Theme: Standing firm in challenging times
“Then the Lord appeared to him and said “Do not go down to Egypt, live in the land of which I shall tell you” – Genesis 26:2
The 2021 Annual staff conference was held on the 27th and 28th May 2021 at the Grand Pela Hotel & Suites, Abuja with the theme; Standing firm in challenging times. The two-day event was an opportunity for staff, volunteers, and board members of The Leprosy Mission Nigeria to seek the face of God as individuals and also as a mission, especially in this difficult time. The conference was attended by staff, volunteers, and board members of TLMN. It featured, chorus sessions, word exhortations, group discussions, prayers, communion service, reflections, and Q&A sessions. There were also sessions on the New TLMN 5-year country strategy and brief training on TLMN safeguarding and security issues in the country.
The first day of the conference began with registration and was closely followed by an introduction of participants by Mr. Pius. The National Director, Dr. Sunday Udo, gave welcome remarks and a morning charge on the theme of the conference. Using the state of insecurity in the country as an example, he emphasized that no matter what the devil throws at us, we should always remember that God is in charge.
Pastor Shola Adebayo, secretary of the board of TLMN and senior pastor of Lighthouse Ministries International, shared the word of God following the theme of the conference. He stated that famine or hard times will always exist as long as we are on earth (Genesis 26) but during these hard times, we should wait to hear from God. God provides solutions/answers for different situations too as famine/problems can come in different levels; the solution that was used for famine 1 might not work for famine 2. It may need an upgrade. So as children of God, it is important to stand still until God asks you to move. Standing still leads to standing firm. Look up to God first before making moves “Before you migrate horizontally, migrate vertically first”.
He ended the sermon by encouraging the participants to learn how to obey God amidst tempting offers and only look up to him for guidance. This session was closely followed by a prayer session and group photographs of all participants
The 3rd session for the day was a breakout session with participants, to reflect on Messages that were shared by Dr. Udo and Pastor Adebayo. They were encouraged to discuss in groups; what stood out and the lessons learned. At the end of the discussion, a member of each group shared a summary of their discussion with the audience.
Participants at the breakout sessions
After the second prayer session, participants evaluated and provided feedback on what went well, what didn’t go well, and recommendations.
The second day began with registration at the conference secretariat and then hymn & prayers, led by Mr. Habila Diko.
Pastor Shola Adebayo shared more words on the theme of the conference, further explaining some of the reactions or actions exhibited by people who are going through difficult times. He said that when going through difficulty, the most natural thing to do is complain and murmur. However, complaining and murmuring soil our destiny and stops you from seeing what God wants you to see about yourself (the real you). This eventually leads to self-destruction.
He encouraged us to give God thanks rather than complaining and constantly refuse the urge to engage in things that do not multiply us.
This session was concluded with prayers and then closely followed with a Q & A session with Dr. Udo and Pastor Shola.
After the communion service, Dr. Udo briefly shared a word on the “Biblical Decision Model” and practical ways of applying it in our lives. He then made a presentation on the 2021-2025 TLM-Nigeria country strategy, featuring focal points like who we are, what we do, Aims, our core identity, enablers, and crosscutting areas in the work that we do. This was followed by a Q&A session led by Mr. Terver Anyor and the session on Safeguarding + security issues by Mr. Pius Ogbu.
At the end of the conference, participants returned to their various locations refreshed and looking forward to applying all that was learnt during the conference.