In the spirit of Christmas, the House on the Rock Church like it has done in previous years brought smiles to the faces of thousands of families through its Project Spread outreach programme, writes Vanessa Obioha
Preceding his arrival to Boysâ€™ High Academy, Lagos Island recently; families trooped in high numbers to the open grounds, beaming in high spirits and positive anticipation. The overwhelming influence of charity on them was apparent and this could be sensed in the spark it ignited to help brighten the slightly hazy morning through the cheerful chattering of middle-aged women who came in pairs and in groups. The wide grin on the faces of younger persons and the calculated gaze of the elderly were also part of the excitement buildup despite seated and subtly waving hands in a prayer fashion to the morning worship and praise.
The reason for their cheerful disposition is not far-fetched. It has become a tradition to expect great tidings each time the news of Project Spread reaches any community. Their expectation is always met and even exceeded.
Project Spread is a passion project spearheaded by the senior pastor of House on the Rock Church, Paul Adefarsin. Moved by his parentâ€™s humanitarian endeavours â€“ by way of career choice. He was inspired to take up the course of enriching lives of the less-privileged in the society especially at the yuletide season, helping to bring more reason to celebrate the period.
Upon his arrival, the senior pastor accompanied by his wife, Ifeanyi Adefarsin, uplifted spirits with words of ministration aided by an articulate translator. Mostly, the crowd warmed up towards his wife as she tried indulging the audience with her skill at speaking the Yoruba vernacular at certain points in her delivery. Paul later continued, following in her established pace and drove home the essence of the project to the crowd and afterwards, handed gift items to those present, especially to the elderly and handicapped.
Typical with donations of food, clothes and medical supplies, this year, Project Spread launched its first mobile clinic geared at providing quick and effective health services across the Lagos Island metropolis through consultancy and diagnosis of easily cured ailments. In the near future, the platform hopes to achieve the goal of providing 48 fully operational mobile clinics; in effect, expanding the reach of Project Spread to other local governments.
Breaking new grounds, Adefarsin stressed on the importance of education in the society and country at large. He pledged to sponsor five outstanding pupils with scholarship at the secondary school level so as to create the much needed opportunity to such children whose families could not afford the fees in spite of potentials their children possessed.
â€œWe will work with our educationists in-house to look for the most brilliant students who do not have privilege and denied the opportunity to go to the best schools. We want to have them mix with children of privilege so that they have exposure, so that we can raise the best because all we want is equal opportunity. I largely become what I’ve become today because I have good opportunity. Now nothing makes me different from the child on the street except opportunity and privilege and my job is to help create opportunities where there was no opportunity so that the best minds can have the opportunity for great education and become our presidents, our governors and our leaders.
“The problem with our continent now is education, particularly in Nigeria – the so-called giant of Africa. The lack of education is our big challenge, we must all put hands together to bring enlightenment so that our leadership is provided by an enlightened class,â€ he said.
Last year, Project Spread visited four local government areas: Lagos Island, Sangotedo, Ajegunle and Elegushi. This year the outreach effort ran also in four locations simultaneously. They are: Lagos Island, Ikate Elegushi, Ebute Meta and Bariga communities. Surely the goal of reaching out to one family at a time by the platform has become a feat to be reckoned with.