PLUCKING figures out of nowhere to win the popularity contest in Christendom is not going to stop soon. But the world has identified a man of God who remains a human.
In the highly spiritualized world of Christianity, it’s most easy for those labelled men of God to forget the man in their title. On a scale of 1 to 10, there are just a handful of them that can tip the scale at 10 for still being conscious of their tie with sinful mankind. And Pastor T.B Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations ranks well among the few in Christendom.
As a man of God, he takes pleasure in sharing his humanity with people. He does that for love’s sake. That’s his own way of walking with God. “A Christian is someone who is lifting the load with God, walking with the Lord, facing persecution and trials with the Lord, in unison with God,” he said in one of his messages.
So it becomes natural for him to feel what the other battered mortals feel, and, in unison with God, lift their burdens as many as he can. Those he has so touched are in their thousands. And, like Christie Pua, they can’t help telling their stories.
Christie is an Indonesian married to John Egesi, a Nigerian businessman in Indonesia.
Fate dealt them a tough hand when the family of four came to settle down in Nigeria. From Imo they ran to Lagos, where they ended up with no roof over their heads after they couldn’t pay their hotel bills.
In that hopelessness, Christie and her kids, dying to go back to her country, hit the street, begging to survive first, while Egesi hustled around at Alaba International Market. “Sometimes I came home with just N200 for the whole family to spend. On other occasions, nothing,” Egesi said, weeping as he shared his story on a Sunday service.
They eventually found their way to the Synagogue where their story took a dramatic turn. The SCOAN and Emmanuel TV Team took them in and fed them while waiting for Prophet Joshua to meet the family.
Anybody can guess right at what the prophet would do in that situation, an opportunity for him to share in the burden of the Egesis. Certainly, he has seen and shared lots more tear-jacking experiences like that in Nigeria.
Onyinyechi Ibeabuchi was a downbeat postgraduate student of the Abia State University then. She usually used both hands to propel her damaged frame from one point to another. And so she waddled into SCOAN for help that year. And help she did get when she met Joshua. Ibeabuchi rode out of the church that day in a new wheelchair and N93, 000 dole-out for accommodation, feeding and tuition fees. She later visited SCOAN, with her husband, to thank the man of God, She meant just to thank him and SCOAN. But something bigger happened: Joshua gave the couple a brand new car and N200,000.
Countless other kind gestures of Joshua’s, coordinated by SCOAN’s humanitarian arm; dot the landscape across Haiti and other crisis-ridden zones around the world. Many of these are already documented in a 352-page book, Roadmap: Reaching Out To A Troubled World, the Synagogue just published.
According to the book, Joshua and his team have initiated projects catering for the needs of widows and widowers, little people, the elderly, the physically challenged, orphans and the impoverished.
“As part of its international disaster relief efforts, the SCOAN has established a permanent primary health clinic in Haiti,” the book stated. The church provides scholarships to orphans and children of the less privileged, with educational support given to university level.”
Deviants and addicts also have their place in SCOAN’s programme. Repentant armed robbers, prostitutes and militants are rehabilitated and supported financially to help them adjust.
There are other individual encounters when Joshua has brought honey to replace bitterness in people’s experiences, and the change thereafter is never hidden. “We are full of joy now for the life we now live through the grace of God courtesy of Prophet T.B. Joshua and the Emmanuel TV,” the Egesis said.
How happy could they have been? A stone-broke Egesi got N500, 000 and a promise of a job. The man of God also secured Christie and her kids their travel documents and flight tickets, all costing about $7000. She got $3000 as spending money, too. The kids got a scholarship to study anywhere in Indonesia.
All the thousands the prophet has so blessed, including the Egesis, have kept spreading the news around the world. The amount of attention and the reach it gets now have resulted in some kind of ranking: T.B Joshua remains the most popular name in Christian philanthropy and humanitarian efforts in Africa.
Maybe he is until Pew Research Centre says otherwise.