“Every Child is your Child”
– Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
The quote above succinctly captures the unbridled passion Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Loveworld Incorporated, better known as Christ Embassy Church, has for making life meaningful for children, which he pursues with passion. He has devoted his entire lifetime, resources and everything he holds dear to the service of God and humanity, and right from early days, after having discovered his purpose, which explains in very clear terms the energy and love he dissipates therein.
Pastor Chris, as he is fondly known, is a man a keen heart would learn so much from, spiritually and physically. He has over the years grown the Christ Embassy Church from humble beginnings as a prayer group to a global network of churches with millions of followers in virtually every country on planet earth.
His passion for souls is so strong and has never been in doubt as his antecedents prove. Virtually every programme of the church is woven around the redemption of souls, spiritually and physically.
This is buttressed by the daily devotional of the ministry–Rhapsody of Realities (ROR) which has been translated into almost every language in the world and through which many have encountered diverse miracles, with even the dead rising.
The lives of thousands of people the world over have been touched in one unique way or the other by this humble man of God; either through the ROR, the Healing School, which holds in different countries every year, spiritual events around the world including conferences, music concerts, art festivals, International school of ministry and worship services.
However, this is certainly not all this ebullient man of God is involved in with regards to enriching lives.
The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) is another potent avenue through which the pastor is bringing relief, succor, hope, love and encouragement to millions of disadvantaged people all over the world.
With its core objectives being Healthcare, Early Childhood Education and Development, Youth Leadership Development and Engagement, Family Strengthening and Livelihood, COFI aptly complements the spiritual pillars of the ministry of Pastor Oyakhilome, partnering with several organisations, both locally and internationally, including the United Nations in providing relief to war ravaged people, the homeless, children with otherwise no hope of education, medical support and many other humanitarian services to millions of people all over the world.
Change is something that is desired by all, and rightly so, but for that change to become reality, concerted efforts are needed by concerned citizens, According to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Charity, success will not come from governmental efforts alone but requires civic engagement from within the community. The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International and her partners have been filling that gap and changing the narratives of empowerment and providing opportunities for personal growth and development in communities throughout the world, thus investing in a sustainable future with the help of its partners – Inner City Mission for Children, Trauma Care International, Medical Volunteer Corps, Bible for All Mission and Future African Leaders – through charitable efforts such as medical support and training, education, food assistance and more.
The Future African Leaders Foundation, FALF is involved in hosting awards ceremonies (FALA), conferences, receptions and more, highlighting and supporting young African leaders hoping to make a change in the future of Africa, by providing opportunity for young people to be inspired and strengthened in their passion to see a brighter future.
The Inner City Mission is a Non-governmental Organisation, in consultative status with the United Nations, functioning within the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation, with the mission to create further opportunities for underprivileged children and families. The ‘inner city’ refers to the forgotten places that have not received the attention and support needed from the government in order to promote and sustain safe and healthy conditions for their citizens.
Through the Inner City Mission, children who otherwise were without hope of having formal education are given a bright future, enrolled into school to receive proper education, love, and support. By this, these children are equipped to do so much more for their communities and families than they ever think possible. The Inner City Mission does not only assist students in academic efficiency but completely redefines their dreams of having a purpose-filled future. The Inner City Mission does not just save people from poverty but strives towards breaking the cycle of poverty with sustainable solutions and intentional care.
The Mission has incredible projects around the world, specifically focusing on Africa where the needs are great, with the most recent development being the opportunity for the Inner City Mission and the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International to establish the new multi-project Learning Space at the Gubio Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Maiduguri (North-East, Nigeria), resulting from the Boko Haram insurgency which has displaced thousands of people from farming, herding, and fishing communities, destroying the livelihoods of over two million people.
The bedrock of any society as they say is education; and this resonates with the ideals and desires of COFI to see every child with the chance to learn. Thousands of children all over the world have been given opportunities to excel in life via the Inner City Mission with its “Back-To-School” initiative every academic year.
According to the United Nations, Over 13 million school-age children are out of school with Northern Nigeria accounting for over 60 per cent of these children. In addition, school attendance in northern Nigeria is low due to a number of factors ranging from insurgencies, communal conflicts to economic barriers. Only 61% of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education. In the light of this, COFI recently commissioned a brand new primary school and health center in Yola, North-east, Nigeria.
In like manner, 5000 indigent children in six communities in Nigeria were giving a chance to succeed in life by being enrolled into schools. From Borokiri, Bondi, Akpor, Diobu, Bonny, and Finima areas, children were sent back to school in Nigeria.
The German Embassy in Ndjamena, Chad has also collaborated with the Inner City Mission to sponsor 80 children back to school. Apart from being enrolled in schools, the Inner City Mission for Children also installed a large kitchen on the premises where delicious and nutritious food will be prepared for the children, ensuring that children eat at least one top quality meal during the school day. Children are being brought to and from the school cutting out the worry of transport for parents.
For COFI, “Every Child Is Your Child” and no child should go to bed hungry. Statistics show that one billion children live with hunger and in poverty. There is a need to provide sustainable solutions for tackling the issue of hunger. As part of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), the Inner City Mission for Children has been working to alleviate hunger and has many different ways you can work in partnership. The goal is to provide 50 million meals to needy children around the globe.
Currently providing 30 million meals in some 40 countries around the world, the Inner City Mission for Children will be increasing its campaign to have the means to reduce child hunger.
In the area of medicare, COFI has also been very active, understanding the relationship between a healthy body and a productive person. Again in a country where medicare is expressly for the rich and privileged, COFI and its partners have been assiduously working to bring medicare to millions of people, not only in Nigeria but the world over.
The Trauma Care International Foundation, TCIF, a COFI partner has been immensely impactful in the area of providing medicare. With its mission statement as: “To improve the health status and life expectancy of individuals by promoting improvements in facility-based trauma care, providing support for national policies on trauma care and increasing local awareness on proper emergency response,” TCIF working in partnership with multiple agencies has been responsible for the successful implementation of sustainable healthcare policy. An 11-room Trauma Care International Foundation medical center has been opened in Adamawa State, commissioned and fully equipped health care center for the use of the local community. This fantastic facility is a step in the right direction towards achieving universal health coverage With its consultative status and commitment to providing health care for all, TCIF is one of the sustainable development features in an ongoing program of community progress by COFI.
The positive and ripple implication of the facility just makes it laudable. This medical center is expected to manage and administer the health care needs of the thousands of families who reside in rural communities in North-Eastern Nigeria, offering immunizations and treatment of childhood diseases, managing the care for pregnant women in the region as medical care professionals operate emergency services for the local area.
With the facility, people from across the region will be able to access tips on health care. Having an active medical center gives the community a focal point from which they can access services.
Now more people will benefit from high-quality medical care, with consultants and specialists able to diagnose ailments and prescribe medicine to the many men, women, and children of the region. Another area COFI provides medicare is the Voluntary Blood Donation Drive which came into being on the Annual World Blood Donor Day, June 14th. TCIF this year teamed up with Volunteer medical Corps to save lives via blood donation.
COFI is a sure presence in places all over the world where human lives are endangered by war or natural disasters, as it is usually on hand to provide relief for affected people.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is indeed bringing proof to God’s word in Philippians 4:13, which says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He never seems to have too much in his plate as long as it has to do with the Kingdom Business of winning souls. As it were, he still has aces up his sleeves and working tirelessly to bring them to manifestation to the glory of God.
––Deacon Segun Adebowale, a Broadcast Journalist writes from Lagos.