By Zakariya Musa
The leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) conducted a get-together fellowship in honor of Jim Mitchell, one of the three Church of the Brethren volunteers completing terms of service with the Nigeria Crisis Response. Mitchell had been in Nigeria for three months, where he participated in different events at various regions.
EYN president Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Dali spoke at the event, and commended Mitchell as a “true counselor” who had been in Nigeria to support in trauma healing to the Boko Haram-affected church members and clergy. He added that “Mitchell is a really true counselor who has adapted to the environment.”
The president while addressing the fellowship meeting praised the families and the American church for allowing the volunteers who “sacrificed” to come to a terrified country. “You have the people in heart,” he said.
The EYN president also presented a token of appreciation on behalf of the entire EYN membership who benefited from the trauma healings conducted by Mitchell, who worked with the EYN Peace Unit and Disaster Relief Committee.
He asked Mitchell, who was due to travel back to the United States the following day, to find more ways to strengthen the existing EYN Counseling Committee, a committee tasked to council pastors on various issues. “We want to train more counselors in EYN,” he said.
At the midday event, both the EYN general secretary Rev. Jinatu L. Wamdeo and the administrative secretary Zakariya Amos also commended Mitchell’s amiable time in Nigeria. Responding, Mitchell said, “I found myself changed. My experience is more than I expected, each one of you has taught me something. You have been so gracious,” he added.
Dressed in African attire, Mitchell shared that in his three-month stay in Nigeria, he was able to conduct trauma healing workshops at various refugee camps such as one in Nasarawa State where a Brethren village has been formed, and at the Stefanos Foundation camp led by that nongovernmental organization, and the interfaith camp near Abuja. He also conducted a seminar for displaced pastors. Others activities he attended include a Theological Education by Extension graduation ceremony, CCEPI relief distributions to orphans, widows, and other displaced women at the EYN annex office, and a visit to Hillcrest School in Jos. Another memorable occasion was the granting of church autonomy to EYN Abuja Phase II, Jalingo, Taraba State, by the EYN president.
Mitchell’s challenge was the language barrier, when he met with different people in various communities where he saw “need for more trauma healing.”
As he departed from Nigeria, he left behind a couple–Church of the Brethren volunteers Tom and Janet Crago–who also had industriously helped the EYN church. EYN held a “send forth” party in honor of the Cragos last Friday.
— Zakariya Musa is serving in communications with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).