When Nigerian native Yakubu Bakfwash studied theology in Kenya, he never imagined that the language he learned during his studies would open doors for sharing the Gospel years later in the United States. Bakfwash was one of 56 students who ventured out from Southwestern Seminary to preach revivals in 23 states outside of the Bible Belt, March 14-17.

After completing a preaching assignment at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Princeton, Ind., Bakfwash met with representatives from the state convention to learn about church planting in the region. He discovered that thousands of East Africans live in the state and that no churches have yet reached them.

Bakfwash was amazed when he met some of these East African immigrants, with whom he could speak because he had learned their language, Swahili, while studying at a theological seminary in the East African nation of Kenya.

“That was an overwhelming experience,” Bakfwash said. “I thought I went to Kenya to just get a degree. … God just orchestrated that because He needed me to get over there to know the people, their worldview and their language, so that someday I would be able to reach them in the U.S.” He added that he hopes to spend more time working in Indiana during his yearly breaks from school.

Bakfwash presented a testimony about his experiences during the practicum in chapel, March 25. Afterward, Cky Carrigan, director of the practicum and associate professor of evangelism and Baptist church planting, presented Bakfwash with the Todd Brooks Riza Memorial Award. The award was established in memory of Todd Brooks Riza, who died in 1995 two days before embarking his first practicum preaching assignment. Riza’s parents, J.C. and Barbara, were present for this year’s presentation.
According to the inscription on the award, it is “presented annually … to the Spring Evangelism Practicum participant, selected by fellow participants, for demonstrating genuine compassion for non-Christians.”
“What actually compels me to go for the Spring Revival Evangelism Practicum has nothing to do with course credit at all,” Bakfwash said. “It is just the love I have for the lost ones and the desire to reach them for Christ, because someone did that for me.”