A comprehensive article concerning the charitable works of God at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nation in Lagos, Nigeria with Pastor TB Joshua, as written by the prestigious Tell Magazine of Nigeria…
For many, The Synagogue Church of All Nation is a house of miracles. But unknown to many also, some other kinds of miracles do come from The Synagogue. For a country where the poverty level is ever on the increase and people appear helpless, not a few believe that the time has come for the church to go beyond giving people spiritual food to giving more than a cursory attention to their physical needs.
One man of God who has realised this long ago is Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, better known as ‘The Man in The Synagogue’. For him, the situation of things in the country, especially as it affects the growing population of the needy, calls for all hands to be on deck. So, helping the needy is one cardinal principle that The Synagogue Church of All Nations holds in high esteem. According to the founder of the church, Prophet TB Joshua, “if millions of this generation are to believe, they must see proof that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He, therefore, admonished everyone to be a shining light where there is darkness, a channel of knowledge where there is ignorance and a channel of faith were there is doubt. According to him, “The Bible records that works of charity and righteousness go together. So, you cannot separate one from the other. This is what the Bible means when it says ‘watch and pray’. A Christian without work is dead.”
As a demonstration of biblical teaching of helping the poor, which includes the needy, widows, dwarfs and widowers, he organises different programmes to meet their needs. He was also very instrumental to the resettlement of over 200 people displaced as a result of the Lagos bomb blast of year 2000. First, they were accommodated in the church for no fewer than 20 days, with the church spending not less than N500,000 daily to cater for them. “At the end of the day, many of them could not go back to their homes because their houses were destroyed. WE had to give them between N200,000 and N300,000 for them to go and look for accommodation. If not, they would have continued to live in the church,” recalled the prophet.
Widows And Widowers Forum
This programme is targeted at widows and widowers in the society. It is designed to bring succour and relief to persons who have lost their spouses to the cold hands of death. In the words of Prophet Joshua, it is to encourage them in their Christian walk. The Bible, he says, teaches us that ‘in a world that cares less, we should care more” adding that Jesus is a ‘father to the fatherless, a defender of widows and husband to all’. Aside from feeding the widows and widowers with the Word of God, he demonstrated practical love for them by giving them various sums of money ranging from N50,000 to N250,000 to enable them to start their own businesses. Some of the beneficiaries could not believe their eyes as they rolled on the floor dancing and singing praises to God. They also thanked the prophet for making himself an instrument in the hands of the Almighty. It is not difficult to fathom why the women were so joyous. Some of them who shared their testimony told pathetic stories of how the pangs of poverty had ravaged their lives. They were poor and homeless, with their children out of school because they could not pay their school fees.
It is quite unbelievable that many of these beneficiaries are non-members of The Synagogue Church of All Nations. In their testimonies, they came to know about the programme on television when the forum for widows and widowers was aired. For instance, Olawunmi Kayode, one of the recipients who became a widow at the age of 23 with four children, told a heart-rending story of how the only property her late husband left behind was demolished by officials of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. With no house to stay in and no thriving business, life was hellish for Kayode and her children who had also dropped out of school. However, succour came her way after watching one of the Widow’s Forum programmes on television in Abuja. Though she had no transportation fare, she was determined to be in Lagos, hence she came by a lorry loaded with foodstuff. To here amazement, she was given N200,000 to start a new business. Widows were not the only people that were touched by the man of God. A widower, Raphael Bamidele, a professional mechanic who lost his workshop to local government officials, was also given money to re-start his life.
Integrating the Dwarfs
The man of God has instituted a programme to help dwarfs in the society. Dwarfs, he recognised, are rejected and neglected by their families and the mainstream in the society. In his efforts to integrate them into the society, he shared a wonderful moment with them, teaching them the Word of God. His sermon was titled: ‘With God, all things are possible.’ He told them to borrow a leaf from the biblical Zacchaeus who, though a short man, was not frustrated but was determined to see Jesus. So, he encouraged them to be focussed and to be good disciples of Jesus who created them. According to him, because they were dwarfs does not make them lesser human beings. He encouraged them to aim high and distinguish themselves in their various callings. As a way of integrating them into the society, he stated that the church was going to be concerned with their welfare, health, accommodation, food as well as education in the form of giving scholarships to those who are students among them. One of the dwarfs who is a student of the nation’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, was given N90,000 to enable him to settle his fees, accommodation and other needs in school. Another who is a student of Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin received N70,000.
Feeding the Destitute Persons at Okobaba, Ebute-Metta, Lagos
Like the biblical example when Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves of bread, and two fish when they were hungry. Prophet Joshua has also been feeding the destitute persons at Okobaba, Lagos, Apart from feeding them with prepared food, he also gave them some bags of rice. It was not only their children that were fed, the aged were also provided for.
Mohammed Baba, general secretary of the Okobaba Destitute Home, Abubakar Gaya, ‘emir’ for the crippled, Mohammed Daniru, ‘emir’ for the blind and Ado Ahamadu, ‘emir’ for the lepers, are full of praises for Prophet Joshua. “We are very happy! May God bless Prophet Joshua and Emmanuel TV,” declared Baba and many others. Baba said that Joshua had been with them even before the Lagos State government moved them away from the railway track in Ebute-Metta. He submitted that “If there are three or four people doing what TB Joshua is doing, the number of beggars would have been drastically reduced on the roads”.
Recently, the man of God donated food items and school uniforms for over 200 pupils of the home. This, according to Joshua, was to enable them to return to the classroom. The church also donated a bus to convey the children to school and their parents to the hospital for medical care. The sum of N300,000 was earmarked for fuelling the bus. Joshua equally gave out mobile phones to officers of the home to ease communication. According to Prophet Joshua, “This bus is provided to convey your children to school and return them. The bus will also be used to take you, the parents and aged people to hospital whenever the need arises. I make this solemn promise to sponsor the children up to university education because I believe that there are great leaders, presidents and ministers among them. If there is nobody to help them, there is no way they could achieve this.” While delivering the particulars and the key of the bus to Baba, Joshua promised to pay the driver of the bus a monthly salary. He also said he was ready to provide another bus if necessary. He further promised to arrange for doctors to come to the home regularly for routine medical check-ups for the aged among them. He also said he would find a lasting solution to their water problem.
But why is Joshua doing all this? “I feel what they feel because I was once like them. I have tasted poverty, abject neglect and suffering. So, I understand their pains. Regardless of their religion or belief, I love to help them; I am passionate to lessen their suffering and give them a new lease of life. I cannot say I won’t help them because there was no one to help when I was like them. I am a product of grace; therefore, I should show love. I know it is to be poor and I know what it is to have more than enough. More importantly, God has commanded us to help and be our brother’s keeper.”
Prophet Joshua and Peacemaking
Liberia, until a few years back, was in the throes of a civil war that left it prostate. The whole crisis snowballed following the death of Samuel Doe, the country’s then President. Doe’s family and others believe that it was Yormie Johnson, then a rebel leader, who was responsible for Doe’s death. This sad event, even though he was in the United States of America when it happened, was ever fresh in the memory of Mr. Samuel Kenyon Doe Jr, son of the late president, and he vowed to give Johnson the battle of his life whenever he had opportunity to meet him.
As a way of finding lasting peace in the country, the likes of Johnson had to go into exile. Nigeria offered Johnson asylum. While in Nigeria, he became a member of the church. And as fate would have it, Johnson and Doe Jr met in The Synagogue Church Of All Nations, Lagos, Nigeria, and Doe Jr. lived up to his vow. He drew a knife to stab Johnson in the course of the service and there was pandemonium in the church. But for the timely intervention of Prophet TB Joshua, who intervened by standing in between, it would have been a bloody service. There and then, the prophet initiated reconciliation between the two families.
Johnson, who is now a Senate President in Liberia, in a telephone interview explained: “I did not know that members of the Doe’s family were in the church. They were living in America but they came to The Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, seeking for God’s intervention in the problems that were facing them. I was in the church and somebody told him that ‘you see that man over there. He is Yormie Johnson that killed your father.’ What followed was that he went and brought a dagger to come and harm me.’
Johnson further recalled, “He said, ‘Oh! I have been looking for this man all over the world and I promised that wherever I see Yormie Johnson, I will kill him and kill myself. This is my time to deal with this man.’ But by the intervention of the man of God and by the Spirit of the Living God, he came forward and confessed that he wanted to harm me, that he had been planning it over the years, that whenever he sees me, he was going to kill me. That is how it all started. She, he confessed everything that he had in mind. The man of God brokered a peace and enjoined us to allow peace to reign. He prayed with us and the two families embraced, and he prayed with us.”
The Indonesia Crusade
Though Prophet TB Joshua is widely travelled and has conducted several crusades across the world, his crusade in Indonesia was a terrific experience. The reception he got from the enthusiastic people is that reserved only for kings. The young, the old, the poor and the rich in the society thronged the airport in their thousands to welcome the man of God to their country. Senior ministers of God and other ‘who-is-who’ in Indonesia were on hand to receive the man of God. A young boy and a beautiful young girl presented him with a bouquet of flowers as soon as he alighted from the aircraft. He was driven in a convoy of state-of-the-art vehicles through the major streets of Jakarta before begin taken to a five-star hotel.
On the night of the crusade, the people of Indonesia came in their thousands. And, to His glory, God used Prophet TB Joshua to open the eyes of the blind. The deaf heard and the lame walked. Many others were delivered from the oppression of the devil. However, there was a peculiar situation that revealed the overwhelming power of God in the life of the prophet. A man who claimed to be an agent of Lucifer, the devil, with a stubborn spirit, was also in the congregation. He told the prophet that he was angry with him and that he wanted to destroy him. But to the glory of God, the prophet of God made a mockery of him and defeated him in the open. The prophet cast out the seven stubborn spirits that were in him. Among them was Beelzebub, which made him to have hatred and anger for the man of God. The man, whose name is Fieri Samosir, later testified to the goodness of God after he was delivered by Prophet TB Joshua. He thanked God for setting him free and for giving him peace of mind like he had never had before.
Donation to the House of Love
Here, Prophet TB Joshua demonstrated his love for God and mankind as he personally provided for the needy in the city of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. It is instructive to know that the man of God truly displayed God’s love for all as he openly dined with those who live under the bridges, on railway tracks and the cemeteries. That he cares for the poor was further expressed when he gave $30 000 to the House of Love, as a way of boosting their activities. “Jesus is the Father of the fatherless”, he admonished the people who sang and thanked God. According to TB Joshua, “the rich and powerful want to oppress the poor, but God loves and provides for them; those who are weak and lonely should trust in the goodness of God.” The leader of the House of Love openly expressed deep appreciation to God and Prophet TB Joshua for making himself God’s instrument of blessing to the poor. “You are a blessing for the nation,” she told Prophet Joshua.
The Singapore Crusade
This was a unique experience for the people of Singapore. The crusade, which was a national event, was aptly titled, ‘Singapore Healing Campaign’. Held at the country’s international stadium, it was indeed a time of national healing as the rich and mighty, the poor, the sick, the weak and the forsaken that thronged the crusade ground left with testimonies. The two-day crusade program was an awesome experience as people came from neighbouring counties like Malaysia to be blessed by God. And to the glory of God, the blind received their sight, those with exotic diseases were healed, the demon-possessed were set free, while those who had been bound were delivered. As many testified, it was apparent that God had visited the country because the lives of many were transformed.
SOURCE: Tell Magazine – No. 52 – December 24, 2007