Robinson Bini—Delta State, Nigeria
In the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ, I testify of the past twenty years of God’s grace upon
the True Jesus Church (TJC) in Nigeria.
The TJC in
Nigeria is celebrating her thirty-ninth anniversary this year. Between 1979 and
1992, the church membership grew to approximately ten thousand members.
However, a wild storm then swept a vast number of members off the ship, leaving
a remnant of only a couple hundred souls. It was as though the glory of God had
left His church.
The Lord brought
me into the ministry in 1993, while His church was still weathering the storm.
Few faithful workers remained; many had departed and, tempted by material gain,
led other members away to form their own churches. Others even sold the church
grounds and church property. In short, many members wavered or strayed in their
During this time,
the church administration was inefficient, perhaps because the members were not
adequately trained, spiritually, to hold key offices in the church. After we
petitioned the International Assembly (IA) of the TJC in 1995, Preacher HH Ko
visited us the following year. However, as far as I am aware, between the
period of 1997 and 2002, we received no visits from overseas church workers to
support our spiritual cultivation. We were greatly discouraged, as the hearts
of many ministers and workers had been darkened by fear, pride, greed, the lust
of the flesh, and so on.
THE LORD PRESERVED HIS CHURCH
suffered much loss during this period of spiritual decline. However, our Lord,
in His infinite compassion, restored her. Permit me to share my testimony.
In 1993, a year
after I finished my secondary school education, I entered the ministry as a
part-time worker—the youngest worker at the time. After six months, I became a
full-time worker. I was moved to embark on a full day of prayer, alone and with
no human contact. That night, the Lord spoke to me in a dream, saying, “You
have all sinned, particularly the workers, the board members, of the church.” He
revealed to me three names.
spent seven days in fasting prayer, pleading for the restoration of the church
in Nigeria. On the eighth night, I had a vision of the heavenly hosts
descending, and the phrase “666 now in the West.” God had revealed to me that
false prophets were working in the Western world. Hence, with great zeal, I
began to evangelize concerning our sins and weaknesses, and rebuked the three
board members God had named. One repented, but the other two refused to heed
and turned against me, even attempting blackmail.
period, God’s grace led me through many trials. The first was a serious
illness—a lump was discovered in my stomach. Although an operation was
scheduled, the doctor told me that the chances of success were slim. A few
hours before the operation, I prayed earnestly within my heart to the
Lord. When the doctor came to prepare
for the procedure, he found that, miraculously, the lump was gone. The members
who had visited me in hospital were doubtful that I would be able to attend
church after the operation, so they were shocked and praised God that I was
able to worship with them that Sabbath.
Times were hard
and I found it difficult to pay for food and rent. But thank God, some church
workers, such as the late Deacon AA Chuku and Brother Obadiah Francis, stood by
me and supported me financially during those stormy days.
In 1995, we wrote
to the IA to recommend that the national church board be dissolved. Preacher Ko
came the following year to fulfill our request, which helped to manage the
THE MEMBERS HELD FIRM TO THE FAITH
remaining church members were not entirely devoted. However, the Lord preserved
us through a program of spiritual cultivation organized by the church. From
1999, we began to hold an annual interstate combined spiritual convocation.
This usually took place at the end of the year, and would last for three days.
Members from various states would gather in the church at Port Harcourt, Rivers
State, and feed on the manna of God’s word day and night. We sought to increase
our faith in God and the true church, and learn the importance of earnest and
ordination as a minister in 2012, this combined spiritual convocation also
served as a ground for baptism. During each convocation, we would witness the
power of God bringing love, peace and, most importantly, strengthened faith, as
many members testified. In 2014, we replaced this annual event with
twice-yearly seminars at Port Harcourt. From this year, we are planning to hold
seminars in both Port Harcourt and Delta State.
Port Harcourt now
holds Bible studies every Monday and Saturday, and a fasting prayer each
Wednesday. Every summer holiday, we hold a children’s seminar, in which many
devoted children, as young as five years old, receive the Holy Spirit. A youth
seminar is also held in summer, and has been running for about four years.
Youths from across Nigeria gather to learn about the word of God from His
servants; to know and understand each other better in the peace and love of
God; to learn about their roles and responsibilities in the community of faith;
and to study the doctrines of the church, in order to be rooted and established
in the truth.
have testified of spiritual experiences during these youth seminars. In 1997, a
brother from the church in Delta State witnessed a vision in prayer: an ark was
sinking in the waters, but as he prayed, it was gradually lifted up to stand on
the sea. In 2016, a sister named Jennifer saw, during prayer, writing on the
altar: “Christ will come soon. Baptize those who are due for baptism.”
CURRENT CHURCH ORGANIZATION
have about 400 to 450 members in Nigeria. There are five churches: two churches
in Port Harcourt, Rivers State (Elimbgu and Aluu), two churches in Akwa Ibom
State (Iwukem and Omumunyam), and one in Delta State. We have three prayer
houses: two prayer houses in Rivers State and one in Lagos State, all set up in
decades, the church lacked dedicated workers, and the church organization was
informal and inadequate. Thank the Lord, the Nigeria Church Board Council
(NCBC) has now been established, comprising a chairperson, an IA advisor to the
chairperson, a secretary, an assistant secretary, a treasurer and a financial
religious education (RE) system was not clearly defined in the past, because we
lacked RE teachers and teaching materials. But since the Lord has brought many
souls into the fold, we saw the need for a better system. Around 2012, the NCBC
started giving RE teacher training to some devoted and God-fearing members,
especially youths of good reputation. In 2016, the organization was formalized,
with classes for toddlers (kindergarten class), children (junior class),
teenagers (youth junior class), young adults (youth senior class, 20–35 years),
adults (36+ years), and truth-seekers.
church in Nigeria has stepped up in her evangelism efforts. The third Sabbath
of each month is now devoted for evangelistic services. Thank God, the faithful
prayers of the members have empowered our works and made them fruitful. On
October 23, 2017, thirty-five truth-seekers were baptized into the fold, and
six received the Holy Spirit.
The Upcoming Generation
When the church
in Nigeria was re-establishing herself after the storm, the majority of the
congregation were young families. God be praised, eighty-five percent of the
youths in church today were baptized as infants. Nurtured by the church, they
have learned the church doctrines since they were in kindergarten.
The few members
who joined the community of faith as youths are currently undergoing RE classes
on the basic beliefs and doctrines of the church. Thank God, the majority of
these youths accept the truth and are willing to forsake the doctrines of their
2016, a youth forum, based mainly in Port Harcourt, was formed to unite the
youths and facilitate their participation in holy work. Activities include
monthly spiritual revivals, evangelism, and visits to orphanages, prisons and
hospitals. This forum is still fresh, so we welcome guidance from the IA on how
to actively encourage and involve youths in religious activities beyond routine
POTENTIAL FUTURE CHALLENGES
In 2017, the
church in Elimgbu (Port Harcourt, Rivers State) demolished its church building
and remodeled the church compound, at an expense three-times its former value.
The property needs continual maintenance, to minimize the possibility that
larger and more costly repairs will be required down the line. Thank the Lord,
a few members were able to contribute financially to support the work, since
the majority work in low-income jobs. We pray that God will empower more
members, especially the youths, to be able to offer more in future.
TJC has five churches and three prayer houses in Nigeria, with a membership of
between 400 and 450. However, there are only one ordained full-time minister,
one deacon and one deaconess to pastor all the members across the country.
thirty-six states, and numerous local government areas in each state. Of these,
the TJC has reached only four states. Just as it is written: “The harvest truly
is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Mt 9:37). We pray that the Lord grant
us an increase in order to spread the gospel of salvation within our country,
and beyond to our neighboring countries.
importantly, we pray that God’s power, His Holy Spirit, continues to abide with
us as we continue in faith. May our Lord be blessed for preserving the church
in Nigeria through the stream of time. Amen.
Reflections on Our Church in
Michael Chan—Leicester, UK
I first visited
the True Jesus Church (TJC) in Nigeria in 2002, together with a fellow worker.
late-1970s, I have heard much about our church in Nigeria from ministers who
had served in pioneering work there. Nigeria was the first African country to
receive the truth, as preached by the TJC, and the first in which the TJC was
established. Many ministers from overseas have testified of the signs and
miracles they witnessed in the early days of the church in Nigeria. God had
blessed the Nigerian brethren with much grace, and they showed great yearning
for the truth.
In the mid-1980s,
I had the opportunity to meet several Nigerian workers when they came for
training in the United Kingdom (UK). The seminar was held in Edinburgh, UK, at
the church now known as Gifford Park. I remember arriving to church early that
day, after a long overnight journey. As I was resting in one of the classrooms,
the Nigerian workers were having their morning prayers in the church hall. The
sound of the praying was like that of blowing wind; I was amazed—Jesus’
description of the Holy Spirit as the sound of blowing wind came to mind (Jn
3:8). That was my first experience of such prayers.
The Period of Decline
churches in Nigeria had witnessed God’s grace, sad news reached us in the
1990s: many unfaithful workers and members had fallen away from the truth. Over
a tumultuous period, those without a genuine heart for the truth departed, and
influenced others to turn away too. Some even led groups of members away to
form their own churches.
My first visit
to Nigeria was in 2002, when the church was recovering from her lowest
spiritual ebb. Only a handful of churches remained, with a couple hundred
members. There was only one full-time worker for the whole country. But thank
God, this young worker had grown up in the church, and had a strong faith in the
truth. He did not have an easy life, but he showed no signs of quitting.
overseas worker and I hired a taxi and visited the churches in the Port
Harcourt region. The trip was challenging and we suffered from dehydration and
diarrhea, which disheartened us further. We wondered if there was any hope for
the churches in Nigeria. Would God continue to care for His church here? Were
there any true believers left? But God knows the heart of man, and truly
cherishes His church. We visited the church in the home of the aforementioned
young worker and, to my surprise, the faith of the members was strong. The way
they prayed and listened to the word of God, and their warm reception,
reassured us that there was still a faithful remnant in the Nigerian church.
Whenever I think
of my time in Nigeria, one incident comes to mind. We went to visit a certain
sister, whose father had forced her to leave her husband because of a dispute
over the dowry. The father was a non-believer, so he forbade her from going to
church, which was far from where they lived. We informed her that we would
visit her during this trip. When we arrived at her village, she saw us coming
from a distance, and came out of her house. She ran to greet us, like a young
girl welcoming her father home. Her affection towards the workers touched me
deeply. After we encouraged her to remain strong and not to give up amidst
these troubles, she sent us off with many tears.
Witnessing God’s Revival
Early in 2017,
fifteen years after my first visit, I returned to Port Harcourt to conduct a
seminar for the Nigerian and Ghanaian workers. I was not quite sure what to
expect this time. When I arrived, a few workers greeted me; among them was the
young worker whom I first met fifteen years ago. I noticed a great change in
the atmosphere—it was not the same as when I first visited. Although I did not
have the opportunity to visit churches in other areas, I was able to have
fellowship and discussions with members from across the country, and I felt
they were now stronger, more faithful and more zealous, especially in the
prayers they offered to God.
Now there are
around 400 to 450 members in Nigeria—not only first-generation believers, some
of whom I recognized from my first visit, but second- and even third-generation
believers. This shows that faithful members have firmly held on to the truth.
Over the last fifteen years, the International Assembly (IA) has been unable to
send many workers to pastor the local members, because of difficulties in
securing travel visas. Yet, God has trained the members and strengthened them
by His grace during their decade in the wilderness. He led and taught them in
His own way. The true church is thriving in Nigeria!
A Bright Future
The church in
Nigeria is preparing for the future with plans to build new churches, and a
training center in Port Harcourt. Although these projects are costly, the
Nigerian members have not asked for a single penny of financial assistance from
the IA or overseas churches. On top of this, the local members funded the
expenses of the seminar I conducted in 2017. Such financial independence has
yet to be seen in other countries on the African continent. Nigerian workers
are also sent to pastor the churches in neighboring countries—such as Liberia
and Ghana—and assist the work there.
May God continue
to bless the churches and all the faithful workers in Nigeria, so that more
wonderful and good work may be done for the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.