– AYO ORITSEJAFOR, UMA UKPAI, MIKE OKONKWO confirm attendance
ALL is now set for the 19th Bethel Victory Convention of the Victorious Army Ministries International (VAM).
To be held from Wednesday, December 3 to Sunday, December 7, 2014, the annual convention would attract hundreds of thousands of the faithful.
ENCOMIUM Weekly further learnt that all the ministers VAM invited for the programme have confirmed attendance. They include renowned international evangelist, Rev. (Dr.) Uma Ukpai; the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and General Overseer, Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Ayo Oritsejefor and founder, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo.
Confirming this in a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, November 20, 2014, Executive Assistant, Victorious Army Ministries International, Mr. Tobiloba Oyelese said preparations are in top gear for the gathering of believers.
“Yes, we are perfecting plans for the Wednesday, December 3 to Sunday, December 7, 2014 Bethel Victory Convention. Baring any fresh development, our guest preachers (Rev. (Dr.) Uma Ukpai, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor) would storm Victorious Army Ministries for the annual program. On our part, major aspects of the event are being taken care of with various committees working day and night to make sure the convention would go hitch-free.”
Considering the personalities attending the Bethel Victory Convention, we gathered that the church would spend over N200 Million for a successful convention.
“Don’t forget it’s also the 19th anniversary of Victorious Army. So, the Bethel Victory Convention would be marked with pomp and ceremony. It’s just that Papa (Apostle Agboli) and Mama (Pastor Mrs. Blessings) are modest servants of God who love to celebrate with moderation. But no matter what happens, the convention will gulp millions of naira. And it would be proudly supported by their sons and daughters across the globe.”
Meanwhile, when we called at VAM’s Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos headquarters on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, serious work was going on there. We sighted construction engineers fixing few things in the magnificent church. We were also informed that the whole place would wear a new look in a matter of days.
The 19th Bethel Victory Convention themed, “The Blessings That Make Rich” is featuring what VAM tagged. “Morning Glory Liberty Services” from 7:30a.m – 10:00a.m (Wednesday, December to Saturday, December 6, 2014). There would also be another program- Word/Miracle Encounter from 5:30 to 8p.m daily, while the mega convention winds up on Sunday, December 7 (8.00am-11.00am).
TOP FLIGHT MINISTERS ATTENDING THE VAM 2014 BETHEL CONVENTION UNVEILED
This year’s Bethel Victory Convention would be graced by eminent ministers of the gospel. And here are their authentic profiles.
REV. (DR.) UMA UKPAI
Rev. (Dr.) Uma Ukpai is one of Africa’s most anointed and highly outstanding ministers of the gospel. He speaks across the world extensively on issues of salvation, faith, healing, breaking of curses, covenants, and spiritual leadership.
In town after town, across the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond, he has mobilized God’s people into action.
His crusades attract crowds that number in hundreds of thousands, and spectacular moves of the Holy Spirit in these meetings have resulted in amazing miracles of healing and other manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Be it in Europe, America, Africa or Asia, the result has been the same people tumbling over under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, sick bodies healed, barren women becoming mothers, marriages healed. He is therefore understandably much in demand in crusades, conferences, and seminars around the world.
Rev. (Dr.) Uma Ukpai was born on January 1945 at Asaga, Ohafia, Abia State. Unfortunately, he lost his father at a very tender age; a development that almost brought to an end his educational pursuit. Though he had uncles who could comfortably train him to whatever desirable level, his Christian background pitched him against them.
He is a graduate of the School of Journalism and Television, Frisham, Hermitage, United Kingdom; South Florida Christian College, Miami, Florida, USA; Carolina Christian University and Burke Bible College, Kentucky, USA. Dr. Uma Ukpai holds a Certificate in Electrical Engineering Practice, a Diploma in Journalism, a Bachelor and Doctorate Degrees in Divinity.
A man of great determination, this servant of God had envisioned himself as a great preacher right from his teens. It is on record that when the Governor of the then Eastern Nigeria visited his school, Rev. Uma Ukpai happened to be one of the three boys. His Excellency asked what they hoped to become in future. While the other boys declared they would be medical doctors and a lawyer respectively, he confidently said he would be a preacher. The disappointment of his relations knew no bounds, as they felt disgraced by their son who in their estimation has set out to be a failure by choosing to be a preacher. It is a well-known fact the man of God went out to work at a very tender age, saving every penny, which came his way, and in the process denying him every conceivable comfort to enable him sponsor himself through secondary school.
The founder and President of Uma Ukpai Evangelistic Association Inc. with headquarters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria met the Lord in 1958. He is the author of over fourteen books and has conducted television ministry for many years. Dr. Ukpai is the President of the Nigerian Council of Gospel Ministers (COGMON) and also the National Chairman of Think-Tank Committee of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). His ministry gave birth to PFN in 1985 after Greater Lagos for Christ Crusade with 5,000 choristers and 7,110 as counsellors.
He is also the Chairman, King of Kings Medical Outreach Int’l Inc., with a full-fledged hundred-bed Specialist Hospital in Abia State.
Rev. (Dr.) Ukpai is the initiator of the One Million Man Crusade, commissioned with the vision of breaking the curses under which the black man labours. There have been outstanding results.
Rev. Uma Ukpai is married to Philomena and they are blessed with six children.
PAPA AYO ORITSEJAFOR
Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, located in Warri, Delta state. He is currently the President of the
Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) the umbrella body of all Christians in the country. He’s the first Pentecostal leader to hold the office.
Oritsejafor was converted through Benson Idahosa, the first Pentecostal Archbishop in Nigeria, in 1972. He began preaching almost immediately. On Sunday, November 15, 1987, Pastor Ayo started Word of Life Bible Church by divine authority. He has taken the gospel to every continent of the world, having organised conferences around the globe. In 1980, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor started the regular and popular television programme, “Hour of Deliverance,” which presently airs in many local and international television and satellite stations. He is also the founder of African Broadcasting Network (ABN). Oritsejafor’s ministry was the first to launch a miracle crusade (Lagos Miracle Crusade) from Africa to world audiences, via satellite, in 1987 with Evangelist Joe Martins.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is a prolific writer of Christian and inspirational books which include: Walking In Unity, The Battle Is In The Mind, Power For The Journey, A Man Amongst Men, The Faith That Works, A Voice In The Wilderness, Empowered To Succeed, Faith, Antidote For Daily Living, The Stone That Killed Goliath, Power Through The Church, Be An Overcomer, to mention but a few and most recently he has written a new book called The Altar, Understanding Its Powers, Principles And Patterns.
The preacher also attended Bible institutions such as New Covenant Bible Institute, Benin City; Nigerian Baptist Seminary, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Morris Cerrulo’s School Of Ministry, San Diego, California, USA.
BISHOP MIKE OKONKWO
Dr. Mike Okonkwo, MFR was born on September 6, 1945 to the family of Pa and Ma Okonkwo of Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He joined the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1964 where he worked only for three months before crossing over to the banking industry with African Continental Bank
(ACB) with the mind of making a career in banking. He was a pioneer member of staff of the Martins Street branch, Lagos from 1964 to 1966.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo was deployed to the eastern branch of ACB during the civil war, which eventually interrupted his banking career.
During the war, he underwent the military training but had no opportunity to practice what he had learnt because the war ended the very night he was deployed to the warfront. After the war, he continued with his banking career at the Ogbete Road branch of ACB in Enugu, where he was a pioneer staff.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo had an encounter with Jesus in November 1970. And for the first time, he started attending church services regularly in the United Church of Christ (UCC) which has her headquarters in Enugu. The call of God upon his life was evident and so he was ordained into the ministry in 1971. He took up his first pastoral responsibility in Lagos in November 1972 with UCC. He was released as an Evangelist on the June 20, 1976 and was instrumental in establishing most branches of the church in Lagos.
He served faithfully in UCC under the leadership of Apostle Egbo from 1971 to 1980. It became obvious due to circumstances beyond his control that he had to leave UCC, because God has a plan for his life. The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) was founded on the January 4, 1981.
In 1980, Dr. Mike Okonkwo received a certificate of license from International Deliverance Churches, Dallas, Texas. In 1981, he graduated with a diploma degree from the Morris Cerullo School of Ministry, San Diego, California, USA. By 1982, he earned diploma with International Bible Institute and Seminary, Orlando, Florida. The same year, he bagged a Bachelor of Bible Theology in the same university. The Covington Theological Seminary, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, USA gave him a waiver for Masters Degree and he went in for a Doctorate degree program in Divinity which he successfully completed and was conferred with Doctor of Divinity degree with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo was consecrated the Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) on the May 7, 1988.
On the home front, Dr. Mike Okonkwo is a member of the founding fathers of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), the first National Secretary General and former President of PFN. He is the convener of the Communion of Covenant Ministers International (CCMI), past National Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He is a speaker in great demand around the world for seminars, conferences, crusades, conventions and ministers’ training. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Arlington Church, Arlington, USA. He is the Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM). He is the Chief Host of the popular television and radio network, Power in the Word. He is a father of fathers, a Pastor of Pastors, an Apostle of our time.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo, has authored several books in English and two translated to French. He is a widely travelled man, who has gone far and wide for the spread of the gospel. The Convener of Kingdom Life World Conference (which is in its 25th year) is married to Dr. Peace Okonkwo and they are blessed with a daughter, Uche.
APOSTLE JOSEPH DOMINIC AGBOLI
Apostle Joseph Dominic Agboli is the founder and Senior Pastor of the over N20 billion Victorious Army Ministries International. Papa, as he is fondly called, is also the President / Provost of the VAM Bible School Glory and Virtue Bible Institute (GLOVBI), where men and women undergo ministerial and leadership training.
A vibrant preacher of the gospel, he is known for his pragmatic militancy in prayer and his ability to communicate with humour the spiritual principles of God’s word in much more practical way. He is an Apostle of faith, deliverance, liberation, a giant and exemplary practitioner of the kingdom prosperity. Rev. Agboli is known for his popular saying “I can never be poor again”, and strongly believes that “The best is before you”. His passion is to equip people to walk in the dominion power of God.
In 1987, he received Christ as his Lord and Saviour at “His Grace Evangelical Mission” and eventually became an evangelist under the same ministry. As a result of God’s anointing upon his life, he started preaching the gospel and this gave birth to the Victorious Army Ministries in 1995.
The world headquarters of the over 50,000 member church is on Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos. The multi- million naira edifice sits on a two acre prime property in the Lagos industrial hub.
A protégé of late Archbishop Benson Idahosa (the father of Pentecostalism in Nigeria) Rev. Joseph is the regular host of “Your Set time for Miracles”, an international television programme reaching more than 80 million households both within Nigeria, the West African subregion and beyond.
This weekly television programme is pressing towards the goal of preaching the gospel and demonstrating the liberation power of God. Under his ministration messages such as: “The dynamics of praise”, “Grace for greatness”, “Enjoying financial harvest.” “Prophetic prayer pattern,” to mention a few, have been preached.
Life changing testimonies are indications that his teachings have helped thousands of people to experience restoration, healing, fruitfulness and financial breakthrough.
Apostle Agboli also hosts the popular Sunday Liberty Services and the annual Bethel Victory Convention with amazing testimonies.
Rev. Agboli is married to his amiable beautiful and erudite wife, Mama Blessings Agboli. And they are blessed with wonderful children whom they consider as the greatest gifts from God.
PASTOR (MRS.) BLESSINGS AGBOLI
Pastor (Mrs.) Blessings Agboli is the delectable, fashionable and amiable wife of the founder of Victorious Army Ministries International, Apostle Joseph Dominic Agboli. She accepted Christ as her Lord and personal Saviour in 1993. She passed under the spiritual tutelage of ‘Serving Overseer’ of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
A nurse, lawyer and serial entrepreneur, Mama Blessings, as she’s fondly called, has transformed lives and empowered women and young people across the globe through her inspirational messages.
Pastor Blessings who hosts the monthly Jesus Women of influence Programme, has been extremely supportive of her husband who founded the Victorious Army Ministries International in 1995.
A philanthropist and social worker, Mama is deeply involved in charities and good causes. For instance, she co-ordinates the Welfare Unit of VAM where millions of naira are expended annually to cater for the less privileged. Pastor Blessings also inspired the setting up of Specialist Hospitals in some states of the federation to cater for the health needs of Nigerian women, children and the general public.
She also intervenes actively, though quietly, in issues bordering on abuse of women, children and vulnerable members of society. From prison visit to rehabilitation homes, Mama Blessings has constantly staked her life, time and resources to save souls.
Her lifestyle has also been an inspiration to many who follow her with a sense of devotion as their mentor.
Mama Blessings Agboli equally oversees Victorious Army Ministries International in the US and the UK where she lives with her five children.
– Stories by UCHE OLEHI