Folorunso Alakija might be one of the richest women on earth, but she is also on a campaign to preach a 2,000-year-old gospel, writes Solomon Elusoji
Last October, the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International (RoSGMI) held its first ever national crusade at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The three day Christian crusade featured praise, prayers, healing and miracle sessions and the organisers said it was a â€œtremendous success and without a shadow of doubt had Godâ€™s presence.â€ In a statement sent to THISDAY, RoSGMI also noted that â€œjust like the theme of the crusade â€˜Victory Unlimitedâ€™, many people seeking Godâ€™s intervention in areas of their lives received their miracles and experienced the demonstration of Godâ€™s power.â€
RoSGMI is Mrs. Folorunso Alakijaâ€™s vision. It started as a small fellowship in 2004. Originally an offshoot of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, the fellowship held its first services inside Alakijaâ€™s home. Now, it has grown into an interdenominational ministry.
During the three day crusade, Alakija, who according to Forbes is worth well over a billion dollars, shed some light on why she decided to start a Christian ministry by narrating a dream she had some years back.
In the dream, she saw herself in an old-fashioned lift, which had collapsible gates. Then she noticed that there was someone standing beside her within the lift. It was a man that she could not recognise facially and she tried not to look. As the lift descended, from one floor to another, she noticed that each floor had different kinds of people, people with different kind of difficulties. During the descent, the man with her also started to explain the situation of the people they saw on each floor. She observed that the people on the lower floors, especially the ground floor, were in the worst conditions.
By the time they got to the ground floor, she noticed that those who were there had no clothes on; in fact, they had no flesh, just bare bones. Suddenly, the nearest skeleton stretched out its arm and looked their way, as if to say â€˜help me.â€™
â€œOne could tell that, once, this must have been a human being,â€ Alakija said. â€œI will never forget it; it has left an indelible mark in my heart.â€
Then her companion seemed to be saying â€˜over to youâ€™ and suddenly, he disappeared. She spoke to a Pastor about her dream and he said to her that the person that was standing beside her was Jesus, and that what he was showing her was her calling.
She had another dream where she found herself on a green field with lush, beautiful, soft green grass, but there were lumps all over and suddenly she noticed that the lumps started to rise, slowly, like a beating heart. In 2011, she went to Jerusalem and the Lord ministered to her to start a monthly prayer retreat as an extra service to that which she had already started, which was a weekly service at RoSGMI. The ministry has since grown from a group of five people that started in Alakijaâ€™s home to a regular membership of a minimum number of 350 people; the monthly prayer retreat is attended by at least 480 people.
â€œThe spirit of the lord is upon me,â€ she said, alluding to the Bibleâ€™s Isaiah 61. â€œI am here to preach good tidings, to heal broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to deliver those who are bound.â€
For the crusade, free transportation was provided through all major routes like Ikorodu, Obalende, Iyana-Ipaja, Sango, Ikotun, Ajah, Festac, Ajegunle, Satellite Town and Ikotun among others, bringing people to and from the venue.
Speakers at the crusade were renowned Christian ministers like Pastor J.T. Kalejaiye, Special Assistant on Evangelism to the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God; Apostle Charles Ndifon, General Overseer of Christ Love Ministries International, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; and Alakija herself. Gospel artistes who ministered in music were Efe Nathan, Buchi, Pastor Wale Adenuga and the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry Choir.
Despite the rainfall on the third day, the attendance surpassed the first and second days, peaking at about 1,500 persons.
â€œWe are grateful to God for multitudes that were blessed and for those who gave their lives to Jesus Christ as this was one of our many expectations for the national crusade,â€ a statement from RoSGMI said. â€œA deaf and mute little girl that was brought to the crusade grounds by her father received her healing instantly during the prayer session. Among the many miracles Jesus did at the national crusade was the salvation of souls in interesting ways.
â€œAnother young teenager who had been deaf from birth was touched by the power of God and her ears were opened immediately after the prayers.
â€œLike the woman in the bible who was diagnosed with the issue of blood, so was a woman who had been bleeding for the last three years. At the crusade grounds, she opened her heart, prayed, hands were laid on her and the bleeding stopped instantly.
â€œIt was such an awesome experience and more than words could say, to see God move in such powerful ways and grant people Victory Unlimited.â€