Capro trained us to die as missionaries
By Gbenga Osinaike
If you see them share banters; you would probably think they are still in the early years of their marriage or perhaps still savouring the honeymoon. But that is not the case. Blossom Eric and Aina Ajuamiwe have been married for 35 years. They have indeed come a long way doing missions and breaking barriers in many countries. Their love for God is infectious. “Early in life when I first gave my life to Christ, I used to draw a picture of the heart and I would put an arrow across the picture. I would tell myself that I would stake my life for the gospel.”
Indeed, years later; Blossom had to stake his life for the gospel in many instances. One of the criteria he used to choose his spouse was to prayerfully look out for somebody who would be willing to go into missions with him. The lady he first sought his hand in marriage did not fit into that billing. He had to immediately severe the relationship. Being a shy person, it took him a while before he summoned courage to approach another sister who perfectly fit into what he wanted in terms of fulfilling destiny.
Though an indigene of Abia, Blossom was born in Ibadan. The first language he ever spoke is the Yoruba language. The civil war made him move to the east where he picked the Igbo language. His wife on the other hand also an Igbo lady was born in Kaduna and speaks Hausa fluently. Blossom, a polyglot, speaks a cumulative of nine languages including English, French Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa Fufude and some other languages in the west coast of Africa while his wife, Aina speaks six languages.
Blossom studied French. He traced his conversion to his secondary school days during one of his encounters with the Scripture Union movement. Shortly after his conversion he continued with the group and ended up working as the travelling secretary of the Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students. His wife on the other hand met the Lord in the Anglican Church. A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University. Aina recalled, “I grew up in Kaduna among Muslims. In 1976; while reading through the liturgy of the Anglican the Lord ministered to me. That was the beginning of my salvation experience. One day I read a tract which God used to address a question that has long been agitating my mind. So, on the 18th of July 1978 I decided to follow the Lord. That calmed me down. I then got involved in youth fellowship and Evangelical Fellowship of Anglican Communion.”
Her conversion however brought her at loggerheads with her dad. But she was not deterred. She was encouraged by Paul’s counsel to Timothy that he should not allow anyone despise his youth. The burning zeal in her and her relationship with some missionary ladies changed her orientation about life and enhanced her love for the unreached people of the world.
So, when the duo came together as husband and wife in 1983 it was not difficult for them to take some decisions which came to their family members as weird. For instance, they chose not to have children in the first two years of their marriage as that would affect their commitment to missions. Their friends were worried for them but they simply told them not to pray as they had made that decision not to make babies immediately. It was also easy for them to travel to Senegal, their first mission field outside the country shortly after their marriage. They arrived Senegal without a prior knowledge of the place but were moved by their passion for souls. They were sent to the country by Calvary Ministries. But they were to live by faith.
He recalled, “We were in Senegal for the first three years of our marriage. It was a good experience. That time Senegal was just opening up to the gospel. It’s a predominantly Islamic country. We did street evangelism. We went to the streets and played music. They love music. They also love reading. We opened a reading centre and interacted with them. We planted a church through that.
Capro trained us to die as missionaries
From Senegal they went to Guinea. But the experience in those early days was not palatable. “Feeding was the difficult part of our experience. In Capro we were trained to die as missionaries. We signed papers that wherever we died we would be buried. So, we had that at the back of our mind and we were ready to stake our lives as God supplied the grace” He said.
He recalled further that getting support for missions was not easy. “When we go for support in churches they would want to inherit the mission field rather than support it. But we believe indigenes should be trained to run the churches rather than bringing pastors from outside. That was why it was difficult for us to get the churches to buy into our vision of planting churches in those countries.”
They recalled that the inhabitants of their host country thought they were servants of white missionaries. “Because we were not well equipped like white missionaries who came to the country they used to think we were the servants of the white missionaries. When we were there the Catholics for instance sent 200 missionaries to the country. At a point it was so difficult for us. One man who worked with Bible translators gave us a room while we were in Guinea Bissau. But because the way the room is constructed, we could not go out and come in the way we like. Eventually God opened doors and we now moved to another town where Capro rented a house for us.”
His wife would not easily forget those days of hunger and anguish in a foreign land. She recalled that there were days they went to bed and wished the day did not break. But what kept them going was the passion they have for missions and the fact that they did not have “excess” luggage.
The several seasons of lack taxed Aina’s creativity. “Because of the situation we found ourselves we could do many things. We bake our bread for instance, make groundnut oil by ourselves, do detergents, grow the food we eat. There are only a few things we had to buy in the market. Where we stay presently we have a huge farm and we train people in skill acquisition. These are lessons we gathered from mission fields”
Recalling how they fell in love with rabbits, Blossom who is the husband said, “there was this year we had nothing to eat. It was Christmas time and everybody was buying stuffs and enjoying. We could not afford to buy anything. My wife went to market but had to come back without buying anything. But we had some spare money to buy rabbit which was being hawked by a young man. We bought the rabbit planning to kill it but later found out that it was pregnant. As God would have it, somebody brought some food items just before we killed the rabbit. So, we allowed the rabbit to be. The rabbit gave birth and since then we have been rearing rabbits.”
Blessed with two children who are prospective missionaries, the Ajuamiwes have traveled to many countries of the world including the UK and the US. They have traversed the length and breadth of the West Africa Coast and have opened mission fields in those places. Now they are committed to helping missionaries and encouraging them on the field through the Ebedmelech Foundations. With about 37 years doing missions they can write volumes upon volumes on their experiences.
In Senegal for instance the duo told this reporter that it is a taboo for men to wash cloths recalling that a woman who allowed them to carry out such taboo almost sent them to the great beyond through voodoo.
“We thought the woman was being nice” said Blossom. “She allowed us to wash our cloths and we were given a warm reception in her house. We were about eleven in number who were accommodated by this woman. We washed our cloths in her compound and she prepared a meal of rice for us. We blessed the food and ate. We did not know we were being tricked and would have died.”
By the time they got home they went to bed and right in the dead of the night they were experiencing the same horror simultaneously. “I just discovered that I was not able to breathe well. I struggled through that experience and woke up calling the name Jesus. I was in serious battle with some snakes in my sleep. As I was having that experience every one of us who took that meal was having the same experience. We all woke up almost the same time and had no option but to hold a vigil. By the following morning the lady came to check on us. She taught we would have died. She was shocked to find us alive.”
While noting that Senegalese are too fetish, Blossom said, “they take delight in practicing the efficacy of their charms on people. I remember there was a time we were strolling by the sea shore and the wave of the sea carried away my son mysteriously. I had no option but to dive into the ocean and rescue the boy”
One of the strange cultural practices is the endorsement of infidelity. “It is believed that a woman should sleep with certain number of men in her lifetime. So, the women jostle to achieve this feat. They are at liberty to sleep with many men as possible. It is also a taboo for one to carry a child on the shoulder. Such action ignites their furry.
On their first convert in Senegal, they said, “The first person who surrendered his life to Christ in Senegal came to listen to music. “He was dancing to the music we were playing and we then invited him for lunch. That was how we were able to preach the gospel to him and he surrendered to Christ. In some other cases, the people were provided with transport and food. This method is normally used by big missions like the Baptists who come from the US. They would give them food and even give them transport to come for their meetings. Some of them meet the Lord in this process. But then getting somebody converted normally draws the ire of some powerful forces. “If someone gets converted the person is cut off from so many things,” Said Aina.
Though they have been to so many countries of the world together doing missions, Aina travels more often than Blossom “When our children were smaller I stayed with the children while she traveled. She has gone to South Korea, Netherlands, France England and the US a few more times than me. I believed it was safer for me to be with the children” remarked Blossom.
But Aina is more inclined to fishing for souls among Muslim women noting that it is far easier to reach the women than the men. “A Muslim woman does not have a religion. She follows the religion of her husband. When you can keep their secrets, they will trust you. Their conversion is not a thing you parade.”
Some of them who have become born again still pray the way Muslims pray but they confess Jesus. “We realize that even if you are bowing down it is the one you confess in your heart that matters. Many of them get converted and their people don’t know. When they have understood the scripture and they want to declare they are more determined and courageous than the men.
“When you expose them early their husbands can report them to the extended family and they are prone to being attacked. When the women finally decide to follow the Lord, they don’t care what happens. There is one Hanatu in Abuja who has been doing great since she declared publicly for the Lord. She was denied many things in her community when she surrendered to Jesus. She would not even be allowed to enter a public vehicle. They would not even grind her pepper. But a group came together and bought her grinding mill which is now being of great use to her. She attended a conference a few days ago where she brought 30 other women to testify to the goodness of God. Some of them who have met the Lord have been stripped of all they have. But we now have a house where such women are rehabilitated.”
While noting that several women in purdah have come to know the Lord she disclosed that there are over one million children belonging to women who have been abandoned because of their faith being taken care of by missions group in the north.
Read also: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/winners-pastors-child/My experience being son of Winners’ Chapel pastor -Fadare
34 years as a couple on mission, what were the lessons? Blossom offers, “I have learnt to trust God to be patient with myself and with people and to be humble. As a couple I have realized that God is not stupid when he said the two shall be one. The time we have worked together we have pursued more enemies than doing it individually. I am happy I am known and recognized by God. It gives me joy. I don’t carry excess luggage. I am content with what God has done in my life. I must thank God for the initial exposure in CAPRO”
Presently the couple are based in Jos Barka Ladin Local Government from where they run Ebedmelech Foundations. They encourage missionaries to retreat, sleep well and eat well. Their daughter is PA to Aina. She is a food scientist. She travels with them for missions while their son is also a prospective missionary based in Lagos.
They describe the call to missions as a glorious calling. It brings out God in one’s life. It is in doing mission that you understand what it means to be an ambassador of Christ.
They could be reached on 08058670266 or 08025544239