This past June Pastor Umoh was in my office talking about Strong Tower Ministries. We started talking about spiritual warfare due to the series of sermons I was going to preach in the fall. Umoh mentioned that their family was going through very difficult spiritual struggles at the time. I inquired as to why this was and he informed me that his wife Emme’s family was struggling because of a curse that had been placed on them many years before. This happened when Umoh came to the U.S. to study at a Bible college in New Jersey and two weeks before he was going to leave Nigeria, he was informed that he could only attend this college if he was married. So before he left, he and Emme were married in a church, but without the normal traditional wedding and dowry that the chief of the village required. Since the traditional wedding was not performed by the chief and the traditional gifts were not given to him, a curse was placed on Emme’s family and the chief would not marry any of her sisters.
Now this was many years ago, but the family has always lived under this unfortunate circumstance. Pastor Umoh has never had enough money to pay for the dowry nor give sufficient gifts to the chief, so there was no change until Umoh and I decided this summer that we had to take care of this; his family was suffering on account of it in Nigeria. So I started raising money for this traditional wedding ceremony and we began to buy things to send to Nigeria. Emme spent a lot of time with Kathy in Trinity’s office buying things for the chief and his family. Finally, things were put into a big box and sent to Nigeria. God guarded the box and nothing was stolen and they did not even have to pay bribes to get it out of customs.
However, the chief was being very difficult and said that he would not accept all of the items so some other arraignments had to be made to get the right things to the village. Finally a day was set. Emme’s family wanted the ceremony to be by the small church in the village but the chief said it had to be on his compound like all the other wedding ceremonies. Many prayers went up to the Lord and finally the chief said they could do it in the church compound.
All the preparations were made for a great feast for 150 to 200 people. Umoh’s brother asked an evangelist from another city to come to present the Gospel message to the people who would come. Anticipating just a couple hundred people, they were utterly amazed when over 1,000 people showed up. People from all the surrounding villages came for this great celebration of a wedding long overdue for a couple who were not even there. But the most amazing thing of all is that the evangelist preached from the book of Jonah and talked about the eminent judgment of Nineveh if the people did not repent. The Holy Spirit fell on the crowd and when it came time for the altar call, the village chief as well as over a hundred others fell on their knees asking God’s forgiveness. The entire place was shaken by the power of the Holy Spirit as the chief came forward to confess the sins of the village and pray to God for mercy and inform the entire village that from now on they were going to serve the Lord. He even prayed a blessing on the marriage of Ernest and Emme.
The impossible happened in the power of the Holy Spirit, for all things are possible when we follow the Lord and put all our faith in him. So not only are Ernest and Emme married in the sight of the village, but the village is now going to follow Christ! In fact, the chief told the little church there that if they needed more land because of all the new believers, he would give it to them. This coming Sunday he is going to church to give his testimony for the first time.
Thanks to the generosity of the members of Trinity all this was made possible. We have perhaps never been so directly involved in the salvation of so many people in the history of our church. This is really something to praise God for.