God wastes nothing, not even a global pandemic!
For the last two years, YLI West African director, Yakubu Zachariah (Zach) and his top Nigerian leaders, Abraham Shuaibu and Peter Iliya, have not been permitted to travel and gather for many training events due to COVID restrictions. Instead they’ve focused their discipleship efforts on students at their local universities.
At Tamale Technical University (TaTU), YLI functions as a college ministry. Zach just completed a three year Agriculture degree there, and each year has started YLI’s discipleship process with new students. Zach is still providing oversight, but one of his disciples from the beginning, David, is a senior and is leading YLI at TaTU.
YLI’s discipleship work in Nigeria started when Ghanaian Coach, Constant Adzomoni, moved to Nigeria as a student for two years of missionary training. As is the YLI way, when Constant got settled he began to disciple other students. By the time he returned to Ghana in 2019, a YLI Nigeria began with two of his disciples, Abraham and Peter.
Abraham is a graduate student and is employed by Nasarawa State University. He has spent two years training university students with YLI’s material. Some students who graduated this year, as they have taken jobs in different regions in Nigeria, have started YLI’s discipleship process in their own new towns and cities. To use Biblical imagery, handfuls of seeds have been scattered across multiple new fields. It reminds me how my discipleship from Jim and Duffy Robbins influenced me as I moved over a thousand miles away to start my career in another city and state. Throughout mission history the Church has always grown through natural events of diaspora.
Peter Iliaya was an undergraduate student when Constant began to train him. Currently Peter works as a field officer serving persecuted Christians, assessing need and then mobilizing food, water and safe shelter, as well as trauma counseling and widow and orphan care to victims of religious persecution and terrorism.
College ministry is incredibly strategic if it is based upon intentional discipleship not just social events. Over a four year period, students who are committed to growing as disciples of Jesus are trained, and then scattered wherever their career opportunities take them. It’s leading to incredible spiritual multiplication.
Today, recent graduates of Nasarawa State University, are YLI leaders in six different new regions in Nigeria. They are continuing to grow in their discipleship training with YLI with Abraham and Peter.