Last day in Benin City

Sunday, August 27, 2023
Benin City, Edo, Nigeria
After the best night’s sleep I’ve had in several days, my first visit of the day was a baptism counseling, which began around 10:30 am.
Last time I spoke with her, her grasp of English wasn’t all that good. But then COVID happened along with a lot of other things, and it is apparent she has spent a good deal of time reading, studying and boning up on English! I offered to find someone who could help translate, but she told me if I speak a little slower and more deliberate than usual, she should be fine. And I believe she was!
She had the list of scriptures I gave her last time we talked, and she’d obviously spent some time reading and thinking about them. As I normally do, I asked her to read the passages to me, and she did so almost flawlessly! Then we discussed what each section meant. She had good thoughts and answers.
Toward the end it was apparent there is one more element she needs to take the time to better understand, so I left her with a couple more things to consider. Also, as is my custom before baptizing someone, I asked her to set aside a day to fast specifically about baptism prior to my return. It is my expectation that I will be able to baptize her next time I come.
From there we went to visit Mrs. Beatrice Iyamyu. Mrs. Iyamu is an 84-year-old widow who has been a part of the Church of God for about 54 years (almost the same as Mrs. Igdaliah). She is blind, and her hearing is almost entirely gone. You must lean close and speak loudly for her to hear much of what you are saying.
But her faithfulness and attitude are inspiring! Within the last two or three years, two of her five children have died – one in Germany where she was unable to even attend the funeral. She mourns their deaths, but as she talked about it, she always ends by telling me “God is good,.” She grieves for sure, but as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, she does not grieve as those who have no hope. She has a steadfast faith in God, and His promise of the resurrections to come that can serve as a shining example to everyone!
On the Sabbath when I saw her, once she knew who I was she hugged me and began asking about my family. She remembered when my wife and grandson Isaac were with me for the Feast of Tabernacles a few years ago. She told me what year it was and how old Isaac was at that time. She said, “So he is now 16.” And she is exactly right! She also probably knows my age on the dot but was too polite to say it…
She asked about several people she knows in the US and wonders how they are doing. I can tell you that if she has met you, she remembers you. And if she ever had an inkling how old you were when she met you, she knows exactly how old you are today! She is a remarkable lady!
After visiting a while, and listening to Mrs. Iyamu sing me several hymns, we took our leave and went back over to see Mrs. Igdailiah. I had a couple of things more to discuss with her before I leave the country. With hugs and waving I bid farewell to her also for this trip. I look forward to seeing her next time around.
Finally, we went over to the Randekhi Hotel, the location once again for the Feast this year. The owner and manager of the hotel is a man named Peter, and we’ve all become friends over the last few years. He has spent several years in the US, and his parents are currently in the Houston area with some other family members. He is has always been very good to us because of our relationship with him and his hotel. Although the prices of everything have gone up, often dramatically, he is giving us the sleeping rooms and conference room for the Feast at the same price as last year, and the several years before! He can’t promise he can do the same next year, but for this, it will remain the same.
Food will be another matter. Prices are rising so fast that he cannot promise the same prices for that. But he said he’ll keep it as close as he can. Since everyone keeping the Feast here stays together and eats together in the hotel, this will all be very helpful.
With the Feast plans finalized and secured, it was time for me to go back to my hotel for one more night. I have now finished my dinner, and I’m mostly packed up. Osas will be here by 6:30 am to take me to the airport. So I must be packed and have the bill settled before then. Tomorrow will be a day of travel that should end up in Accra, Ghana tomorrow evening.

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Kathy Treybig

I enjoyed hearing about your baptism counseling and how she's learned much more English. I've been studying Spanish now for over 2 years and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to handle biblical counseling even slowly! It was exciting to hear of her determination and the faithfulness of Mrs. Iyamu.