From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Mrs. Adeola Ajani (not real name) is a petty trader. She had everything reasonably working for her until the death of her husband.
Two years down the line, things became difficult for her to feed her three children due to financial challenges. Her husband did not leave much behind for the family.
The widow did not have any hope of celebrating this year’s Christmas with her children because of cash crunch. But she prayed to God to intervene so that she would be able to put food on the table for her children.
Barely two weeks to Christmas, God answered her prayers using the Global Harvest Church (GHC), Outer Ring Road branch, Ibadan, Oyo State. The church gave her a voucher, which she used to shop for items she needed for the Yuletide.
The widow was one of the close to 600 underprivileged persons who benefitted from a benevolent exercise, Shop4Free, organised by the GHC, to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
Beneficiaries came from Ibadan and Abeokuta, Ogun State. With vouchers, they shopped and picked items, including rice, beans, garri, cash sums, clothing, bags, shoes, toothbrushes, vegetable oil, palm oil and tomato paste.
The minister in charge of the church, Pastor Anthony Faleye, told Daily Sun: “This Outer Ring Road branch of Global Harvest Church started 10 years ago. It has been moving from glory to glory, right from the beginning. We started from a tent and then we moved to another temporary building before we moved into this bigger building.
“A set of less than 50 people were sent from the headquarters of the church to the site of Outer Ring Road branch to pioneer a church, under the leadership of Pastor Sporty Adewumi and his wife, Pastor Sade. I took over from them.
“God has blessed our members, right from the beginning up till this moment. We are grateful to God for the great impact we have been able to make.
“We had a benevolent event on Saturday, December 4, 2021, called Shop4Free. Members gave food items, money, wears, and so on, so that we would be able to bless our community. We had over 500 people from our community that we blessed free of charge.
“We called it Shop4Free just to attract people. During the exercise, 59 souls gave their lives to Jesus Christ. The beneficiaries got rice, beans, clothing and so on. We also had a raffle draw. Someone got a refrigerator, two other people got standing fans. Everyone was excited.
“We are glad that we were able to put smiles on people’s faces who did not have any hope for Christmas. We are glad we were able to give them food for Christmas.”
Vice-chairman of the planning committee for the project, Mr. Shekinah Amedari, said: “We give God the praise for the vision that He has given to our father in the Lord, Rev. Victor Adeyemi, and our mother in the Lord, Rev. Jumoke, who have followed a particular pattern for over 25 years in the ministry.
“The Lord lay it in their hearts some years ago to organise a particular moment, where they can give back to people who are underprivileged. That vision has been running for the past 12 years. It has been going right from the headquarters branch at Liberty Road, Ibadan, spreading to other branches.
“So, Saturday, December 4, 2021, was the first time we would have such in that magnitude. It was called Shop4Free, at our Outer Ring Road branch.
“Each beneficiary came to take a voucher worth N5,000 and purchased items that had already been tagged in the hall. We as a branch, we are 10 years old. To mark the anniversary, we decided to host a Shop4Free event.
“This vision also came to us through the pastorate, led by Pastor Anthony Faleye, and his wife, Pastor Diekololami. The project was headed by Mr. Charles Lawal.
“To God be the glory, we had close to 600 participants who received items worth thousands of naira. At the end of the exercise, there was nothing left. Everybody got everything he or she needed.
“We had about 150 volunteers for this project. Everyone was glad that we did it. The beneficiaries picked the items by themselves. People also came from Abeokuta. We also had medical outreach, where people were treated for free and were given free drugs.”
Chairman, Shop4free planning committee, Lawal, said the aim was to reach out to those in need this season of Christmas into the New Year:
“The decision was informed by the desire to get them to have a reason to enjoy the season by giving out foodstuff, clothing, shoes, bags, toiletries, house appliances and have medical support all for free.
“Beneficiaries were picked by registration through SMS to a dedicated line. Codes were given to each pre-registered beneficiary. They then came on the event day and followed the process of registration at the venue. They were fed with the word of life in Jesus and had their vital body signs checked through medical outreach. They spoke to a doctor, if there was a need, shopped for clothing, shoes, bags and other items. Finally, they were given a packs containing different food items.”
“This project is a special one from the Senior Pastor, Rev Victor Adeyemi, the Overseer of Global Harvest Churches Worldwide. He has a passion for people and desires ways to show love to those in need.
“Our branch of Global Harvest Church, Outer Ring Road, organised this event, Shop4Free, for the first time. We have held similar events, where we gave back to the communities within the church environs on different occasions; foodstuffs, clothing, medicals, eye treatment and lots more. We desire to do much more and give much more as the Lord enables us.”