About ten years earlier, some European missionaries had arrived in Nigeria and began to work hard among the people there. While traveling through the area where the missionaries were working, some young men from the Ibesikpo tribe heard the Gospel and gladly accepting Jesus Christ. They gladly went back to their village and shared the Gospel with the other Ibesikpo. Desiring to know more about the Gospel, they sent word to the missionary, begging to come to their people and teach them more. When he couldn’t, they asked for him to send another missionary instead. But there were no to send. Desperate to hear more about the Gospel, the Ibesikpo pooled their resources together and sent one of their young men, Jonathan Ekong, to America to bring back a missionary. Ekong was one of the young men who first heard the missionaries and was able to speak English. This made him an obvious choice for the task.
When Ekong arrived in America, he was soon connected with several churches there, who readily prepared a missionary and resources to send back to Nigeria to start a mission there. Henry Nau was chosen to lead the work. Born and raised in Germany, he came to America to study at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. After completing his studies, he served several years in India. But now he headed to Africa, to start his greatest work.
When Ekong and Nau arrived in Nigeria, they quickly began to start churches among the Ibesikpo people and teaching the Bible. Nau started to train Ekong to be a pastor and he, hungry to learn, soaked it in. Soon, he was the main national pastor among the Ibesikpo. Nau and Ekong started a seminary, where they began to train the other young men to be pastors. The churches that these two men started are still going strong today, most of them under the leadership of Nigerian pastors. In fact, some of Jonathan Ekong’s sons and grandsons are serving as pastors and leaders in the churches there.
Clark, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary, was sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He was a member of the third team sent over by the American Board to Hawaii.That means that the work was already established. But Clark, a gifted linguist, helped to make needed revisions to the Hawaiian Bible and also translated a Bible dictionary, among other books. He worked in Hawaii for more than twenty-four years. In 1852, he was sent to help start the Boards mission work in Micronesia.
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