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Sharing his long and tortuous journey in the ministry, Rev. Victor Alfred Ekong, the Minister in charge and Founder of Citizens of God International Church based in Alagbado area of Lagos has told those who are fond of criticising Christian leaders for their good success in the ministry to stop castigating them.

He is of the view that if one really knows and understands what it takes to grow a church or ministry, one would not like to rubbish the good works the fathers of faith are doing.

“The bible says time and chance happen. So for anybody that attains good success in the ministry, I can say it is their time and God has permitted it.

“From my own experience it is not easy to reach the top in the ministry, just like in any area of human endeavours. There is the time of calling, there is the time of learning and there will be the time for one’s faith to be tested. It is when one passes through all these trials and eventually triumphs that one can talk of success in life and ministry,” he explained.

“So for anyone that makes it in the ministry, especially those that are blessed with earthly riches, I see it as God giving them ease and smooth sailing in the ministry, and if you care to ask them they have a lot of stories to tell, stories of ups and downs, of hungers and satisfactions, and days of midnight cries,” he stressed further.

He however did not hold brief for questionable characters in the ministry. He added, “God makes everything beautiful at His own time. I am waiting for my own time too. However this is not to encourage those who use diabolical means to attain physical success in life and ministry.

“It is not the best to measure success in life and ministry by physical possessions. Christians are called to be soul winners, and the Bible says the one that wins souls is the wise. We should also know that the bible encourages us to wait upon the Lord. Isaiah 40. 30 says “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. There is time of waiting in the ministry.”

Rev. Victor Alfred Ekong is a relatively young man and he believed he has had his own share in the trials and challenges in the ministry.

A graduate of Philosophy of the University of Calabar. Telling his own story he revealed, “I gave my life to Christ as a youth at the Aguda Assembly of Mount Zion Light House Full Gospel Church, Surulere, by Animasaun area, in Lagos. From there I progressed to become a member and worker at Deeper Life Campus Fellowship at the University of Calabar.” He also holds a Master in Public Administration of the University.

“From there I received a call of God though I was interested in serving in Deeper Life. I also attended the Redeemed Bible College at Breakthrough Campus here in Alagbado, in Lagos before joining Christian Pentecostal Mission where I served as a member of the prayer team before the branch pastor released me and my wife to start our own ministry. The minister in charge then Rev. Dr. Anthony Uduegbue inaugurated us. That was 2006.

“Along the line I was ordained an evangelist by Pillar of Truth Ministry. We left when the Church folded up before we were later ordained at Christian Faith Theological Seminary led by Professor Wilson Adoh who is now based in the United States of America. He is my mentor. He officially opened this Church.”

Even as he continued to struggle to establish his ministry, another blow came his way late last year just a few days before Christmas. He lost his beautiful wife. That was December 19, 2020.

“She was not sick. We had prepared ourselves to attend a vigil at a friends’s Church. While on our way she began to complain of being weak. At a place she sat down and could not move again. I had to call that my friend who came to meet us there. I took her to a private hospital where they told us to go to Ile Epo General Hospital, and we were looking for a vehicle to take us there.

“We saw a tricyle rider who we called to take us to the nearest hospital. It was shocking when the elderly man came, to tell us that she had given up her ghost. It was in the night and we could not go to the General Hospital again. That was how I lost her. Her name is Rev. Mrs. Annabel Victor Ekong, also from Akwa Ibom State.”

In spite of this he did not appear to have been discouraged. He explained, “The journey has to continue. We have to continue her unfinished assignment. It appeared like a set back but we have to move on. Where we are is a temporary property. We put the structure here temporarily, believing God for a permanent place.

“This is a growing Church. God has helped us to build this structure by ourselves but it is not the ultimate. We are here with modest members of men, women and men, youth and children.”

On what are his current challenges, he did not think twice to mention finance.

“Our current challenge is finance. If God provides us a piece of land we will know how to make the best use of it.  With money we will get land. We have been here now for eight years. I started in a room apartment, from there to my parlour in a two-bedroom apartment, then to a school premises and from that place to where we are now. Some members once suggested that we should move to a shop, but I did not agree to that, it would look like a set back. We are not going back.

“In everything God has been good. These 14 years of the Church have been a kind of years of growing and laying a solid foundation for the Church and the ministry. I am waiting on God to excel at His own time.

“Whatever happens, I look unto God. I don’t need to force anybody to help me. I am very sure God will send help at His own time. I will rather call on God to use good people to help me.

“I don’t believe in the idea that I or any young minister should suffer before breaking through. God can use any person to bless me. God gave David the gift of men around him. I don’t want a gift of just one man but many men. But God can do anything in His own way. We are praying for who would give without boasting or making him or herself another god for us.”

Despite the challenges he remained focused. “My aspiration is that God should establish His Church giving us a permanent place of worship, a mission bus, and gift of men to support our ministry. Our mission is an apostolic mission, to teach, preach, and plant churches all over the world, to work for God and with God which is the best business on earth. I am a professional teacher, and I teach to support the Church.

“Our vision is to preach the message of salvation to unbelievers, for repentance, to teach believers to work for God and with God, to unite the five fold major ministries and other minor ministries for the edification of the body of Christ, all over the world.” Citizens of God Church is situated at 16, Ifesowapo Street, off AIT Road, Coca Cola Bus Stop, Alagbado, Lagos State. Rev. Ekong can be reached through 08101840679.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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