The high-ranking Muslim chief stepped out of his chauffeured SUV and realized immediately what was happening. The armed thugs had surrounded a car and were harassing the passengers, a local pastor and two American missionaries. As the thugs bowed before the chief, he pointed to the car and said: “Leave these men alone. They are doing the work of God in this community.”
“They were practically tripping over themselves to put the license plates back on the car, get the spike strips out of the way, and apologize profusely,” says Jason Albelo, district missions representative for the North Pacific District and one of the missionaries in the car.
This God-given favor with the local authority is due to a simple but profound project in northern Nigeria, a majority Muslim region. Foursquare churches are drilling borehole wells to provide a clean, local source of water. This revolutionary strategy was started 10 years prior by the man driving that car, Pastor Isaac Komolafe, regional overseer of The Foursquare Church in northern Nigeria.
The wells are maintained by the local community where they’re placed and have drastically changed people’s lives. Mortality rates and water-borne diseases have dropped significantly. People also have more time for work, family and church services.
The project has also allowed churches to meet another big need of their communities: education. Where public schools are obsolete or nonexistent, Foursquare churches are starting Christian schools, further increasing their standing in these communities.
“The millions of Muslims there are just looking for answers. So, our gospel of compassion with practical help is a huge asset that we absolutely employ as a major tool in that part of the world.”
—Daniel Lucero, FMI area missionary to West Africa and Francophone Nations
“Muslim community leaders came to us when their children were singing Jesus songs in their homes and asking to pray to Jesus before eating. They asked us to hire Muslim teachers to teach them Islam. But we said no, this is a Christian school. And because we provided clean water to their community, they cannot resist us,” explains Isaac.
In places where churches were once burned to the ground, they now have authority. Thousands are coming to know the Lord. Even the chiefs, who come for the dedication of the wells and hear the gospel, are coming to Christ.
Almost 300 new churches have been planted because of the value that Foursquare brings to the communities. The news of Foursquare and their wells has spread to the most remote parts of northern Nigeria. In regions encompassed within the 10/40 Window, indigenous leaders are being trained to start churches where no one else could go.
This approach has been so successful that it is being implemented in neighboring nations. Daniel Lucero, Foursquare Missions International (FMI) area missionary to West Africa and Francophone Nations, has trained indigenous leaders to employ the well strategy in countries such as Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and others.
“The millions of Muslims there are just looking for answers,” says Daniel. “So, our gospel of compassion with practical help is a huge asset that we absolutely employ as a major tool in that part of the world.”
But as Jason has learned during his decade of partnership with the Nigerian church, it’s a major tool for American churches, as well. “It made me come back and ask, ‘What are the boreholes, what are the wells, in our community?’” recalls Jason.
The impact The Foursquare Church can have by meeting needs that no one else is addressing can be a significant tool for the gospel. As Isaac says: “This borehole development done by the church is opening doors for the gospel of the Foursquare ministry.”
Please join us in praying for the safety of these courageous churches and for the continued growth of the work in Nigeria. To partner with their work, you can contact Jason Albelo at the North Pacific District or donate to the FMI Global Missions Fund.