People from all over the world write to us about any number of things. It may be to thank us for our work or to pour out venom on it. It may be to request resources or to challenge us in some way. Regardless, I seldom have opportunity to respond. But the email below was exceptional. It is from a Nigerian Christian who is a professor at a university in that country. I have never met him or interacted with him. Even so, he maintains a keen interest in our work. I thought what he had to say in this email was powerful and worth sharing with you. He kindly agreed to let me post his comments, though I have changed his name to Dr. Okoye. As you will see, he and his daughter have been following the Around the World in 80 Days expedition. As a proud Nigerian, she is, understandably, disappointed with my 1/10 star rating. (I rated the Christians I met in Nigeria a 10/10.) Dr. Okoye, however, accepts the rating as valid and offers reasons why this is so. Below you will find his email and my response:
It was my daughter who from Germany first informed me: “Daddy, Taunton rated Nigeria 1/10” with a sad emoji. I responded in part that “should he have scored us higher than a 1, I would have been surprised.”
Take Christianity away from Nigeria, as the current administration is using all tricks and tactics to do, we nosedive in greatness. Corruption brought the country to where you find us. Islamization, through deceitful schemes, will worsen our woes. Nigerian Christians, particularly those in the South, are divided on the dangers of this violent religion to the future of Christianity in Nigeria. Your work is a wake-up call to the sleeping giants—the Nigerian Christians.
First, I am grateful to God for the safety of your life during your stay in Nigeria, the support of your wife and the companionship of your son. The Balm of Gilead soothes the aches of your formerly broken bones, which were agitated by the psychological and physical hardship of the state of our infrastructure. May the Lord continue to prosper your ministry and make your defense of the faith once delivered to our fathers (which the secular and Satan-inspired modernism and liberalism are fiercely battling to snatch away from the living church worldwide) an enduring work.
Thank you for the great work for the Lord. Safe journey back to your American base after the “Around the World in 80 Days” project. Greetings to your son as well.
Dear Dr. Okoye,
First all of all, thank you very much for your kind email. Please tell your daughter that I dearly love the Christian people of Nigeria. I hope she was able to read the full series. I celebrate the Christians there, admire them greatly, and give God thanks for them. If American Christians were half the people the Nigerian Christians are, our nation would not be in such a moral mess.
As you note, I rate Nigeria so low for all for reasons that have nothing to do with the Christians there. On the contrary, if the true Christians in Nigeria—people like you, my brother the Bishop Jwan Zhumbes, (former) Archbishop Akinola, and so many others I met there—were to have more influence, the Lord would bless that country. Without you, Nigeria would be totally lost. It is my hope that my writing will awaken Christians in America to the dangerous path they are walking and awaken them to their brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Perhaps the Lord will let us meet someday.
Tell your daughter to look again at my rating. Yes, I rated Nigeria 1/10. But I rated the Christians there at 10/10!
May God bless you!
Larry Alex Taunton
Let us pray for these grand, courageous Christians! Give me two Nigerians, and I will take any fortress!