The pandemic notwithstanding, the annual Global Mandate Conference for missionaries across Africa still held.
This time, it took place in four strategic places across Lagos. This was unlike previous years when it spanned four days in one venue.
The Convener, Rev Toyin Kehinde said the intention was to reduce the concentration of crowd in one place in obedience to Covid-19 protocol.
The new strategy however turned to be a great blessing with more people buying into the gospel of missions’ support.
The various venues for the conference which held from February 17 to 20 attracted about 150 participants in each of the large expansive halls. The venues were in Lekki, Alimosho, Abule egba and Ketu parts of Lagos.
But the message in all the venues was the same with slight variations depending on how the resource persons were led.
In all, the vision of a renewed commitment to missions came alive more than ever before. Some of the missionaries from across the country were also present in some of the venues to share their testimonies.
The convener, Pastor Toyin Kehinde who is also being supported by the Lagos State chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria declared at the venues that the work of the master has to be done irrespective of the pandemic.
He said the church needed to strategise on how souls would be won to the kingdom in times like this when travelling and large gatherings are being discouraged.
Global Mandate and the health challenge
With the theme, “Harvesting in unstable times”, the goal of the conference was clear. It was designed to equip missionaries with new skills in the face of the pandemic and other sundry challenges in the world.
At the Go Ye Evangelical Church, Alimosho centre where this reporter visited, several resource persons including the chairman of Lagos PFN, Apostle Eyinnaya Okwonu were on ground to share insights on how to reach out to souls during the pandemic.
Of great significance, however, is for the missionaries to be in good health and be covid-19 free so they could carry out the task of soul-winning.
Dr. Tunde Oladoyinbo, a medical doctor with over 40 years’ experience was on ground to educate participants on health issues. His experience as a missionary in Mali was also handy.
Oladoyinbo was quick to allay the fears of participants concerning Covid-19 stating that though it is real, there was no reason to fear the pandemic.
He noted that the virus had always been there but that it just started affecting humans. “It’s really noisome pestilence; announcing itself all over the world. It is there but we must not fear the fear of the world. We must have a faith approach and a commonsensical approach. Nothing has happened that is beyond Jesus.”
Oladoyinbo announced however that though the virus looks mighty, “it is susceptible to the smallest of things, soap. God will disgrace covid-19. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide cost less than N500 and it can be used to treat mild symptoms of covid-19.
The use of a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash and gargle, at least twice a day has been found to be effective in asymptomatic patients. Steaming has been found to be effective too. Make sure you steam for just about 30 seconds it will help to forestall any infection from the virus.”
While noting that there was no lockdown in Oyo State throughout last year, he said, “Oyo did not lockdown. People prayed in Ibadan. This is an opportunity to find out that the name of Jesus can kill the virus. Let us begin to pray believing prayers. We must begin to hold the hands of God and say enough is enough. We must pray for the healing of those who are sick.”
He said many are looking in a high-tech direction but the solution to covid-19 is simple. “We need to encourage compliance to all covid-19 protocols. Let’s obey all the rules, wash our hands regularly, avoid crowded areas, use nose mask and we will be fine,” he said.
Rev. Kehinde while taking a session said he just got fed up with negative news in the heat of the pandemic assuring however that whatever is born of God will overcome the world as stated in the KJV version of 1John5v14.
He underscored “the what”, stating, “We should note that the scripture says what. So, we should understand that whatever is born of God will overcome the world. A vision that is born of God will surely overcome. If your ministry is to move further you have to change your vision.”
He said the 12 spies went to Jericho and came back with reports of fear and faith. “Some saw Giants some saw God. Sometimes the situation looks more real to us than God. Jesus never sent us out in our power. The spies saw differently,” he said.
Kehinde also noted that the disciples and the Samaritan woman by the well in the city of Sychar saw differently. “The disciples saw food when they left Jesus to the town. But the woman Jesus was talking to by the well saw souls when she went to the village of Samaria after she left Jesus. If you’re not seeing right you won’t go right,” he declared.
Taking care of sorcerers in suit
The Chairman of PFN, Apostle Okwuonu came hard on clergymen who merchandise the power and anointing of God in his message.
Quoting copiously from the Bible, Okwuonu observed that the gospel of God’s kingdom is competing with other gospels. These other gospels according to him promote sorcery, humanism and the philosophies of men. “many ministers are no more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. There are many sorcerers in suit, Pentecostal are now becoming judaizers. Prayer shawl has now become an amulet among some Pentecostals. Some are just title crazy.”
Okwuonu who was recently named the chairman of PFN following the passing on of the former PFN chairman, Bishop Sola Ore lamented the decadence in the Pentecostal circle.
“Many pastors are taking advantage of the people. Some people just like to inflict punishment on themselves. The gospel is simple but we don’t want the simplicity of the gospel.”
He wondered why some pastors ask distressed people who are sick to fast before they could be prayed for; noting that it is the pastor that should do the fasting for the sick, not the other way round.
“Jesus never asked any of those he prayed for, to fast. When he prayed for the possessed and said this does not go except by prayer and fasting, he was not referring to the possessed but rather to the person doing the praying.”
Okwuonu said the only way the church can gain its voice back is for believers to live right and do the right thing.
He said, “We have allowed so much compromise. Sorcerers and diviners have taken over the pulpit” adding however that, “we are entering a season where the Church is being positioned to take care of those who are not doing it right.”
As the conference progressed, Pastor Uche Izuora shared the testimony of how God led him to South Sudan in 2005 and how he and his team laboured in that part of the world till 2013 when the country was plunged into tribal wars.
They relocated from there to Uganda and have incidentally been making great impact as they found themselves in the midst of the largest collection of Muslims in that country.
Enhancing your finance in unstable times
Pastor Olumide Olugbenle, Lead Pastor of Rehoboth Centre, Lekki, talked about financial stability in unstable times. He charged missionaries to look inward and explore opportunities on the missions’ fields rather than complain about the situation they find themselves in. He said every problem is an opportunity to prosper. He cited instances of people who prospered during difficult times in the Bible noting that adequate preparations by learning from the word and the world deliver generations.”
Olugbenle who is also the PFN director of training said every mission field has what it takes to support the mission work. “God has given man dominion over the things he created not fellow man. So, we should be able to use the intelligence God has given us to create wealth.”
He advised against impulsive spending and encouraged participants to do away with material things that have no lasting value. “Having cars parked in your compound when they don’t add value is a liability. It is the land that is an asset, not the building because the building may not fit into another generation.”
He highlighted several parameters that can be used to measure one’s financial stability including, what you owe, what you own, what you earn, what you spend, surplus management, shortage financing and financial literacy.
Bishop Abraham Olaleye, though did not minister at the Alimosho centre had sent in words in the programme pamphlet encouraging participants to remain strong in the task of soul-winning. He said the situation around the world is a wake-up call for the church. “the gloom and darkness that we have with us have been perfectly described by Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 60:2a where he states, for behold the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people…”
“..The promise of God is to arise over us and His glory to be seen upon us at such level that the Gentiles will come to our light and kings to the brightness of our rising. By my understanding, this is another opportunity the Lord has given the church to shine the brightest light.”
Pastor Bode Orekoya in his charge noted that the believer is guaranteed a continuous enjoyment of God’s grace as long as the interest of the harvest is paramount.
He enumerated reasons why believers find it difficult to see the harvest stating however that, winning souls does not end with catching souls. He stated that the soul won has to be fed with the word, deliberately mentored and has to be helped to develop “right relationship with God so that they will be able to stand on their own”
The need for continuous praying and intercession by labourers in God’s vineyard was underscored in the delivery of Rev Emmanuel Ajose. He observed that the Bible had already predicted the times noting however that the weapon of prayer can’t be overemphasized.
The call to pray
He cited several examples of servants of God that prayed in the Bible and how they made impact in their generation. He also highlighted the areas of concern in the place of prayers stressing that the missionaries have a duty to stand in the gap for others.
The GMC ended on a thanksgiving note on Sunday, February 21 with the conveners, Rev Toyin Kehinde and his wife, Dr. Shade Toyin Kehinde, thanking all the pastors who made available their churches for the conference. They also took ample time to thank the Lord for his mercy and for making the 2021 edition of the conference a great success.
Indeed, the conference turned out better than in previous years in terms of the number of people impacted. Though many of the missionaries outside Lagos could not come physically as was the case in the past, they were able to hook up online. Beyond that, the awareness for mission support took a leap.