Bishop Theophilus Ugochukwu is the presiding Bishop and founder of Miracle Bible Church which is located at Mende Maryland, Lagos. He is a native of Imo State from Oru– East Local Government. He has been married for the past 25 years and blessed with three children. The ministry just celebrated its 17th anniversary. He shares his ministry experience and his after death experience with Collins Nkwocha. Excerpts:
How did you get born again Sir?
I got born again in Christian Pentecostal Mission(CPM) but before that, there was a deity my people used to worship I was four years old when the priest of the deity died. The name of the deity is “ Ogugu” it is carved like a woman that has a baby seated at her back. When my mother heard that the deity chose me to be the priest, my mother took me and handed me over to the Catholic Rev. Father. I lived in the parish for years. One day, the Rev. father told me that he had a dream, in the dream, I was conducting a mass with massive congregation, he told me that it means that God is calling me, he wants me to be his servant. He took me home to tell my mother about it, he told my mother that he will personally train me to be a Rev. Father. My mother thanked him and he took me back to the parish.
The next few days I got a shock. My mother came to take me away from the father. She said that the fact that I am not going to have children was totally disheartening, thus she took me away. I was later sent a letter to come home, there was no phone then. Behold when I came back, they told me that I was big enough now, I have to take over the mantle of leadership of “Ogugu” I told them that: I will never worship the wood”
They left the “Ogugu” with me out of annoyance and told me to do anything that pleases me with it. When they left, I took the deity and broke into bits. Having seen the havoc and damage I had caused, my mother urged me to flee or die. I became a fugitive instantly, I fled for my life, I was coming back to Lagos. When I got to the motor park, I was fortunate to have a bus that was almost ready to leave, with just one passenger left; I quickly paid and was set to leave for Lagos, when a man emerge suddenly and claimed to be the manager of the transport company. He told me that the wants to occupy the seat I had paid for, he ordered for my fare to be refunded, I almost cursed myself because I was just about two weeks old in faith when that incident happened.
I had to forfeit my seat and the manager took my place in the vehicle, I almost died of fear because I was trying to imagine what would happen to me, should the villagers catch up with me at the motor park. Fortunately, no one came in my pursuit and in the next two hours, I was able to board another vehicle that was Lagos bound, behold, as we were heading for Lagos, I saw the bus that I boarded earlier, it had a fatal accident and the person that took my place, died in the accident, I thanked God for loving me so much.
But you have not shared how you came to know Jesus in specific term?
I actually got converted through a friend, he was just newly converted and he came to visit me, I made mockery and ridicule of him and asked him if he had joined those mad people that were always shouting, he became ashamed and left in a hurry, immediately he left, I heard a voice say” you will follow him to that church. I taught he was hiding and talking to me, but I later realized that he was truly gone. Something inside of me, made me restless after his departure and I decided to go in search of him. When he saw me he assumed that I have come to make mockery of him once more, I told him that I will like to follow him to the church, out of shame and disobedience, he told me “go, go, come by Sunday, behold, I woke him up on that very Sunday and he took me to the church, that was exactly how I gave my life to Christ.
There was this story that you once died and came back to life. What was your experience?
I travelled to my hometown, and when I came back, I decided to go for general body checkup; it was in that course that a surgery was recommended to ascertain if there is cancer in my prostrate. The surgeon carried out a surgery and believed that it was successful, he never knew that I was bleeding inside I started feeling very weak and tired, my stomach started protruding, I felt like defecating and I was shown the toilet, when I got there, what I excreted was blood, it gushed out like water after that, I died and saw myself in heaven.
Heaven is a beauty to behold, there is no place in this world that can be compared to heaven, am not talking out of faith I am talking out of experience, we were all in the same attire, you will never remember that happened in this world, you will never remember you had a church, you will never remember you had a beautiful wife on earth, you will never remember you had children, God will take away the memory of this world from you totally, you are like a new being. All this hustle for denominational inclination in this world is just waste of time, because in heaven there is no denomination, churches and men of God should stop this denominational rivalries, it is not important to God, what matters is to have a personal relationship with God and serve him with all sincerity. I was elated that I had arrived, feeling very ecstatic; suddenly, something like a wave carried me and I heard a voice who said “GO AND TELL THEM THAT HEAVEN IS REAL” . I came back to life, I saw people crying, immediately they saw that I opened my eyes they started rejoicing that I was back to life, I was bitter and sad that I was brought back to this world, because I never wanted to come back. Ever since I came back to life, I have increased my love and quest for the things of God. I have been going round preaching the gospel of salvation for people to be saved and make heaven. We really need to rekindle the revival fire of the church, we need to be on fire for Christ.
What do you have to say about atheist, those who don’t in God and in the power of the supernatural?
Only a fool will say that God does not exist; with the happenings around you alone, you can deduce the impeccable truth that God exists. To be very candid, we can all feel the presence of God. I want to tell anyone that entertains such belief to discard it and come to Christ because heaven is real, I was there.
Sir, with the massive presence of churches in Nigeria, would you agree that Nigeria is feeling the positive impact of Christianity or not?
Nigeria is certainly feeling the positive impact of Christianity, if not for the church there would have been total chaos in Nigeria. It is the church that is preserving this country. In these days of hardship and hunger, it is the word of God that people listen to that restrains them from doing certain things and engaging in nefarious acts. I went to fuel my vehicle in the fuel station, a young man came around me and greeted me, I responded and asked him how he got to know me, he told me that he used to be an armed robber, he came to my church on a particular Sunday, and I made a declaration that anybody engaging in armed robbery will never succeed again, the declaration sank into him and he became afraid. They were supposed to go for an operation that night but he refused to go with them, in the course of the robbery, some members of the gang were apprehended and killed, he surrendered his life to Christ and that marked the end of his involvement in armed robbery.
Some churches now stage-manage miracles. Is it that God no longer performs miracles?
The power of God is still available and it will continue to be available you must know that anywhere theirs is original expect the fake to surface most of those people you see arranging miracles are not servants of God, these are people that have come to make mockery and merchandize of the work of God, they are native doctors who have decided to turn their demonic healing homes, centres and sanctums to churches. I strongly believe that very soon, God will vindicate his church.
What is unique about your ministry?
It is just about the call of God upon my life. God has manifested greatly in the way He has been dealing with me. The grace of God upon my life is the special thing about me; the special grace He put upon my life has made Him to establish His huge and massive presence in my ministry. The demonstration of His power in this ministry has been absolutely marvelous, God has used this ministry to liberate a lot of souls and set lots of captive free, God has been wonderful in this ministry; “He has provided answers” to various problems that we have called upon Him. His move and out pouring of His spirit has been great.