the way and that the city or country you have been called to will see miracles and wonders taking place.
God Bless You in all of your endeavours.
Charles Nicol is an inspiration to his community and his local church in Glasgow, Scotland. Although blind, he has a joint degree in French and History and has worked as a computer programmer for over 25 years. His ministry includes leading worship, preaching, and teaching. To this day, he and his wife, Marie, faithfully support worldwide missions.