Millions of people from several countries and all walks of life flooded the Redemption Camp of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the peak of the church’s Holy Ghost Congress on Friday, as Pastor Enoch Adeboye blessed more handkerchiefs for the congregation.
Although the Congress continues on Saturday (today) with Holy Communion and Anointing Service, Fridays of the weeklong Congress, are considered the climax, recording the highest attendance.
The completed sections of the Arena, the church’s three-kilometre-by-three-kilometre auditorium, as well as the three-million-seater old auditorium packed full with excited and expectant worshippers on Friday.
It is estimated that over eight million people participated in the programme at the venues and through viewing centres across the world and online.
Among the millions of people at the Arena were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
There were also delegates from over 30 countries, including the US, UK and other European countries as well as Thailand, Costa Rica, Georgia, Honduras, UAE, Chile, India and Mongolia.
Africa was highly represented by many countries, as well as various churches in Nigeria, including RCCG parishes. An excited delegation from Indonesia thrilled the congregation with foot-stomping gospel songs.
As usual, the evening session kicked off with prayers, praise and worship, and continued at various stages during the programme, which also featured ministrations of Pastor Joe Imakando from Zambia, Rev Joe Olaiya from Kaduna, and former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The special prayer of the night was led by Folu Adeboye, the wife of Pastor Adeboye, who is also a pastor and one of the pillars of the church.
She prayed for peace and progress of all countries, including those rocked by crisis, and for good leadership at all levels.
Recalling the prophecy for the Congress, which is singing songs of victory, she prayed for countries around the world to be blessed with new songs to sing. She spiced the prayers with songs of praise and faith which were joined by the congregation in a solemn atmosphere.
Pastor Imakando, who gave the first talk of the night, spoke on the topic, “The Lord of Hosts,” assuring the congregation that the Lord, who is almighty, fights the battles of those who belong to him.
“So do not panic,” he said. “Your battle is the Lord’s and he is happy to lead it if serve him.”
Listing common battles as health, career, relationship and financial challenges, he led the congregation in prayers through all of them one after another.
Reverend Olaiya, President of the Living Faith Foundation, gave the second talk on “Victims and Victors.”
The energetic pastor, who stresses key messages in his sermons with gesticulations, explained that victory is only realized in battles – indicating that battles precede victories.
Recalling some of the various battles in life, he said victory or loss is a choice of individuals because no matter how tough and daunting a battle is there is always an ally to lead the fight for victory if we call on him. And he is Jesus!
He therefore urged the congregation to keep a clean, healthy relationship with God for Him to find the need to lead our battles. Revered Olaiya is so highly believed that when he made an altar call, even with Pastor Adeboye scheduled to come on moments later him, hundreds of people rushed to the altar amidst songs of victory from the choir of over 1,500 members, appropriately called The Mass Choir.
Pastor Oritsejafor, noted for theatrics at his sermons, hardly stayed on the pulpit, as he delivered a talk on “Power pass power.” He was all over the expansive stage. Clad in an all-white outfit with yellow trimming, he reminded the congregation that the world is a platform for the devil to afflict people with all manner of problems and to woo them into its world of darkness.
But, he said, there is assurance from the Creator of the world, who has unlimited power to save those who call on him in truth.
“He is the Almighty God, whose power is far stronger than the power of the devil,” he said, citing Biblical examples of cases where God triumphed over the devil.
Many more cases of God’s manifest power were shared during the time for testimony.
• A lady in the national wrestling team from Ondo State, who displayed a gold medal she had won, gave an account of how Pastor Adeboye not only helped her financially to attend international competitions, but also prayed for her to win trophies.
• Another lady gave a shocking testimony of how doctors in UK had recommended a liver transplant for her, but wrote to Pastor Adeboye for help. She said that on the day of the surgery, the doctors were shocked to discover that there was no problem with her liver. She said she overheard them mumbling later over what must have happened because the liver they saw on that day was new. According to her there was no doubt that it was the work of God. The congregation went wild with joy.
• A young man, who was going to die of cancer, was so overwhelmed by his experience that he was hardly audible when he spoke about how the cancer was found to have disappeared from his body by doctors.
Many more of such miracles were expected as Pastor Adeboye took his turn after choir ministration, much more as he had requested the congregation to bring three new handkerchiefs each.
Although, he hardly spoke about the handkerchiefs during his sermon titled, “Songs of Victory,” expectations were high he would get to that point in the end.
He broke the topic into two parts – songs and victory – reminding the congregation that God created all things for His pleasure and expected man to praise Him through songs, as he expected from even trees, which sing with leaves; and oceans, which do same with waves.
He also spoke on how God always grants victory to those who serve and obey Him in battles.
Citing the case of the Israelites, who had their enemies in hot pursuit of them at the Red Sea, he said God did not only part the sea for them to cross but also drowned the enemies, making their leader Moses sing in praise to the Lord. It is said that it was the first time Moses would do so.
With the sermon, spiced prayers, prophecies and praising singing drawing to close, Pastor Adeboye made an altar call for those who had missed Reverend Olaiya’s call to receive salvation – he never misses that occasion to save souls.
After that, he led a congregational prayer along some prayer points he had read out. For that, he allowed the people to get as close as they could to the altar, some using the opportunity to lean and touch it as they prayed. There was a deluge of people in altar area.
The hour of the handkerchiefs came shortly after that, as he urged people to return to their seats to get their handkerchiefs. He went for his – three large handkerchiefs on sticks which were really white flags.
He then reminded the congregation about earlier testimonies of one on the guests, whose son doctors were giving up hope on after an accident, but was discharged from the hospital healthy after she begged to place on him, a handkerchief anointed by the pastor during one of the church’s programmes.
He also recalled the testimony of a lady, earlier that night, who after years of barrenness was blessed with twins and less than three years later, with a set of triplets; and how when one of the three died, she revived him with a dress she wore on a day he pronounced blessing on clothes people wore during one of the church’s programmes.
Earlier that night, there was also a testimony of a lady from Texas, who suffered multiple injuries during the last hurricane there, but was quickly healed with the use of a handkerchief that had been blessed. She sent the testimony online.
Reminding the congregation of the various instances in the church, when God had ordered him to do things that looked stupid to people, but turned out to evoke miracles, he urged the congregation to wave their handkerchiefs as he waved his, one after another, and prayed. It was in intensely solemn moment of a sea of waving flags as he prayed fervently.
“We will hear your testimonies,” he said in the end.
But many people in the congregation were already aware of some of such testimonies to buoy their faith.
As examples from Pastor Adeboye below show, the handkerchiefs blessed in the air from the altar or transmitted through other means are as potent as laying of hands.
Lagos: A member of the church attended one of the programmes at which handkerchiefs were anointed. Some days later, he was driving to Lagos and saw a crowd gathered on the road. Out of curiosity, he got out of the car to see what was happening. A motorcyclist had been knocked down by a vehicle and he lay dead by the road side.
At that point, something prompted him: “You have that handkerchief in your pocket, bring it out.”
He brushed aside the crowd, laid the handkerchief on the dead man and said, “Get up.”
The onlookers were wondering about his sanity until they saw the man who was dead coming back to life. Not only did he rise up, the wounds had disappeared! It was a miracle, the same miracle of my salvation that brought me to the level where I can wave my hand and handkerchiefs will receive power.
Port Harcourt: The Full Gospel Men International had a convention in Port Harcourt, to which they invited me to speak on a topic, “A New Anointing.” As I spoke, I gave some examples of what God, in His infinite mercies, has done through me.
Soon, it was time to go home; the crowd began to surge forward, so much such that I was smuggled into my car.
But there was a woman who decided she would touch my car if she could not touch me. So, she took out a handkerchief and dropped it on the car I was in and took it back before we could drive off.
Back home, the lady’s sister had gone completely mad. Even though she was a little girl, it took six men to hold her down. They were happy when the woman got back because they didn’t know how to handle the situation.
“No problem, I have the solution in my hand,” she said, waving the handkerchief.
She took the anointed handkerchief and laid it on her mad sister and the girl became normal again.
United States: A women came to me to say her daughter in the US was about to deliver but the doctors checked and found that the baby was too big to come out on his own. They also discovered that if she was operated upon, she would bleed to death because there was no way they could stop her bleeding.
I told her to bring a handkerchief so I could pray over it for her to take there since I couldn’t go to the US that moment.
But as I was about to say one handkerchief, I said two. I didn’t know why I said that. She brought two handkerchiefs; I prayed over them and advised her to travel quickly to the US since the doctors said they couldn’t wait for three days.
Upon her arrival, there, she gave one of the handkerchiefs to the daughter, they prayed and slept. By the time they woke up they couldn’t find the handkerchief. It had disappeared! She was convinced then that the battle she was facing was not an ordinary one, and was grateful to God that there was another handkerchief. She tied it so tightly round the hand of the daughter that anyone who would take it would have to cut off the hand.
Time ticked away and the doctors said they had waited enough and that by 10.00 o’clock they would commence the procedure because they needed to save the child, which meant that its mother could bleed to death.
By 9.00 o’clock the baby had come – mother and child safe.