WHEN HEAVEN CAME DOWN IN IKORODU
It wasn't a sight that you behold every day. A sea of human heads stretching from the church auditorium to the main road as well as the side streets. Many more people virtually dangling on the balconies of storey buildings, straining their eyes to catch a glimpse of the orderly chaos. From the loud speakers mounted at strategic places within and outside the church, voices of various clerics and song ministers boomed. And as each prayer point rang out, shouts of the congregants shot forth to the heavens, with thousands of men and women lifting up their voices in earnest supplication to the Almighty.
Ikorodu, a popular town in Lagos, is no alien to riotous religious outings. But many are those that will willingly swear that in the several decades that they have sojourned in the town, no Christian crusade had been as successful as the one that took place recently.
Date was Thursday, August 26. And the event was the prayer and revival programme weekly organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant of Peace Parish, Ikorodu, Lagos. Tagged Helping Hand, the programme is a vision of Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran, parish pastor and pastor-in-charge of the zone. Aromolaran is also the Provincial Evangelist for Lagos Province 16 of the RCCG.
It was one event that would linger long in the minds of residents of Ikorodu and its environs for long.On hand to minister was the General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide, Prophet S.K. Abiara. The world-renowned man of God actually flew in from the United Kingdom early that morning for the programme which commenced at 7.00am.
The entire stretch of Lowa Street, Jumafak Bus Stop, Ikorodu, where the church is located, was packed full with people who couldn't find any space inside the auditorium. The street gates were closed to motorists as people sat or stood at every available space on the road.
The programme commenced with a praise and worship session, after which different pastors took turns to lead prayer programmes, as the church awaited the guest minister. Pastor Aromolaran apologised to the expectant multitude for Dr. Abiara's late arrival. He informed the crowd that the man of God was on his way from the airport but had been held up in the ubiquitous Lagos traffic.
When Abiara breezed in at about 8.23am, a loud din enveloped the atmosphere. Sandwiched between about 30 security men and protocol officers, the man of God was dressed in a white cassock and black shoes. The entire place became rowdy as thousands of hands struggled to touch the Ibadan-based cleric. He was eventually piloted inside the auditorium.
In a short message taken from Matthew 19: 16-30, Dr. Abiara told his congregation that nothing should be too valuable for them to give unto God. According to him, neither their souls nor possessions should be too important for them to give to God. Citing the case of the rich man who became dejected after he was told by Christ to sell all his property and donate the money realised to the poor, Prophet Abiara said man's major problem was his greed and inability to let go. He charged people in the church to learn to give freely to ministers of God, their parents, those around them and the poor. According to him, whatever they would receive from God would be much more than what they gave to God. He also urged the congregants to forgo a life of sin and dedicate themselves to the service of the lord.
Noting that the venue was too small for an event of such magnitude, Prophet Abiara called for the donation of land and money to enable the church secure a bigger parcel of land in the area. He also prayed for the younger man of God, Pastor Olaitan, describing the youthful cleric as a man with an uncommon zeal for the Lord and the gospel.
Many members of the congregation, including businessmen and women, serving police officers, clerics and other professionals trooped out to donate land, cars and money to the church. Prophet Abiara promised to return to lead a prayer vigil as soon as a larger space has been secured.As he was ministering, Prophet Abiara suddenly paused. He then looked at Pastor Olaitan and delivered a brief message. 'Pastor, God just told me that you must not leave the Redeemed Church. That is the message of God. You must obey it.'
Before the programme was concluded, the guest minister tried his hands on a number of musical instruments. The crowd was simply enraptured as the prophet displayed his dexterity on the keyboard, the guitar, saxophone and gangan drum.
Dignitaries at the event included the Olugbole of Igbole, the traditional ruler of Pastor Olaitan's hometown, Igbole-Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adetiloye, Odofin of Ikorodu, Chief R.A. Shotobi, Iyalode of Ikorodu, Chief Mrs. Tinuola Benson and Otunba of Ikorodu, Otunba Femi Alase. Popular actor, Funsho Adeolu was also at the event.
When it was testimony time, scores of excited people trooped to the stage to express what God had done for them during the programme.Pastor Olaitan expressed his gratitude to God for making the event a success. He said the success had demonstrated God's faithfulness and was a confirmation that the programme was actually designed by God to render a helping hand to the traumatized people of the area and beyond.
Asserting that God could reverse any bad situation, the cleric charged the congregants never to exhibit any doubts about God. 'I thank God that the king of my town is here today. My own life is a testimony that there is nothing that God cannot do. If God could save me and use me, then God can save and use anybody.' According to him, Helping Hand was a programme that set out to render divine help through the power of prayer to those in bondage and under the captivity of the devil. 'The programme holds every Thursday morning at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant of Peace Parish, Lowa Street, Ikorodu. Between 7 and 9 am on that day, this whole area is usually filled up by people from all over Lagos and beyond who want God to lend a helping hand to their lives. This is not the only place where the programme holds. We also have it in many other centres across Lagos,' he said.
Besides Prophet Abiara, many other ministers of God have participated in the programme. They include Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, Pastor Kunle Ajayi, Evangelists Bola Are, Ojo Ade, Dunni Olanrewaju, Lanre Teriba, Esther Igbekele Iwalesin, Ayewa Gospel Singers, Pastor Kingsley Ike, Evangelist Ifeanyi and many more.