By NBF News
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When in 1998, Rev Ifeanyi Okonkwo, president/founder of Living Word Bible Training School, started his institution, he was convinced that God would definitely like in the Mustard Seed nurture and bless the Bible school. Indeed, 12 years after, from a rented apartment God has answered his prayers as he has opened a church and acquired a land where he intends to build the permanent site of the Bible College.

In this chat with Daily Sun after the 12th graduation and ordination service, as well as the 6th graduation of its associate degree students with Christian Leadership University, USA, held in Enugu, the man of God who is also the general overseer of Living Word Manifestation Ministries International, said that he is very grateful to God for what He has done for him and his school. Excerpts:

The beginning
The Bible School was the first vision God gave to us. We have a small church at Abakpa, Living Word Assembly and we plan to have it in the school premises.

The Bible College, Living Word Bible Training School started in 1997 and had its first class on October 4, 1997 at Asata Primary School.  The institution began with studies on part-time basis and held its lectures on Saturdays.  We continued this way until 1998 when we commenced a full-time two-year Ministerial Diploma Training Programme. By September 24, 1998 the ministry rented an accommodation at Block C, Ekpehuchi Avenue Thinkers Corner, Emene and classes began with seven full-time students.  Over 30 courses are offered by seasoned men and women of the word.  In 1993 a three-year part-time diploma course began at the college with students graduating alongside full-time students.  In 2005, we instituted an 'Associate Degree Programme from America for those who are interested and who met with the basic qualifications.  This programme runs in line with an international curriculum taught by leading teachers in Europe, USA and other well known countries.

Our affiliates
The associate degree programme is an affiliate of Christian Leadership University USA.  This ministry will graduate her 6th set of the associate degree students today.  I encourage you to enroll for the new academic session by September this year if you are interested and qualify.

Our magazine
In June 2003, this ministry published her maiden issue of the magazine, 'Seeds of the Living Word.'  Articles contained therein were written by student's teachers and ministers of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The aim of the magazine is to uplift, teach and encourage the body of Christ and any reader who loves and reads timely articles, the 8th edition of the magazine is available today with an improved quality as you will witness.  Gal. 6:9 says: 'And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart'.

Reaping bountifully
Over the past 11 years our students, staff, and friends of the ministry have faithfully prayed and they have not grown weary in well-doing; and on February 24, 2009 we reaped in our due season.

What did we reap?  On February 2009, we purchased two plots of land on Airport Road Extension Layout, Phase 2.  We thank God and you, our faithful partners.  Architectural designers and structural engineers are working out the details.  We believe God will help us raise some money to build the school.  We spend a lot of money running the school in rented apartment.  We plan to start developing in phases, first phase will take about N20 million. If God should give us all the money, next year we will complete the structure.  We believe God will provide us with partners who will promote the project.

Beginning today we are officially launching our building fund. As you can see the model of the school building is displayed at the back of our magazine.  Our structure will be built in three phases; assembly hall, classrooms, and offices, male and female hostels. The estimate of the buildings will run into millions of naira.  Later in the programme you will be given an opportunity to once again partner with us in Phase 1 of Living Word Bible Training School Permanent Site.

Our graduates
Today, Living Word Bible Training School is graduating 27 students, 22 for Diploma and five for Associate Degree making a total of 221 students graduated from this school since inception.  Apart from these graduates, three ministers will be ordained while 10 will be licensed.  Today, they formed an association and performed as ushers at this graduation. They really helped us; we used to hire ushers before now.  It so much encouraged us because I didn't think that it will be this way. Those who passed out, pastors call me to say that they want my students who graduated. People doubted our succeeding and God has proved otherwise and sustained us these 13 years.

God has been so gracious and these ministers will remain faithful to God from now until the end of their lives here on earth in Jesus name, Amen.

How I feel
I am so glad and I say thank you God for His grace and provision. He has always been there in every temptations and everything. I cannot appreciate Him enough.

My advice to intending priests
My advice is that the person must first of all make up his mind because it is challenging. And as far as he has made up his mind with God, God will never fail him. God is a promise keeper.