For about 15 years now, Bible Standard Church, with headquarters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has been conducting a national gospel outreach in any one state of the country every October.
In recent years, the outreach, tagged ‘Bible Standard National Mission’ has held in Lagos – 2011; Abuja – 2012; Aba, Abia State – 2013; Calabar, Cross River State – 2014; Amassoma, Bayelsa State – 2015 and in 13 centres in Akwa Ibom State – 2016. A week or so after the national mission, State Mission is also held in states that the church operates branches.
This year’s National Mission of the church held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, from October 20 to 22 while state mission held the week following. The outreaches were by any standard an impressive souls harvest. They have over the years served as very dependable instrument for urban and rural evangelization and have helped thousands to make peace with God and lead lives that promote unity and progress of society.
The mission to Rivers State, which shared the theme “Victory in Life”, with the event in the states, held in the auditorium of Bible Standard Church, on Road 3 of Radio Estate, opposite Africa Independent Television in Ozuoba. It was indeed a set time for spiritual visitation and God’s blessings on the people of the state and residents of the Garden City in particular. It was preceded by weeks of prayer and publicity, which were crowned by a powerful youth rally in parts of the engaging Port Harcourt city, October 19 -a day to the event. On that same day, an advance team of missionaries arrived from the national headquarters to factor the publicity campaign and seal the prayer buttons.
The heavens were wide open the following day when the church’s state pastors hit town. These were Simeon Simeon, Lagos; Asuquo Edet, Cross River; Bassey Akpan, Ogun; David Udoh, Bayelsa; Nsikak Udosen, Abia and John Axe, Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and Nasarawa State.
The arrival of the general overseer of the church, Pastor Umoh Ekwo later that October 20 – with a number of national leaders of the church, mainly pastors and evangelists, announced that Port Harcourt had practically come under revival fire. As it were, the rain that had daily assaulted the city ceased at about 3.p.m of that day, to return the day after the event. An excited Obong Akpaekong, Rivers State pastor of the church and a former senior associate editor of Newswatch said rain disappearing in Port Harcourt for three days at that time was answer to prayer and “miracle number one.”
The three-day Port Harcourt crusade reminded one of the great evangelistic outreaches of the early church and has remained something to remember. The crowds were lively and yearning for a touch from heaven. The prayer moments were power-packed and very inspiring. One of them was a mountain-moving prayer and fast, where Pastor Simeon exhorted the people to believe God for outstanding victory. There were prayers for personal issues, for God’s blessings for Rivers State people and prosperity of God’s work in the state. Prayers were also made for the healing of the nation.
The sermons came with great anointing. Pastor Ekwo preaching on the topic, “Victory over long time problems”, urged the participants to put their faith in God, who he said was able to make them succeed in life and give them victory over every persisting issue. He read from Mark 5:25-33, where the Bible tells the story of the woman with a 12-year issue of blood. The woman, he said, was healed after she touched the garment of Jesus. Ekwo told the people that God was bigger than any problem in life and urged them to approach God in righteousness and with faith. He cited Hannah’s barren condition as recorded in I Samuel 1, saying God, who put away her pain and stigma of barrenness was able to take those suffering one setback or another in life to the side of victory. “It is not the will of God that you should be a failure in life. Your story is going to change”, he told the people adding, “When man’s effort comes to an end, God takes over.”
In another homily titled, “Victory over temptation”, Ekwo said temptation is one weapon the devil uses to cause many to fall from the faith and fail in life. He said temptation does not respect fasting or prayer and shows its face even when one is in the spirit. Reading from 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, the man of God explained how temptation was common to man and urged Christians to endeavour to always overcome it if they must have victory in life. After each sermon, Ekwo led in a powerful prayer session with a call that saw many rushing to the altar to make peace with God. Many were set free from various setbacks in life – sickness, spiritual bondage, poverty, etc.
The 2017 mission outreach in the states was equally impactful and sufficiently eventful. In Lagos, it held in Bariga, where one of the two branches of the church is located. It was graced by Ekwo, who described it as an “awesome moment” of heavenly visitation on the people.
From October 26 to 28, General Overseer Ekwo again led 16 evangelistic teams to conduct similar mission crusades in 16 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State. The centres were Urue Offong in Orue Offong/Oruko local government area (LGA); Odot in Nsit Atai LGA; Nung Ikono Ufok in Uruan; Idu, (the Uruan council headquarters) and Abak in Abak LGA. The others were Oko Ita in Ibiono Ibom; Ibiaku Ntok Okpo in Ikono; Ikot Udo for the churches in Ibesikpo Asutan axis and Ikot Edibon in Nsit Ubium. Other centres were Afaha Nsit for Etinan axis; Uquo in Esit Ekit; Okoroette in Eastern Obolo and Ikot Ibritam in OrukAnam council area. Three new centres including Udung Uko, Obot Akara and Ika were added this year to the 13 centres the crusade held in 2016.
Ekwo said many centres were created in Akwa Ibom State because of the need to bring the word of God and the miracles of salvation, healing and prosperity closer to grassroots communities of the state, which has over120 branches of the church, spread across 31 local government areas. He said he was happy that the hand of God was seen everywhere during the 2017 Mission treat.
Hear him: “In Port Harcourt, people rushed to the altar to make peace with God. It was the same elsewhere with healing and deliverance everywhere. Mission 2017was a real harvest of souls.”
Akpaekong said the crusade “moistured the ground’’ for greater souls harvest. He said the immediate focus of the Port Harcourt church will be to open more branches in the state. Edwin Ene, a member of the board directors of the church, who led the session of fund-raising for evangelism told Christians to consider their contribution to God’s work as investment.