HOUSING A DESTITUTE ALMOST COST ME MY MARRIAGE
Evangelist Elishama Ideh is not happy that Nigerians do not have a heart of giving neither is she pleased about the sufferings of Nigerians. The founder of Christ The Ever Present Ministries (CTEM) and Partnership for a New Nigeria ( PFANN) does not understand why Nigeria with all her natural resources can't ensure the well being of her citizens.
As an apostle, her sole aim is to bring souls to God's kingdom and teach widows to live their lives thereby impacting their society. She shared with Daily Sun in a recent chat how drug addicts, area boys and prostitutes are given a new lease of life through her ministry. Excerpts:
Why do you focus on societal rejects such as drug addicts, prostitutes and area boys with your ministry Christ the Ever Present Ministries (CTEM)?
Christ The Ever-Present Ministries (CTEM) was founded solely with an audacious mandate: to reveal the love of Christ to the lost in our generation, to reach the unsaved, rejected, oppressed and destitute; those generally regarded as dregs of society. To reach as Franz Fanon rightly puts it, The Wretched of The Earth, with the gospel of salvation and in the process, restore hope to them by sharing His love, not just by word of mouth, but by practical demonstration of the character of God, which is love.
The essence is to help people in practical ways; to show them unstinting care and love in a world immune to compassion; in a world that regales itself in the ignoble race of survival of the fittest and shows scant regard for the downtrodden, CTEM seeks to create a sense of belonging among this category of persons, with a view to integrating them back into the mainstream of society.
Since you started, what achievements have you recorded so far?
CTEM has been able to relocate families that hitherto, had known no other home but under bridges and abandoned buildings. We have taken confirmed drug addicts, hardened criminals, prostitutes and area boys off the streets and set them along the path of independence, dignity and self worth. Many other humanitarian efforts like daily/periodic feeding of the hungry and general support to the needy, visiting the hospitals and prisons with practical support, continue to be a cardinal focus of this compassionate ministry.
We were able to record these successes, Kingdom Dimension Series, a series of conferences traversing the length and breadth of this country which provide an invaluable platform for educating Christians on the urgent need to take a more active part in the governance of this country. Nigeria: A Nation chosen by God, a timely and prophetic insight (in Audio, Video & DVD formats) into the state of the Nigerian nation, our prophetic destiny, as well as a way out the present quagmire. Light the torch, raise your flag, a project that seeks to ignite the flame of patriotism and celebration of our national symbols.
Were there times you felt like quitting due to challenges in dealing with these societal rejects?
There are times you expect some things to happen, and when they don't happen as you expected, as a human being, you react. Even in the life of Jesus it happened. In the book of Matthew 26:36- 42, Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering and dying for mankind be taken away from him, but he was strengthened by God because he wanted the will of God to be done. So, you discover that it is normal to feel discouraged as human being.
What challenges do you face in this ministry?
The challenges of financing and of people not having a fundamental knowledge about charity. In other words do not have a charitable heart of giving.
How has the society accepted your ministry?
To the glory of God, we do enjoy some great acceptance, and the name CTEM has become a household name today
What drives you in life and ministry?
Love and compassion for the lost souls, reject, abandoned, and the fact that Nigeria is a blessed nation and well endowed with natural resources enough to take care of her people, if properly harnessed by the right leadership.
How do you get funds to run this ministry?
The Lord has always be the source of help for this ministry since inception through some few friends and partners of the Ministry. But 75% of the funding comes from me as the Lord helps me. To God be the glory because, He has never failed.
Were there any ugly incident you encountered in the cause of rehabilitating these people?
Yes there were. But one particular incident almost cost me my marriage when my husband was still alive. One of our converts, who was still living under the bridge while we were still trying to get accommodation for her and her three children, had an ugly encounter with some area boys who were raping her repeatedly through the nights. She ran to my house and I had to accommodate her and her three children temporarily. I shared virtually everything with them. The children slept in my children's' room, and we all ate from the same pot and plates. Of course, my husband did not find it funny, but there was nothing I could do since that was the only option I had left as at that time.
Did your family totally support your ministry?
It wasn't easy in the beginning. But now to the glory of God, my family has been my greatest supporters in this cause.
What measures do you take to make sure these people don't return to their old lifestyle?
I can only do my best in obedience to what God has called me to do. I make sure I take them out of the street, tutor them in the way of the Lord, empower them to be able to have vocations they can live on stand on their own as good citizens of this country. Some of them have been under our tutorial for as long as four years to insure they stand in faith, but you know not all of them will abide.
You also have an initiative, Partnership for a New Nigeria, what informed this?
In 2003, a few years after CTEM was founded, I began to witness the decay in our nation by the reason of the work I was called to do in CTEM. I discovered that there was so much suffering in the nation, and worst still, that we had enough natural resources in this country to ensure the well being of all the citizens. But these resources are being mismanaged and not properly harnessed by the people in authority. It was based on these findings and in a bid to correct this societal ill that Thy Kingdom Come was birthed. Effort was made to educate believers and leaders of the church on the importance of getting involved in the polity of the nation, how the walls of the church needed to be broken so that the light and the salt of the earth which they have been called to be will be extended to the exteriors of the nation. In 2007, Thy Kingdom Come then graduated to Kingdom Dimension Series (KDS), which later came under the platform of PFANN.
In 2007, PFANN traversed almost the entire length and breadth of this country intimating and educating the entire populace, particularly Christians and their leaders on the urgent need to take more than a passing interest in the governance and affairs of the country. The thrust or overall objective of PFANN is to make Nigerians realize that for as long as they distance themselves from direct or active participation in politics, ostensibly under the notion that politics is dirty, then we will continually be under the rule and dominion of the kind of leaders we have unfortunately been saddled with since independence.
Do you still believe Nigeria would get better given our situation generally?
I strongly believe in a new Nigeria through good leadership.
Are you planning to go into politics?
I am a king maker and an apostle called to the nations. I am already a politician, although I will not contest for any political post. I have been called by Almighty God to direct political affairs prayerfully to ensure that the Nigerian state is ruled and governed according to the plans and purpose of God. Anybody trying to effect change in an environment, a community or a nation is a sort of politician or the more appropriate word to use is an activist. I am only advocating to provoke right changes in our environment.
As a widow, what advice would you give to those who have lost their husband?
The death of a husband doesn't mean that the life of a wife has ended abruptly. Life must go on. Every widow should bear in mind that they need to live for their children and the people who look up to them. Distancing themselves from the society will only make their situations worst, as they will continue to live in self-pity. Thank God that our society today frowns at any ill treatment deliberately targeted on widows. There is therefore no excuse for any widow not to make impact on her family and immediate society.
Do you have plans to remarry?
That is personal. I am focused on the mandate God gave me for now. He makes all things beautiful at its time.