Dorsey Ross Show

Faith and Danger: Brad Brandon's Nigerian Mission Experience

June 05, 2024 Dorsey Ross Season 6 Episode 11
Faith and Danger: Brad Brandon's Nigerian Mission Experience
Dorsey Ross Show
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Dorsey Ross Show
Faith and Danger: Brad Brandon's Nigerian Mission Experience
Jun 05, 2024 Season 6 Episode 11
Dorsey Ross

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What drives a pastor to leave the comfort of Connecticut for the perilous regions of northern Nigeria? Join us as we converse with Brad Brandon, the founder and CEO of Across Nigeria, who recounts his transformative journey from pastoring a suburban church to spreading the Gospel in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. You'll be captivated by Brad's harrowing and humorous tales, like the pastor's close encounter with a cobra, and touched by the profound compliment he received from a Fulani chief, which underscored the love and compassion of Christ visible through his actions.

This episode doesn't shy away from drawing poignant parallels between the Fulani Muslims of northern Nigeria and the Native Americans in the United States. Both groups share a semi-nomadic lifestyle and have faced significant historical marginalization. Brad offers an eye-opening exploration of the Fulani's conversion to Islam and the initial failures of Christian missionaries from Holland and England. Listen as we delve into the current mission work, highlighting both the challenges and successes, including the establishment of schools for Fulani children, which marks a significant step forward in this ongoing effort.

Facing the brutal reality of Boko Haram's violent activities, Brad shares the risks and sacrifices involved in mission work within these volatile regions. From the constant threat of kidnappings to the reliance on faith and prayer for safety, the episode provides a raw look at the personal and communal toll of these efforts. We also tackle the significant disconnect many American Christians feel from such persecutions and emphasize the importance of raising awareness. Learn how you can contribute to this noble cause through donations and prayer, and why your support is crucial now more than ever. Don't miss this enlightening episode that shines a light on the profound impact of missionary work in some of the world's most dangerous areas.


Check out Across Nigeria's website

https://www.acrossnigeria.org

Support the Show.

Here are several ways to support the show, and allow me to continue to create great content




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If you are enjoying this podcast, please let me know by sending me a text message.

What drives a pastor to leave the comfort of Connecticut for the perilous regions of northern Nigeria? Join us as we converse with Brad Brandon, the founder and CEO of Across Nigeria, who recounts his transformative journey from pastoring a suburban church to spreading the Gospel in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. You'll be captivated by Brad's harrowing and humorous tales, like the pastor's close encounter with a cobra, and touched by the profound compliment he received from a Fulani chief, which underscored the love and compassion of Christ visible through his actions.

This episode doesn't shy away from drawing poignant parallels between the Fulani Muslims of northern Nigeria and the Native Americans in the United States. Both groups share a semi-nomadic lifestyle and have faced significant historical marginalization. Brad offers an eye-opening exploration of the Fulani's conversion to Islam and the initial failures of Christian missionaries from Holland and England. Listen as we delve into the current mission work, highlighting both the challenges and successes, including the establishment of schools for Fulani children, which marks a significant step forward in this ongoing effort.

Facing the brutal reality of Boko Haram's violent activities, Brad shares the risks and sacrifices involved in mission work within these volatile regions. From the constant threat of kidnappings to the reliance on faith and prayer for safety, the episode provides a raw look at the personal and communal toll of these efforts. We also tackle the significant disconnect many American Christians feel from such persecutions and emphasize the importance of raising awareness. Learn how you can contribute to this noble cause through donations and prayer, and why your support is crucial now more than ever. Don't miss this enlightening episode that shines a light on the profound impact of missionary work in some of the world's most dangerous areas.


Check out Across Nigeria's website

https://www.acrossnigeria.org

Support the Show.

Here are several ways to support the show, and allow me to continue to create great content




Leave a review

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dorsey-ross-show/id1495921329


Social Media Links,

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/dorsey.ross/


Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/DROCKROSS/




Dorsey Ross:

Hello everyone, thanks again for joining me on another episode of the Dorsu Horse Show. Today we have a special guest with us. His name is Brad Blanding. He is the founder and CEO of Across Nigeria. Pastor Brad is a graduate of Concordia University. He has worked in several industries over the years. He was a radio talk show host from Salem Communications for nearly 10 years. Several years ago he reached out to the dangerous Folini Muslims in northern Nigeria with the Gospel of Jesus Christ From the open door. His organization now runs and operates several schools in the far north of Nigeria. Nigeria. The areas he operates in are controlled by both Boko Haram and ISIS. He has had several close encounters and he has constantly put himself and others in harm's way to reach this unreached people. He is thankful that God has always kept him and others safe. Pastor Brad, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Brad Brandon:

Darcy, it's great to be on with you and I've been looking forward to this for a long time. As I said earlier, we do a couple of icebreaker questions to be on with you and I've been looking forward to this for a long time.

Dorsey Ross:

As I said earlier, we do a couple of icebreaker questions, and the first one is because this is going to be, as you can see, this is going to be a very serious and very, you know, hard, you know maybe topic and podcast to listen to. I'm gonna open up, hopefully, with a funny uh, funny, uh story. What's your favorite funny story to tell?

Brad Brandon:

my favorite funny story to tell is that about, like uh, something that happened in nigeria or anything you want it to be my favorite funny story to tell is and it kind of speaks to the danger that happens in Nigeria.

Brad Brandon:

I have a pastor friend of mine over there who he was sleeping. This is a Nigerian. He was sleeping in his room one night and there was a hole in the ceiling where the light fixture was supposed to be. And he's sleeping in the middle of the night and literally a cobra had climbed up onto the roof of his house and gotten into the rafters and started coming down the hole where the light fixture is supposed to be and fell on him in the middle of the night while he was sleeping. So he woke up with this cobra crawling all over him but he didn't get bit. Praise God he didn't get bit. But he said that the way he tells that story he says it was the funniest thing that's ever happened to him. He wasn't scared at all, he thought it was funny. I would not think that's funny, but he thinks that's really funny.

Dorsey Ross:

Right yeah, I wouldn not think that's funny, but he thinks that's really funny, right yeah, I wouldn't think that that was too funny either.

Brad Brandon:

Right right.

Dorsey Ross:

What's the best compliment you've ever received?

Brad Brandon:

Oh man, I'll tell you. I know exactly what comes to mind when you ask that question. We were reaching the Fulani Muslims in northern Nigeria and one of the chiefs his name is El Ejigambo, who is a very good friend of mine. Now this was probably about seven years ago. When we first met, we were sitting down at a cooking fire, we were eating a meal together and he looked at me and he said you know what love is? He said my people, we don't know what love is, but you know what love is. I can see it in your eyes and you know. That was the greatest compliment because for this reason, dorsey, jesus Christ says that's what we're supposed to be known for. He says you, as followers of me, will be known for your love, your fervent love that you have for each other. And so to me, that was the greatest compliment, because it showed me that whatever I was showing him, he was seeing Christ, and that was the greatest compliment.

Brad Brandon:

I've ever received from anybody.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, absolutely. How did you now give us a little bit more about your background before going into Nigeria and how did you decide to go from what you were doing at that time to going to Nigeria and the dangerous part of Nigeria?

Brad Brandon:

Yeah, I was. I was pastoring a church in Connecticut that's, that's where we're from. And man, I, I, I, just my life, my walk with the Lord was was getting kind of stale and I knew that there had to be more to this whole. You know being a Christian thing and walking with the Lord, but for some reason it had just gotten stale for me. I had a cushy job. It was a good-sized church, I had corner office, windows on all sides, you know going home at the end of the day and you know white picket fence on the house.

Brad Brandon:

Just everything was ideal and I was too comfortable, and I remember praying and just asking the Lord to really reveal himself to me in a new and in a fresh way. And he did that by actually causing me to become ill. I spent more than a month in the ICU in a hospital here in Connecticut and I wasn't even sure I was going to leave alive. But God used that time to radically transform my relationship with him and through that whole process I really got to know. The only way I can describe it, dorsey, is I got to know the voice of the Lord. You know how Christ says my sheep hear me, they know my voice and they follow me. If we don't get to know the voice of the Lord, we're gonna have a hard time following him.

Brad Brandon:

Well, when I was laid out in the hospital not even sure if I was gonna make it out alive, god really began to talk to me and I always describe it not like in an audible way, but he started really to speak to my spirit. I liken it to what Paul says in Romans. He says his spirit bears witness, with my spirit that I'm a son of God and for the first time I had that experience where I felt God speaking to my spirit and that just really awakened all kinds of things for me spiritually and it really started a road for me to walk closer and closer and closer with the Lord. And from that God called me to Abuja, nigeria. I had never been there, I don't know anybody there, but he spoke to my spirit and told me to go and I went, and when I went, through a turn of events, I ended up in the middle of Northern Nigeria, walking into a village of Fulani Muslims.

Dorsey Ross:

And if anybody knows about the Fulani Muslims.

Brad Brandon:

You can Google them online and learn a lot. They're very, very violent people in northern Nigeria. In fact, northern Nigeria is one of the most violent and dangerous places for a Christian to be. Of all the Christians killed in the world, 90% of them are killed in northern Nigeria. That's a number that a lot of people don't understand or know. I think in 2021, there were 5,191 Christians that were killed. 2022, there were 5,068. And last year, 2023, the final numbers are coming in at about 8,200 Christians killed. So you're talking about massive amounts of numbers of Christians getting killed for their faith in northern Nigeria. So I walked into a village of Fulani Muslims and I got the opportunity to preach to them and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the first time I did that, 13 of them trusted Christ as their savior them trusted Christ as their savior, and from that initial meeting it's turned into we have three primary schools where we teach Muslim children how to read and write English out of the Bible.

Brad Brandon:

We have a refugee facility because in Northern Nigeria it's controlled by Sharia law and under Sharia law there's a doctrine called Arim al-Sharif, which means honor killing, and what that means is that if you're a Muslim and you convert to Christianity, it is completely legal for your family to kill you or your community to kill you, and that happens every day in northern Nigeria. So we have a refugee facility to house people and help them out of those situations, and we also have started five churches and two Bible schools over there where we teach Muslims the Bible and we train them in ministry pastoring, evangelism. So that's kind of a snapshot of what we do in northern Nigeria.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, to go back, I just want to touch on those numbers that you mentioned a little bit ago. Now, those numbers are those numbers? Are they just Christians that live there? Are they missionaries that come to minister to the Fulani Muslims?

Brad Brandon:

Yeah, that's a great question. Most of them are native Nigerians. In the north, the northern part of Nigeria now southern Nigeria is very Christian, but northern Nigeria is about 95% Muslim, but there are Christians scattered throughout northern Nigeria. In fact, there's pockets of persecuted Christians that live in the wilderness because they're in hiding, and so I would say probably 95% of the numbers that I quoted the 5,000, 5,000, then 8, 8000, 90 percent, 95 percent of those are going to be Nigerians or people from Niger or Chad or other places that are nearby, countries that are Cameroon, other countries that are nearby, but there certainly are foreigners who go in there, like I do, to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and they're killed as well.

Brad Brandon:

I tell you, back in 2021, we were traveling for about two weeks in Northern Nigeria, reaching different Fulani Muslim communities and bringing the gospel into their communities and really bringing help. We first show the love of Christ. Before we ever say a word or preach the gospel at all. We go armed with the love of Christ and so whatever doors the Holy Spirit opens for us, we walk through those doors. We'll help them any way that we can show them that we genuinely love them and care about them. We take those opportunities. So we go throughout northern Nigeria to do that and establish relationships and rapport.

Brad Brandon:

And we were finished after a two-week tour and we dropped off one of our pastor friends, a Nigerian pastor, and we went back to pick him up the next morning. We dropped off at his house and when we showed up to pick him up, his house was burned. His church was burned because his church was on the same property as his house, and he was hacked to death in his bed. He was butchered. So that's one example. We had to take his body and bring it to our refugee facility. We ended up locating his wife and children and bringing them to our refugee facility as well. So that's one example of a Nigerian that's been martyred.

Brad Brandon:

But to answer your question, I say 95% of those who are killed are Nigerian Christians.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, and I'm assuming a lot of those were a lot of those converts that used to be Muslim, or are they strictly Christian?

Brad Brandon:

No, I would say, the majority of Christians that are killed are former Muslims at least in northern Nigeria.

Dorsey Ross:

yeah, okay, in northern.

Brad Brandon:

Nigeria. Yeah, because of the doctrine of Al-Rima Al-Sharif, we literally get calls all the time of people asking us if we can come get them, because their situation has gotten so desperate that their community has turned on them. They feel like their family is going to kill them. We'll go in and take them out of those situations, bring them to our refugee facility, where we give them a garden to grow things, we train them in a skill trade like tailoring or auto mechanics, and then also we give them cooking utensils and things that they just need to live. Our facility has two dorm buildings that have small apartments in each building, and so we house them in those apartments.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, Give us a little bit more background, if you would, about who the Fulani Mughals are.

Brad Brandon:

Yeah, that's man. These are good questions. That's a great question. I love answering your questions. They're good. So the Fulani are really like a mysterious people I likened them to.

Brad Brandon:

I'm originally from Minnesota and in Minnesota we had reservation, indian reservations and the Native Americans here in the US are we consider them indigenous people to the, to the United States. The rest of us are all kind of you, kind of transplants in some way or another. I would say there's so many parallels to the Fulani Muslims in northern Nigeria to the Native Americans here in the US. They're very separated people. They're semi nomadic. They often live out in the desert. They live out in the wilderness. A lot of times when you hear about them on the news, they'll be called herdsmen. So when you hear about a conflict in Nigeria, the herdsmen versus the farmers that's like CNN or mainstream media's way of saying Christians versus Muslims. The herdsmen are the Muslims and the Christians are the farmers, and so they're nomadic people who live off in the wilderness.

Brad Brandon:

One thing that I find very interesting is that the Fulani Muslim were not always Muslims, they were always Fulani. But about 250 years ago the first missionaries showed up to the shores of Nigeria. They came from Holland and they came from the UK, from England, and they landed and they started to preach the gospel to the two tribes that are near the shore, that's, the Yoruba and the Igbo tribes. And they had a lot of success with that, the Yoruba and the Igbo tribes. They really embraced Christianity and believed it. Many got saved through those missionary efforts. They started to work their way north and, by the way, that's the reason why today a lot of southern Nigeria is mostly Christian. And so those same missionaries started to work their way north and they ran into the Hausa and Fulani Muslims excuse me, hausa and Fulani people. They weren't Muslims at this time and they got a lot of resistance because the Fulani are nomadic and they're not really wired for like Western education and things like that.

Brad Brandon:

Um, and so there was a lot of resistance and and there was a lot of violence as well towards the missionaries, and the in the early missionaries kind of gave up and one of the things that they started to teach was that the fulani muslim of the fulani are not really people. They're not, they don't really have a soul, they're more like animals than they are people. And you have to understand Africa. Like Africa is this weird place where, where people from Europe and even England were granting hunting permits to certain people in certain tribes in Africa, where, where, where, uh, english citizens and and European citizens could go to Africa and actually hunt people of certain tribes. That used to happen. I think the last hunting permit was issued like in the late 1800s, so not that long ago.

Brad Brandon:

This was going on, so it was kind of par for the course for these missionaries to say well, you know, they live out in the wilderness, they live more like animals than anything else, so they really don't have a soul, we don't really need to preach the gospel to them because they're more like animals than they are people. Well, it wasn't long after that that the Muslims came down from the north and they converted all of those Fulani people who the early Christians kind of gave up on, and to this day, that false teaching, because I don't believe that the Bible says preach the gospel to every creature. That's what Christ says. So whether you think they're a creature or not, just preach the gospel to them, preach the gospel to everybody. But that false teaching early on, really to this day, is a thorn in the side of every Christian in Nigeria. So that kind of gives you a little bit of background and insight into who the Fulani Muslims are and knowing that they weren't always Muslims, they've only been Muslims for about the last two and a half, two hundred years.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, and who converted them? I guess is the word to use. Who converted them to become Muslim?

Brad Brandon:

So it was basically just a migration of Muslims coming down from Mauritania, chad, other places in Morocco, all of those West African countries. The Muslims started to migrate south and and, and they just you know, eventually ran into the Fulani people. The Fulani people aren't, they're not only in northern Nigeria, they're also in other countries like Togo, benin, niger.

Dorsey Ross:

All of these have large populations of Fulani people and what do you do on a daily basis or weekly basis, however long you're there for? How do you reach them?

Brad Brandon:

So I'm leaving on Wednesday to head back to Nigeria again. It's like my second home, and this time I'll be there until about early July. So I'm usually there for two months.

Brad Brandon:

Sometimes I'm there longer three or four months but how we reach them really is we have different contacts in our network and people that we know all throughout northern Nigeria and we have them put feelers out to different villages. There are literally tens of thousands of Fulani villages all throughout northern Nigeria and they all operate under a different chief, and so there's different social structures and codes of ethics and all kinds of stuff, and we have people who have contacts in these different villages and they'll often put out feelers to the chief and the elders of these villages if they would like to have a visit from somebody like me, and if it's positive we'll go, if it's a positive response. Another way that we do it and this has been really invaluable to our ministry there we built a school in the first village that we contacted. The first village we contacted was about eight years ago. Well, we have a school there, a school that teaches about 450 Muslim children every day in this school, and what's really happened is a lot of other Fulani communities have heard about this school and they'll call up the chief of that village and say hey, we heard that you have a school that's teaching children to read and write English. We want one of those schools in our village. So the chief will come to me and say would you go visit with this chief and see if you would build a school there, and so you don't have to twist my arm to do that. We get in our vehicles and we go, we drive to that village and we do everything within our power to build a school in their village.

Brad Brandon:

Right now we have three schools, but we have probably about 10 Fulani Muslim villages that are waiting in line right now. They're waiting for us to build a school in their village, and so we're constantly going to different villages, talking with the elders and the chief, you know, just building relationships and friendships with them and in the hopes that we'll build a school there. And one of the non-negotiables that we have we always tell them this is that one thing we will not negotiate on is we have to be able to have our teachers. We provide the teachers, we provide the building curriculum, everything. Teachers. We provide the teachers, we provide the building curriculum, everything. Our teachers have to be able to use the Bible to teach your children to read and write English, and we've never been refused, never been refused.

Dorsey Ross:

And that was going to be one of my other questions Do the teachers? Are the teachers giving them a biblical lesson along with the reading and writing?

Brad Brandon:

They are, and that's one of the things like the New England Primer. If any of your listeners are familiar with the New England Primer, it was one of the first books that were used to educate our kids here in the? U in the US, in the early colonial US. So it uses that book. The New England Primer uses the Bible to teach children to read and write. It uses Bible stories to teach them the alphabet, a, adam, you know, so on and so forth, and that's kind of what we do as well.

Brad Brandon:

So we do incorporate Bible stories to help them be familiar with things in the Bible Jesus, who, jesus is, things like that. We have to be careful, though, because we're not really out to convert their children to Our goal, because that could get us in a lot of trouble if we started converting their children behind their parents' backs. Really, what the goal is is our teachers are trained to build relationships with the parents, and it's through those relationships with the parents that our teachers end up either leading them to Christ, or the door is open for us to lead them to Christ at a school event or whatever it is. When we go visit their school, we always will visit with the parents and have meals with them. It's just through those relationships that we end up talking about the Lord and introducing them to know Christ.

Dorsey Ross:

Right. So it's not like you're just going into this village where they live and preaching to them, but you're making contact with the head thief or other people in the area and saying, hey, can we make contact with you and speak to you?

Brad Brandon:

Yeah that's right, and that's a great point, because we wouldn't last very long if we just walked in there waving Bibles and, you know, preaching the gospel and starting a church. That wouldn't go. Sometimes not all the time, but sometimes it's years before we ever even get an opportunity to talk about anything about Jesus.

Dorsey Ross:

We really wait.

Brad Brandon:

You know, the leading of the Holy Spirit is about active obedience and doing what God tells us to do. But part of obedience also is being silent when God tells us to be silent and not doing when he tells us to be still. And sometimes we go into these Fulani villages and we are just there to develop that relationship, build that friendship and grow that friendship. And sometimes that takes years before we ever get an open door to present the gospel.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, and how many have you? And, if you have, how many churches have you been able to build and create?

Brad Brandon:

Yeah, we have five churches right now in Nigeria. We have actually three Fulani villages that have asked us to start a church in their village, which is unheard of Really. When I started this eight years ago I thought something like that might happen in 20 years. But here we are, eight years later, and we already have three Fulani villages that are asking us to start churches. So we're already training pastors at our Bible Institute. We actually have a Hausa and Hausa is another tribe in northern Nigeria. They're mostly Muslim Hausa and Fulani Bible Institute where we teach and train them in the Hausa language ministry teach preaching, pastoring, evangelism, all of those things.

Brad Brandon:

And we have no doubt that right now we're training some of the very pastors that will take those churches in those Bulani villages. So, who knows, we might even be raising the next Apostle Paul in northern Nigeria.

Dorsey Ross:

Amen. I saw this question that you sent me and most of us, I would think who are listening, will know this name, but can you tell us about who is Boko Haram and how does that fit in with the Fulani Muslims?

Brad Brandon:

Oh yeah. So I'm sure most of your listeners have heard of Boko Haram. Really, boko Haram. What the name means is Western education, is it's a little bit of a play on house of words, but it means death to Western education, or Western education is forbidden, and that's what it means. And so they are. Their whole drive is to stop anything from the West from coming into Nigeria or any other area where they control that area. They control areas in Niger, they control areas in Chad and Cameroon and they control, I would say, a good portion of northern Nigeria, and basically they're a terrorist group. They're a terrorist group who gets funded by outside organizations.

Brad Brandon:

A lot of Middle Eastern countries support Boko Haram for what they're doing. They also make their revenue by kidnapping people and holding them for ransom. There was just about 30 miles north of one of our schools. There were 287 children about two months ago that were kidnapped out of that school. That was Boko Haram did that, and what they'll do is they'll hold those students, those children, hostage until their parents pay a ransom. Well, most people in Nigeria live on a dollar a day, so most people do not have the kind of money to buy their children out of that situation, and so the ones that can't buy their children back, boko Haram, will take the girls and sell the girls into slavery, and they'll take the boys and send them to reeducation camp and they'll eventually become Boko Haram soldiers, extremely dangerous group that is responsible for killing thousands and thousands of Christians every year, and they are no one to mess with or take lightly, and many of the places that we go to and work in are areas that are controlled by Boko.

Dorsey Ross:

Haram. We'll go from there, because you're talking about how bad and how dangerous. You know Boko Harambe and how dangerous the Fulani Muslims are. How do you keep yourself and the others in your organization? How do you keep them safe?

Brad Brandon:

A lot of people ask me if we travel with guns. We don't. We don't travel with guns. I'm fine with guns. I have no problem with guns. I'm a gun owner myself here in the US, I feel like when I'm over the—well.

Brad Brandon:

first of all, only the bad guys in Nigeria are allowed to have guns. So it's illegal to carry firearms with you in Nigeria unless you're a government official or a police officer or something like that. So we don't carry guns. Really, what we do is we don't have a security detail as well.

Brad Brandon:

I'm not trying to over-spiritualize this, but we really just go and pray and seek the Lord and ask the Lord where he wants us to go, and ask the Lord to go before us, and that's how we do it. That's what we do, yeah, and there's been plenty of times where we've been so close to something happening, but we've seen the hand of God just take over the situation and allow us to pass through that. I always tell people this If you take a risk for God, he'll show up, because taking a risk is faith, and faith is all about risk. If it wasn't a risk, it wouldn't be faith, and I think sometimes we're scared to risk it, and so then a lot of times we don't see these miraculous things that God's doing. When we're in northern Nigeria, we have to put our faith in God, we have to risk it, and so we see God show up and have his hand on us, and it's really amazing.

Dorsey Ross:

Now, you had mentioned I think it was before we started recording that you have had some health issues in your past, and I saw something recently on your Facebook account that you had another health issue with your wife. Now do you go by yourself when you go to Nigeria, and how often or how long do you stay?

Brad Brandon:

at each trip. So I usually go by myself, and the reason for that is is because my wife is actually finishing up nursing school and she has a desire to serve with me in Nigeria and and what she is called to do is to start clinics medical clinics in Nigeria.

Brad Brandon:

So that's going to be another part of our ministry that God has opened up. So she's finishing up her training for that and when she does then she'll travel with me all the time, every time. But right now, really, it's just me going because she's here and busy with school. But the other thing too is like it's really hard in the areas that we go because it's so dangerous. It's really hard for me to bring my wife into those areas when we'll do the medical clinics. They're dangerous areas too, but we're really on the front lines of a high risk, highly volatile area. When we go, those are areas I wouldn't bring my wife to.

Brad Brandon:

But to answer your question, when I go, usually I will be gone for anywhere from a month to three months at a time I get all the work done that I can, and then I come back and I have a full schedule of preaching at churches and just trying to raise awareness of what's going on in Nigeria. Because it's amazing, dorsey, like how many Christians don't know this is happening. And I always talk about, like Hebrews 13, 3, where Paul says those that are being persecuted. We should act as though that persecution is happening to us personally. That's what Paul says, and I think a lot of Christians here in the US are kind of sterilized or disconnected from what's happening to Christians in the rest of the world.

Brad Brandon:

So I travel around trying to raise awareness about persecuted Christians. Yeah, yeah persecuted Christians.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, yeah, I think for a lot of the you know Americans like you were talking about, you know, we have, you know, maybe because of the media and and what we see over in the Middle East and over in Nigeria, we see, you know that the Muslims are very, you know, we, we see that we, you know the Muslims are very, you know, we see the videos and we see the way the Muslims are pictured as very, you know, as very, you know violent, as very violent people.

Brad Brandon:

And you know a lot of them, or some of them. You know a lot of them may be, but have you connected with those Muslims as being very violent? I think for some reason we just have that in our culture. Is that true? I think that's true for some Muslims, of course, are in northern Nigeria. Some of them are Fulani Muslims, as I mentioned earlier, the Fulani Muslims can be very violent people. Boko Haram is an extremely violent group. Iswa, the Islamic State of West Africa, that's another terrorist group that runs northern Nigeria. They can be a very violent people.

Brad Brandon:

But you know, it's easy sometimes when we only know something on media, because what ends up happening is it's very easy for us to objectify those people, and what I mean by that is they stop being people and they become objects to us, and so we can kind of believe anything we want to about them or say anything we want to about them, because they're not really people, they're just objects, they're pictures on a screen to us. To me, the Muslims that I know, and many of the Muslims that I know who are Fulani and Hausa Muslims they've killed Christians, they have a history of killing Christians and I'm friends with them. They have a history of violence To me. I see them completely different To me. They're fathers and husbands, they're grandfathers To me. They're friends To me. You know, like I see them when they're at home.

Brad Brandon:

I see them with their children, I see how they interact with them. So, even the violent Muslims to me, they look different to me. I see, I don't see them as killers, I see them as grandfathers and fathers and really I mean, you know, paul in the Bible talks about how he prayed for the church of Ephesus and one thing that he prayed was that God would enlighten their eyes. And I always think of that and I ask myself what is it enlightening? What is it is Paul asking for when he says enlighten their eyes? I think it's this, dorsey, I think it's enlightenment means we begin to see things the way God sees them. And you know what God sees when he sees a Muslim, even a violent Muslim, maybe a Boko Haram soldier. You know what he sees when he sees that Boko Haram soldier in Northern Nigeria. He sees a lost soul in desperate need of Jesus Christ.

Brad Brandon:

And that's how I try to see everyone who I interact with in northern Nigeria, no matter what their past is, whether they're peaceful or violent. I try to see them and I try to pray and ask God please open my eyes so that, god, I see things the way you see. I see people the way you see people, god. And when I do that, it's very easy for me to love even violent people. I look at that and I think about how much God loved us. It says, for God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loved the world. When the world was against him, when the world hated his son and killed his son, that was the greatest outpouring that God has ever shown to the world. I want to be like that. I want to be like that, and so I don't know if that answers your question, but that's the best way. I know how.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, thank you so much for that, pastor, but I appreciate it. How can people um connect with you and connect with your organization if they want to donate? If they want to, you know, send their request to you and you know to play for you guys, how can they connect with?

Brad Brandon:

you. The best thing to do is first off go to our website. It's wwwacrossnigeriaorg, wwwacrossnigeriaorg, wwwacrossnigeriaorg. Just go to that website and on there a window will open up where you'll be able to subscribe to our email update.

Brad Brandon:

Every week we send out an email update just a brief story of something God is doing in Northern Nigeria, or a prayer request that we have, or something amazing that God is doing, or a new ministry that we're starting, and we love to keep our followers updated in real time, so I try to send those out like once a week.

Brad Brandon:

Followers updated in real time so I try to send those out like once a week. And also included in that is we send out like a monthly prayer list. It's actually a prayer calendar where every day it gives you a new, something new that you can pray for us about, whether it's a person who just trusted Christ and we pray for their growth in the Lord and all of that or somebody who's in danger, or we just started a radio ministry earlier this year. You know it goes through every day of the month. It gives you something new to pray for. All of that is available at acrossnigeriaorg and just simply giving us your name and your email and we'll every week email you those updates and then, of course, on our website. If the Lord leads somebody to contribute financially, that option is available on our website as well.

Brad Brandon:

But our website is a great resource that gives a really good overview of everything that God is doing in northern Nigeria through Across Nigeria. Just go to AcrossNigeriaorg.

Dorsey Ross:

All right, sounds good. Pastor Brad, thank you again for coming on the show today. We greatly appreciate having you.

Brad Brandon:

Thank you, dorsey, I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

Dorsey Ross:

Definitely Well. Guys and girls, thank you so much for coming on the show and listening. Today we will have the link to Pastor Black's information, and please like and share this episode and this podcast with your friends and family members, and also check out my website at wwwdorseyrossministriescom. God bless, bye-bye.

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