Missionary Imprisoned for 5 Days

Chris Lawrence

The prison cell was dark and rank. With more than 20 men in a tight space, there wasn't even enough room for Bernard Ugwuoke, a Cru staff member, to sleep.

Before throwing him in prison, the Nigerian police had warned Bernard to bring money -- a bribe might lessen a beating. When the cell door shut, a wave of prisoners surrounded him: "Who are you? Why are you here?"

"My name is Bernard. I'm a missionary and I am here because a man falsely accused me of stealing a car," he said. "And I believe God has put me here to bless someone."

"You're a missionary?" a prisoner asked, his demeanor changing (missionaries are uncommon in Nigeria).

Fear clouded the prison. Many would soon go to trial, their fate to be determined. "Pastor, come pray for us," they said.

Over the next few days, 14 of the men agreed to follow Christ, including a former assassin. Bernard was in prison 5 days and later cleared of charges. "If God wants to save some men through hearing the gospel, I think sending His servant to jail is too little a sacrifice," he says.

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