‘The Great Hope’ Unscathed in Nigerian Fire
By Andrew McChesney
A Nigerian student lost his possessions in a red-hot blaze that melted even the iron pipes in his apartment, but he was shocked to find one item undamaged — a copy of Ellen White’s book “The Great Hope.”
The student, Olajide Oluwatobi Igbinyemi, immediately read the book and rushed to the local Seventh-day Adventist church, whose members had given him the book on a literature evangelism Sabbath.
“This book is great, wonderful,” Igbinyemi told astonished church members, holding up his intact copy of “The Great Hope,” an 11-chapter abridged version of “The Great Controversy.”
“I have not seen this type of book,” he said. “The miracle made me to finish reading the book.”
A church member presented the book to Igbinyemi, 30, in Ede, a city located about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. Church members — working in cooperation with a world church Mission to the Cities goal to distribute 1 billion pieces of literature in cities around the globe — hand out thousands of copies of “The Great Hope” across Nigeria’s state of Osun every quarter on “Great Hope Day,” a special Sabbath set aside for sharing the book, said Joseph Adebomi, president of the Adventist Church’s Osun Conference.
“He collected the book and was reading it,” said Adebomi, who has interviewed the student.
But then Igbinyemi, a student at a Nigerian institution of higher education called Federal Polytechnic, Ede, went for a trip in September 2018, leaving the book in his rented one-room apartment. When he returned, he found that a fire had gutted the house. His school books, furniture, and mattress were destroyed.
“Even iron melted,” Adebomi said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
But as Igbinyemi sifted through the ashes, he found “The Great Hope.”
That day, he eagerly finished reading the book, which uses history and prophecy to make sense of the chaos unfolding in today’s world.Then he ran to the Adventist church to share his testimony.
“You do not know the book you are sharing,” he told the church members, according to Adebomi. “The power of God is in it.”
Igbinyemi knelt before the congregation and praised God.
He is now taking Bible studies in preparation for baptism.
The story is touching hearts and increasing people’s faith in Nigeria’s state of Osun.
“I have heard about Bibles not burning in fires, but I have never heard about any other book not burning,” said Onaolapo Ajibade, a retired pastor and former executive secretary of the West-Central Africa Division, whose territory includes Nigeria. He lives in Inisa in Osun state.“This miracle has increased my love for the Spirit of Prophecy books.”
Andrew McChesney is editor of Adventist Mission. Pastor Ike Adewale contributed to this report.