HERALD INTERNATIONAL (Printing In Over Twenty Languages)
Promoting Revival In Nigeria
At Herald of His Coming we have long had a keen interest in the people of Nigeria, because more of the Herald of His Coming papers sent overseas monthly go to Nigeria than to any other country. We were very excited, therefore, when Dr. A. O. Sanu, the Herald representative in Nigeria and editor of the Yoruba Herald which prints there, was visiting in the United States and could spend a day with us. Following are some of the issues we discussed with him.
Herald Of His Coming: What are some ways Herald of His Coming is helping Nigerian readers? Why is the Herald ministry important to them?
Dr. A. O. Sanu: The articles in Herald of His Coming have spiritual truths which help ground readers in the Word of God and grow in their faith. One reader testified that where he lives there are no churches, so Herald of His Coming serves as his Sunday messages. Several preachers have pointed out that the Herald has been a veritable reservoir from which they draw for their Sunday sermons. One brother testified of passing a particular edition of the Herald to a sister who had been waiting on the Lord for the fruit of the womb. The sister claimed what she read, and a year later she had the gift of a baby from the Lord. The section in the Herald, "Our Families and Homes for God…" has been very helpful to parents in their homes.
The Herald ministry’s focus on evangelism, revival, prayer and intercession is very important in Nigeria because these are issues that are uppermost in the heart of God. As these issues are stressed, issues such as prosperity are de-emphasized and Christians become more focused. Since Herald of His Coming is sent free of charge to Nigerians, this helps to solve the problem of paying for it in foreign currency. Although the Herald is printed on less expensive newsprint and is not glossy and there are no pictures, yet the quality of the articles contained in the Herald causes the papers to be much sought after. It is proving to Nigerians that content is more important than outward appearance.
The books in magazine format have also blessed readers. There is still much to learn from the past fathers of the faith. Many readers have been challenged on prayer and have become great intercessors in their churches, ministries and in their personal lives. Herald of His Coming has made us more aware of the need for a nation-wide revival in our country. RIGHT CHOICE Salvation herald has been distributed to unbelievers and to help new converts to grow.
HOHC: What is the current status of the Yoruba Herald?
Dr. Sanu: The Yoruba Herald started in 1982 through the help of Elmer Klassen, the former publisher of Herald of His Coming, when he was editing the Heralds which printed in Germany. He was sending us the printed copies from Germany, then about 9,000 copies each printing. When he moved to the USA in 1988, that arrangement could not be sustained, so we started printing in Nigeria. We were producing two or three editions per year with about 1,000 to 2,000 copies. Because of some logistic reasons, last year only one edition was printed, and this year none is out yet. We are seriously praying to produce the Yoruba Herald more often, and we need translators. The rural population of Christians often demand the Yoruba Herald, especially in the southwest part of Nigeria. Also Yorubas living in other parts of the country, and those out of country often send us their requests.
HOHC: What are your hopes for the two new editions requested, the Hausa and the Igbo?
Dr. Sanu: Hausa is spoken in many of the northern states of Nigeria, so we believe many Christians in the north will be reached. The northern parts of several West African countries, like Ghana, Benin, Togo, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, etc., have Hausa speaking populations, so we hope the Hausa Herald will go to all those places. Work is almost being concluded on the first edition of the Hausa Herald.
The Igbo language is spoken by many southeastern states of Nigeria. We are trusting to have an Igbo Herald in publication also in the future.
HOHC: Tell us about the Herald Readers’ Conference.
Dr. Sanu: The Herald Readers’ Conference started in the early 90’s. At that time readers from states around the Nigerian office were invited for a time of reflection over the work of the Herald, to hear testimonies of how people are being blessed, and to pray for the work of the Herald. The Lord has been blessing the conference but readers from other states were unable to attend. In 2003 we had the usual conference but were, however, challenged on the need for revival in our country. The Lord used the book, Revival Fire, by Wesley L. Duewel to challenge us. The book chronicled revivals in different parts of the world for over 200 years, and there was nothing written about Nigeria, because there had been no national revival in our country. The Lord directed us to write church leaders and encourage them to pray for revival, and to also encourage their congregations to do the same.
The 2004 conference took a new dimension. Herald of His Coming helped us to send notes to all Nigerian readers inviting them to the conference. We had a larger number of participants – about 130 readers were present and thirteen states of the federation were represented. It was a time of great challenge on revival and prayers. The thirteen states represented were told to begin prayer cells and to be meeting for prayer on revival monthly or bimonthly. At present three states have fully begun the prayer cells. They are Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states, We believe others will take off in Jesus’ Name.
HOHC: What is the status of the Church in Nigeria?
Dr. Sanu: Unbelievers know what is expected of the Church. They know the Church should lead in righteous living, in seeking the good of the land, in giving advice, admonition and warning to political leaders. The Church in Nigeria does all these, but there is still much room for improvement. Our churches are always full to capacity. The people love to worship God, but this is not usually matched with holy living.
The Nigerian Church sends missionaries to various parts of the world, and some mission organizations have been founded. Some churches actively encourage mission work and support it. Nigerian Christians are known to be pastoring the largest church in London, the largest church in Europe. There is a Nigerian in Kiev who is leading a 26,000 member congregation. Even with all these, Nigeria needs a nation-wide revival that will ramify every corner of the country like the Welsh revival of the 1900’s.
HOHC: Is there need for more copies of the English edition to be sent into Nigeria? Is there a similar need for the Yoruba Herald?
Dr. Sanu: There is surely a need for more copies of the English Herald of His Coming to be sent to Nigeria. I understand that about 14,000 copies are sent every month. We receive a preponderance of letters of new friends requesting to be enlisted in the mailing list. We are hoping that university libraries, prisons and other government institutions should be supplied.
For the Yoruba Herald, our target is 5,000 copies and a quarterly publication should be all right.
HOHC: What are the political and economic conditions like in Nigeria?
Dr. Sanu: Nigeria has returned to democratic governance after many years of military rule. The country is trying to settle down. The people are, however, much in haste. Our president has a Herculean task on his shoulders, but the Lord is helping him to bring sanity to a chaotic situation.
Nigeria is richly endowed with human and material resources. The efficient management of all these has been the bane of the nation, but the Lord is at work. There is emphasis on job creation, alleviation of poverty and privatizing of many government agencies to make them more effective. The issue of corruption is being actively and vigorously tackled. With revival in our nation, every area of life will be touched in Jesus’ Name.
HOHC: What are your longings for revival in Nigeria?
Dr. Sanu: Nigeria is overdue for revival, but unfortunately the Christians who should work toward it are not fully aware of their responsibility. The Bible says, "If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14). Our prayer is that Nigerian people might be brought to the awareness of longing for revival. Revival will transform the nation. It will touch every area of our national life – politics, economy, health, etc. In fact it will cause righteousness to exalt our nation. Wickedness will be dealt with, progress will result while poverty and lack will vanish. The power of darkness over the nation will be destroyed. Men and women will serve God in spirit and in truth and will live to fulfill their destiny. False religion and false teaching will be dimmed; the people’s eyes will be opened.
HOHC: What are some of the major things others should pray for Nigeria?
Dr. Sanu: Please pray . . .
...For Nigerian Christians to see the need
...For the Lord to send revival.
...For the 2007 election of government leaders.
...For the programmes of the government, such as National Political Reform Confab, poverty alleviation, efforts against corruption, etc.
...For Christians to take their stand and stand for Christ at all times.
...For Christians to live holy lives.
...For more person to person evangelism.