My journey starts with accepting Jesus Christ into my heart on March 17, 2011. Truth be told, I wasn’t yet there with the “Lord and Savior” part. The challenge was getting traction because simply put it took years and years to even get to that starting point. I’m an all-in kinda guy, and I didn’t yet know what “in” was, but I was sure for the first time in my life it would require help beyond my reach.
I mention “traction” because the Bible book itself is not set sequentially; I operate by progression much like a builder lays the foundation and then builds upward: first floor, second floor and so on….planning to reach a rooftop. I was lost, and that was uncomfortable.
Understanding the Bible was uncomfortable for a sinner like me who gained understanding about life up until that time through music song lyrics, and that’s “A Long and Winding Road” without a “Yellow Brick Road” to walk me to the “Sunshine of My Life” Jesus Christ.
“You need to get into a Bible Study,” I was told, and two were suggested. I was prodded into door number 2: “Stephan Tchividjian, has a weekly study, and it’s a rather eclectic group of guys, you’d fit in there…” that was 2012.
My God story begins
As fate would have it, a number of months into my new found Bible Study, Stephan introduces Don Campion and says, “tell us what’s going on, Don.” So, Campion unfolds in pictures and verse his childhood growing up in Egbe, Nigeria, and how his missionary surgeon father established this hospital 60 years ago, along with other structures in a 33-acre compound to serve the villagers. Don held up a picture of an unremarkable and now a severely neglected, run down building, and said, “This is the only hospital within a hundred miles, and the people need it. With God’s help and some volunteers, I plan on rebuilding the building and property into a fully functioning hospital. I have a 5 year plan.”
Normally, one would conjure up a vision in their head of the proverbial, “I’d like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge,” but this was Don Campion, (I tell him there is an “h” missing in Campion between the “c” and “a”) owner of Banyan Air, in South Florida, and if he says it, you can believe it will be accomplished.
August 1, 2013, we take the week-long journey. Stephan, Scott Sullivan, Omar Aleman and I travel to Abuja, Nigeria, by way of Germany to meet up with Don and his wife Sueanne the next day and then travel by vehicle, with trailing vehicles loaded with supplies over mostly dirt roads for 7 1/2 hours to get to the remote village of Egbe.
We are met by the local villagers who lined the pathway road in anticipation for our arrival wearing their beautifully vivid tribal outfits that they make themselves from remnant bolts of cloth that they also make themselves and playing homemade musical instruments. At that exact moment of our arrival, my world view immediately changed forever with the awareness that these complete strangers, isolated and seemingly hundreds of miles from civilization, were thankful people knew they were alive, and in this universe; we saw it in their smiles.
I soaked in that moment with instant recognition that other than travel for two days, I hadn’t done a thing yet – and frankly didn’t do much after that – but they were thrilled to see us! It’s that frozen in time look of hope I would remember. Is that what my Bible says when mentioning faith? Was it a God wink to me? This would be the moment that would inspire me to better understand when the Bible mentions villages where Jesus walked and to now become a good and faithful servant.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalms 16:11 NKJV).
Learn more about our publisher, Les at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/staff/leslie-j-feldman/