About

One of their friends was a young man named Obadiah Abimiku Doka. He had come to the United States to study Bible at a school in Tennessee. He had finished his education in 2000, and was returning to Nigeria. On his way home, he had visa problems, and was stranded for about a week in Chicago. Doka called Patty. She knew a friend named Jack Plummer, who served as an elder of the church in a southern suburb. Jack, father of my good friend Joan Avey, called me, be-cause I lived nearer O’Hare airport, and asked if I could check on this man and provide him with some help. Doka was staying at the La Quinta Inn near O’Hare. I knew we needed to get him to a more economical place, so the family of one of our elders, Chester and Phyllis Sitler and their daughter Kim, agreed to have Doka stay with them while he worked on his travel problems. Meeting Doka was one of the surprise blessings for me, for my family, and for our church. I wrote Doka’s story for my friend Sam Shewmaker’s book, A Great Light Dawning . 12 It’s a collection by Sam of missions pioneers and inspiring stories from Africa. 

Here is Doka’s story.
Obadiah Abimiku Doka grew up as the son of the head of the Witchcraft Association in Keffi, Nigeria, about an hour from Abuja, the federal capital. From his earliest days Doka was warned against the “white man’s religion.” His father told him that Christianity was a lie, that Jesus was not true, and that the ministers of this faith were criminals and liars. Doka accepted those teachings. He became Muslim, he worshiped the family idols with his father each morning, and he desired nothing to do with Christianity, the hated false system. Doka was a bright young man, and he was given the opportunity to attend a boarding high school, which provided him the education to become a teacher and become a man of substance in Nigeria. One day in 1984, Doka saw a circle of students running away from something on the ground. That “something” was a fellow student, Bitrus Ishimitu O’Malley, who was convulsing from a seizure. Doka asked, “What’s wrong?” “He’s sick,” was the reply, “and if you touch him, you will get sick and die.” But Doka could not watch the suffering of his classmate without responding. He persuaded some others to help him take Bitrus to a clinic where he received treatment. 

About a week later, Doka visited the home of Bitrus O’Malley to see about his friend. As he was leaving, he noticed a piece of paper on the floor. “What’s this?” he asked Bitrus. “Shhhh! Doka, don’t speak of this! This is a World Bible School course from the U.S.” Bitrus feared his family would discover the course and that he would be in serious trouble. Bitrus was studying with a teacher from Ozark, Missouri, named Charles White. He gave the paper to Doka who filled out an enrollment form and also became a student of Charles White. Doka was an eager learner. Charles White guided Doka through the materials and Doka learned the lessons well. When Doka asked for a Bible, WBS supplied one. The day the Bible came, Doka’s friends went with him to the post office. The friends stood at a distance because to intrude on the privacy of mail was frowned upon. The post-master, however, watched as Doka unwrapped the book. When he realized what it was, he called, “Boy, come here.” Doka showed the postmaster the Bible he had just received (his first package, ever). “Give it to me.” The postmaster took the Bible, poured kerosene on it, and burned it. “Boy, if you took this to your home, you would be in serious trouble,” he warned Doka. 

Looking back, Doka agrees that this might have been a great problem. But even without a Bible, through the teaching in the WBS lessons, Doka was soon ready to become a Christian and be baptized. Charles White corresponded with Christians in Nigeria to go to Doka’s home and baptize him. No one was willing. Etim E. Young, a gospel preacher who lived a great distance away, told Charles White that he would be killed if he went to Keffi, because this was a very dangerous area for anyone who admitted being a Christian. Charles White communicated the problem to Doka, but Doka was determined to become a Christian and desperately wanted to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Finally, he made the five-hour trip to the home of Etim E. Young and told him of his determination. After a period of study, Etim agreed that Doka was ready to be baptized, but he hesitated because there was no church nearby with which he could worship. Doka, however, insisted. He had not come so far only to return home still in his sins. Etim reluctantly baptized Doka who returned to his family in Keffi. When he returned home, Doka could tell no one his exciting new secret. 

CONCLUSION:
For a while, he continued to worship the family idols with his father early in the morning, although he knew this was wrong. To escape this practice, he got up early, before worship, and went out to the family garden. He told his father he was going to drive away the birds and animals from the food. His father was pleased to have such a responsible son, and Doka was temporarily free from the idolatrous worship. At last, however, Dokashared the truth of his conversion to Christianity with one of his brothers. This brother told Doka’s stepmother who told his father. Doka’s father was furious. “Where did you hear about this Christianity?” he demanded to know. He drew a line in the dirt. “Here is where your body will lie,” he warned, “if you do not abandon this Christianity! Choose between this religion and your life.” But Doka refused to recant his faith. He was an outcast, no longer considered a member of the family. His father even tried to prevent him from using the family name. (His father’s name was also Abimiku Doka.) But still, Doka held on to his faith. 

Doka’s father went to the parents of Doka’s wife, Naomi, and tried to persuade them to take back their daughter. They refused, and still Doka persisted in his faith. The situation came to a climax when Doka’s half-sister, Mary, asked him to escort her across town to return some things. He willingly went with her. At an intersection, by arrangement of the family members, there was a large fish-truck with ice, waiting to run down the Christian and kill him. Doka was hit by the truck and knocked over a pile of sand in a construction area. Mary, however, was run over by the wheel of the truck and was killed. In the confusion, the bystanders believed Doka was dead, too. The family was drinking and celebrating. But Doka was not dead. When he reappeared, his relatives and friends were disappointed. Some Christians in a safer area of Nigeria heard of Doka’s injury and his peril and sent for him. Clarence Wilson, who had been working as a self-supporting missionary to establish Christianity in Nigeria for eleven years, cared for Doka until he was recovered. 

Soon after, Doka completed a course in Bible training, and, after much prayer and discussion, decided to return to Keffi to preach and teach. Many of his friends considered this a fatal mistake. But Doka returned. At first, only he and Naomi were Christians, then five, then twelve, perhaps 250, eventually became Christians in Keffi, although many disappeared. The exact numbers are hard to determine. Some were killed, their bodies discovered. Some probably ran away to escape persecution. A church of about 60 was eventually established in Keffi, and remains today, still growing. One friend of Doka’s father, who became a Christian later, asked his father, “You have said this boy will die. But Doka is not dead! Why?” Doka’s father answered, “He has a strong spirit behind him!” The friend shared this with Doka, who was surprised to hear his father’s statement. As Doka thought of this, and as he studied the Bible, he remembered the statement by John, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Later Doka told his father’s friend, “Yes, I do have a strong spirit behind me.” He explained that his “strong spirit” was Jesus Christ. 
Through contacts from America, Doka was sponsored to come to America to study Bible. He received a degree in May of 2000 from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. Doka has now returned to Nigeria. After a brief time back in Keffi, where the church has continued to grow, Doka and Naomi and their children have moved to Abuja, where they believe there is more opportunity to spread the faith. Doka’s remarkable story reminds us of the power of God to use simple resources to accomplish great purposes. 

Think of how God brought Doka out of the darkness of northern Nigeria to a place in His kingdom: A young man who needed compassion. A simple piece of paper on the floor. A faithful Christian half a world away who cared enough to send out lessons. God’s determination to penetrate the darkness, superstition, and danger of pagan Nigeria. Doka, and all who know him and love him, are forever grateful to World Bible School, and to faithful men and women, like Charles White, who have joined with God to expand the kingdom of heaven. Doka has worked diligently in Abuja and has made great progress with his ABC pro-gram for literacy training. He has been recognized and endorsed by the government despite opposition from Muslims and other groups. He works in a difficult area where there are few Christians and where few visit. In the south of Nigeria, there are over 300,000 believers from our faith group. Doka needs our support and encouragement. In 2017 Doka worked with Ebenezer Udofia of Healing Hands, International, to do a training seminar in drip irrigation to help the people of his community.

Many Muslims and non-Christians also attended, and there are plans to do more outreach. My son-in-Law Jake Tincher, with his parents Gabe and Barb, and his brother Matt, helped to finance the workshop. All of these kingdom victories and connections are the result of discovering a new stranger, a new friend, at O’Hare Airport. God’s discoveries are, indeed, powerful. Of all discovery experiences, I would think nothing compares with helping someone encounter Jesus.