• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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The grace in the Synagogue

The grace in the Synagogue

An account, tale in the course of a field trip to Lagos in August, which took me to a Health Centre in Egbeda-Idimu LCDA, compelled me to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) for the first time. While interviewing the health officials on the post-COVID/Breastfeeding situation in the area which was my task, a visitor to the centre was seriously narrating how two sisters; the younger one residing in the United States of America while the elder, in Nigeria but simultaneously faced strange ailments, and suddenly couldn’t walk, defying all medications.

The story curiously attracted my attention. The US-based, a health worker, has tried all medications known to her for months, visited many hospitals but to no avail, and decided to return home to explore other solutions. It was at that point she opened up to the sister on the predicament. The duo got a big shock on knowing they were facing the same ailment home and abroad, respectively, and using crutches to walk. The situation ushered in depression having been convinced it is not an ordinary ailment. Hence, relatives recommended SCOAN.

On their visit on a Sunday service, as they couldn’t walk, even couldn’t exit the car, the ‘woman in the Synagogue’, Pastor (Mrs) Evelyn Joshua in her routine stepped out to pray for those in critical situations, always lined up outside the hall, and right there, placed a hand on the two sisters while in car and ordered the ailments to free them immediately. As commanded, the two sisters began to walk gradually. Same records on most of the people with different ailments and complex problems including mental disorders. From testimonies, those not fully healed instantly, always return to testify of wholeness later.

Curiosity compelled me to squeeze out time to interrogate the claims in the Sunday service, and behold, I was dumbfounded. The tales replicated themselves during my encounter as many were verifiably released from all manner of afflictions.

The number of visitors from foreign countries alone including the US, European countries, Asia, other African countries that troop into the country weekly just for religious worship at SCOAN also baffled me. I proceeded further to watch ‘Emmanuel TV’ owned by the church, and the manner foreign governments had adorned the founder, Prophet TB Joshua who passed on June 5, 2021, at the age of 58, was amazing unlike home governments. But I wouldn’t blame the government as such as I too acted in a similar manner on account of awful stories created against TB Joshua’s ministry, and I detested everything that is related to him beginning from his long beards during his early stage.

From records, SCOAN overwhelmingly attracted uncountable foreigners with high profiles, foreign government officials, businessmen, international athletes into the country during the lifetime of the founder. And presently under the leadership of the new shepherd, Mrs. Joshua, the church is waxing strong, sustaining the momentum with high volume of foreign visitors, Nigerians abroad and home citizens, and those in-and-outside Lagos always trooping in to SCOAN on Sundays for divine encounter like when the founder was alive. And interestingly, the new leader relates awesomely with the evangelists that worked faithfully, submissively with the late founder. Recently, the leadership sent three of the evangelists to Johannesburg in South Africa for a liberation service with numerous mind-blowing testimonies flying around like during the lifetime of the founder.

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Beyond spirituality, the ministry’s passion in social responsibility particularly helping people, communities in need both in Nigeria and outside the country is amazing. The ecclesiastical organization through ‘Emmanuel-TV’ partners has shown godliness, kindness to people of diverse groups; from children, elderly-people, less-privileged, people with disabilities, students and needy persons both in home and foreign currencies; naira, dollar and euro respectively all around the world.

The ministry’s philanthropy knows no bounds. It gives succor both spiritually and through substance. Many Muslims communities have received thousands of bags of rice, money, etc in northern Nigeria. Elderly and needy people in the USA, Mexico, Ukraine, Ghana, name them, have benefitted too. Even victims of human trafficking not left out. Really, his core message; ‘show love to all – your neighbours including enemies and people of other faiths’ is working. He walked the talk throughout his lifetime.

Indeed, TB Joshua’s demise is a great loss. I doubt if there is any Nigerian in government, religion or business setting that has received the recognitions from foreign governments he got while alive. In fact, many countries without diplomatic relations with Nigeria had to establish ties with the Nigerian government to ease their citizens’ travel to Nigeria for SCOAN activities. And luckily, his wife, Evelyn, fittingly stepped into his shoes. There is a strong, boundless woman in the Synagogue. The evangelists too he trained, worked with are also providing great consolations. So, nothing missing, nothing broken. If TB Joshua had operated with mystic powers as people rumored, certainly, the magic powers would have died with him. Also, the wife and evangelists wouldn’t have sustained doing the great exploits like during his lifetime. Thus, grace is overwhelmingly, obviously at work.

Now, the disappointment is the road leading to SCOAN from Apapa-Oshodi Expressway considering the volume of foreigners visiting the area weekly. The road doesn’t speak well about Lagos State and Nigeria at large. It’s like washing dirty linen in public. It’s amazing that no part of the state hosts visitors, dignitaries including foreigners, ambassadors weekly more than Ikotun. And most of these foreigners are first-time visitors to Nigeria.

From their classic hotels likely at Ikeja down to Ikotun where SCOAN is located should market the country well. So, the image of Nigeria is at stake, thus, the road deserves attention as some of the visitors are potential foreign investors. Presently, the road is a big slap on the country, and requires facelifts to portray Nigeria well to foreigners. Undeniably, SCOAN has become a tourist attraction.

Umegboro, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos