THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY INTO HOT FIRE
This is the longest and the saddest headline I have ever written for a column. And I am writing it for nobody else but for my little Facebook friend, Miss Kechi Okwuchi, 22, the heroic girl who fell from the sky and was lucky to be rescued alive from the fiery inferno of Dantesque proportion.
Before the big catastrophic event that transformed and turned her life upside down, she was the pretty girl with a beatific smile. When Kechi smiles, her smiles, so incandescent, can lighten up the darkness and fill the sky at night with twinkling stars.
Smiling runs in the family. If you want to know how beautiful Kechi looks in her smile, all you have to do is to turn to Facebook and look at the portrait of her smiling younger sister, Zitara Okwuchi. Contrast that beautiful, cherubic smile of the younger sister with the pathetic, solitary picture of Kechi Okwuchi on Facebook and it's like the difference between day and night. Kechi's picture will make you shake your head in grief for the darkness that has cast its long, frightful shadows on this unfortunate young lady. But there is no need for such sadness. Instead, let us be grateful. Let us praise the Lord for this miraculous girl who cheated death in a plane crash that killed 109 people, 60 of them being her fellow students of the Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja. She was one of the only two lucky survivors of the Sosoliso plane crash of December 10, 2005.
Kechi is a wonder girl whose story and courage is the stuff of movies. She is a girl who is a living proof that with God, all things are possible. She is a girl who is a testimony to the saying that no matter how difficult life is, it is still better to be alive than to die.
My dear reader, you will not die before your time. Your children will not die before your eyes. You will live your life in full, and it will be filled with great testimonies.
Beloved members of the Press Clips Pentecostal Church (PCPC), let us thank God for the world so beautiful, a world so sweet. Last Saturday, on the occasion of my 59th birthday, I delivered a sermon on thanksgiving, saying that in every situation, we must thank God. Birthdays offer an opportunity to thank God for how far we have come, under the banners of His glorious protection. Let me seize this opportunity to thank you all for the heart-warming messages I received on my birthday. You really made my day and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Next year is the big one, by the grace of God. We would be alive to celebrate it together, in Jesus' mighty name.
Today's sermon, however, is not about me. It is about Kechi Onwuchi, a fragile flower from Eden, an angel that fell on earth and broke its wings. Kechi, my daughter, you are a lesson not just for me but also for the whole of humanity. From your ordeal, you have taught that even in the toughest of times and situations, we must still give God thanks and glorify His name.
I have learnt from you that even in our difficulties, even in our darkest moments, we must still smile. We must smile always. A smile will take us miles and miles ahead in life whereas a frown will drown us and set us back many miles behind. A smile is a disarming weapon in the hands of the Almighty, whereas a frown is a weapon of mass destruction in the hand of the devil, in the hands of the bomber, in the hands of the killer on rampage, killing Norwegian children.
Beloved, I urge you to turn your frowns into smiles today and every time. I want you to smile like Kechi Okwuchi. I want you to smile all your troubles and problems away. Smile like you have just won a jackpot. Smile like God has just worked a miracle in your life. Smile and God will smile on you! Frown and God will frown on you!
Kechi is a miracle girl, a lucky girl indeed, because the hands of the Almighty are on her and would not depart from her. She is a living testimony to the fact that to be alive is far, far, better than to be dead. No matter the suffering, it is still better to be alive than to be dead. Life offers hope. Death offers hopelessness. Life offers a second chance. But death offers no chance at all. Once you are dead, you are dead. Once you are alive, everything is possible.
Let us turn our Bible this morning to the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 verse 4. Here, the words of the Lord say: 'For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.'
A living Kechi is far better than a dead multimillionaire Queen. Once you have life, you have God. And with God, you have everything, you have hope, you have blessings.
Six years after being plucked from the flames of a fiery plane crash, Kechi has been struggling with life, like a heroine that she is. From the ashes of the burning plane, she suffered 60 per cent intensive burns. For five weeks, she was put into a state of coma by doctors.
Then after, she went through over 75 surgeries! How much suffering can one woman take?
From your experience, one can see that it is easy to destroy but difficult to rebuild. Doctors have been struggling all these years to rebuild Kechi's burnt face and body in the bid to restore her into her pristine glory, but it is not that easy. She maybe terribly disfigured but Kechi still has faith that God can and will still perfect her. This is the motivation that keeps driving her.
In the past six years, doctors have tried so far to rebuild her face. But there is still much to be done. Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria has played a great part in helping pay her medical bills in the South African hospital where she was first treated. Then from there, Shriners Children's Hospital in Texas, USA offered to treat her for free. Since 2007, the hospital had been treating her for free. But it no longer can, because Kechi is now above 21 and is no longer a child, according to the American law. In America, the law is the law. It is no respecter of persons.
So, from now, Kechi has to bear her medical bills, her school fees and everything. To survive, she needs a whopping bill of $609, 000! She needs money for laser surgeries and all kinds of facial reconstruction surgeries this summer in Boston. Her friends and schoolmates have come to the rescue. They will be staging a fund-raising dinner and fashion show this evening at Landmark Village, Water Corporation Road, Victoria Island.
For members of the public and the members of this church who haven't paid tithes since this church started, I want you to assist Kechi with your money. I beg you to do anything you can for her. If you want to help, you can make enquiries by sending your emails to [email protected], or call 08-188-973-900 or 08-138-490-400
The Lord has given me this special assignment to plead with you. This sermon is my own little contribution to the cause of Kechi. May God help you as you help my friend Kechi who needs your help today. As you help her, so will God send you a helper to help you out of your own difficulties. Thank you and have a blessed day!