Why Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke is coming to Nigeria, by Bishop Olaleye
Bishop Abraham Olaleye is the chairman, Mobilisation Committee of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s Crusade. In this interview with CHRIS IREKAMBA, he spoke on what Nigerians should expect, as Evangelist Bonnke, under the auspices of his Christ for All Nations (CFaN), arrives for his ‘Farewell Crusade’ on November 8 to 12, 2017 at Sparklight Estate, Berger, Opposite OPIC Event Centre, along Lagos-Ibadan. Expressway.
What makes Evangelist Bonnke’s visit and crusade so unique, considering he was here eight years ago?
You know it is his farewell crusade in Africa and coming to Nigeria, in my opinion, is a good development. It’s a blessing for us, because Nigeria is the giant of Africa. And then we are going through a turbulent period, so it’s a delight he has chosen to come to Nigeria. One would have expected him to do that crusade in South Africa or Lesotho, where he began. So, to me, coming here is an advantage, which gives Nigeria due honour, as far as Africa is concerned. Presently, we’re surrounded by a myriad of challenges and just coming out of recession. We have challenges with insecurity, ritual killings, Fulani herdsmen attacks, kidnapping and unrest in so many places. The Bible says, ‘righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people…’ ‘The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.’ I believe it is a good omen, when a man of God of his age says he is coming to a country. He could have looked in another direction or chosen not to come to us at a time like this. Everybody likes to identify with something that is good; something that is working and we believe that Nigeria is working. Nigeria is in the process of working and so; I believe his coming at this time is a blessing to us. He is taking the challenge to come and pronounce his blessing upon Nigeria. I believe when he comes, he will address the powers and principality of the air. I believe we will begin to see a turnaround, when he speaks as an apostle of Jesus to Nigeria.
What happens is that in the international community, people are beginning to feel concern for a nation that is so highly endowed as ours, which means they recognise the grace, potential and blessings upon this nation that Satan is trying to frustrate by every means. I’m sure it’s prayer that is holding this nation together. If it were not for the prayer of people God, Nigeria won’t be where it is today. So, I believe there is a bright future for Nigeria. There are men of God here, and we are praying every day, which accounts for our relative stability. But I believe when he comes, many good things will happen, as God hears prayer of the righteous. As he joins forces with us, it gives us the right hand of fellowship, praying and believing that a change will come to Nigeria, because when you see challenges of this magnitude, it cannot but have a spiritual dimension. And that is what he would be addressing and asking that the power of the gospel, which is in the name of Jesus, will break every yoke making things difficulty for us.
What should Nigerians expect this time around?
Everybody wants to identify with you, when everything is running smoothly, but he is just one of those that have a deep love and passion for Nigeria. You need to feel the pulse of so many good people, including Christians abroad; how they think of Nigeria and pray for us. Almost 25 years ago, I remember a missionary woman, I don’t know whether she is still alive now, because as at that time, she was in her 60s, who once said: “If you look at the map of Africa and turn it, it looks like an epistle and Nigeria is a trigger point.” Have you ever wondered why our challenges are so peculiar and so unique? It is because we are a special people, which is why the heavenlies are against us and are ensuring that God’s purpose and plan is scuttled.
So, I believe with all my heart that when Bonnke comes and speaks to the land, God Himself will hear him. Because it is His benevolence that has kept Nigeria from disintegrating. He will make our joy full and His promises concerning this nation will become a reality and we stand tall and proud in the comity of nations.
Christian leaders in Nigeria are really supporting Bonnke’s crusade. Why is that?
It is an indication that something good is about to happen. You know, one of the challenges in every nation is division in the religious sector. But when somebody like Evang. Bonnke comes and prays, it becomes a unifying factor, of bringing together people, who have hitherto been separated by denominational walls, differences and doctrines. It’s a beautiful platform, just like the Bible says, “How good and lovely and beautiful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” That is an apostolic grace that is upon this evangelist; that he can come around and church leaders would put aside their differences and say ‘let’s stand and cooperate with this man coming to speak blessings to our lives.’ I think it’s a very good development that all preachers, all leaders can come together, just because a prominent servant of God is coming from overseas.
Could you please expatiate on the ministers’ conference alongside the crusade?
The crusade starts on November 8, and ends on November 12. Meanwhile, the conference begins on November 9 and ends on Saturday. The conference is: “passing the torch.” This great man of God is about 78 right now, and he believes he must pass the torch of power for evangelism to Africans, beginning from Nigeria. Not that he is going to handover to a Nigerian, but the way it operates in the spirit is that he says it is a “farewell crusade” and you know that the words elders speak at the end of their life are bold, strategic and significant.
Once again, it is another blessing for us that somebody can tap into the grace and anointing of God that is upon his life. You know that the Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing the word of God…” Somebody is there hearing and listening to this man preaching God’s word as an evangelist and catches the fire just like Jesus told somebody ‘go and do likewise.’ So, I think this is where the inspiration comes in that he will pass the torch. When Jesus was dealing with His disciples, it was not just to any one particular person that He distributed power, but also to everyone that believes in His name. He said they would cast out demons, raise the dead and heal the sick in His name
Bonnke is handing over mantle of leadership to Daniel Kolenda, someone not related to him. If it were here, Christian leaders would have handed over to either their son or wife…
That is simply telling us that the work of God is not a family matter, and it doesn’t come with sentiment. It is my joy and delight that if God raises a man, his children could also follow in that direction, but let it be that it is God that has called them. Let it not be that we are the one trying to pass it over to them, as if it is a business heritage. But there is nothing wrong for a son or daughter of a man of God to continue what his parents started, provided there is a call of God upon his life, which is evident to all. So, the lesson of this is that as leaders, we should be sensitive. We should not allow sentiment, when it comes to work of the ministry. We should look around us carefully in such matters. We have biological children and others, so we should be sensitive and know that God could pass the baton to someone who is not our biological child. God could have His way by which He wants to use our children, but we should not force our children, if God’s call and anointing for the ministry is not upon their lives. So, we can follow this example and use it to listen to God and to know this is what God is saying concerning whom to handover to. I think this is very instructive.
The interesting thing is that Daniel Kolenda has been travelling with Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke all these years and I’m sure many years ago, if you had asked Evangelist Bonnke who he would hand over to, he would have said he didn’t know. But I believe in the process of time and after a committed fellowship, Evangelist Bonnke could have heard from God that this is the person to handover to, in the same way God said to Moses: “I have prayed for Joshua the son of Nun and make him the successor.” He didn’t say pray for one of your sons or daughters, who were Moses biological children, but He said for Joshua. The same thing with Jesus in His dealings with His disciples with whom He committed His power and they were able to carry on the good work to the next generation.
How many people do you envisage will attend the crusade?
I think we are expecting five million people each day. And I know there is a committee chairman in charge of security. There is a serious arrangement to secure the place throughout the duration of the crusade. A special committee headed by one of the people in the central working committee of the crusade will be leaving no stone unturned, and they will do every thing in their power to ensure that lives are secured and everything goes well.
Those coming from such distant places as Badagry, Epe, Lekki, especially people from the rural areas will definitely need help with regard to transportation. So, a fair arrangement has been made for buses to convey such people to the venue and bring them back.
Considering the number of people coming, is Sparklight Estate big enough to accommodate them?
We only use that place to give people a good description. But actually, what it means is that, if you were going to Ibadan at OPIC Event Centre Mopson, it would be to your left. But if you were coming from Ibadan it would be to your right. There are hectares of land in that place. When Ogun State governor was contacted, the director was asking him for one kilometre of space, but the governor, in his generosity, gave two instead, knowing that Bonnke’s crusade usually pulls large crowds. As I’m talking to you right now, work is going on in that place. So, the best way to describe the place is to say Sparklight Estate, but it’s not as if the crusade is really going to take place there. Rather, it will hold on the expanse of land belonging to Ogun State, and I’m encouraging people to come to the programme, those wanting to enjoy peace from the Son of God, Who is the Prince of peace and enjoy the reality of heaven. I’m encouraging people from all places, all walks of life and religions to come to the place and expect God’s visitation, the touch of God upon their lives. We should believe God would do great things in our lives, as well as in the life of our very dear nation. Once again the event starts at 4.30pm each day.
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