2009 was the year that I first came to Port-Harcourt. It was a tumultuous year for me and my family in a way that was no longer possible. I had come from my home state, Enugu, to acquire knowledge in the prestigious University of Port-Harcourt, a task I did with utmost diligence.
As a new bee in town, Port-Harcourt offered a wide array of opportunities for experiences, for learning and association, away from the University environment where I was confined to and where I largely conducted my business. But something had come to interest me. It was something that I had never heard of before but would grow to cherish the enthusiasm of those who ventured in it. It was Salvation Ministry and the energy with which those who worshipped there mouthed the goodness of God in their lives, almost like a rehearsed audition, with a blossoming heart full of gratitude.
The energy was infectious in a special kind of way. It was equally awesome and I would attend the Rumuosi satellite church at the behest of a classmate on several occasions just to have a taste of this energy. I enjoyed the music from the choir and the preachings told me that there was still hope for me, a hope I still rely on up till date.
As a natural born recluse, I hid from many things, especially those that I did not understand. But I kept imagining why they were so proud with the way they worshipped our God, with the spirit of a conquerous army. It felt like nothing could stop them and nothing actually did, really. I would only stay to discover later, that the energy exhibited by my fellow students during campus fellowships were as a result of the inspiration, hope and blessings showered on them by the man himself, fondly referred to as Papa, Pastor David Ibiyeomie.
Unlike most campus fellowship then, Salvation Ministry stood out in many ways, not just in the firebrand method of evangelism where the message of salvation, of repentance and acceptance of God’s teachings made manifest in truth and words, where taken to people’s doorsteps, where converting wandering souls and bringing them to God’s own doorstep where salvation is assured and redemption is an instant was imbibed in their everyday activities that offered and continues to offer hope to the broken and putting smiles on the faces beaten by life’s many problems. Salvation Ministry has helped many to succeed and excel in life through the inculcation of the teachings of the holy book and honest interpretation of same and implantation of its principles in hearts and minds of believers. The ministry has transformed many lives and still reaching out to many more.
But how do you classify grace? Papa is the embodiment of grace in its entirety. It has been 21 years since the man of hope and after God’s heart, Pastor David Ibiyeomie, began converting souls and putting them in God’s eternal care, a care charged with glory. He has been over-dedicated to his call, playing the role without fear or favour.
He also recognizes the importance of youth empowerment as an integral part to national development. In this regard, the church has engaged in many youth empowerment programs through the David Ibiyeomie foundation, alleviating many of the today’s young people from economic hardship and putting them on a path to self-sustainance.
I had the opportunity to be at the headquarters of Salvation Ministry, at Birabi Street GRA during the 21-year anniversary celebration of the church. The energy was not unfamiliar. I have seen it on many occasions.
I also had the opportunity of first choice, as a young journalist, speaking to faithfuls who were full of praises to Pastor Ibiyeomie for the marvelous work he has done in their lives and the entire Christiandom. Listening to their testimonies confirmed one thing and others too: that Papa has brought salvation to the lives of many, took the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ to every nook and cranny of this country and beyond.
It has been 21 years of long walk of multiple experiences, shattering the shackles of evil kingdom and liberating souls chained by them. Papa will live to see many more years with fruitfulness that our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ guaranteed to those who believe.
Kenechi writes from Port-Harcourt and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 09056207991