Expanding the frontiers of Adventist Medical Mission in Northern Nigeria
The Northern Nigeria belongs to the 10/40 window as classified by the General Conference. As such, possible strategies are being contemplated in order to spread the gospel in all the nooks and crannies of the region. One of such strategies is medical missionary work, which is believed to be the right arm of the gospel.
To set the plan in motion, on January 29th through February 2nd, 2020, over 100 delegates from the 247 organized Churches of Seventh-day Adventist in Northern Nigeria Union Conference (NNUC) participated in a maiden Health Conference organized by the NNUC Adventist Health Ministries Department in collaboration with Adventist Possibility Ministries, a replica of the General Conference third Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle held at Loma Linda University in 2019.
In his welcome address, the NNUC President, Pastor Yohanna Harry, represented by the Executive Secretary, Pastor Istifanus Ishaya reminded the delegates the urgent need to create a paradigm shift that will stimulate positive attitude for healthy living amongst church members and other people in the region.
He said: “Northern Nigeria geographical region looks to our denomination’s medical mission to provide to the average person a lifestyle, community care and faith-based awareness, re-orientation and total education on how to live healthy, live spiritually, and live quality life”.
Dr. Andre NDAA, Director Adventist Health Ministries, West-Central Africa Division in his paper presentation stressed the importance of wholistic health, wholeness and mission, urging the delegates to do their best for the benefit of God’s church in Northern Nigeria.
Dr. NDAA made bold to say that: “Our health message should be comprehensive taking into account all the dimensions of human being. We are given health to promote the mission of the church. God invited us to go and preach as well as heal. So it was good for us to remind our church people, leaders that there is no mission if we only preach without healing. Therefore, the health that we need, the health that we promote should be for us to be able to understand God’s will to be physically fit to serve other people”.
Dr. Chikwe Amaike, NNUC Health Ministries Director and Pastor Ibrahim Maigadi, Adventist Possibility Ministries Leader both explained that the health conference with the theme “Your Brain, Your Body” was basically to train health workers, leaders and church members to live a healthy lifestyle, to eat well and practice Adventist health beliefs in a way that will help everyone to support the gospel ministry so that advent message will reach the unreached areas in Northern Nigeria.
Suffice it to say that the evidence of healthy living centers in the brain. More reason Ellen White stated in Manuscript 24, 1900 that: “the brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy. And in order for the brain to be healthy, the blood must be pure. If by correct habits of eating and drinking the blood is kept pure, the brain will be properly nourished”.
Healthy lifestyle keeps the brain and body in harmony.
The program lasted for five days and had renowned medical and lifestyle practitioners analyzing topical issues such as ‘The influence of Spirituality on Health: Choices of Young People’, ‘The Opiate Catastrophe: Helping the Most Vulnerable’; ‘Your Brain, Your Body: Practical Approaches in the Community’; ‘Women and their Mental Health’, ‘HIV Brain Sprain’; ‘Caffeine and the Brain’, ‘Children Mental Health’; ‘Nutrition and your Brain’, ‘Transformative Power of Motion’, ‘Recovery as a wholistic Journey’; ‘Mental Health Destigmatization – A Cooperate Journey ‘; as well as Health Coaching in Health Ministry: Thinking and Living with new purposes among others.
From every indication, the delegates embraced the unity of purpose to expanding the frontiers of the Adventist Medical Mission in Northern Nigeria region and thereof, make every home, church and community a medical center, mainstreaming the ministry of healing of Christ.
They applauded the leadership of the church for organizing such a historic event that has exposed them to the fundamentals of Adventist health messages, bringing to mind that medical missionary remains the right arm of the gospel.
Among the participants who benefited from the health conference is Mrs. Laraba Okah. She expressed her readiness to impact her locality with the experiences acquired from the health summit.
“This is a great privilege and opportunity. I intend to go back to my locality to begin to introduce healthy lifestyle and living to my neighbours, my friends, colleagues in the office.
“In the church, I intend to do some counseling. I work with children in the school. I am now duty-bound to introduce some of the healthy lifestyles of eating and drinking to the children, encourage the parents during our Parents-Teachers Association meetings to help the children eat and drink right, sleep enough so that they can be mentally alert to understand what they are doing in the school. By so doing, school can become meaningful. Who knows, they can become healthy lifestyle tutors in the next future”, Mrs. Okah said.
The words of Thomas Edison remain relevant here: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of diseases”.
Healthy lifestyle for healthy living is everybody’s business!