A feature article in Nigeria’s popular evening newspaper, PM News, detailing the inspiring charitable works taking place at The SCOAN. Remember, your rewards in life are determined by the problems you solve for someone else!
His words are witty but powerful. Perhaps this accounts for the number of prominent individuals around the world who have paid visit to Prophet T.B Joshua, head of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).
At the last count, presidents of various countries have been to the church, which is conspicuously located in the hilly Ikotun Egbe, a busy Lagos suburb. The Ghanaian president, Prof. John Attah Mills visited the Church before the keenly contested election in his country, which ushered in his government. He also came to give thanks for his victory. The King of Limpopo, Koshi Kgabo Moloto, and his Zulu, South African counterpart, King Godswill Zwelithni Kabhekuzulu have visited the church too.
Yet the man of God, renowned for his exceptional simplicity, is not satisfied, and until he is able to reduce the suffering and hunger daily experienced by the majority, he says his job is not done .
“People are helpless, they have no hope … They know what they want in life and can achieve them when faced with the right opportunities, but they are facing serious challenges in their lives and this is my utmost concern,” he has continued to emphasise – while asking, “How many of these people have you helped to become happy again?”
Little wonder, last Sunday, 8 November, 2009 the prophet declared a N4.3 million cash gift and scholarships to indigent students, especially the physically challenged. One of the beneficiaries, Miss Ibeabuchi Onyinyechi, who is a second degree student of the Abia State University where she currently studies Business Administration, would forever tell the story of her life and how the prophet has shown her there is life beyond disability.
The lady, who is now proud owner of a specially made car for the disabled, could not hide her emotions when she shared her testimony. “Before I came to this church, I was living a life of no hope…. from hand to mouth. I used to crawl on the ground because of the problem that made me unable to walk like every normal human being,” she said in an emotion-laden voice.
Onyinyechi continued, “But with the wheel chair donated by Emmanuel TV, a branch of the church, my mobility problem was solved. When I met the man of God, he took over my education problems and paid my school fees. He said he would continue to do so.”
The beneficiary told this medium that Prophet Joshua has also been taking care of her other expenses including payment for her accommodation, transportation and every other daily expense.
“Last session, we were here and he treated us well. Can’t you see me full of smiles? I am doing my masters degree programme and now this is my second year.”
Onyinyechi never anticipated that she would get more than just the school fees as usual, but that Sunday, after telling the church how she had fared academically, the prophet declared that she must go home with an automatic car. All others of her kind who were in the church for their school fees that day also got blessed with a car gift apart from their school fees, some bags of rice and wheel chairs.
For Adams Surajudeen, it was a tale of hopelessness turned victory over death and dejection. The final year Computer Science student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba – Akoko, Ondo State, said that being from a poor home, his condition got his parents discouraged. Though he wanted to go to school, there was no money and “l go to the street begging for alms. I used part of the money I derived to pay my school fees till I met Prophet T.B. Joshua. The man of God provided me with money enough to pay my fees, transport myself and solve other problems of life money can solve,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Nwokorobia Grace, a Mass Communication student of Imo State University, told P.M.NEWS that when she started watching the prophet on television, she knew that her time for God’s blessing had come. “He has assisted me since I first met him,” she added.
The man of God, who was deeply encouraged by these less privileged, said apart from the scholarships, he was setting up a Non Government Organisation (NGO), to cater for the needs of the poor in the society.
The beneficiaries of the NGO, he said, would include widows, those who are victims of social wickedness and those wrongfully accused of evil practices. According to him, “How would a normal person feel to see people like these litter the streets?”
Speaking about Onyinyechi, Joshua emphasized that, “a sister like this actually needs an automatic car since she has her two hands working. She is in the condition so that we can help to support her and others.”
Joshua added that the NGO would collaborate with some vehicle manufacturing companies for the manufacture of specially built vehicles for these set of people whom he said have been divided into 10 batches. “Even if there is nobody to support me, I can sell my property including my clothes and underwear to see that these people are happy,” he said.
But hardly had the man of God finished explaining the nature of the NGO when calls and e-mail messages flooded the church from every part of the world. While some promised several thousands of dollars, others promised to provide specially built vehicles most of which are Honda ,Toyota , Peugeot brands to the NGO for onward donation to the needy.
Hear Joshua: “This donation will be used solely for these special people. We will encourage them too to have good husbands and wives. If you have a beautiful church and the people there are suffering, then it is useless. The heat will continue until we are able to provide adequately for the needy. This is what ministry is all about and you know this has been my calling. I will not relent.”
He added that another paramount area the NGO, which name has not been made public, will focus on are “armed robbers, especially those who are tired of the act and want to be delivered. We will rehabilitate and help them find their bearings in the society,” he promised.
A church member, who gave her name as Musa, told P.M. NEWS that he had to change his religion after meeting the man of God. “I came to this church on invitation. But my orientation about the church and the man of God changed when I saw how he was helping the poor. Repented armed robbers have been rehabilitated and given money to start something. These people are really doing well.
“I can tell you categorically that this man is a father of over 12,000 needy people, some of whom he does not even know .This church is always busy, full of people and 90 percent are under the care of Prophet T.B. Joshua,” he told P.M. NEWS.
Musa may not be far from the truth. Recently, Mr Kefa Olatunji Taiwo, his wife and 11 children were brought out from a slum in Lagos where they had been living for several years due to acute poverty. The 60-year old man was looked upon as a lunatic due to this extreme condition. One day, he decided to visit The Synagogue, Church of All Nations. Mr Taiwo explained that the man of God suddenly came to him and said, “You are the one I am chasing. Where is your family? You are getting old and a man of your age should not be sleeping outside.”
The former furniture maker said he told the man of God that he had become a useless person. “I just went there to hide myself when it is night. This is a shameful place, but I have no alternative. That is why I stay there living like a mad man,” he told the prophet. But the man got a comfortable accommodation, his children all got scholarships and he was empowered with N300,000 and some bags of rice.
Close to this was the tale of Philomena Sunday, a mother of nine, whose husband died in 2004. Since then she became a regular visitor to dump sites, where she got her clothing and foods.
“Even the clothes we wear, we picked them up from the dust bin. Sometimes, if we don’t make it early to the dust bin, we don’t have anything to eat at all. We pick bread, groundnuts, yams and everything we could find to eat.”
She, however, claimed that she was one day approached by a lady she did not know. This lady, Philomena claimed, asked her what she was doing there. “My explanation must have touched her, but I didn’t know she had a video recorder with which she recorded us.
“The lady later gave me the video clip and directed me to go and see the prophet after hiring a bus for us. Even the clothes we wore to church were from the dustbin.
“After listening to our story, T.B. Joshua asked the whole church to come to our aid. I remember him saying ‘we must do everything possible to restore this family and make them part of our families and counsel them, we must not allow these children to be destroyed.’ And that was it. We got a donation of N500,000, some bags of rice and the Bible. He also promised to assist in the education of my children. Viewers around the world who watched us on television also donated money, which was given to us.”
She concluded by saying she daily offers prayers that God should strengthen the prophet and empower him to continue to help the needy.
His charity works, which have become widespread, have been attracting commendations, one of which recently came from Senator Anthony Agbo, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital.
The senator, who said he watched the church’s television and saw all efforts by the man of God to alleviate poverty, explained that the number of foreigners who trooped into the church made him think about any other spots in the county that could attract such influx of foreign nationals in Nigeria.
The senator, who is also the National Patron of the National Association of Disabled Persons in Nigeria, said the influx of foreign citizens to the church to benefit from healing and the ‘unparalleled charity works’ of the man of God made him happy to be a Nigerian in spite of everything.
“Watching Emmanuel TV, I cannot see myself fail to glorify God for giving this kind of gift and man of God to Nigeria. The TV channel has made Nigeria one of the world’s hottest spots for religious tourism.”
Agbo, while lamenting that the greatest problem bedevilling the country was poverty, also lamented that the situation is further compounded by the fact that the rich get richer but hold tightly to what they have because no rich wants to give the smallest bit of what he has to the next poor person in his community.
Hear him: “On Emmanuel TV, I see in contrast how an individual is being used to associate with widows with pathetic and plaintive cries as well as disabled persons who live under the bridges and on the streets of all states in this country.
“He clothes, feeds and rehabilitates them. Mother Theresa of Calcutta got the Nobel Prize and highest award in India. From what I have seen on Emmanuel TV within the last months, Pastor Joshua deserves a national award; not only for his charitable works, but to glorify God. It is not for him as a person but to God for giving this gift to Nigeria and Africa.”
But TB Joshua believes helping the poor remains the most important part of his work on earth. “People out there are waiting for you for a lifetime, to give them a chance to smile again. You cannot afford to fail them. Failing them is failing God. Remember, God is speaking to you through them, saying: ‘They are fatherless so that you can be their father; they are lonely so that you can be their companion; they are in want so that you can be their benefactor.’
Written by Eromosele Ebhomele
SOURCE: The PM News – Vol. 15, No 218