By Uduak Akai
Six persons who have distinguished themselves in the vineyard of God have been appointed patron and patronesses by the Women Fellowship of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN), Mbikpong Ikot Edim, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
The appointees were: Elder Bassey Okon, Mr Hope Umana, a lawyer, Elder Edet Okon and Elder Victor Effiong – patrons while Mrs Grace Isang and Sister Ikwo Effiong are to serve as patronesses.
Addressing the congregation at the event to mark the end of the 2022 Women Rally and Fund Raising of N5 million for the building project held at the LCN auditorium, Mbikpong IkotEdim from Thursday, March 17 –Sunday, March 20, 2022, the chairperson of LCN Women Fellowship, Mrs Victoria Effiong,thanked God for the success of the 2022 Women Rally with thetheme “Nothing Shall Hurt You,” drawn from Luke 10:19, noting that God has been very faithful to the women in the church.
Effiong explained that the appointment of patron and patronesses was strictly on merit on looking at the contributionsof the appointees towards the uplift of God’s work in the LCN,Mbikpong Ikot Edim as a whole and the Women Fellowship in particular, adding that their numerous selfless services could only be rewarded by God the great rewarder.
The LCNWF appreciated the appointees for accepting the mantle to work with the Women Fellowship towards the success of God’s work, encouraging them to continue in their good works in God’s vineyard.
She stated that the women fellowship has recorded numerous achievements which she enumerated to include: visit to backsliding members, the sick, the weak, the aged, the bereaved within and outside the fellowship, saying that God has graciously used these visits to heal the sick and the broken hearted, freed the captives and provide for the needy as well as increased the membership strength of the fellowship.
The chairperson also hinted that the fellowship has also ventured into income generating projects, the bungalow and farming projects, stressing that in spite of these, the women have not forgotten their primary responsibility as wives/mothers, which is to carter for well-being of their families, the minister and the church at large, pointing out that these would not have been possible but for the visionary leadership of the past leaders of the fellowship and the efforts of the newly formed committees in the fellowship, applauding them all for their various contributions to the success of God’s work.
She urged the women to be like Dorcas, Deborah, Esther and other virtuous women in the Bible who made impacts during their days, even as they remember God’s promises in their lives and families while serving God continually.
The women fellowship leader, particularly appreciated the resident minister, Rev Nsikak Ekong and wife, Mmaido, for holding the rally and the entire church management and members, pledging the continuous support and cooperation of the women to the development of the church.
The district chairperson, Deaconess Comfort Etim, in her remark, said she was delighted to be part of the event, thanking the church for the opportunity given the women to express themselves in the church, pledging that the women in the entire district will continue to serve God steadfastly.
Earlier, the chairman on the occasion, Mr Anietie Ubiongappreciated everyone for their presence at the occasion, saying that their sacrifice of love and contributions to God’s work shall not be in vain.
Ubiong, represented by the vice chairman of the diocese, Elder Edet Okon, commended the women on the successful hosting of the 2022 Women Fellowship Rally, urging guests to support the women willingly in whatever capacity God has given has God has a way of replenishing their endeavours.
The church chairman, Seminarian Udeme Asuquo, thanked God for the leadership of the church and the women fellowship for the zeal to build a house to generate revenue for the work of God; assuring that with God on their side, the project would be completed in no distant time.
The church chairman congratulated the appointees for accepting to work for God and specially thanked Elder BasseyOkon and Mrs Grace Isang for all they have done for the church,appealing that much needed to be done to change the face of the church like tiling, re-painting and empowerment of youths in the church, among other things.
In his exhortation, the resident pastor of the church, Rev.Nsikak Ekong who spoke on the theme, “Congratulation on your Appointment as Watchman,” reminded members of the congregation that they have been appointed as watchmen in their families, church, work places and everywhere they find themselves with the responsibilities of rebuking, correcting and advising others when necessary.
Ekong who drew his text from Ezekiel 33:7 recalled that watchmen in the ancient times were those seated on top of a well-fenced city watching when the enemies would invade the city and also admonishing the city dwellers to be alert of any eventuality as well as sending out laws and spreading the gospel,averring that the community trusted and respected them greatly.
The reverend minister observed that the responsibility ofbeing a watchman is a very challenging task as they must embrace truth and stand by it even as they correct and advise the people, regretting that a lot of churches today and even ministers of the gospel, do not say the truth nor rebuke their members for the sake of missing membership and those who rebuked are beefed or seen as bad people.
He charged them not to be afraid of the calling as God who appointed them will give them the grace to succeed; while congratulated the women on their 2022 rally as well as the patron and patronesses on their elevation.
Responding on behalf of the appointees, Elder Bassey Okon, thanked God for keeping him and all the church members alive to meet again, he also appreciating the leadership of the church for the support and cooperation during the funeral ceremonies of his late mother, Madam Nkoyo Udoedemeka who was their committed member and also thanked them for finding them fit to be appointed into various offices in the women fellowship.
Okon maintained that they will endeavour to do their best to reciprocate the confidence repose on them by continuously doing their best towards the growth and development of God’s work, saying that God has been so faithful upon their lives as He rewards every good endeavour.
The patron announced his personal donation of four desktop computers with accessories to pupils of St Paul’s Primary School, Mbikpong Ikot Edim, his alma mater, and also to organize a computer training for the pupils, adding that he has also donated 50 introductory to computer textbooks as a guide during the training.
In addition, Okon, a US-based administrator, donated 30 tables and chairs and a well-secured computer laboratory to ensure the safety of the computers against theft and vandalism, promising the purchase of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination form for indigent students in his community, Mbikpong Ikot Edim, as well as the sponsorship of students who will come top in the examination, to the university level.
He disclosed that his gesture was borne-out of his vision to make the pupils computer literate at the early age and to as well acquaint them with the 21st Century technology quest to enable them access the world-wide website and pull information from the internet be it google, yahoo, apple, and other social platforms for peers research in science, arts and technology papers.
The Us-based administrator hinted that his aim was to enable the pupils not to embrace computer from the fearful contraction but rather an enhanced knowledge-based information superhighway used specifically, not only to enhanced knowledge but also to access information from any part of the world.
He urged the beneficiaries to avail themselves of the opportunity, his kindness, love, magnamity and his understanding of the usefulness of getting them ready at the early age in preparedness to enter the information age because in anyway they may find themselves they should be acquainted with Microsoft ware as it the fundamental of Computer Science.
According to him “I want to give you the same opportunity my children in America have because at age three they could comfortably type without looking at the keyboard. Though I did not have such opportunity when I was at the University ofCalabar (UNICAL), I did not see computer throughout my stay in the university but I was shocked to see one when I was interviewed for a government job in America. During the training, I was the only one looking at the keyboard while typing whereas others who had experience in computer were typing without looking at the keyboard but the good news is that I surpassed them in other areas and came out top while they defeated me in computer because I had no previous knowledge of it,” he stressed.
The service featured praise/worship, song rendition by the women, prayer sessions, presentation by Nka Ini Iso, Bazaar among others.
Highpoint of the service was the installation of the patron and patronesses and donation towards the promotion of God’s work.