Friday, December 23, 2011

Music Ministry In Lagos

This past Sunday, Threadstone started a youth ministry in The Waterbrook Church in Lagos. Our primary job in the ministry is to lead worship for the youth, and the second is to build relationships with the kids to disciple them and be a light into their lives through friendship. The ministry went fairly well today. It was the first time that these teenagers have ever been in a service together so they were a little shy at the start, but by the end of the service they were opening up and having fun worshipping God. Our primary focus was to break down the "cool" walls that these kids put up and allow them to have fun together. Our hope is that in the future the kids will be comfortable enough with us and each other that they can share what is really going on in their lives. We barely touched the surface of the pain some of these kids have endured today. The speaker's talk was on the pain that all of us feel, namely the pain that is caused by things that have happened to us. After the program was finished we were able to hangout with the students and get to know they better. They were shy at first, but after a few minutes they warmed up to us and we were able to connect with them. We talked mostly about superficial things like names, where they were from, and interests. Next time we meet we hope to take the conversation a little further and really start to build strong relationships with the students. I personally am excited for this ministry because as far as I have seen it is the only ministry for teenagers in Nigeria that reaches out to address what teens are really going through. Please be praying for the success of this ministry, it has so much potential to help teenagers build their relationship with God!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Old Friends and Exciting Opportunities

Just a couple weeks ago I was given the opportunity to surprise Victor Ibrahim by picking him up from boarding school. Some of you may remember Victor, whom we befriended in 2008-2009 and have sponsored ever since. Victor was excited to see me and found it humorous that I was driving him around Jos. It was encouraging to see that Victor was looking healthy and to hear how well he is doing in school.
Since our little reunion I have been with Threadstone going back and forth between Lagos and Abuja. The band is beginning to really take off in the Nigerian music industry. Recently we played a show called "Industry Night" at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos. All of the major artists, radio stations, and producers were present for the show, which made it a critical show or the band, and we nailed it! People accepted the idea of Christian rock music for a secular audience with open arms, and since then things have begun to pick up for the band. This past weekend we were called to Abuja by the top rated radio station in the city for a radio interview and a big event called "Praise Jam."
I would also like to apologize for the lack of posts and the lack of detail within the posts. The only internet I have access to is the internet on my blackberry phone. I will do my best to start posting more often to include more details.
Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sports Ministry in Lagos

I've been in Lagos for the past two weeks spending time and practicing with Threadstone. As far as the band goes, we haven't had as much activity as usual, but I have been able to stay busy with sports friends. This week there was a sports ministry coalition conference here in Lagos. Kyle Abts flew in for the event, and we were able to attend together. On the fist day I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a week for sports ministry leaders to get away for a week for rest and spiritual growth. Kyle and I seemed to be attending as guests of honor since we were seated at the front. Kyle spoke for part of the session, but had to leave early to fly back to Jos. Two days later I came back to attend again, but the main speaker, Hillary, asked me to speak for forty-five minutes! With just a few minutes to prepare, I managed to speak for half an hour about taking opportunities and the way God works through us. I would appreciate it if you could all be praying for wisdom for me because as a missionary, I am often placed in the position to teach people who are much older than me. Thanks for the prayers, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Exciting Opportunities!

The past few weeks have been crazy! Two weeks ago I was sitting in the Sports Friends office, when the Threadstone (a semi-famous Christian rock band) guys walked in to talk to Kyle. Kyle at one point played with the band, but now acts as a mentor to them. The guys sat down to talk to him about several issues, one of which was a problem with finding a stable drummer ever since their original drummer had to leave. I only got to hear the first bit of the conversation because I was called to work, but later that evening Kyle informed me that he had suggested me for the position. I was excited, but I was aware that it was a longshot, and after a few days the excitement passed. Four or five days later I received a call from the band manager Kamara, and he invited me to their house for a tryout session. The band immediately connected with me, and they were impressed with my skills as a drummer, so they invited me to tour with them. Since then I have played several shows with the band, and after a meeting with SIM and Kyle, I am allowed to call myself a member of the band! My ministry with Sports Friends will continue, but my job within Sports Friends will change drastically. Now I will be meeting with the sports ministry leaders of churches we are connected with in the areas I travel to with Threadstone. I will only be travelling about two weeks of every month because I am still based in Jos. This opportunity is very exciting for me, and I have no doubt that God is the one who brought this about. Please, if you could be praying for my safety and for my rest. This new area of ministry takes a toll on my sleep patterns, and with all the moving around my safety is more at risk than if I were to stay in Jos. Thanks all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music As A Ministry?

Those of you who followed our family blog during our 2008/2009 stay in Jos remember Gwakman, whom we more or less adopted throughout the year. Gwakman spent the night at my house on Saturday night, and in the morning attended Hillcrest chapel with me to watch me drum. My hope is for Gwakman to be a part of my ministry here in Jos. Talking with Gwakman, I found out that he is interested in learning drums. I spent the next half hour teaching him basics about music and rhythm, and I provided him with a pair of sticks and a practice sheet. The drum lesson opened up further discussion and gives me a great reason to get Gwakman to come over on a regular basis. I am happy to see that God is using my musical skills here in Jos!
My work with Sports Friends continues to progress as well. Sometime in November I will be traveling for three or four days into far northern Nigeria, where Christians are few, and where animistic religions and Islam thrive. We have yet to work out the details, but I am sure I will be involved with a camp of some sort. I also received an update on the Thailand trip in January! The Sports Friend international conference will partially a celebration of the ten year anniversary of the ministry, but also a chance to reflect over the work accomplished over the years and plan for the future. This will also be a chance for me to receive some leadership training and mentoring skills, so it will be a chance for me to grow as well.
Traveling by taxi has become a problem for me lately. Most of my work is in the early morning or ends in the late afternoon/evening, and SIM missionaries are not allowed to use motorcycle taxis for safety reasons. On Wednesday I started searching for a car and found one almost immediately! I will be renting the car for a reasonable price, and I will be getting the car anytime this week. Definitely a quick answer to prayers.  
One last thing, I got sick on Thursday and I am still trying to recover at this point. If you could be praying that would be great! Thanks all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Success!

My work is now starting to transcend the coaching level. On Thursday, I met with a man named Paul Datiri, who is the pastor of COCIN (Church of Christ in Nigeria) church to discuss involving the church more in what we are doing with the kids on the compound. I went to his house where he served me cocoa yam with red stew and a maltina, the “big man” drink of Nigeria. We ate and talked, and I got to share my testimony and the vision I had for how we would associate the church with the basketball team.  He was excited by me being in Nigeria to serve and by the plans we had for the team.  After we finished the food and discussion, Paul invited me to attend the Thursday evening bible study the church with him and to attend the church service on Sunday. I agreed to both and I even got to stand up to speak to the congregation on Sunday! God must have a sense of humor to let an 18 year old stand up to speak in front of a whole church! I briefly explained the ministry and thanked the congregation for letting me serve with them, and then got to participate in the dancing and singing entailed in Nigerian worship. After the service, my co-coach Saulomon and I were invited to eat in the home of our colleague Faith. We sat down to a delicious meal of yam, red stew, and fried fish, and spent a few hours talking and watching movies. Overall it was a successful week for work and developing Nigerian relationships!
                My social life is starting to develop as well! On most evenings I am able to eat over at a friends home and stick around to chat for awhile. Single missionaries rarely have to cook because when we do, we make plenty of food and invite friends over. Last Friday I bought beef with which I was going to make pad thai, but I have not had the opportunity to use it yet! Each night I have had an invite for dinner from missionaries on my compound and even one from the Ibrahims, a family that we Mitchells know very well. Lilian Ibrahim invited me for dinner of tuwo shinkafa, vegetable soup, and chicken on Saturday night. The food was delicious, and the company was even better! I now consider Lilian my Nigerian mother because when she found out I drove to their house; she began to lecture me on how to “drive gently” and not to “drive rough.” I am looking forward to seeing the Ibrahims more often, and I think that Gwakman will be a part of my ministry here in Jos if I can start spending more time with him. Thanks to all who are praying for me, and I ask that you please continue!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy As A Bee

It's hard to believe that I have aleady been here for two and a half weeks! Time is flying by mostly because I have been staying busy with work. Each day I have one or two practices to run between the two or three teams I am involved with. Also, we are working on organizing a soccer camp that will begin on October 21st. Working out logistics such as food, transportation, bedding, and supplies is a tedious process. I am looking forward to spending time with these boys and seeing how a Nigerian camp is run. Some exciting news for me: I am the camp photographer. Before I left the states I made sure to get a camera so I could document my time here, but I was also interested in getting into photography, so I bought a nicer camera than I normally would have. Photography has turned into a hobby for me, so I am really excited to be able to incorporate it into my job. I was told today that we are tentatively planning on attending an international Sports Friends meeting in Thailand in January. Please be praying for the Nigerian men I work with because they have much paperwork to take care of before they can go, for our safety as a group, and also the trip will cost a fair amount of money.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Settling In

This week I have started to find my place here in Jos. On Saturday, a fellow sports friend worker and I coached a group of about twelve ten year olds in basketball. A woman named Faith meets with these children twice a week to learn basketball and learn about God. Saulomon and I were in charge of running drills for the kids and encouraging them, and halfway through a man named David, who works for AWANA, presented the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand to them. David was skilled at involving the kids in his teachings, and I was impressed with how well prepared he was for the lesson. Saulomon and I will be working with the same set of kids on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons, and with an older group of kids on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
Aside from work, I have also begun to find my place among the missionaries. My apartment building consists of a few other single missionaries, who spend much time together whether it be meals, devotions, or leisure time. Yesterday, we went swimming at one of the local hotel pools, and in the evening we shared a meal then had a short time of devotion and prayer. All of this is an answer to many prayers, and I am looking forward to seeing more of God's work!
P.S. I am planning on posting pictures soon, just this morning the computer deleted all of my pictures so I need to take more!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Arrival In Jos

I left Vancouver at 6:00 AM on Friday September 23 and after staying the night at the baptist guesthouse in Abuja have now arrived safely in Jos. My driver Danjuma and I made the three hour drive up to Jos early Sunday morning. My apartment is small, but after a day and a half of decorating and unpacking it is starting to feel more like home. Just after I arrived Chris Cowie kindly had me over for lunch to brief me and answer any questions I had. After that, my afternoon was free of plans, so I took a taxi over to Evangel Hospital compound to visit the Ardills to spend time with old friends. The most exciting event the day would hold was the challenge compound dinner; those of us who were informed prepared a dish to share for dinner, and when we all came together the banter was plentiful. All of the people that live on my compound are kind and caring for one another, and seem to all have phenomenal cooking skills. Whether it was Fiona's tandoori chicken, Georges thai peanut chicken dish, or my generous gift of ranch dressing, the food was excellent. Today marked my first day of orientation. I was at the SIM headquarters learning the ins and outs of the SIM Nigeria system until about two in the afternoon. The people at SIM headquarters are most kind and have already made me feel welcome here as a part of the SIM team. Soon after I finished the days orientation I walked Hillcrest to spend the afternoon working out and then speaking with John Camiola, the Hillcrest School coach. During the process, John invited me to play basketball with some of the other guys on the Niger Creek compound. Kyle Abts (my soon-to-be boss) was there and gave me a ride home. During the trip we were able to speak about ideas we had for the ministry and the role I would be able to play. I can see God at work in Jos already, and I am excited to be a part of His plan here in Jos. I would love it if all of you could pray for my continued success in connecting to the community quickly and that I could overcome this jet lag as soon as possible. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Visa Status: Acquired

Alas, after a month of delays, I have finally received my visa and have begun the final stages of packing. This past month has served as a reminder to me that God still has lessons for me to learn before I leave; while I grew impatient and worried, God had bigger plans. It turns out that there was unrest in Jos when I would have been arriving had my visa gone through immediately. I have been informed that my flight leaves tomorrow morning, so I have been spending the daytime packing, and in the evenings I spend time with my friends and family to say our last goodbyes. As I finally make my way out of the country I would like to ask for prayer for safety and for wisdom when I am dealing with airport officials. Thank you all for your prayers and support to make this happen!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God at Work

My departure date is coming up quickly! I can already see God at work in the mix of things. Just recently I was trying to pay for my visa application, but the website kept showing a message that said "processor error" or "bank denied the transaction." This started to worry me since my departure date was three weeks away, and without a visa this trip just wasn't happening. After fretting and praying for a couple days, I decided to try the transaction one last time, so I signed onto the Nigerian immigration website and signed in only to find a message that read "applications has been already processed." This didn't make sense because I never received any confirmation that a transaction had gone through! At first I doubted the legitimacy of the message, but we checked the credit card bill and sure enough there was a charge for the visa. God is good! With that crisis out of the way, I am beginning to shop and pack belongings that I wish to take with me. I would be so blessed if you all would be praying for my visa to go through! That is the only thing remaining that could keep me from going to Nigeria. Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Hello everyone,

For those of you reading this who do not know me, my name is Sterling Mitchell, I'm from Vancouver, Washington, and I am 18 years old. Currently my goal is to be out of the states by September first. My destination (thanks for asking), is Jos, Nigeria, where I will be working in a ministry called Sports Friends, which essentially teaches Nigerian church leaders how to use sports to evangelize and disciple children. I'll be doing my best to keep up this blog during my stay, so you can keep track of me and all my little adventures. So where to begin? Right now I'm dealing with all the stress that comes along with preparing to live in a third world country for nine months; by now I have become nearly a professional at filling out paperwork, fundraising, prayer, packing, and emailing. I have done so much work, but it keeps on coming. All of this is more than I can do, so what better way to handle it than give it up to God? If you guys could be praying for me it would mean so much! If you have questions or have anything to say, please email me at Thanks everyone! Hope to hear from you!