How to survive the Next Wave of Automation

by Eric Kingrea | You’ll Be Broke and Jobless Unless You Prep for Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet (images: Pixabay)
The fear, of course, is that robots are coming to eat your job. This is true whether or not you are on the factory line, in a hedge fund, or even if you’re behind the sticks at the local bar. Innovation–never one to wait idly while we silly humans amble to catch up–now inserts itself directly into practical uses at stunning speed. The worry is that we are not doing enough, as a society, to account for these changes.

“I think the jury’s still out on that,” Oliver Libby, venture capitalist and Chairman of the Board at the Resolution Project, told VICE Impact re: job-eating robots. “There’s a big debate on whether or not there are going to be new jobs. But even if the new economy spits out these new jobs, the question is how rapidly that happens and how often a person will have to learn a new career, because their skills have been overtaken or become obsolete.”

Industrial Robot Automation

Industrial Robot Automation

Economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin posits that we are in the midst of a Third Industrial Revolution, predicated on drastic, nearly simultaneous changes to three essentials of modern economic life: communications, energy production, and logistics. The advent of the Internet forever changed the way we communicate; with improvements to wind/solar power, energy production can now be stripped from monopolies and hyper-localized; and, if Elon Musk has anything to do with it, driverless drones, trains, and automobiles are just around the corner. Marginal cost for many products is going to take a nosedive. All of which is hugely exciting (and for some, hugely profitable). This is also profoundly disconcerting.

“There’s a big debate on whether or not there are going to be new jobs. But even if the new economy spits out these new jobs, the question is how rapidly that happens and how often a person will have to learn a new career, because their skills have been overtaken or become obsolete.”

Rifkin uses the sharing economy as an example of a sharp tack that left dozens of once impregnable industries scrambled and scrambling. Publishing, public transit, college courses, whatever remains of the music business–whole swaths of industry, accounting for billions of dollars and millions of jobs, gone, or greatly diminished, within a generation. Napster-ization as a totally new economic system, the first to emerge since capitalism and communism, according to Rifkin; this is no small thing. Nor is it entirely beneficial. People have been left behind. There have been casualties.

This is a period of flux, says Kristin Sharp, Executive Director of Shift, a commission exploring the intersection of work and technology.

“We’re trying lots of new things, but haven’t identified the storyline that explains it to people. That’s part of the frustration we’re seeing,” she told VICE Impact. “We used to have a very clear storyline.

The story went like this: you find a career, you work for the company, you save money, you buy a house, you send your kids to college, you retire after a life well-led. The frustration Sharp is talking about manifests itself in less haloed terms: community exodus, opioid epidemic, populist anger. And these issues aren’t necessarily the responsibility of the futurists.

“People getting left behind is a policy choice,” says Joe Dinkin of the Working Families Party. “Whether the benefits of the technological revolution are concentrated on tech entrepreneurs and Wall Street investors, or whether they’re spread more broadly across society, that’s a policy question. Those are things we can and should be fixing.”

The jobs of the future, according to Sharp and Libby, are going to revolve around that most American of concepts: entrepreneurialism.

Not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg.

“In general, we are moving away from people trying to find an established job that has clearly defined responsibilities, into something where you have to figure out what you want to do, how to connect to the training for it, figure out how to brand yourself and prove to other people you’re good at it and that it’s necessary,” said Sharp. “Everybody will have to get much more involved with creating the work they want to do. That’s just a fact.”

The drag on coming around to this idea of being an entrepreneur of self, as it were, is partly because of the story we’re telling. Whether or not you’re an Uber driver or the founder of a billion-dollar start-up, you’re participating as a go-getter member of this 21st century economy, but it’s not often held up that way.

“Interesting though that in an economy where we’ll be requiring people to behave more and more as entrepreneurs, and we’re asking people to take more responsibility for their work life, we’re still only lionizing a very narrow slice of what entrepreneurship really means,” said Libby.

Not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg, but many more people can try to open a retail business in Detroit (that low marginal cost doesn’t just benefit the big guys, after all). However, the problems that attend being one’s own boss remain the same as ever: lack of security, lack of stability, what to do if Amazon cocks an eyebrow at your business niche. The question becomes how we as a society mitigate personal risk in a future where jobs are mercurial.

“We are going to have a society in one hundred years; will they look and ask, ‘Did we wait until the problem got so acute that it was a massive, disruptive thing, and a whole generation was devastated? Or did we take action in time to smooth the transition for as many people as possible?’ So far, we’re not doing that.”

Dinkin believes that ensuring healthcare is one of the easiest ways to insulate people from the shock of this new economy, since it takes one of the most stressful aspects of leaving a job out of the picture. The other suggestions are even more systemic. Rifkin thinks that massive infrastructure projects focused on clean energy and communication can help transition the construction fields. Sharp sees as necessary portable benefits or benefits that accrue to the individual rather than the job, as well as an education system that identifies skills that are on the upswing, and a more efficient communication of those skills to people who are looking for a change.

But the challenge isn’t just can you do it, it’s how quickly. Can humans learn and keep up with what is seemingly becoming an inhuman rate of progress? Libby suggests a system of continuing education modeled after, of all things, the military: the military upscales one’s job every few years, and are able to do so because they have proven training methodologies that work at every educational level. Plus, the costs of your training are covered.

These are huge, costly recalibrations to the way we consider and even conceptualize work. But we need to prepare, because the future is already here. Libby likens the needed social changes to a health problem. If you go get screened, you’re probably going to catch the heart attack before it happens. If you have a heart attack today, it’s far more costly, has chances of recurrence, and you’re recovering for life.

“The wave is washing over us,” Libby said. “We are going to have a society in one hundred years; will they look and ask, ‘Did we wait until the problem got so acute that it was a massive, disruptive thing, and a whole generation was devastated? Or did we take action in time to smooth the transition for as many people as possible?’ So far, we’re not doing that.”

Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139

by Jerome Brooks | “When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands. In one of my essays, I remember the kind of things that fascinated me. Weird things, even, about a wizard who lived in Africa and went to China to find a lamp . . . Fascinating to me because they were about things remote, and almost ethereal.”

Chinua Achebe was born in Eastern Nigeria in 1930 and died March 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. He went to the local public schools and was among the first students to graduate from the University of Ibadan. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer and Director of External Broadcasting, and it was during this period that he began his writing career.

He is the author, coauthor, or editor of some seventeen books, among them five novels: Things Fall Apart, 1958; No Longer at Ease, 1960; Arrow of God, 1964; A Man of the People, 1966; and Anthills of the Savannah, 1987. He is the editor of several anthologies, including the essay collections Morning Yet on Creation Day and Hopes and Impediments, and the collection of poetry Beware Soul Brother. He is the editor of the magazine Okike and founding editor of the Heinemann series on African literature, a list that now has more than three hundred titles. He is often called the father of modern African literature. He is the recipient, at last count, of some twenty-five honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world and is currently the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of English at Bard College.

This interview took place on two very different occasions. The first meeting was before a live audience at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the Ninety-second Street Y on a bitterly cold and rainy January evening; the weather made the sidewalks and roads treacherous. We were all the more surprised at the very large and enthusiastic audience. The theater was almost packed. It was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday; Achebe paid gracious tribute to him and then answered questions from the interviewer and audience. The interviewer and Achebe sat on a stage with a table and a bouquet of flowers between them. Achebe was at ease and captured the audience with stories of his childhood and youth.

The second session took place on an early fall day at Achebe’s house on the beautiful grounds where he lives in upstate New York. He answered the door in his wheelchair and graciously ushered his guest through his large, neat living room to his study—a long, narrow room lined with many books on history, religion, and literature. There is a small slightly cluttered desk where he writes.

Achebe favors traditional Nigerian clothes and reminds one more of the priest in Arrow of God than Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart. His appearance is peaceful and his eyes wise. His demeanor is modest, but when he begins to talk about literature and Nigeria, he is transformed. His eyes light up; he is an assured, elegant, and witty storyteller.

The year 1990 marked Achebe’s sixtieth birthday. His colleagues at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, where he is a professor of English and chairman emeritus of the department, sponsored an international conference entitled Eagle on Iroko in his honor. Participants came from around the world to appraise the significance of his work for African and world literature. The conference opened on the day Nelson Mandela was liberated from prison, and the day was declared a national holiday. There was a festive mood during the weeklong activities of scholarly papers, traditional drama, dancing, and banquets. The iroko is the tallest tree in that part of Africa and the eagle soars to its height.

Scarcely a month later, while on his way to the airport in Lagos to resume a teaching post at Dartmouth, Achebe was severely injured in a car accident. He was flown to a London hospital where he underwent surgery and spent many months in painful recuperation. Although confined to a wheelchair, he has made a remarkable recovery in the past three years and, to the surprise of his family and many friends throughout the world, is beginning to look and sound like his old self.


Would you tell us something about the Achebe family and growing up in an Igbo village, your early education, and whether there was anything there that pointed you that early in the direction of writing?


I think the thing that clearly pointed me there was my interest in stories. Not necessarily writing stories, because at that point, writing stories was not really viable. So you didn’t think of it. But I knew I loved stories, stories told in our home, first by my mother, then by my elder sister—such as the story of the tortoise—whatever scraps of stories I could gather from conversations, just from hanging around, sitting around when my father had visitors. When I began going to school, I loved the stories I read. They were different, but I loved them too. My parents were early converts to Christianity in my part of Nigeria. They were not just converts; my father was an evangelist, a religious teacher. He and my mother traveled for thirty-five years to different parts of Igboland, spreading the gospel. I was the fifth of their six children. By the time I was growing up, my father had retired, and had returned with his family to his ancestral village.

When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands. In one of my essays, I remember the kind of things that fascinated me. Weird things, even, about a wizard who lived in Africa and went to China to find a lamp . . . Fascinating to me because they were about things remote, and almost ethereal.

Then I grew older and began to read about adventures in which I didn’t know that I was supposed to be on the side of those savages who were encountered by the good white man. I instinctively took sides with the white people. They were fine! They were excellent. They were intelligent. The others were not . . . they were stupid and ugly. That was the way I was introduced to the danger of not having your own stories. There is that great proverb—that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. That did not come to me until much later. Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian. It’s not one man’s job. It’s not one person’s job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail—the bravery, even, of the lions.


You were among the first graduates of the great University of Ibadan. What was it like in the early years of that university, and what did you study there? Has it stuck with you in your writing?


Ibadan was, in retrospect, a great institution. In a way, it revealed the paradox of the colonial situation, because this university college was founded towards the end of British colonial rule in Nigeria. If they did any good things, Ibadan was one of them. It began as a college of London University, because under the British, you don’t rush into doing any of those things like universities just like that. You start off as an appendage of somebody else. You go through a period of tutelage. We were the University College of Ibadan of London. So I took a degree from London University. That was the way it was organized in those days. One of the signs of independence, when it came, was for Ibadan to become a full-fledged university.

I began with science, then English, history, and religion. I found these subjects exciting and very useful. Studying religion was new to me and interesting because it wasn’t only Christian theology; we also studied West African religions. My teacher there, Dr. Parrinder, now an emeritus professor of London University, was a pioneer in the area. He had done extensive research in West Africa, in Dahomey. For the first time, I was able to see the systems—including my own—compared and placed side by side, which was really exciting. I also encountered a professor, James Welch, in that department, an extraordinary man, who had been chaplain to King George VI, chaplain to the BBC, and all kinds of high powered things before he came to us. He was a very eloquent preacher. On one occasion, he said to me, We may not be able to teach you what you need or what you want. We can only teach you what we know. I thought that was wonderful. That was really the best education I had. I didn’t learn anything there that I really needed, except this kind of attitude. I have had to go out on my own. The English department was a very good example of what I mean. The people there would have laughed at the idea that any of us would become a writer. That didn’t really cross their minds. I remember on one occasion a departmental prize was offered. They put up a notice—write a short story over the long vacation for the departmental prize. I’d never written a short story before, but when I got home, I thought, Well, why not. So I wrote one and submitted it. Months passed; then finally one day there was a notice on the board announcing the result. It said that no prize was awarded because no entry was up to the standard. They named me, said that my story deserved mention. Ibadan in those days was not a dance you danced with snuff in one palm. It was a dance you danced with all your body. So when Ibadan said you deserved mention, that was very high praise.

I went to the lecturer who had organized the prize and said, You said my story wasn’t really good enough but it was interesting. Now what was wrong with it? She said, Well, it’s the form. It’s the wrong form. So I said, Ah, can you tell me about this? She said, Yes, but not now. I’m going to play tennis; we’ll talk about it. Remind me later, and I’ll tell you. This went on for a whole term. Every day when I saw her, I’d say, Can we talk about form? She’d say, No, not now. We’ll talk about it later. Then at the very end she saw me and said, You know, I looked at your story again and actually there’s nothing wrong with it. So that was it! That was all I learned from the English department about writing short stories. You really have to go out on your own and do it.


When you finished university, one of the first careers you embarked upon was broadcasting with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.


I got into it through the intervention of Professor Welch. He had tried to get me a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, and it didn’t work out. So the next thing was the broadcasting department, which was newly started in Nigeria, with a lot of BBC people. So that’s how I got into it. It wasn’t because I was thinking of broadcasting. I really had no idea what I was going to do when I left college. I’m amazed when I think about students today. They know from day one what they are going to be. We didn’t. We just coasted. We just knew that things would work out. Fortunately, things did work out. There were not too many of us. You couldn’t do that today and survive. So I got into broadcasting and then discovered that the section of it where I worked, the spoken word department, the Talks Department, as it’s called, was really congenial. It was just the thing I wanted. You edited scripts. People’s speeches. Then short stories. I really got into editing and commissioning short stories. Things were happening very fast in our newly independent country, and I was soon promoted out of this excitement into management.


The titles of your first two books—Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease—are from modern Irish and American poets. Other black writers—I’m thinking particularly of Paule Marshall—borrow from Yeats. I wonder if Yeats and Eliot are among your favorite poets.


They are. Actually, I wouldn’t make too much of that. I was showing off more than anything else. As I told you, I took a general degree, with English as part of it, and you had to show some evidence of that. But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry. It had the same kind of magic about it that I mentioned the wizard had for me. I used to make up lines with anything that came into my head, anything that sounded interesting. So Yeats was that kind of person for me. It was only later I discovered his theory of circles or cycles of civilization. I wasn’t thinking of that at all when it came time to find a title. That phrase “things fall apart” seemed to me just right and appropriate.

T. S. Eliot was quite different. I had to study him at Ibadan. He had a kind of priestly erudition—eloquence, but of a different kind. Scholarly to a fault. But I think the poem from which I took the title of No Longer at Ease, the one about the three magi, is one of the great poems in the English language. These people who went and then came back to their countries were “no longer at ease” . . . I think that that is great—the use of simple language, even when things talked about are profound, very moving, very poignant. So that’s really all there is to it. But you’ll notice that after those first two titles I didn’t do it anymore.


I once heard your English publisher, Alan Hill, talk about how you sent the manuscript of Things Fall Apart to him.


That was a long story. The first part of it was how the manuscript was nearly lost. In 1957 I was given a scholarship to go to London and study for some months at the BBC. I had a draft of Things Fall Apart with me, so I took it along to finish it. When I got to the BBC, one of my friends—there were two of us from Nigeria—said, Why don’t you show this to Mr. Phelps? Gilbert Phelps, one of the instructors of the BBC school, was a novelist. I said, What? No! This went on for some time. Eventually I was pushed to do it and I took the manuscript and handed it to Mr. Phelps. He said, Well . . . all right, the way I would today if anyone brought me a manuscript. He was not really enthusiastic. Why should he be? He took it anyway, very politely. He was the first person, outside of myself, to say, I think this is interesting. In fact, he felt so strongly that one Saturday he was compelled to look for me and tell me. I had traveled out of London; he found out where I was, phoned the hotel, and asked me to call him back. When I was given this message, I was completely floored. I said, Maybe he doesn’t like it. But then why would he call me if he doesn’t like it. So it must be he likes it. Anyway, I was very excited. When I got back to London, he said, This is wonderful. Do you want me to show it to my publishers? I said, Yes, but not yet, because I had decided that the form wasn’t right. Attempting to do a saga of three families, I was covering too much ground in this first draft. So I realized that I needed to do something drastic, really give it more body. So I said to Mr. Phelps, OK, I am very grateful but I’d like to take this back to Nigeria and look at it again. Which is what I did.

When I was in England, I had seen advertisements about typing agencies; I had learned that if you really want to make a good impression, you should have your manuscript well typed. So, foolishly, from Nigeria I parceled my manuscript—handwritten, by the way, and the only copy in the whole world—wrapped it up and posted it to this typing agency that advertised in the Spectator. They wrote back and said, Thank you for your manuscript. We’ll charge thirty-two pounds. That was what they wanted for two copies and which they had to receive before they started. So I sent thirty-two pounds in British postal order to these people and then I heard no more. Weeks passed, and months. I wrote and wrote and wrote. No answer. Not a word. I was getting thinner and thinner and thinner. Finally, I was very lucky. My boss at the broadcasting house was going home to London on leave. A very stubborn Englishwoman. I told her about this. She said, Give me their name and address. When she got to London she went there! She said, What’s this nonsense? They must have been shocked, because I think their notion was that a manuscript sent from Africa—well, there’s really nobody to follow it up. The British don’t normally behave like that. It’s not done, you see. But something from Africa was treated differently. So when this woman, Mrs. Beattie, turned up in their office and said, What’s going on? they were confused. They said, The manuscript was sent but customs returned it. Mrs. Beattie said, Can I see your dispatch book? They had no dispatch book. So she said, Well, send this thing, typed up, back to him in the next week, or otherwise you’ll hear about it. So soon after that, I received the typed manuscript of Things Fall Apart. One copy, not two. No letter at all to say what happened. My publisher, Alan Hill, rather believed that the thing was simply neglected, left in a corner gathering dust. That’s not what happened. These people did not want to return it to me and had no intention of doing so. Anyway, when I got it I sent it back up to Heinemann. They had never seen an African novel. They didn’t know what to do with it. Someone told them, Oh, there’s a professor of economics at London School of Economics and Political Science who just came back from those places. He might be able to advise you. Fortunately, Don Macrae was a very literate professor, a wonderful man. I got to know him later. He wrote what they said was the shortest report they ever had on any novel—seven words: “The best first novel since the war.” So that’s how I got launched.


Heinemann was also perplexed as to how many copies should be printed . . .


Oh yes. They printed very, very few. It was a risk. Not something they’d ever done before. They had no idea if anybody would want to read it. It went out of print very quickly. It would have stayed that way if Alan Hill hadn’t decided that he was going to gamble even more and launch a paperback edition of this book. Other publishers thought it was mad, that this was crazy. But that was how the African Writers Series came in to existence. In the end, Alan Hill was made a Commander of the British Empire for bringing into existence a body of literature they said was among the biggest developments in British literature of this century. So it was a very small beginning, but it caught fire.


You have said that you wrote Things Fall Apart as a response to Joyce Cary’s Mr. Johnson.


I wish I hadn’t said that.


The Blessing of Animals

by Discipleship Ministries | The Blessing is best celebrated during daylight in the outdoors—in the churchyard or in a park.

The Blessing of Animals, in many congregations, witnesses to God’s and the Church’s love, care, and concern for creation. As we recognize our mutual interdependence with God’s creatures, the Church’s witness of stewardship of creation is strengthened. It is also a service with special appeal to children.

 The Blessing is best celebrated during daylight in the outdoors—in the churchyard or in a park. It may be celebrated at any time of the year, especially in early spring, or on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4. Make allowances for the arrival of larger animals such as horses and other livestock. The space may contain a table on which the Bible or musical instruments may be placed. Music is best led by instruments that work well outdoors—trumpets, accordions, drums, and guitars. Bulletins are awkward and should be used only to provide the texts of hymns to be sung.


When most animals and their friends have arrived, the leader invites all to form a large circle around the table. The leader begins:

The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea.
They share in the fortunes of human existence
and have a part in human life.
God, who confers gifts on all living things,
has often used the service of animals
or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation.
Animals were saved from the flood
and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.         (GENESIS 9:9–10)

The paschal lamb recalls the passover sacrifice
and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.                           (EXODUS 12:3–14)

A giant fish saved Jonah;                                         (JONAH 2:1–10)

ravens brought bread to Elijah;                                (1 KINGS 17:6)

animals were included in the repentance of Nineveh;                             (JONAH 3:7)

and animals share in Christ’s redemption of all God’s creation.
We, therefore, invoke God’s blessing on these animals.
As we do so, let us praise the Creator
and thank God for setting us as stewards
over all the creatures of the earth.


Genesis 1 The creation
Genesis 6:17 –22 Animals on the ark
Isaiah 11:6 –9 The wolf and the lamb
Psalm 8 (UMH 743) The work of your fingers
Psalm 148 (UMH 861) Praise the Lord for creation.


The following, or St. Francis’ Prayer for All Created Things (507), or another prayer may be prayed.

God created us and placed us on the earth
to be stewards of all living things,
therefore let us proclaim the glory of our Creator, saying:
O God, how wonderful are the works of your hands.

Blessed are you, O Lord of the Universe; you create the animals
and give us the ability to train them to help us in our work. R

Blessed are you, O Lord of the Universe;
you give us food from animals to replenish our energies.  R

Blessed are you, O Lord of the Universe; for the sake of our comfort
you give us domestic animals as companions. R

Blessed are you, O Lord of the Universe; you care for us
even as you care for the birds of the air. R

Blessed are you, O Lord of the Universe;
you offered your Son to us as the passover lamb
and in him willed that we should be called your children. R


How to Encourage a Child’s Brain Development

by Scholastic Parents | When you provide loving, language-enriched experiences for your baby, you are giving his/her brain’s neural connections and pathways more chances to become wired together (image: DHHS)

At birth, your baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons (as many as there are stars in the Milky Way)! During his first years, he will grow trillions of brain-cell connections, called neural synapses.

The rule for brain wiring is “use it or lose it.” Synapses that are not “wired together” through stimulation are pruned and lost during a child’s school years. Although an infant’s brain does have some neurological hard wiring (such as the ability to learn any language), it is more pliable and more vulnerable than an adult’s brain. And, amazingly, a toddler’s brain has twice as many neural connections as an adult’s.

When you provide loving, language-enriched experiences for your baby, you are giving his brain’s neural connections and pathways more chances to become wired together. In turn, he will acquire rich language, reasoning, and planning skills.

  1. Give your baby a physically healthy start before he is born. Stay healthy while you are pregnant, and be aware that certain drugs can be destructive to your baby’s brain in utero. Many children who were drug-abused in the womb struggle with severe learning problems and suddenly act with unprovoked aggressive behaviors. Studies have also revealed that cigarette smoking during pregnancy causes lower fourth-grade reading scores.
  2. Have meaningful conversations. Respond to infant coos with delighted vocalizations. Slowly draw out your syllables in a high-pitched voice as you exclaim, “Pretty baby!” This talk is called “parentese.” The areas in the brain for understanding speech and producing language need your rich input.
  3. Play games that involve the hands (patty-cake, peekaboo, this little piggy). Babies respond well to learning simple sequential games.
  4. Be attentive. When your baby points, be sure to follow with your gaze and remark on items or events of interest to her. This “joint attention” confirms for your baby how important her interests and observations are to you.
  5. Foster an early passion for books. Choose books with large and colorful pictures, and share your baby’s delight in pointing and making noises — say, the animal sounds to go along with farm pictures. Modulate the tone of your voice; simplify or elaborate on story lines; encourage toddlers to talk about books. We recommend these books for sounds and wordplay. Remember that building your baby’s receptive language (understanding spoken words) is more important than developing his expressive language (speaking) in infancy.
  6. Use diaper time to build your baby’s emotional feelings of having a “lovable body.” Stroke your baby’s tummy and hair. Studies have shown that babies who are not often touched have brains that are smaller than normal for their age. Also, when diapering your baby, you are at the ideal 12 to 18 inches from her eyes to attract attention to your speech.
  7. Choose developmentally appropriate toys that allow babies to explore and interact. Toys such as a windup jack-in-the-box or stackable blocks help your baby learn cause-and-effect relationships and “if-then” reasoning. If a baby stacks a big block on a smaller one, the top block falls off. If he successfully stacks a small block on a bigger one, he “wires in” the information.
  8. Respond promptly when your baby cries. Soothe, nurture, cuddle, and reassure him so that you build positive brain circuitry in the limbic area of the brain, which relates to emotions. Your calm holding and cuddling, and your day-to-day intimate engagement with your baby, signal emotional security to the brain.
  9. Build trust by being attentive and focused. Babies who are securely attached to you emotionally will be able to invest more life energy in the pleasures of exploration, learning, and discovery.
  10. Use body massage to decrease your infant’s stress and enhance her feelings of well-being and emotional security. Loving touches promote growth in young babies. Research has shown that premature babies who are massaged three times daily are ready to leave the hospital days earlier than babies who do not receive massages.
  11. Enlist help from your toddler at clean-up times — a good way to practice categorization. Toddlers learn that stuffed animals have one place to go for “night-night” time; cars, trucks, and other vehicles also have their special storage place. Children need to learn about sorting into categories and seriation (placing things in order; for example, from littlest to biggest) as part of their cognitive advancement in preschool.
  12. Set up a safe environment for your crawling baby or toddler. Spatial learning is important, and your mobile child will begin to understand parameters such as under, over, near, and far. He will be able to establish mental maps of his environment and a comfortable relationship with the world in which he lives.
  13. Sing songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ring-Around-the-Rosy.” The body motions and finger play will help your baby integrate sounds with large and small motor actions. Songs also enhance your child’s learning of rhythms, rhymes, and language patterns.
  14. Match your tempo to your child’s temperament. Some children adjust easily to strange situations, some are bold and impulsive, and some are quite shy. Go with the flow as you try to increase a shy child’s courage and comfort level. Help a highly active child safely use his wonderful energy while learning impulse control. Your acceptance will give him the comfort he needs to experiment and learn freely.
  15. Make meals and rest times positive. Say the names of foods out loud as your baby eats. Express pleasure as she learns to feed herself, no matter how messy the initial attempts may be. This will wire in good associations with mealtime and eating. Battles and nagging about food can lead to negative emotional brain patterns.
  16. Provide clear responses to your baby’s actions. A young, developing brain learns to make sense of the world if you respond to your child’s behavior in predictable, reassuring, and appropriate ways. Be consistent.
  17. Use positive discipline. Create clear consequences without frightening or causing shame to your child. If your toddler acts inappropriately, such as by hitting another child, get down to his eye level, use a low, serious tone of voice, and clearly restate the rule. Keep rules simple, consistent, and reasonable for your child’s age. Expecting a toddling baby not to touch a glass vase on a coffee table is not reasonable. Expecting a toddler to keep sand in the sandbox and not throw it is reasonable.
  18. Model empathic feelings for others. Use “teachable moments” when someone seems sad or upset to help your toddler learn about feelings, caring, sharing, and kindness. The more brain connections you create for empathic responses and gentle courtesies, the more these brain circuits will be wired in. This helps not only with language and cognitive learning, but with positive emotional skills, too!
  19. Arrange supervised play with messy materials, such as water, sand, and even mud. This will teach your toddler about the physics and properties of mixtures and textures, liquids and solids. During bath time, the brain wires in knowledge about water, slippery soap, and terry towel textures. Sensory experiences are grist for the learning brain.
  20. Express joy and interest in your baby. Let your body language, your shining eyes, your attentiveness to babbling and baby activities, and your gentle caresses and smiles validate the deeply lovable nature of your little one.

Adam’s Curse: William Butler Yeats on Original Sin

by Patrick B. Whalen | Part of the human tragedy is our capacity to imagine the perfect and to desire it. But one glimpse of the moon reminds Yeats of how incapable we are of fulfilling our imaginings and desires (Images: DN-0071801, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)

We made a good run in Genesis… all of two and a half chapters before finding ourselves on the business end of a curse leveled at us by omnipotent God. Don’t you hate it when that happens? As a matter of fact, we have been hating it ever since. As a defining feature of our earthly existence, the curse of original sin effects a profound disintegration—that is to say, it undoes integrity of flesh and spirit and places at odds our reason, will, and appetite. We experience that disintegration most obviously when we choose to sin even though we know better, but divisions like this haunt almost every aspect of our lives.

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats considers these divisions in his early twentieth century poem “Adam’s Curse.” “We sat together at one summer’s end, / That beautiful mild woman, your close friend, / And you and I, and talked of poetry.” Their conversation wonders at the work it takes in our postlapsarian world to craft something beautiful: “it’s certain there is no fine thing / Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring,” and is impatient with the positivism and practicality that often marginalize the contemplative work involved in making something beautiful. The tension here between what is practical and what is contemplative announces one of the divisions in the human heart that originate in the fall. It seems that though we can aspire toward the beautiful and contemplative, we are nevertheless yoked to labor and fatigue. Even conversation, like the one Yeats describes here, suffers from this tension between the ideal and the practical. Thought—so capable of transcendence—is nevertheless governed by the fan belts and alternators of grammar. The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz summarizes: “Words, as the material for externalizing the mysterious current, are at the same time an obstacle.”

If Yeats can acknowledge the fissures between ideal and real, he is also more capable than most of approaching the ideal. Between the third and fourth stanzas of the poem he incorporates a caesura, a break in the discourse, a gulf in which silence lives. When speech begins again, it is as if in a new poem, or as if in poetry for the first time. The stanza ushers in a contemplative mode, first positing silence: “We had grown quiet at the name of love,” and proceeding only with the interior voice. The conversation continues, but not on the plane of normal vocal language: this speaking voice is strictly interior and exists only as a thought expressed in silence: “I had a thought for no one’s but your ears.” As if defying the restriction of operating through language, Yeats reaches for the safety of contemplation, toward ideal space where real love and revelation exist. His fellow modernist Wallace Stevens would call it a “true interior to which to return / A home against one’s self, a darkness.” The Carthusians might call it the cloister—this is where lovers truly speak to one another.

As always, before long the fall with its divisions intervenes. When we encounter it here, in this sacrosanct sphere, its presence is appalling. Yeats writes of time as a wave of unified being that breaks across the heavens into the piecemeal reality of our temporal experience: “time’s waters as they rose and fell / about the stars and broke in days and years.” Before it reached our experience, time was perfect unified eternity. But in our experience, bound by imperfectability, it necessarily reaches us only in pieces we can comprehend. And what of love in this decaying state?

I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

Part of the human tragedy is our capacity to imagine the perfect and to desire it. But one glimpse of the moon reminds Yeats of how incapable we are of fulfilling our imaginings and desires. If time can only come to us in truncated and halting bits, if the moon as we see it is subject to constant revision, what hope is there for a perfectly achieved human love? And having once imagined a perfect love, can we settle for anything less?

The impression of a disintegrated state dominates “Adam’s Curse.” A fall, by necessity, includes two states; in this case, the ideal for which humanity was born, and the incompleteness in which we now subsist. Yeats describes our painful capacity to imagine the ideal, the “old high way of love,” while remaining too broken to achieve it. But this is not simply a poetic expression of the doctrine of original sin. Yeats’ diagnosis is more particular. The incapacity to achieve the ideal of love is not an eternal, unchanging absolute; on the contrary, he describes it as something into which “we’d grown / As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.” Apparently the fall is a work in progress, a state of consuming weariness, or to borrow Walker Percy’s name for it, a malaise which grows, like an abscess, through time.

If only Adam’s curse was the imperative to work hard through life. But Yeats reminds us that our work on earth always takes place in relation to dashed hopes and failed ideals—and that is what hurts. We are the practical creatures with a contemplative capacity; the physical-spiritual beings that are subject to a kaleidoscopic variety of suffering contained within ourselves. It’s no surprise then that our salvation comes in the form of abject failure—a king with no kingdom murdered by a gaggle of petty church politicians. Given the nature of our curse, could we tolerate salvation any other way?

Patrick B. Whalen

Patrick B. Whalen is the Headmaster of St. Martin’s Academy, a farm-based boarding high school for boys opening in fall 2018. Patrick served on Active Duty in the Marine Corps from 2007 to 2016 and has published poetry, translations, and articles in a variety of journals and books. He and his wife Kristi have four children and live in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Praise & Prayer, October 2018


Prayer/Counseling hotline: 08033673654, 08051614880
Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess. 5:25)
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, and my Savior! 2 Sam 22:47 (NIV)


Praise God for sustaining EMS as an organization and thank Him for protection and provision for missionaries and for safety in all our travels from the last quarter of this year to this present one.

Praise God for His provision of finances to EMS to pay all her staff and field missionary allowances for the month of September.

Praise God for the provision of a motor bike by ECWA Bishara 1 Jalingo to be used in the South North East Region. Ask the Lord to bless the donor.

Praise God for adding two more supporters to EMS from the North West Region: Men’s Fellowship Kwoi DCC and the family of Elder J. I. Buzum.

Praise God for the completion of the EMS Children School Kufana’s fence. Praise God for the success of the work and for the safety of all the workers; also pray for God’s blessings on all those who gave to the project.

Praise God for the safe arrival of Rev. John Tortuman and his family in Ghana, who are taking over the ministry from the Nadabos who have returned to Nigeria safely. Ask the Lord to grant ministry grace on both the Tortumans as they continue from where the Nadabos stopped and for the Nadabos as they pick up another ministry here in Nigeria.

As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Matt 10:7 NIV

Pray for the success of the EMS Mission Sunday which is being observed by all ECWA churches across the globe today. Ask the Lord to stir the hearts of men to give generously towards the vision of ECWA to win all by the propagation of the Gospel.


  • Pray for the ongoing plans to wean the following mission stations before the year runs out: M/Baissa, Kungana, Ussa, Isukudi and Ungwan yarima Mission Stations.
  • Pray that peace and stability will be restored fully in Taraba so that those who fled the attacks can return to their homes, farm lands and places of worship.
  • Let’s not relent in praying for God’s continuous protection over converts in Gaji Mission Station who are being persecuted by traditional worshipers; these converts have also been stripped of their farmlands because of their faith.


  • Pray for safety for all management members as they travel to attend their monthly meeting, which holds today at the EMS Headquarters in Jos.
  • Ask that God will grant satisfaction and joy to all EMS Management members in the performance of their work.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance during the meeting.

Pray that EMS board members may live worthy of God’s call on our lives. Ask that as they respond to that call, may they fulfill every purpose, every faith-filled act of service by God’s power. Ask that they be clothed in righteousness with hearts that sing for joy and delight greatly in God as they think and advice EMS on crucial ministry issues that will enhance our growth.

Ask the Lord to grant healing to all EMS supporters at every level who are currently suffering ill health. Pray that the Lord will increase upon all supporters the perseverance to stay committed to praying and giving for the work of missions and that God’s blessings will increase upon the work of their hands and on their families.

Thank God for the servant heart of the ECWA EXECUTIVE. Ask that He keep them from losing heart when ministry gets tough. Ask the Good Father to help them prove faithful with the things He has entrusted to them. May the Spirit reveal the Father’s heart to them even more. May the Lord’s favor rest upon them. Pray that He keeps them open and honest before Him and help them to represent the truth plainly.

Pray that ECWA ministers and stakeholders at every leadership level wholeheartedly give their attention to prayer and ministry of the Word. Ask that God should keep them above reproach, devoted to their families, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable and able to teach. May they be gentle and honest as they deal with people.

I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips…Ps 40:9NIV


  • Ask the Lord to grant comfort to the family of our missionaries, Pas. Hussaini Yohanna and Pas. Dimas Yinguda who lost their sons last month.
  • Ask the Lord to provide funds to build worship places in Fapo, Koji, and Eforo mission stations.


  • Pray that God will intervene over the recent natural disaster that occurred as a result of heavy downpour and wild wind which affected a good number of people in the far northern part of Nigeria.
  • Let’s continue to pray for the church in Zamfara State which is frequently attacked and thus unable to meet for regular services. Pray that the Christians would not be discouraged, but would stand firm in their faith with a soft heart for unbelievers.


  • Praise God for the new EMS Mission Field School that was opened in Kigin Giri Mission Station with 70 kids as pioneering pupils.
  • Pray that God will grant grace on the missionary and the teachers and that He would provide what the school needs to thrive.
  • Pray that many unbelieving children in this community and their parents will encounter the Lord through this school ministry.


  • Ask the Lord to grant comfort to the family of our missionary, Pas. Yakub Zaradi who lost their son last month.
  • Let’s keep praying for more of God’s grace and strength on Halima Audu who gave her life to Christ and has been facing a lot of persecution and hardship.

Ask the Lord to stir the hearts of many in this region to be willing to support the work. Ask the Lord to grant an opening for the provision of bikes for mission stations in need of mobility.

Ask the Lord to grant provision for the Yamel DCC mission conference that is hoped to be held November 16th, – 17th, 2018.

Ask the Lord to grant EMS supporters in this region open doors and grace to meet up with their commitments of sponsoring missionaries. Due to the decrease of support, we have outstanding arrears of N1, 662,421.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and the one who is wise saves lives” (Proverbs 11:30, NIV)


  • Praise God for the success recorded in EMS efforts to reach out to needy individuals and communities in crisis.
  • Pray for Brother Mark Na’ah for God’s wisdom and protection as he mobilizes resources and travels to reach out to selected needed communities throughout this last quarter of the year.
  • Pray for pastors, churches and Non-Government Organizations that they would be equiped with all they need to bring aid to crisis-affected areas in Nigeria.


  • Pray that the students and pupils in EMS children/mission field school & EMS House of Hope will recognize their need for a vibrant and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus.
  • Pray for God’s continued provision for needs of these schools. Pray also for the teachers, that they would remain steadfast in their spiritual walk, be renewed daily, and exemplify
    Christ in their daily lives.
  • Ask the Lord to grant more patience and wisdom to all the men and women who are caring for these kids.

Ask God to please cultivate in missionary children the ability to have true humility before Him and to show true humility before all. Ask God to cloth them with the virtue of compassion and may honesty and integrity be their crown and their protection.

Ask the Lord to guide and protect EMS drivers from accidents and keep them free from harm of any sort on their journeys this last quarter of the year. Pray that He would support them with His grace when they are tired and also help them to be patient in any trouble which may come their way. Ask that He keep them always mindful of His presence and love.

Ask the Lord to bring these women courage and enable them to care for their families. Pray many people in the Church will care for them as we are commissioned in James 1:27.

Pray for God’s healing on: Pas. Samuel John, Pas. Habila Joshua, Pas. Harline Mela, Pas. MagajiSani, Mrs. Ruth Dikko, and Mrs. Christiana Bulus.

Let’s keep praying for God’s continued protection over converts in Gaji mission station who are been persecuted by traditional worshipers; these converts are also been stripped of their farmland because of their faith.

As you go, preach this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near.’ Matt 10:7 NIV

Pray for ECWA Chad to be self-sustaining, self – supporting and self- propagating and will shine out the light to represent all that ECWA exists for in the love of God and the propagation of the Gospel of Christ.


  • Pray for God to provide support of a borehole for both Tota Village and Kedjida Cope Villages which amounts to N150, 000 Naira each.
  • Pray for God’s provision for us to be able to build the mission church in Kaboli. The building cost is N2, 000,000.00.
  • Pray for God to provide at least 5 motorcycles for the missionaries that are working in the interior parts of Togo to enable them to work effectively.


  • Pray for the growth of the ministry school that was started by Pst. & Mrs. Mutunga. Pray that this school will continuously serve as a platform by which many will be saved.
  • Pray that God will send workers to help plant churches in areas identified for church planting in Kenya.

By God’s grace, two volunteers have been found and have replaced the ones that withdrew their services from the Zambian field. Pray for the two volunteers that have given themselves to serve as church planters that God would use them for His glory. Pray that God would open a way of funding their ministry by raising supporters.


The Benefits and Harms of Screening Tests

National Institutes of Health (NIH) | Some screenings can reduce your risk of dying from the disease. But sometimes, experts say, a test may cause more harm than good (image:
Catching chronic health conditions early—even before you have symptoms—seems like a great idea. That’s what screening tests are designed to do. Some screenings can reduce your risk of dying from the disease. But sometimes, experts say, a test may cause more harm than good. Before you get a test, talk with your doctor about the possible benefits and harms to help you decide what’s best for your health.

Screening tests are given to people who seem healthy to try to find unnoticed problems. They’re done before you have any signs or symptoms of the disease. They come in many forms. Your doctor might take your health history and perform a physical exam to look for signs of health or disease. They can also include lab tests of blood, tissue, or urine samples or imaging procedures that look inside your body.

“I wouldn’t say that all people should just simply get screening tests,” says Dr. Barnett S. Kramer, a cancer prevention expert at NIH. “Patients should be aware of both the potential benefits and the harms when they’re choosing what screening tests to have and how often.”

Teams of experts regularly look at all the evidence about the balance of benefits and harms of different screening tests. They develop guidelines (link is external) for who should be screened and how often.

Choosing whether you should be screened for a health condition isn’t always easy. Screening suggestions are often based on your age, family health history, and other factors. You might be screened for many conditions, including diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, depression, pregnancy issues, and cancers.

Every screening test comes with its own risks. Some procedures can cause problems like bleeding or infection. A positive screening test can lead to further tests that come with their own risks.

“Most people who feel healthy are healthy,” says Kramer. “So a negative test to confirm that you’re healthy doesn’t add much new information.” But mistakenly being told that you do or don’t have a disease can be harmful. It’s called a misdiagnosis.

A false negative means that you’re told you don’t have the disease, but you do. This can cause problems if you don’t pay attention to symptoms that appear later on because you think you don’t have the disease. A false positive means that you’re told you may have the disease, but you don’t. This can lead to unnecessary worry and potentially harmful tests and treatments that you don’t need.

Even correctly finding a disease may not improve your health or help you live longer. You may learn you have an untreatable disease long before you would have. Or find a disease that never would have caused a problem. This is called overdiagnosis. Some cancers, for example, never cause symptoms or become life-threatening. But if found by a screening test, it’s likely to be treated. Cancer treatments can have harsh and long-lasting side effects. There’s no way to know if the treatment will help you live longer.

An effective screening test may decrease your chances of dying of the condition. Most have not been shown to lengthen your overall life expectancy, Kramer explains. Their usefulness varies and may depend on your risk factors, age, or treatment options.

If you’re at risk for certain health conditions—because of a family history or lifestyle exposures, like smoking—you may choose to have screenings more regularly. If you’re considering a screening, talk with your health care provider.

Good Day and greetings from ECWA Headquarters International

by Rev. Stephen Panya Baba – ECWA President | “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV) (connect via

Most of you would have heard of my new calling to the office of the President of ECWA. We very much appreciate your loving care, concern and support for us. These first few months have been a time of prayer, thinking and reflection on so many things, and we are trusting God to show us the way forward.

Right now, some proposals are at deliberation stage by the ECWA Executive and as we get to finalize them, I shall be intimating you on the implementation process so that you can prayerfully consider what role you can play.

For now, this is to connect with you and let you know that you are in our prayers and thoughts.

Remain blessed in Jesus name.

6 Strategies for Preventing Disease

National Institutes of Health (NIH) | Taking steps to protect your health is the best way to prevent disease and other conditions. Health screenings, vaccines, and guarding yourself from germs and bugs can help keep you feeling your best (image: Paul Bischoff).

1. Get screened for diseases
Some screenings can reduce your risk of dying from a disease. But sometimes, experts say, a test may cause more harm than good. Before you get a test, talk with your doctor about the possible benefits and harms to help you decide what’s best for your health.

To learn about screening tests, ask your doctor:

  • What’s my chance of dying of the condition if I do or don’t have the screening?
  • What are the harms of the test? How often do they occur?
  • How likely are false positive or false negative results?
  • What are possible harms of the diagnostic tests if I get a positive screening result?
  • What’s the chance of finding a disease that wouldn’t have caused a problem?
  • How effective are the treatment options?
  • Am I healthy enough to take the therapy if you discover a disease?
  • What are other ways to decrease my risk of dying of this condition? How effective are they?

2. Guard against germs
For nearly a century, bacteria-fighting drugs known as antibiotics have helped to control and destroy many of the harmful bacteria that can make us sick. But these drugs don’t work at all against viruses, such as those that cause colds or flu. Learn how to protect yourself against germs in the environment.

To block harmful germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If you’re sick, make sure your doctor has a clear understanding of your symptoms. Discuss whether an antibiotic or a different type of treatment is appropriate for your illness.
  • If antibiotics are needed, take the full course exactly as directed. Don’t save the medicine for a future illness, and don’t share with others.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle—including proper diet, exercise, and good hygiene—to help prevent illness, thereby helping to prevent the overuse or misuse of medications.

3. Protect your body’s bacteria
Microscopic creatures—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—can make you ill. But what you may not realize is that trillions of microbes are living in and on your body right now. Most don’t harm you at all. We tend to focus on destroying bad microbes. But taking care of good ones may be even more important.

To protect good microbes:

  • Don’t pressure your doctor to give you antibiotics. They may cause more harm than good.
  • Know when to wash your hands—for example, when preparing food and before eating.
  • Don’t use antibacterial products you don’t need. Antibacterial soaps have little or no health benefit. And antibacterial versions of household products have not been shown to reduce your risk of infection.
  • Don’t go overboard with hand sanitizers. They’re useful in health care settings, but hand washing is a better option in most situations.
  • Experiment with different skin moisturizers to see which work best for you.

4. Protect yourself and everyone else from disease
We share more than food and culture within our homes and communities. We can also spread disease. Luckily, we live in a time when vaccines can protect us from many of the most serious illnesses. Staying current on your shots helps you—and your neighbors—avoid getting and spreading disease.

To protect yourself and others from preventable diseases, stay up-to-date on shots for these 16 vaccine-preventable diseases:

  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
  • Cervical & other cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Rotavirus diarrhea
  • Shingles
  • Tetanus

5. Prevent mosquito-borne illnesses
Most mosquito bites are relatively harmless. The itchy bumps often last for just a day or two after a mosquito has punctured your skin. But if the mosquito is carrying certain germs, like viruses or parasites, these pathogens might enter your blood during the bite and make you sick. But we can all take simple steps to avoid getting bit by those blood-sucking insects.

To avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents. Products containing DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535 can be applied to skin. Follow label instructions.
  • Cover up. When outside, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks. Mosquitoes may bite through thin fabric, so spray thin clothes with an EPA-registered repellent like permethrin. Don’t apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • Mosquito-proof your home. Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep insects out. Use air conditioning if you have it.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites. Empty standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

6. Block tick bites and Lyme disease
When warm weather arrives, you might get the urge to walk barefoot through the grass. But before you stroll through your lawn or head out on a hiking trail, you’ll want to protect yourself and your loved ones from ticks that often lurk in tall grass, thick brush, and wooded areas. Many ticks carry disease, so do what you can to keep ticks from taking a bite out of you.

To prevent tick bites and tick-borne diseases:

  • Help keep ticks off your skin by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and long socks.
  • Ward off ticks by using an insect repellant that contains at least 20% DEET (for the skin) or permethrin (for clothes).
  • Avoid ticks by walking in the center of trails and steer clear of tall vegetation.
  • If you’ve been in an area where ticks are common, bathe or shower as soon as possible, and wash or tumble your clothes in a dryer on high heat.
  • Check your body carefully for ticks. They dig and burrow into the skin before they bite and feed.
  • Removing ticks right away can help prevent disease.
  • If you develop a rash or fever after removing a tick, see your doctor.

What is Sexual Immorality?

by | 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The bodies of believers are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) (images: Christine de Pizan presenting a book of her writing to Queen Isabeau of France)

In the New Testament, the word most often translated “sexual immorality” is porneia. This word is also translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It means “a surrendering of sexual purity”, and it is primarily used of premarital sexual relations. From this Greek word we get the English word pornography, stemming from the concept of “selling off.” Sexual immorality is the “selling off” of sexual purity and involves any type of sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4–5)

The connection between sexual immorality and idolatry is best understood in the context of 1 Corinthians 6:18, which says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The bodies of believers are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Pagan idol worship often involved perverse and immoral sexual acts performed in the temple of a false god. When we use our physical bodies for immoral purposes, we are imitating pagan worship by profaning God’s holy temple (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).

Biblical prohibitions against sexual immorality are often coupled with warnings against “impurity” (Romans 1:24; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19). This word in the Greek is akatharsia, which means “defiled, foul, ceremonially unfit.” It connotes actions that render a person unfit to enter God’s presence. Those who persist in unrepentant immorality and impurity cannot come into the presence of God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8; Psalm 24:3–4). It is impossible to maintain a healthy intimacy with God when our bodies and souls are given over to impurities of any kind.

Sexuality is God’s design. He alone can define the parameters for its use. The Bible is clear that sex was created to be enjoyed between one man and one woman who are in a covenant marriage until one of them dies (Matthew 19:6). Sexuality is His sacred wedding gift to human beings. Any expression of it outside those parameters constitutes abuse of God’s gift. Abuse is the use of people or things in ways they were not designed to be used. The Bible calls this sin. Adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and homosexual relations are all outside God’s design, which makes them sin.

The following are some common objections to God’s commands against sexual immorality:

1. It’s not wrong if we love each other. The Bible makes no distinction between “loving” and “unloving” sexual relations. The only biblical distinction is between married and unmarried people. Sex within marriage is blessed (Genesis 1:28); sex outside of marriage is “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 7:2–5).

2. Times have changed, and what was wrong in biblical times is no longer considered sin. Most of the passages condemning sexual immorality also include evils such as greed, lust, stealing, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21). We have no problem understanding that these other things are still sin. God’s character does not change with culture’s opinion (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8).

3. We’re married in God’s eyes. This argument implies that God is cross-eyed. The fallacy of this idea is that the God who created marriage in the first place would retract His own command to accommodate what He has called sin. God declared marriage to be one man and one woman united for life (Mark 10:6–9). The Bible often uses the imagery of a wedding and a covenant marriage as a metaphor to teach spiritual truth (Matthew 22:2; Revelation 19:9). God takes marriage very seriously, and His “eyes” see immorality for what it is, regardless of how cleverly we have redefined it.

4. I can still have a good relationship with God because He understands. Proverbs 28:9 says, “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” We fool ourselves when we think that we can stubbornly choose sin and God does not care. First John 2:3–4 contains a serious challenge for those who persist in this line of thinking: “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”

Hebrews 13:4 makes God’s expectation for His children crystal clear: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Sexual immorality is wrong. The blood of Jesus can cleanse us from every type of impurity when we repent and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:7–9). But that cleansing means our old nature, including sexual immorality, is put to death (Romans 6:12–14, 8:13). Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

Urgent Prayer Concern

by Rev. Yunusa S. Nmadu Jnr | ECWA General Secretary | “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3 (NIV)

Leah Sharibu

Leah Sharibu

Following the recent threat to the life of Leah Sharibu and her continued incarceration in the hands of her abductors, The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has declared Monday, September 24th to Wednesday, September 26th a time of prayer and fasting for her release and other abductees of Boko Haram. We kindly urge all Churches worldwide to join us and observe these days.

Thank you for standing in the gap.

Rev. Yunusa Nmadu - ECWA General Secretary

Rev. Yunusa Nmadu

Rev. Yunsa Sabo Nmadu Jnr. Pastored several ECWA Churches. Currently the ECWA General Secretary. Founder/CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Nigeria.

Praying on for His Grace and Mercy!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”Daniel 9:18

Prayer is both marvelous and mysterious. The idea of communicating with the Creator of the universe seems almost ludicrous. And certainly presumptuous. Not to mention intimidating.”

This statement by Lori Hatcher on is so true as we await being able to travel to Kenya for an SIM Healthcare Conference and Leadership Initiative due to the uncertainties surrounding the Hurricane Florence. The organizers and some of the participants are already there but some of us are still in the US watching the turn of events in the wake of Hurricane Florence. We have had to change our flights a couple of times and are hoping that Joshua can leave on Saturday while Joanna follows on Tuesday. Joel is home from school as the University of South Carolina campus is closed and classes are cancelled through Monday. They anticipate resuming normal operations on Tuesday pending government direction. We are praying and eagerly anticipating God answering the prayers of many to protect lives and properties. Please pray along with us!

Thank you so much for praying for us and especially Joel and Jochebed as you read about them in our last prayer letter. Many of you responded with words of encouragement, prayers and great generosity. Joel started the semester well and with a great outlook for which we are thankful. He is happier and is more positive about his classes. Please continue to pray that God will perfect what He has started. Also remember to continue praying for the appeal that we sent for his scholarship as the decision making/proceedings have now started. We are still waiting for their response.

Jochebed moved to a new 1 bedroom apartment from a studio apartment in a bad part of town and is settling in well. She is as busy as ever and we appreciate prayers for strength, wisdom and success in all her endeavors and give thanks for her safety while she lived at her old place.

We were in International Leadership Team and Board of Governors’ meetings during the last two weeks. The two meetings went well and everyone has returned to their destinations safely. Praise God with us for unity that was evident as they met and deliberated on issues affecting SIM. Pray that God will establish all He has helped them to decide upon.

Pray for the SIM Healthcare Conference and Leadership Initiative starting on September 16 in Kenya and that all will go well.

We will take a week of rest/holiday after the conference and then go on to the Philippines for SIM Philippines Spiritual Life Conference (SLC). Please pray that God will speak through Joshua as he will be speaking both in Kenya and in the Philippines. Pray that God will meet everyone at their point of need.

Thank you for always being there for us in prayers and for your support.

Convinced that no one should live and die without hearing God’s good news, we believe that He has called us to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in communities where He is least known.

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko has been the SIM’s International Director since June 1, 2013. Joshua and his wife, Joanna, began their mission careers as members of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS), the mission arm of the ECWA church, which today sends more than 2400 Nigerians cross-culturally. They were commissioned by the national ECWA church in 1993 and their home church in Lagos in 1995, where they were sent out as seconded associates of SIM. They have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001. Joshua served on the SIM International Leadership Team since 2006, dealing with global issues related to mission.

The Brewing of a Toxic Culture

by Joseph Mattera | There is constant bickering and or resistance which then hurts the execution of the vision, which spills over to the rest of the organization—creating a toxic environment

The following 20 signs are based on my observations regarding organizational dysfunction associated with a toxic (poisonous) culture in any organization.

In this article, the word “culture” refers to the prevailing attitude, behavior, and unspoken feeling and or rules that motivate and determine how people respond, react and act in the context of their work.

The following toxic traits fit either a “for profit” or “nonprofit “organization (including nonprofits like a hospital, school or church).

1. The leader is a demanding micromanager.

When the leader of an organization is constantly hovering over staff and other team leaders—not only telling them what to do but exactly how to do it (although this is necessary temporarily when a new person is learning a new job until they prove their competency), it discourages the work environment because the leader’s leadership style demonstrates a lack of trust towards those under him or her.

2. The leader is emotionally abusive and demeaning.

A work environment is absolutely horrible when the boss is constantly putting the staff and other leaders down—never praising them and only speaking to them when he wants to correct them.

3. The leader doesn’t understand or desire to delegate tasks to others.

Often, micromanagers have a hard time delegating work to others because they have a “perfectionist” spirit and think they are the only ones who can get a job done the correct way. Even when they delegate, they don’t trust those they delegate to and are constantly on top of them, thus not giving them room to breathe or grow.

4. The leader and the governing board are always arguing.

I have spoken to numerous pastors or CEOs who say they dread board meetings because of philosophical differences. The result is, there is constant bickering and or resistance which then hurts the execution of the vision, which spills over to the rest of the organization—creating a toxic environment.

5. There is low morale among the staff, employees and participants.

When the staff and team leaders of an organization have low morale, it negatively affects the rest of the participants since it is like a virus that spreads to all.

6. The vision and mission are always changing based on the mood of the leader.

Any church or organization that has a new vision and mission every year has a confused leadership team. Since vision determines the organization’s responsibility and mission determines its authority, when these two are constantly changing, nobody understands what is expected; thus, creating confusion, lack of trust towards the leader and resulting in a toxic culture.

7. A culture of rampant gossip is tolerated.

When an organization cannot keep confidentiality among the leaders and staff, and when backstabbing and gossip is tolerated, the organization is poisonous and unfit to work in until there is a drastic shift away from this behavior.

8. There is a lack of transparency regarding financial decisions.

When any organization—including a church—doesn’t at least annually divulge financial expenditures, values and priorities, it shows a lack of accountability and possible mismanagement. When only the lead pastor and or CEO of an organization (not talking about a “for profit” mom and pop restaurant or small business) know the true financial state and or has access to the monies, it can be an ethical disaster waiting to happen. I’ve known of some cases where not even the trustees of the organization knew what was going on financially.

9. There is an ambiguous accountability structure.

When nobody on staff or in a ministry or job position understands who to report to, it creates a toxic, confusing environment without true accountability.

10. There is a lot of transition in the staff and middle management.

When a “season” of transition becomes years of staff transition, it becomes part of the culture and demonstrates some level of toxicity that chases people away from the work environment. People in healthy work environments usually enjoy going to work (unless they are lazy and unmotivated) and make a long-term commitment to serve.

11. There is no “buy in.”

The key to the success of all organizations is when the staff and participants go from being “employees” to “proprietors;” hence, only when the key players in an organization take ownership and have the attitude of a shareholder does the organization gain momentum.

An organization populated only with mere “employees” is a toxic organization that marginalizes its ability to execute its vision and mission.

12. There is an entitlement mentality among the leaders and staff.

When the leadership and staff of an organization have a “what’s in it for me” mentality—the organization is in big trouble.

This entitlement mentality spreads, then instead of a culture of servant leadership you have a culture of obtaining a title in the organization primarily, so you can enjoy the fringe benefits.

13. There is much activity without measurable goals and profitability.

When an organization has much activity without measurable goals, then it’s difficult to define success and failure. In a church like this, nobody has to exercise their faith in God to accomplish their mission and assignment. Consequently, it is an organization that is on autopilot or like an aimless ship at sea in the night. This causes much frustration and lethargy among the staff, and eventually creates a toxic environment.

14. There is blame-shifting and a lack of taking responsibility.

In any organization that doesn’t have clear lines of communication, leadership structure and accountability, it is easy to have a culture of blame-shifting. Since blame-shifting generates animosity among the staff (and irresponsibility from the ones blaming others) you have a toxic culture that needs to be cleaned up systemically.

15. The participants do the minimum amount of work required.

I have observed in many organizations leaders and staff who just do the minimum work required to keep their position. They clock in and clock out and don’t care to do above and beyond the general job description. This generates a very bad environment if it is not dealt with and results in resentment from other staff members carrying most of the weight.

16. There is a dearth of volunteers.

When it is hard for a nonprofit to garner volunteers, it may demonstrate that there is a disconnect with the vision, the morale is low or the people are not committed to the mission. This lack of motivation creates an apathy, that is toxic for the culture of the entity.

17. The boss regularly ignores the protocols.

Every efficient organization needs to have protocols in place related to communication, accountability, layers of leadership and responsibility so that participants know the when, where and who to report to. When the top leader continually violates these processes put in place he or she acts like they are above the law and become bad role models for other leaders who will also replicate their disregard for protocols and order.

18. The boss regularly bypasses the leadership structure set up.

When the top leader allows people to report directly to him or her—(thus bypassing the delegated leadership structure) it creates confusion, favoritism and disrespect towards those bypassed.

The result is resentment among those bypassed, a sense of entitlement and favoritism among those with direct access to the boss, resulting in a toxic environment that can only be fixed if the senior leader leads the way by ceasing to violate the hierarchical leadership structure.

19. Creativity and innovation are discouraged.

Healthy organizations encourage creative thinking, innovation, a certain level of risk-taking and cutting-edge methodologies to support and advance the mission.

When an organization is more concerned with protecting the status quo, the result is groupthink—a lack of creativity and a uniformity lacking a healthy dose of critical thinking, which eventually leads to the dulling and ineffectiveness of the organization.

20. There is no long-term planning.

The old popular adage “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is a proven truism. An organization constantly given to last-minute events (barring an unexpected crisis or emergency) or a lack of long-term planning (every organization should at least execute an annual planning meeting for future events directed towards advancing the assignment) is an organization without a spirit of excellence or proper focus.

The result will be many opportunities to maximize the gifts, talents and resources of the organization will be missed, which will frustrate many and hurt the morale of many.

Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today’s postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders ( To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to

ECWA USA 2018 Men’s Fellowship Week Of Prayer

by Oladele Gbadeyan | Prayer is the way in which we communicate with God, and we need to get close in our daily walk with Him through the power of prayer! (connect via

2 Chronicles 7:14 ~ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

WHERE: By phone call. The number is 6054756777. Enter code 2392872# after you dial the number
LEADER: Elder Michael Jolayemi
THEME: Thanksgiving to the Lord for ECWA, ECWA USA, men fellowship, women fellowship, youth fellowship and other church undertakings. Pray for forgiveness of sins over all our inadequacies as we fellowship throughout the year. Pray for spiritual fervency, Godlineness, zealousness toward the thing of God, and for putting God first in everything we do.

WHERE: By phone call. The number is 6054756777. Enter code 2392872# after you dial the number
LEADER: Elder Jonathan Olaoye
THEME: Pray for ECWA, ECWA Mission Field, ECWA prayer centers, and ECWA Executives. Pray for ECWA USA outgoing and newly elected executives that the Lord will help them as they move ECWA USA forward.

TIME: 10.30AM
WHERE: Various Local Churches
LEADER: Church Minister(s)
THEME: Praise and Worship through prayer at various churches to mark the National Week of Prayer.

WHERE: By phone call. The number is 6054756777. Enter code 2392872# after you dial the number
LEADER: Dr. Salihu Garba
THEME: Fervent in the spirit in serving the Lord. Pray for Nigeria, America as a whole and the world at large. Pray for individuals: Request time is 10:30AM. To be aired Live on ECWA Maryland Facebook.

I Know Who I Am’: We are a chosen generation

I Know Who I Am’: We are a chosen generation at the ECWA USA 2018 International Conference in Chicago, IL, USA.