Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily,
as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will
receive the inheritance as your reward.
You are serving the Lord Christ.

Watch The Laborers In The Field

If you watch the laborers in the field
your eyes will tell the tale
of the place of faithfulness and
obedience in working hard
toward the Master’s abundant harvest
as they till the hardened
soil until it is soft enough
to receive the dormant seed
along with dependable watering

and weeding and treating
against bugs and pests as
seedlings grow up tall and strong
and begin to put on their fruit
which grows luscious and tasty,
ready for harvest banquets.

Rev. Dr. Ayuba Iliya Bako

The first time I met the now Rev. Dr. Ayuba Iliya Bako, he was a new student at Baptist High School, Jos. In English class he immediately impressed me as one of the hardest working of my pupils. Although he did not come from a home where only English was spoken, he never hesitated to work hard and complete all of his assignments. Neither he nor I could have known at the time how important his studies in English language would become for him. You see, he was only just beginning a long series of steps in his educational journey, which would eventually lead him to earn his Ph.D in Old Testament at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. Always, his hard work and perseverance led him into a distinguished series of accomplishments in his theological studies. This, in turn, led him into an equally impressive career in teaching and administration, serving the Lord through theNigerian Baptist Convention.

It all began with Ayuba’s (That’s Job in Hausa.) heart for the Lord, full of eagerness to tackle the hard work necessary for achieving such high levels of achievement, and also full of a desire to serve His Lord by working diligently in preparing pastors and teachers  to enter the rich harvest fields in Nigeria and beyond. Ayuba  and I had a unique set of working relationships. I was his English teacher, but I, at one point, was also his House Master;  while he also worked on occasion in my house to earn extra spending money. He always impressed me in terms of his hard work and the excellent quality of his work. However, we did butt heads regarding one particular issue in the dorm. I insisted that students get in bed and get some valuable sleep before they rose

early in the morning to go out and do the work assigned for them around the school campus. Ayuba, however, wanted to study through the night, determined to give every bit of effort to learning all he could in his desire for an excellent foundation for further education. So, on countless nights I would find him out in the circle with a candle reading one book or another. We never really came to an agreement on that matter. I kept on sending him to bed, and he kept on sneaking back out to continue his studies.

Mrs. Victoria Ayuba Ilya Bako

After he had completed high school and then, his first step in theological studies, he returned to Jos to teach in the Pastor’s School. This is when I met his wife, Victoria. She came to work as a secretary while I was serving as Principal at Baptist High School. I quickly discovered that she was every bit as hard working as was Ayuba, and her work was also just as commendable.  When she typed a document or a test or a letter, it was perfect. Not only did she type for me, but also for many teachers, who needed her assistance also. You will notice in their pictures; both of them have delightful smiles, which reflect their joy in working in service to our Lord. Victoria’s bright and friendly personality also made her an excellent secretary, as she warmly greeted  staff, students and visitors who needed to see the Principal.

Ayuba and Victoria have three beautiful children.

When the opportunity came for the two of them to return to Ogbomosho so Ayuba could further his theological education to qualify for higher levels of teaching, Victoria helped support them by typing papers for students, their families and their friends.

Upon completing these studies, Ayuba returned to Jos and not only taught at the Pastor’s School, but became the Principal of the Pastor’s School, and then the Rector of the College of Theology.  During that time there were constant challenges, but Ayuba led  humbly with grace, and in all ways, Christ-likeness. Under the leadership of Nigerian Principals, including Ayuba, the Pastor’s School grew larger and stronger as it served the student pastors and their wives, who were also provided training. Eventually the Nigerian Baptist Convention made it a College of Theology, equipped to provide Biblical and Pastoral Studies at higher levels of qualification.

The last time I talked to them in 2018, Ayuba was working toward his Ph.D at the Seminary in Ogbomosho. Victoria also continued her studies, earning a Master’s Degree at the Jos Evangelical Theological Seminary. It is notable that

Ayuba’s hard work earned him the Hebrew Award at his PhD graduation at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary in Ogbomosho.

Ayuba’s hard work through the years paid off as he won the Hebrew Award at his graduation. Now they are both teaching and training the next generation of Baptist Pastors, missionaries and teachers, including both husbands and wives. As the number of Baptist churches continue to multiply across the middle belt of Nigeria, the opportunity to teach and disciple these pastors plays a pivotal role in building Christi’s Kingdom.

What a privilege to observe the faithful lives of Nigerians like Ayuba and Victoria who work so hard and faithfully in God’s harvest field. It’s all about Jesus and how He not only changes lives, but develops them for service in the Kingdom of God. In doing so, men and women like Ayuba and Victoria discover just how rich life becomes when you faithfully serve Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and might. Clearly, their lives are all about Jesus.  Praise be to God!





One Comment on “

  1. Love your stories, they allow us an open door to those people God used you to make a difference in their life for His purpose in His word ❤️

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