David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
This is not the best of times for the Assemblies of God Church of Nigeria, though there is a biblical injunction that Christians in every situation should give thanks to God.
The church recently lost the first superintendent of the Nnewi District, Rev. Joseph Chialu. His funeral at Umudioka, Awkuzu in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State was a roll call of who-is-who in the church.
General Superintendent (GS) of the church, Rev. Dr. Chidi Okaforoafor, delivered a an emotion-laden homily that provoked tears from those present. It would not be an exaggeration to say that heaven was let loose as the place practically became revival ground where hundreds of converts were recorded.
It was so touching that when he made an “altar call”, many at the funeral arena began to come out in droves, some were crying, perhaps for their sins, as they came out to be prayed for, to receive salvation and escape eternal punishment.
Okaforoafor explained that given the fact that someone was a bishop or whatever high position in society would not guarantee express visa to heaven except man received Jesus and did His will while living.
He told the sympathizers that expiry date was written on the forehead of every one of them, on every human being and for them to amend their ways, if still living in sin, before it would be too late:
“I am not worried about how you started because you may have started well. I am not worried about how you are doing because you may have been doing well. But I am worried about how you will end the race.”
The cleric noted that late Rev Chialu had ended his race and described him as a silent achiever and great man of God who made laudable contributions to the growth of the church. He noted that it was not how long one lived that mattered but how that life was lived.
Widow of the cleric, Caroline, said: “I will remember my husband for his effort in directing the family to the road to heaven. He made me and other members of the family to know Jesus. I shall continue from where he stopped to make sure that our children continue to run the race following the model he set for us till the end. It shall not profit any man or woman that you came to the world and disregard the word of God and eventually you die and go to hellfire.”
Rev Paul Odii from Nnewi District said that the honour given to Chialu at the burial was in fulfilment of God’s promise in the scripture that He would honour those who honoured Him. He said that the deceased was a dedicated Christian in all practical terms, therefore, deserved the honour given to him at death.
It was tributes galore from family members, fellow clerics, friends and well wishers talking about late Rev Chialu as a fulfilled clergyman who ran his race very well. Thirty-six districts of the church from three zones in the South East were represented at the burial.
Those in attendance included Rev. Pastor Ejikeme Ejim, Assistant General Superintendent of the church and Rev Godwin Amaowoh, General Secretary.