By Uduak Akai
Christians have been admonished to make love, unity and peace their foundation in order to have a sustainable family.
The reverend minister in-charge of Eden Ministry International, Badagry, Lagos, Rev Stephen Esu, gave this admonishment recently during the funeral and thanksgiving service in honourof Evangelist Ephraim Bassey Ebong, aged 69, conducted by Eden Ministry International with the support of Christ Faith Church, Nigeria, Ikot Obong Ediene, Abak, at St. Mary’s Science College, Ediene Abak, Akwa Ibom State.
Rev Esu who spoke on the theme: “The Love of God, the Love of the Family and Brotherly and Sisterly Love,” explained that love, unity and peace are basic ingredients towards having a sustainable family, adding that many families today are in crises because they have ignored these all-important virtues.
The reverend minister drawing his text from 1 John 4: 18-20, 1st John 4:18 – 20, and Psalms 35:9 recalled that God first lovedthe world through the gift of His only Son Jesus so that we may have eternal life, reminding that as Christians, we should endeavour to be Christ-like in all that we think and do ignoring whatever that does not represent Christ.
The cleric observed that today there is hatred in most families occasioned by selfishness, greed and lack of love and unity, noting that it even leads to death.
The man of God who frowned at the rate of divorce, disunity between husbands and wives, children, uncles, aunties, among other relatives in the society, said this is as a result of materialistic tendencies which are all vanity, calling on Christians to borrow a leaf from the deceased who has left behind a loved, united and peaceful family.
He maintained that the late Evang. Ephraim Ebong was a devout Christian who lived an exemplary life in his family, church, workplace and every where he was found, noting that he was a peacemaker, good adviser and great contributor towards the development of God’s work.
The man of God charged the family, especially the wife and children he left behind, to follow the footsteps of their husband/father and even surpass his legacies, while consoling them not to mourn like those without hope but to be rest assured that the deceased has gone to rest in God’s bosom.
A biography of the deceased indicated that he was born on July 7, 1952 into the family of late Elder Bassey Ebong EnieunamInyangeteudo, Nto Uduak family, Ikot Oku Ubara village, Ediene Clan, Abak Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
Late Evang. Ephraim Ebong had his primary education at St. Mary’s Practising School, Ikot Oku Ubara, Ediene Clan, AbakLocal Government Area between 1957 and 1961 where he sat for and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC).
He was one of the pioneer students of Mcintire Secondary Commercial School, Abak, where he graduated in May 1975.
He also enrolled with Eden College of Prophets, Lagos, where he sat for and obtained a Diploma in Universal Theology in 2004 preparing him as the fisher of men in the vineyard of God.
Evangelist Ebong was gainfully employed by the Department of Customs and Excise on November 1, 1975 where he successfully served in Calabar, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Adamawa, Sokoto and Lagos. He voluntarily retired at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Customs Service in May 1996.
He was married to Alice Ephraim Bassey Ebong (Nee Alice David Isonguyo) of Ikot Obong Ediene and the marriage is blessed with children.
Late Ephraim Ebong was born into a deep-rooted Christian family of late Elder Bassey Ebong and late Deaconess AtimEbong of Christ Faith Church, Nigeria, being the reason he always worshipped God at the church which is his parents church anytime he was at home.
He was a strong financial member of Eden Ministry International (the Friends of Jesus), Badagry, Lagos.
In a tribute, the younger brother to the deceased, Elder Emmanuel Ebong, said he knew that his late brother would not have lived on earth forever but regretted that his sudden demise has dealt a devastating blow on him and the entire Ebong’sfamily when considering his immense contributions to what he is today.
Ebong who is the head, Agric Desk, Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation (AKNC), acknowledged that his late brother stood like a colossus to him during his marriage ceremonies in September 2012, regretting that he was confident that thedeceased would as well play significant roles during the marriages of his daughters but the irony is the case as the family was today mourning his untimely departure without a word of consolation to him and his immediate family on how to operate in this sinful world.
Ebong, an elder of the Christ Faith Church, Nigeria, stressed that he could not question God on why he decided to snatch him away from the family when his services were most needed and prayed God to grant him eternal rest in the bosom of Abraham and also strengthen the family in faith to continue to live a life worthy of emulation to the glory of God and humanity.
He appreciated God for the success of the funeral and the management and staff of AKNC for their love and support at all times. He also thanked the Ediene community, the officiating ministers, the deceased’s friends and colleagues and others too numerous to mention for their various support and contributionswhich have led to the successful funeral service of his beloved brother.
The son of the deceased and chief mourner, Mr Kenneth Ephraim, said the entire family of late Elder Bassey EbongEnieunam remained grateful to God for His grace, love and kindness towards the successful obsequies of their dearest father, husband, brother, cousin and uncle. He also expressed his deepest thanks to the management and staff of AKNC for their love and support at all times as well as the head, staff and students of Political Science and Public Administration Departments, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) for their support and cooperation.
His appreciation was also extended to the community leaders and the people of Oke-Ogbe community, Badagry, Lagos; the Nto Uduak family, Ikot Oku Ubara, Ediene Clan, Abak; the grandchildren of late Madam Atity Archibong Ntuk, Nung UkimIkono, Uyo; Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oke-OgbeDistrict; the leadership of Eden Ministry International led by Rev Stephen Esu; the preacher of Christ Faith Church, Nigeria, Ediene; Evang. Ubong Usoroh and his members for their financial, moral and spiritual support towards the successful burial ceremony.
Ephraim also acknowledged the consolation, support and encouragement from in-laws, friends, political-class, professional groups from far and near and prayed God to replenish them even as He grants them journey mercies to their various homes.
Tributes and condolences were received from the deceased wife, Mrs Alice Ebong, children, Christ Faith Church Incorporated and Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation among others.