Rev. Joel Billi, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary April 23-25 during his recent visit to the United States.
Billi was elected to this highest position in EYN in the spring of 2016, shortly before Bethany and EYN entered into a new educational partnership in July 2016. This venture enables EYN students in Nigeria to take classes in real time with students on the Bethany campus through synchronous video. Following the construction of a new technology center in Jos, Nigeria, the first joint course was offered in January 2018.
While at Bethany, Billi was able to meet and interact with students, faculty, and staff over meals and in several meetings. Members of the Seminary’s Nigerian Task Team—who serve in an advisory capacity for the educational partnership with their counterparts in EYN—had the opportunity to discuss the partnership with Billi. During a Bethany community lunch and a dinner at Mill Ridge Village retirement community in Union, Ohio, he spoke about EYN’s progress in response to and recovery from the oppression inflicted by Boko Haram. He was joined at the dinner by Jeff Carter, president of Bethany, who presented information about the educational partnership.
Billi was also able to make connections within the Richmond community, including conversations with Mayor Dave Snow and Wayne County Commissioner Mary Ann Butters. Local radio morning show host Phil Quinn interviewed him about how the partnership with Bethany is enabling EYN students to have an educational experience that otherwise would not be possible.