Milan Christian Church pastor publishes book following study on widows in Nigeria – NEMOnews Media Group

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By Echo Menges

When Dr. Sung Bauta began researching and writing his theological thesis for his doctorate at Asbury Theological School in Wilmore, KY, he was unaware of the spiritual and cultural journey that he was going to suffer.

Bauta began writing his dissertation in 2017 when he took a three-month trip to northern Nigeria to specifically study widows who were part of the Christian faith.

“In my research, I went with this preconception, I’m going to find out what society can do for them and then talk about what they can do for society,” Bauta told Milan Standard. “Widows in northern Nigeria are predominantly Muslim. In the northern part, a small part is Christian. We think they just want to remarry and inherit their husbands’ property. There are many widows because the life expectancy is very low.

Bauta’s hypothesis was turned upside down when he began to work in the field, interviewing and researching the lives of the women he studied.

“They are not passive observers of society. They are agents of social change,” Bauta said. “The book argues that Christian widows are agents of social change and tap into their faith. Christian institutions best provide them with a guide. They can imitate the life of Jesus to remake their society.

In 2019, Bauta knew his research and findings would eventually become a book.

“I kind of said that at some point I was going to have to make a book out of it to make it accessible to other people,” Bauta said, “for academics as well as politicians and lay people. I knew it was going to make it into a book – I didn’t know when. I sent a proposal to Wipf and Stock. They agreed and we moved on. It was the height of COVID in 2020.”

Bauta wasn’t sure he could complete the project being a busy church pastor and a husband with three young children.

“Part of me was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this. It was a lot to take on. We had already signed a contract and, with all the downtime, I had time to work on it. Bauta said. “With COVID we were isolated and I thought maybe that was a blessing in disguise because I could dedicate a little more time to working on it.”

Bauta completed her book earlier this year, and it was officially released on July 15.

“There are 178 pages. There’s a reason for that,” said Bauta, who wanted to limit the length to make the book more accessible to everyone. “I tried to keep it shorter because I want people to have access to it and be able to read it. I go to the library here and I’m told that people hardly read anymore. Sometimes you have to read everything to have a better context”

He also admits that he doesn’t expect to make a lot of money publishing the book.

“Writing is not for the money. It’s to spread the word and help those on the margins,” Bauta said. “The book was written because the voices of widows, I believe, need to be heard. I had a preconceived idea that I was going to go on and talk about them needing help. It was not this. It wasn’t just a one-way interaction.

Bauta thanks his family and his church family for helping him through the writing process.

“It takes a village to write it. My wife, our family and even our church too. If you read the acknowledgment you will see how many it took,” Bauta said. “I started my theological journey thinking I would teach traditional Bible studies and somewhere along the way God turned it around. God cares about everything because everything belongs to Him. Especially in the margins. He calls church and society to care for them, so they can be vessels in his hands and used to bless others.

The book is available for purchase online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble stores. A limited number are also available from the Christian Church in Milan and a copy at checkout will be available from the Milan Library.

Pastor Bauta preaches at the Milan Christian Church on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m.

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