I donít know what it is, but something about Nigeria puts me on edge. Itís not just because Iím in a foreign country, because I havenít felt this way in other countries, but itís as if there is a dark sinister cloud over this place. At any rate, it makes me a little too quick to react sometimes.
This morning, the Immigration officials came to my hotel to ask me questions. The only way you would know that they are with the Immigration office is because one of them had an old worn-out polo shirt with the Nigerian Immigration logo on it. After viewing my visa, they asked me to come to their office so they can photocopy it. Uh, okay, but is there something weird going on here, or am I just getting spooked over nothing?
The American Embassy cautioned me to be careful, my companions thought it was just a hoax, and another foreigner here at the hotel told me that all they really want is a bribe. So I dropped by some empty building that passes for an office, and dropped off a photocopy of my visa.
But that wasnít good enough for them. Back they came to the hotel, and this time they insist on my return to the office so I can be interviewed. Now the American embassy officials are getting really concerned, and so am I.
But I also had an attitude a mile long and was ready for a fight. Iím a little ticked off that all they really want is to hassle me until I give them a bribe. Itís not the money that bothers me; I just hate bullies.
I donít think these guys were expecting the trouble I was dishing out. I stuck my face in the officialís mug and told him I wasnít going. He said I had to. I asked him if he had a gun. When he said he didnít, I asked him how he was going to make me. You can imagine how the dialogue went from there.
As it turns out, they just wanted to know where I was going and what I was doing so they can make sure everything is okay. At least thatís what they told me. What they really wanted was that money, but I guess I kicked up so much trouble that they had to back out.
Whew! And here my imagination had already given me up as a sideline story in the news:
ďAmerican evangelist disappears in northern Nigeria. Officials perplexed at mysterious disappearance.Ē
I had pictured myself shackled in some dimly lit rat-infested dungeon cell eating rotten potatoes and beet soup while I slowly wasted away. Some fun vacation that wouldíve been!
Yeah, it must be time to go home. I am just a worn-out, cranky old man, but in 2Ĺ more weeks, I am on my way home. Lord, I promise that when I get home, I will be a good boy for a long, long time.
But it will all be worth it because the messages that I am preaching are breaking through walls. And every service is the same way. They sit there expecting that I am going to tell them some warm and fuzzy stuff about how wonderful they are and how they can prosper with blessings, but instead, they get hit with a message of repentance and serious re-dedication to regain their first love for lost souls before God takes their candlestick away. Itís a bit startling for them, but itís as if someone opened up a window for the first time.
I sincerely believe that each little match I strike will build into a fire that will all of a sudden break out in Nigeria. One here, one there, and then finally something will hit and there will be a revival that breaks out here that will set Africa ablaze.
You wait and see.