Our official relationship as a Conference with the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations – Nigeria goes back to June, 2004, when the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations (U. S. A.) ceased to exist as a legal entity and joined the Concordia Lutheran Conference by amalgamation or merger into one corporate body. At that time, the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations — Nigeria, an independent church body in Nigeria, joined the F. L. C. in recognizing fellowship with the Concordia Lutheran Conference, even though its pastors and congregations themselves did not join the Conference as members, neither did their church body forsake its national identity in amalgamation with our Conference.
The F. L. C. had in fact established a foreign missions relationship with brethren in Nigeria back in 1979, when, in fellowship with the late Pastor D. Tobin Briggs of Port Harcourt, it began to assist the Nigerian brethren both monetarily and spiritually in the establishment of local congregations and in the training of pastors. Nimi Benson Fyneface at that time was a layman in Pastor Briggs’ congregation, assisted him in secretarial and other matters, and was recommended by Pastor Briggs to the F. L. C. for theological training. Fyneface was sent to the United States in 1982, supported by the congregations of the F. L. C., to study full-time under Pastor Robert Lietz in Oak Park, Illinois. He also took several summer courses under Pastor Ralph Boyer in Minnesota. After completing his studies in 1984, he was called by St. Paul’s Nyemoni Lutheran Church (Cathedral) in Abonnema, Rivers State, Nigeria, to be its pastor. Since that time, Pastor Fyneface has trained pastors for the F. L. C. N. and has been instrumental in founding several of the seven other congregations now comprising the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations — Nigeria. Therefore we shall begin with his biography, and then present the other pastors in alphabetical order. The biographical information was supplied by Pastor Fyneface.
Pastor Nimi Benson John Fyneface was born in Abonnema, Rivers State, Nigeria on April 23, 1957. He received his early education in Abonnema and Port Harcourt and also pursued higher education at the British Careers Training College, Jersey, Britain. As noted above, Pastor Fyneface was trained by the F. L. C. here in the States primarily under Pastor Lietz from 1982-1984 and was ordained and installed at St. Paul’s Nyemoni Lutheran Cathedral in September 1984. He and his wife, Ibiere, have nine children. His eldest son, Elishamma, is by God’s grace in heaven. In his spare time (which is rare), Pastor Fyneface enjoys reading writing, and singing.
Pastor Elison Bibi Agborubere was born in Abalama in Rivers State on July 27, 1950 and received his education in Buguma and in Lagos. He studied under Pastor Fyneface in the F. L. C. N. seminary from 1995 to 2003. On December 27, 2003 he was ordained and installed as Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Abalama-Asalga. He is married to his wife, Ayafe, and has six grown children. His recreational activities include reading and listening to music.
Pastor Timothy Biobele Aaron, the son of Chief Matthew Aaron and his wife, Ere, was born on May 6, 1974, in Elem Sangama-Akulga. His early education was at the State School there, and his secondary schooling was at the Nyemoni Grammar School in Abonnema. He studied at the F. L. C. N. seminary from 2009 to 2014, when he was ordained and installed on August 30 of that year as Pastor of St. Clement’s Lutheran Church in Elem Sangama. He and his wife, Esther, presently have no children. He enjoys reading and fishing.
Pastor Allenson Karibi Asawo was born in Abalama-Asalga on March 15, 1949, the son of Allen and Waite Asawo. His early primary and secondary education were received in Ndele and Port Harcourt. He then studied at the University of Science and Technology, also in Port Harcourt. He attended the F. L. C. N. seminary from 1995 to 2003 and in December of that year was ordained and installed as Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Port Harcourt. He and his wife, Lolo, have six children. His recreational interests include reading and listening to music.
Pastor Bateinm Anthony Bestman, the son of Anthony and Barisoma Bestman, was born in Abalama on September 27, 1974. He attended elementary school in Abalama and secondary school in Ahoada. After high school he studied at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt. From 2009 to 2014 he was trained at the F. L. C. N. seminary by Pastor Fyneface, and on August 30th of that year was ordained and installed as Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Abalama. He and his wife of one year, Dawariku, have one child, Excel. Pastor Bestman enjoys reading and writing in his leisure time.
Pastor God’stime Eberechi Douglas was born in Abonnema on November 20, 1956. His parents are both deceased. His elementary and secondary education were received in Abonnema, and he studied then at the British Careers Training College and Transworld Tutorial, Jersey, Britain. At the F. L. C. N. seminary he pursued his theological studies from 1995 to 2003. On December 27, 2003, he was ordained and installed as Co-Pastor (with Pastor Fyneface) of St. Paul’s Nyemoni Lutheran Cathedral in Abonnema. He and his wife, Inoma, have seven children. Recreationally he enjoys reading and music.
Pastor Onesimus Ojodale Ekele was born in Ogador Eteh-Kogi on May 25, 1980. He attended a community primary school and government secondary school. His initial theological training was received at the All Saints Theological Seminary (Anglican) in Lagos, but he was carefully colloquized before being admitted into the F. L. C. N. On December 1, 2007, he was installed as Pastor of the F. L. C. N.’s newest congregation, Christ Lutheran Church in Abule-Egba-Lagos. He and his wife, Deborah, are the parents of three children. He enjoys reading and football (soccer) in his spare time.
Pastor Innocent Quezi Karibo, the youngest of the pastors, was born on September 19, 1981, to Quezi and Emmanba Karibo in the Idama Community, Akulga. His early education was received at the state elementary school and the government secondary school in Idama. He then attended the Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt. After studying under Pastor Fyneface from 2009 to 2014, he was ordained and installed as Pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Idama on August 30, 2014. He and his wife, Owanate, are the parents of two children. Pastor Karibo enjoys reading and sports.
Pastor Balaiyi Christopher Thompson, born on July 4, 1968, to Christopher and Lily Thompson of Abalama, received his early education at the State School in Abalama and went to high school at the Comprehensive Secondary School there. He studied at the F. L. C. N. seminary from 2009 to 2014 and was ordained and installed as Co-Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Abalama on August 30, 2014. He and his wife, Iyallba, are the parents of six children.
The addresses of the pastors are found on the second to the last page of our Concordia Lutheran. Our readers are encouraged to write occasionally to these dear brethren with a word of love and encouragement. They and their people live under the most trying circumstances imaginable, in great poverty and in jeopardy of their safety. Their standard of living is extremely low, and lawless gangs of thugs threaten them on a regular basis. Sadly, the pastors for the most part do not have computers; and Internet service is both expensive and also unreliable; the same for personal telephone service — things which we here take for granted every day. May the Lord of the Church keep them all under His gracious protection (Psalm 91:11-12), bear them up as on wings of eagles (Isaiah 40:31), sustain them in body and soul (Psalm 55:22), and preserve them steadfast in His Word and faith unto their end (I Peter 1:3-9)!
—Pastor David T. Mensing
Chairman, Committee on Missions