As Rev. Jim Holley prepared for his journey to Nigeria on Tuesday, Dec. 9, with computers donated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and police communication radios from the Detroit Police Department in tow, he could have easily been mistaken for a benevolent benefactor delivering gifts to the citizens of Africa’s largest economy. But Holley is on a mission to build relationships and bricks and mortar development in Nigeria, specifically a hospital facility, Diagnostic and Cancer Care Center, to service residents of the region.
In August the popular pastor of Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit met with Enoch Adeboye, Redeemed Christian Church of God leader, at its massive house of worship in the Ebute-Metta suburb of Lagos. The RRCG sanctuary is an incredible two miles long by two miles wide, and boasts a choir of 5,000 uniformed members and a praise team numbering more than 1,200 worshippers.
“I was so impressed with building on this scale,” said Holley. “Adeboye (and the RCCG) have established a compound of about 20,000 people in this area. They have running water and electrical services, and these are services sometimes hard to even come by in the capital which has 19 million people.”
But even with basic services available at the RCCG complex, Holley says he recognized a greater need for health services in the surrounding region.
“People who are on dialysis here have to travel long distances to get treatment since there is no facility nearby. Lagos is four hours away and the rich can afford to go to Ghana for treatment or they can get portable dialysis machines. But the poor don’t have access to healthcare,” explained Holley, adding that other vital medical services were also lacking.
RCCG responded to Holley’s hospital proposal with a commitment of $20 million and land set aside for the facility’s building site. Wayne County Community College officials have agreed to provide nurse and medical staff training for hospital workers. Holley is negotiating scholarships for physician training with Wayne State University Medical School.
The RCCG, which is widely recognized as “one of (Africa’s) most vigorously expansionary religious movements” has a church location on Kiebler Street in Detroit.
“This is a faith-based venture,” said Holley, “and I have been approached by officials in Ghana to duplicate the effort there and identify a sister city to work cooperatively with Detroit.”
Holley says he will request support from Mayor Duggan and other local government officials and business leaders for the African trade mission development.
The trip to Nigeria is Holley’s second since August. He has been working for years to make Detroit a sister city, but this time he has some signs of support from Detroit officials, and is in talks with Mayor Duggan to make the designation official.
Holley’s partnership for development in Nigeria includes an educational and cultural exchange component for a school-to-school interactive learning environment connecting Detroit students with their Ghanian and Nigerian counterparts.
“You have an auditorium of that size with the sound in the back mile of the auditorium just as good as the sound in the front mile of the auditorium,” he said.
“The wealthy are able to secure dialysis treatment in that they can afford to go to facilities or they can afford portable dialaysis machines, but the poor have to travel to Ghana.
“I had an audience with the overseer and we began to establish a good relationship.”
Source: Michigan Chronicle