By Gbenga Osinaike
Samuel and Gloria are two of a kind. They had always thought about missions right from their university days. While Samuel started out as a volunteer missionary while he was a student at the University of Benin, Gloria also caught the vision for missions while she was a student in the same university years after Samuel had graduated. They did not meet each other while on campus but missions brought them together.
Gloria had gone on volunteer missions work on the field where Samuel was already operating when she met Samuel. But as God would have it, the two of them got talking and are now married. Gloria told our reporter that Samuel was not in the picture of the person she had wanted to marry initially. “But when he came and I searched my spirit, I was convinced he is the person God has chosen for me. I had to abide by the will of God.” She said.
So, coming on the missions’ field for her is like doing what she had always loved to do even when the circumstances on the field are not pleasant. The village they operate presently as missionaries does not have all the amenities that make life pleasurable. Though they have a rented flat in the town where they house volunteer workers on the field and also stay, they spend most of their time in the village in a single room apartment with decrepit facilities. They run a highly subsidized school, hold regular fellowships and disciple pupils.
The idea of going to full time missions for Samuel who studied Industrial Technical Education started about 11 years ago. His ambition had always been tied to missions. Though he tried to look for job in government ministry and an insurance company, the mandate of God upon his life would not allow him to settle for those jobs. “I remember when I wanted to take up a job with an insurance firm upon graduation the Lord asked me: “So, you want to leave souls and allow them to perish and instead sell insurance policy”
That message made him have a rethink. But that was not what really propelled him into missions. “Right from my university days in UNIBEN I was always going to the missions’ field on volunteer basis. We would go to villages as students start churches and hand over to established churches. So that was the background to missions that I had. By the time I left the university it was not much of struggle to obey God.”
But what further lent credence to his purpose in life was a revelation God showed him few months after he graduated from the university. “In that revelation I saw Oshiomhole and Obasanjo having altercations and eventually I saw that Obasanjo and some people entered into a container. I saw that I was at the entrance of Edo State. In that revelation I saw a crowd of people. I was with the crowd at the entrance of Edo State when I heard a voice say to me, “What have you come to do” the voice said to me again, “if you must preach in this place you must first preach to the strong man.
“The Lord then led me to the house of the strong man in the revelation. People were looking at him as I entered the house of the strong man in the village. I began to preach to the strong man. He was arguing with me. Eventually I told him I have delivered my message whether he was going to accept it or not. By the time I was through with the man in the dream there was thick darkness the man fell and I saw that I was speaking in tongues.”
By the time he woke up from the dream, he went to meet one Pastor T. Daodu who counselled him and interpreted the dream to him. “He was the one that told me God wanted me to work in Edo State. He said the bus and the people I saw in the dream represented evangelism and that Obasanjo and Oshiomhole stood in for the people in charge of the affairs of the place.:
By faith he moved to Edo in 2008 and stayed with a brother. From that revelation I knew Oshiomhole was going to become the governor of Edo State. Shortly after he got to Edo he was invited to a thanksgiving programme where he preached. It was through the programme that he got to know Ogiza village from where he began his missions. Just like it happened in the dream, he encountered a man in the village who was just like the man he saw in his dreams. He preached to him. The man began to argue. But as God would have it the man who was a cultist surrendered to Christ. It was a turning point in the village of Ogiza.
In the village by then the Church of God Mission had begun to do some work which Samuel keyed into. “What we do basically then was to teach the children of the village and also preach the gospel to them. We had primary school then and had about two classes. The classrooms were built with makeshift items from donations received from well-wishers. Years after the missions had gained ground, Oyebamji left for Abuja for some training in missions’ work. Unfortunately, there was nobody to take over the field from him effectively. By the time he was through with the training the children had all gone. The school which was free, collapsed.
That however did not deter Samuel. He said, “At a point I saw the children in the dream. They looked tattered and unkempt and were coming towards me. I felt terrible by that vision. But I have since gotten over it. Right now, we have gone back to the village and we are about to revive a fresh work there”
But presently he is in Akhukhauari village in Edo State. When our reporter visited him at the field the school was on holidays. But he told our reporter that what he did was to first start an adult school where some adults were taught how to read and write. Presently some of the adults in the village now read and write well. It was later he got to know that there was no school for children in the village. “Before now, what parents in the village do is to contribute money to send their children to town for school. The children would come and rent a room in town so they could attend school. Parents took pride in doing that. But we had to start a school for the children. Now there are about 60 children in the school.”
Apart from the school Samuel and his wife also run a discipleship programme in the village. They hold weekly Bible study with the villagers and the children. “The testimony is that lives are being transformed. There was a young boy who got saved in one of our meetings and went home to destroy his father’s shrine. The father surprisingly did not take offence. The father has since allowed him to continue to worship with us because he reasoned that there must be something extraordinary about the boy.”
Since what they run is just a primary school, the couple has had to help some children to secure admission in secondary school in cities. “What we do is to get some of the children and appeal to some of our friends in Lagos and Benin City to help them out. They live with them and they go to school too. One of them is presently writing WAEC. The good news is that though they are young they have missions’ orientation. There is also the story of a young boy called Suwe but now Philip. His mother died leaving him and his siblings at the mercy of a wicked step mother who drove them out calling them witches. Today he is doing well with us.”
Indeed, for both Samuel and Gloria, missions work is a way to fulfilling destiny.
They could be reached on 08062093283