By Festus Fifen.
The Director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Dabara Audu has said that those describing the Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands of Israel and Jordan as a jamboree do so because they don’t know what the exercise entails and therefore cannot relate with the level of spiritual upliftment it brings to the Pilgrims and Nigeria as a country.
Speaking to News men after the completion of the pilgrimage exercise for the first batch of the 2021 main Christian pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan Mr. Dabara said the spiritual impact of the exercise brings about a new experience for Christians who can now relate well with biblical and scriptural occurrences that will further strengthen their faith in Christ for the uplifting of Nigeria as a country.
In his words, “. It is very unfortunate for anyone to say pilgrimage is a jamboree. Anyone that says it’s a jamboree does not know what pilgrimage is. I want to believe that anyone that wants to embark on a pilgrimage must have heard of the pilgrimage sites and must have read about it and given birth to some useful information that it is a life-transforming exercise.
” we have received testimonies from the people that have gone there in the past. In this journey that has just finished, we have gone to so many sites, and in some cases, I have gone to those places more than four times, and still, there are new testimonies each time I visit those places, and that is what the scripture is all about.
” Pilgrimage is about the scripture being brought alive to any serious Christian and it’s a way to work out our salvation. For any serious Christian, pilgrimage is part of working out your salvation and I am sure a lot of us today even as we hear testimonies, their spiritual lives are being promoted and this will have an impact on the families of the pilgrim, their villages, towns where they come from and on Nigeria as a whole.”
Speaking on this year’s Pilgrimage which was the first of its kind as Nigerian pilgrims visited Holy Places in Israel and Jordan, The Director said it was an opportunity for Christians to relate better with biblical occurrence and to be able to visit those sites not minding that some of those places are now in more than one country.
” It is a very good experience for us all, those that have been going to Israel alone before now did not have opportunity to visit the holy sites in Jordan like the River Jabok where Jacob wrestled with and angel and his name was changed to Israel, and the mount Nebo where Moses was shown the promise land by God before he was taken.
” Gadara a mountain where Jesus Casted out unclean spirits from a man into swines was another very historic location in Jordan, not forgetting the place where John the Baptist was beheaded and his head given in a tray for herods maid dancer. all this are beautiful and very significant places in the life of any serious Christian. so I can tell you that this year’s pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan is a blessing in more than one way to us.”
” The way I see it, starting the pilgrimage to combine the two nations of Israel and Jordan, I did not see myself as an ordinary person, I know the hurdles the children of Israel had to go through as recorded in the scripture, so if the original people that made these journeys did not find it easy I don’t expect that anyone will find it easy because each pilgrimage has a story and revelation behind. God used some of these places to build endurance, perseverance and patience . the children of Israel were able to go through to the promised land, in the same way, this journey from Nigeria to Israel and Israel to Jordan, was not expected to be easy, but I want us to understand that behind the pilgrimage is also the feeling of the suffering, and in this case the suffering that refines. it brings out the true nature of any Christian. like it is said in the Bible Gold passes through Fire to be able to come out pure at it is, so Gold is not pure until it passes though fire. ”
When asked how he would rate the first batch of the 2021 main Pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter Pilgrimage, Dabara said
” We are grateful for the completion of the first batch of the 2021 main pilgrimage and the 2022 easter.
we landed in Israel successfully and now we are at the Jordan end of the movement, there is nothing, no one was sick to the extent that we cannot go out, there is no accident in any way and so far no one has absconded.
At this point, I will take this year’s pilgrimage as a very successful one, we have more than 200 pilgrims and no one absconded so we are bold to say that it was successful.”
He therefore Used the medium to appeal to those that have taken part on the pilgrimage to show good examples as they go back to the larger society after these period of reflections and visitation of biblical sites in the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.
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