Over the past five years, my life has been increasingly intertwined with the nation of Nigeria. Each year I spend more time in Nigeria and continue to build deeper relationships with people who have become some of my closest friends. I am thankful for the work God is doing through us in Nigeria and I pray He will continue to bless our efforts.
One of the things that I’ve learned more about while keeping a keen eye on Nigeria is the global consequences of decisions that are made at a national/federal level in each country. I have a vested interest in the value of the US Dollar in Nigeria, so I watch the exchange rate on a regular basis. Over the past two months the US Dollar to Nigerian Naira exchange rate has fluctuated significantly, and it has raised great concern in my heart for my friends — my brothers and sisters in Christ — in Nigeria.
As the United States has become more energy independent, there has been a significant pull-back from the purchase of crude oil from other nations. One of the nations that has been hit the hardest is Nigeria. While previously importing tens of millions of barrels of oil from Nigeria each month, the US is no longer importing any (Read – Needle on Zero: Nigeria’s Economy Tanking as US Oil Exports Dry Up). As a result, in the US we have seen some dramatic reductions in fuel costs while the Nigerian economy suffers more and more. This is, of course, how a free market works, and I’m not opposed to it. However, my personal philosophy of economics and political principles are challenged when I have to look the consequences in the face and see it all first hand.
I pray regularly for the prosperity of Nigeria (Jeremiah 29:7), but recognize that with a collapsing economy that is 70% dependent on crude oil exports and is depleted another 10% by corruption, true financial prosperity is a far reach from their current status. Currently, Nigeria is 24th in the global economy in terms of GDP. How will that change over the next 10 years? As the largest nation in Africa containing one of the 10th largest cities in the world (Lagos), Nigeria has a booming population with tremendous resources and potential. How will it be utilized?
Far more serious than the economic poverty in Nigeria is its spiritual poverty. Of the 10 richest “pastors” in the world, 6 of them are in Nigeria! Some of these men have a net worth of over $125 million while the majority of the nation lives on the equivalent of less than $2 per day. One of the positive outcomes in my mind that could come from financial collapse is the exposing of these charlatans. How long will men be able to justify their lavish lifestyles with private jets and designer suites while some people will literally starve to death?
This is a prime harvest field for true gospel labors. While Nigeria is bombarded with a false gospel, it is our time to infiltrate the enemy’s territory with the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people will continue looking for answers, and when their false religious systems fail and the false promises of prosperity pimps never come true, where will they turn? May God be pleased to raise up His church in Nigeria to preach the truth. May He be pleased to continue to strengthen our efforts to train men for gospel ministry who can plant faithful, biblical churches all throughout the nation. And may God be pleased to receive glory from all that happens in Nigeria. What nations and corrupt politicians intend for evil, surely God intends it all for good.
(By: Nick Kennicott)