February 13, 2023

Community Chief Among 10,000 Baptized in Nigeria

Baptism is first of multi-month celebrations at centennial of Adventism in the area.

Eti Chigozi, for West-Central Africa Division, and Adventist Review
Baptismal pools used for the mass baptism on January 22, 2023 in eastern Nigeria. [Photo: Eastern Nigeria Union Conference]

Chief Ikpe Asuquo Umoh, of Ikot Idaha, in Akwa Ibom State, was one of more than 10,000 persons baptized at the Prayer Conference and Festival of Baptism of the Eastern Nigeria Union Conference (ENUC). Before evangelistic meetings held January 8-21, 2023, Ikot Idaha was a community the gospel had never entered before.

Gabriel Udofa, evangelism director of the Akwa Ibom Conference, told ENUC Communication that Chief Umoh was so excited about receiving the Adventist message that he was the one of the first to order the centenary uniform and looked forward with excitement to the January 22 baptism.

Umoh also told his village ruling council that it was a huge privilege to have the Adventist message in their community in their lifetime. He urged his village council to donate a parcel of land to build an Adventist church building there.

Samuel Iroulor, Port Harcourt district pastor and host of that center, shared the experience of Hope Hojo one of many people who came out to be baptized. Iroulor shared how Hojo showed up on Sunday morning saying that she never attended the meetings in person, but that she had listened to every message from her home, which was near the campaign venue. “I am convinced this church has taught the truth, and I want to be baptized,” Hojo said.

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More than 10,000 people were baptized during the January 22 ceremony. [Photo: Eastern Nigeria Union Conference]

In his exhortation at the prayer conference and festival of baptisms, West-Central Africa Division (WAD) president Robert Osei-Bonsu stressed the theme of the celebration, “Almost Home.” “All through the Bible, the life of believers is presented as a journey, a journey that leads to our heavenly home,” Osei-Bonsu said. “We are almost home. We are not there yet, but we’re almost there.”

Osei-Bonsu, who led 16 other WAD officers and directors to preach at various centers across the ENUC territory, showed statistics which indicate that most road accidents happen when travelers are 15 minutes away from home or less. “On the journey to the heavenly Canaan, God’s children may face obstacles to the successful finishing of the journey,” he said. “[We must] focus on Jesus, who is the guarantee that they can finish the journey successfully and make it to God’s glorious kingdom.”

The January 22 Prayer Conference and Festival of Baptism was the opening event of the celebration of the Centenary of Adventist Mission in Eastern Nigeria. Among officials who attended the celebration was Abia state governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, who is also a Seventh-day Adventist elder at a local Adventist congregation.

The original version of this story was posted by the West-Central Africa Division.