A day of visiting in Lagos

Wednesday, May 03, 2023
Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
After a good night’s sleep, I awoke, showered and went down for the buffet breakfast before my first visit was to arrive. Because of the traffic, and my desire to see as many as possible while I’m in town, it is often better for them to come to the hotel than for me to try to navigate Lagos, and I will often help with their transport costs because of the inconvenience to them.
Lagos is a city of more than 21 million people, and gridlocked traffic more the rule than the exception! In fact, from what I’ve seen, and what I’m listening to at the moment outside my window, a vehicle that doesn’t blow its horn often and loudly is probably one that doesn’t have a working horn…
My first visit was to arrive at 9 am to continue baptism counseling. The last time we talked was just before the COVID panic shut down all travel, so it has been a while, and we have a lot to catch back up on.
When I was able to begin traveling again, and came back last summer and again for the Feast, he was not around, so I wasn’t able to see him. As it turned out, his wife, who is 60, had suffered a stroke, and he was working hard to take care of her.
Because of the aforementioned traffic, he was not able to reach the hotel until 11 am. By then it was a bit noisy in the lobby seating area, so we went out to a table under an umbrella beside a reflecting pool. Patrons can actually get in it if they wish, but it isn’t primarily designed for swimming. But it does make a nice background in the hotel courtyard area for conversation. (and unfortunately for smokers…which can be a problem if the breeze is blowing the wrong way).
We caught up on the last couple of years, and talked more about the importance of the commitment of baptism. By 1 pm my next visit had arrived, so we shook hands and he started back home while the new family and I proceeded back out to the table under the umbrella. It is a bit warm, but not too bad. If we didn’t have the shade it would not be bearable – at least not for me!
Once again there was a lot of catching up for me to do, including meeting the newest member of the family! Their children are all under the age of 7 or perhaps 8, and they are as full of curiosity and energy as any children of that age. Yet in spite of that, they are pretty well behaved, and allowed me to have a nice conversation with their mom and dad.
We were able to discuss some of the challenges they are facing, and I pointed out from the Bible some important principles to put into practice when navigating challenges. God always wants us to step out in faith to obey Him first and foremost. That is a challenge not just in Africa, but everywhere in the world!
We visited for another 2 ½ hours, discussing among other things plans for Pentecost the end of this month. I will work on a place and away for our few scattered members to be together to keep this Holy Day. Our visiting continued until it was time for them to begin their journey back home.
The last family to see me today was Yakub and Tayo Oledimeji and their two children. They expected to arrive by 6 pm, but the ever present traffic delayed them. They were able to make it by 6:45, and I was greeted by smiles, handshakes and hugs when I came into the lobby!
We visited for an hour and a half over the buffet dinner the hotel offered. Again, there was much to catch up on, and plans for the future to discuss.
One of those plans is a little bitter-sweet for me: they are making plans to relocate to Ontario, Canada by September of this year. Yakub is a lawyer, and will be able to get certified to practice law in Canada. Tayo is very interested in cyber security, and she’s be accepted to a college program there. They are excited, but there are still some hurdles they need to get over before the move can take place.
Their move will open up many wonderful opportunities for them, and will allow them to raise their children in a very different environment. For that I’m very excited! But it will also leave a hole in the Church in Nigeria, and I will be sorry not to see them on my trips back.
Yakub asked if it would be possible for them to drive down to meet us once they arrive in Canada. I explained that it is possible (depending on what the current situation is regarding the border crossing), but my best guess is that it would probably be a 2-day drive each way from where they will be moving to NW Arkansas. I’m not certain the reality of the distances in North America has registered.
After an enjoyable dinner and visit, it was time for them to also return home. Since they were leaving after 8 pm, I assumed their travel back home would be quicker and easier. I learned the next morning that was not the case, and it took them a full 2 hours more to make it back to their home.
I was able to call my lovely bride again, before brushing my teeth and wearily crawling between the sheets once again. I feel as though I’m beginning to catch back up on my rest, but not entirely yet. Having good a/c to keep the room cool at night is a big help in that regard!

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What a challenge to live in Lagos, so many people and the difficult traffic. How wonderful that the Oledimeji family will move to Canada, although they will surely be missed there.