By Gabriel Omonhinmin
Exactly 22 years after the passing on of Archbishop Benson Idahosa, his immediate family members, in an epochal and emotional ceremony in Benin City, formally handed over the Holy Bible, one of his prized possessions, to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy Church worldwide.
The Archbishop’s immediate family members, whose patriarch is regarded as the father of modern-day Pentecostalism in Nigeria, said their decision to present Oyakhilome with their Papa’s personal bible as a gift, was a mark of appreciation, for his kind gestures towards them, Benson Idahosa’s University and the Church of God Mission International Worldwide over the years, after the demise of their father.
Bishop Idahosa personally used the bible, packaged in a red box, to preach the gospel in over 150 countries. The Bible symbolizes Elijah’s mantle that fell on Elisha when the former finally decided to ride the wild wind to heaven. The late Archbishop’s family members believe that the bible gift will benefit Oyakhilome as he continues with the work of evangelism and soul winning globally.
Similarly, the praying Chair used by Kathryn Khulman, which was gifted to Pastor Benny Hinn, was also handed over to Oyakhilome, in a ceremony last year. Idahosa transited to glory on March 12, 2000.
This date is usually commemo- rated yearly by the late Archbishop’s immediate family members led by his widow, Margret Idahosa. Friends and Christian associates were also not left out in the solemn ceremony in Benin City. Christ Embassy, also known as LoveWorld Incorporated or Believers’ Loveworld, was founded by Oyakhilome in 1987.
On that day, he donated one billion naira, faculty of engineering building to the Benson Idahosa Uni- versity, Benin City. Oyakhilome in an emotion-laden voice, during the commissioning of the faculty building in Benin City, revealed how Idahosa inspired him in the Christian Ministry, where he is now a giant.
He said the Archbishop, who is the founder of Church of God Mission International, “told me about his passage three months before the actual incident happened on the 12th of March, 2000.”
“When I made this donation to the Benson Idahosa University, it was just an opportunity for me to say thank you to the late Archbishop. I’m just one grateful person among so many other persons, who encountered him while he was alive. I am grateful for many things, firstly for what and who Archbishop Benson Idahosa was to me.
“On my way to this event, I thought about the legacy of this great patriarch. I, therefore, count myself highly honoured to have been given the opportunity to be here to join in this celebration. Oyakhilome gave a graphic account of what happened on the day Idahosa died in Benin City.
He said: “On that day when it happened, Rev. Tom was in Benin City and it was him that called me on phone and said Pastor, there is an announcement on the television screen here in Benin City, I don’t know what it is talking about. I then asked him, what is the announcement all about?
Rev. Tom said, they have just announced that the Archbishop has passed on. “Although, Rev. Tom said he did not understand what the news was all about, I understood what the announcement was all about because the Archbishop had earlier told me about his own passage, when he invited me over in December, the previous year, and said to me ‘see me before the 14th of March, 2000.’
“The Archbishop thereafter called his secretary and asked her where was my card. Fortunately, the Secretary came with the card. The Archbishop then wrote something on it.
The Archbishop again said to me, remember to see me before the 14th of March and I said, yes Sir! “I then thought, the Archbishop must know why he sent for me.
On meeting him, he said follow me and I followed him. He took me round and kept on saying, just for your inspiration and I kept on following him, in the process, we went round the church premises, and back to sit down, and he talked about what he was doing about Benson Idahosa University.
He had a picture, a large picture in his hand and he was talking about the university and other issues. The Archbishop then said to me let me pray for you, kneel down, I immediately went on my knees. ‘It was then it dawned on me that this was the reason he sent for me. Years before this particular encounter with Archbishop Idahosa, the Lord had shown me what he was going to do, on that particular occasion.
The Lord had revealed to me that the Archbishop will send for me and what he was going to do on that day. But what was not clear to me then was when this incident would happen. But while I was with the Archbishop, he said to me ‘kneel down and let me pray for you’. He laid hands on me and spoke words of the spirit.
“It may interest you all to know that two years before this particular encounter with him, I was at a stage in my life, as a young preacher just coming into the Ministry, thinking of what I was going to do, because I did not just have ministers, who had or took personal interest in me.
“This type of problem is what most young ministers encounter daily. I then began to write down the names of the ministers I had thought to contact. The first name on my list was Archbishop Benson Idahosa. He and I also wrote down the names of two other persons I would love to contact. While I was thinking of how to reach these other persons, I heard the Archbishop say, ‘I will contact them for you.
I will get them to contact you instead.’ It was a short while after this strange encounter that I got the message that the Archbishop wanted to see me. “There is no doubt whatsoever that the late Archbishop changed the face of Christian worship across the globe.
I was inspired by several pictures of live miracles hung on the lounge of Archbishop Idahosa’s office where I worked as a teenager. Before then, I would always stare and stare at these pictures and imagine things they meant to me, all to myself alone, because as a young man, I could see so many miracles in my Bible. But with those miracle pictures hung on the Archbishop’s Office walls, I then knew and believed that it was possible to perform miracles.”
Oyakhilome added: “It was Archbishop Idahosa, who taught us how to praise and worship. He taught us how to pray, how to love God and the act of soul-winning among other things. He again taught us how to be the bulldozers of faith, so that we can do big things for God. “He taught us how to dress well. He was our role model because he dressed very well at all times, The Trumpet gathered.
He changed completely the definition of ministry not only in Nigeria but globally. “It was Archbishop Idahosa, who taught us the importance of education. He showed us how important good education was in the ministry. He was the one who inspired us about school.
He taught us to be relevant to society. He again taught us to support the poor and the government. This is an amazing combination to support the poor and the government because it was the Archbishop’s belief that government was poor, so he told us to support the poor and the government.
That was part of the reasons the Archbishop did things the government could have done in the society.”