Sewing threads of hope

Nicky with her assistant Elisa

Former teacher Nicky Brand is celebrating more than 15 years of serving in Nigeria, as part of a SIM project offering hope and the love of Christ to orphans and vulnerable children. 

Nicky is supported by Gateway Baptist Church, Burgess Hill, Sussex, and has helped set up care centres throughout Nigeria, where children are given shelter, education and nurtured spiritually.

The first point of contact for many of the orphans and vulnerable children is the city centre halfway house known as Gidan Bege, which means House of Hope in the Hausa language.

Here, children as young as five, are able to escape from a harsh life of begging on the streets and an endless struggle to survive.

Some are rescued from villages where they have been beaten and abused, after having been wrongly accused of involvement in witchcraft. Malnourishment, parasites and malaria are common illnesses, and many of the children are suspicious and fearful.

The children are provided with food, shelter, an education, and, most importantly, are shown the love of Christ.

King’s Kids ministry cares for around 360 needy children currently in 10  CARE (Children At Risk Educational) Centres throughout Nigeria.

The City Ministries project runs its own primary school called Cornerstone Academy, which opened in 2010 in the village of Gyero, about half-an-hour’s drive outside of Jos, for 100 pupils.

The school

There are also two secondary schools attached to the teenage boy and girls centres, where children from the local community are able to attend.

“It’s awesome to see how far we’ve come and how God has provided as we pour out our lives into these young ones so that they can grow up to impact their society for good,” says Nicky, who has slowly been transitioning into more of a consultant role now the ministry is established.

“The care centre in Bassa is set up and capable people are running things, so I have the freedom to check other areas and to assess and plan and train to help things run more smoothly,” she adds.

Pupils at the Bassa centre

Although no longer teaching at the school, Nicky regularly visits the Bassa centre, to teach life skills and discipleship to the girls some of whom do academic studies, and some vocational education.

“Although discipleship is challenging, it’s a privilege to walk alongside these girls and we’re always thinking how we can expand and train them to be Nigerian women ready to impact their societies for good,” says Nicky.

Recently, Nicky helped to launch a new sewing project to help six local girls who have had little or no schooling, to acquire a skill to be able to provide for themselves.

Sarah, a tailor (above right, runs the sewing programme for SIM
The sewing girls showing headbands they recently made

“Sarah is a single parent and a tailor who is running the programme for us. The girls are really enjoying learning together how to sew and also being discipled in their faith. After a year, they’ll graduate with a sewing machine,” says Nicky.

And although Nicky has a much different role in the ministry than she ever expected, she is confident in God’s faithfulness into the future.

“There are still many challenges as I juggle all my roles, but I’m amazed at the way God has provided for all my needs and protected me thus far. I can see how God prepared me in my ‘previous life’ as a Home Economics teacher for my ministry and how he is leading me into the next season.

“We are Christ’s vessels serving here; helping those we can and shaping the next generation to shine as lights to their communities across the country, which is very unstable at present and needs a lot of prayer.

“However, if we can train the next generation of Nigerians to be God-fearing individuals, who are honest and hard-working, then there is hope for change.”

By Kerry Allan

Please pray

  • For an end to the growing rate of kidnapping for ransom as lawlessness in the country increases.
  • Praise God for a new minibus to bring more children to the school and for the staff who serve enthusiastically 24/7.
  • For funding to come in to provide grains for the next year.

This was posted on 15 November 2022 in Ministry stories.
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