Having heard and seen several amazing testimonies of people who had received the touch of God, some sections of the congregation at the monthly Holy Ghost Services of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) sometimes show little or no excitement over such accounts. A seen-all-heard-all syndrome.
They have repeatedly heard accounts of couples who had babies after several years of bareness; amazing cases of healing and deliverances from the grip of the demon, and of the dead rising to leave again.
But during the May Holy Ghost Service over the weekend, the congregation was expectedly thrilled by the case of doctors who could not find the hole they had discovered in the heart of girl they were to operate on after her mother said she prayed with a handkerchief blessed by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the church.
Aminat Adeniyi, a Nigerian wrestler, said with prayers she won medals at the African Championship in Port Harcourt and at the last Commonwealth Games, where her final opponent was so intimidating, she recited Psalm 23 on the mat and eventually won a gold medal she showed the congregation.
The congregation also heard testimonies of miraculous healings, and that of a family whose house collapsed but father, mother, and child survived because there was a small shelter in the rubble for them until help came.
But Oluwamayowa Dada, whose sister, Nike, died in Bayelsa state, had hardly finished his testimony when the congregation of thousands of people went wild.
“As I closed the door,” he tried to say repeatedly, but each time his voice was drowned by the thousands of people praising God with screams of joy, dancing and crying.
“As closed the door,” he tried again, and shouted the conclusion, “my sister, Nike, sneezed!”
At that point, the whole congregation jumped to its feet, some people dancing and screaming hysterically. The bigwigs on the altar, including Vice-President Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, as well as some state governors could not hold their emotion. They also jumped up to applaud God in the deafening celebration.
The cameras did not pick pastor Adeboye, but as it is his practice, he must have been mumbling his gratefulness to God.
Recapping the testimonies later in a show of appreciation of God’s power, he said he was happy his prayer for his spiritual children to do greater works is being answered. He took no credit for the handkerchiefs the church calls ‘mantle’. A mantle is any clothing item or material (handkerchief) that anointed men or women of God pray over as a medium of imparting grace.
Dada, who looked overwhelmed by the magnitude of his testimony and the wild response of the congregation, had narrated that how Nike passed on Bayelsa, but he couldn’t go there until 12 days later when his father ordered that he did.
On arrival there, he said he remembered the charge by Pastor Adeboye for people to enforce their miracles, and so headed to the room where the body had been embalmed. He did not explain why they did that, but it is done in some communities for various reasons, some financial.
Dada said he prayed fervently with the mantle, he waved to the congregation, but “nothing happened”.
Exercising his faith, he said, he repeated the prayers but “again nothing happened”.
After the third attempt, he said he gave up. He decided to leave but as he was closing the door behind him, “she sneezed!”
The Holy Ghost Service, which started at 6pm with prayers, had been charged with a praise and worship session of powerful inspirational songs to which the congregation danced and sang. This has become one of the popular sessions of the Holy Ghost Services as people use the opportunity to show appreciation to God for various reasons.
It was followed by the ministration Pastor JT Kalejaiye, who was cheered to the pulpit after he was announced. Preaching on the subject, ‘Habitation of the Almighty’, as part of the series ‘Stronger than your enemies’, he said one word or one person could change everything in a person’s life.
“Jesus, one man, can change everything,” he stressed and pointed out how making God the habitation could attract the benefits listed in Psalm 91: 1-10.
Among God’s assurances in the Psalm are that: “He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence; you will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday; a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you; and no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”
After the opening prayers for his sermon, which normally closes the Holy Ghost Service, Pastor Adeboye invited the congregation to join him in praying against the ongoing killings in the country. He warned that if Nigeria must live, the killings must stop.
Recalling the effect of the killing of 27 people, including two priests in Benue State last month, he said it threw him into a sad mood, prompting his wife, Folu Adeboye, to ask him in Germany, where they were holding a programme of the church, why he was not his usual cheerful self.
“As a leader people from various denominations call Daddy, the 27 people killed were my children who were in a church or returning from a church programme,” he said he told his wife who had not heard the news at tge time.
“As a father, I naturally became sad over that.”
Preaching his sermon later, he showed how the habitation of the Almighty makes the individual a special person to God, His treasure.
According to him, when you allow God to dwell in you, after being born again and living to please Him, He becomes your resident healer, keeping you healthy all the time; resident protector, who protects you around the clock; you become stronger than the enemy; your faith soars; and you live in peace that passes all understanding because He is the resident peace.
After the sermon, he gave members of the congregation 15 minutes to pray for what they wished for and later blessed them. (The Cable)