THE DAYS OF HUMBLE BEGINNING: AMAZING GRACE YAC
- *The proceeding is part of George’s Biography
I could recall I wasn’t outspoken as the feeling of inferiority ate deep in me. The loneliness I had always felt within me was tremendous and phew! Life isn’t that pleasant, I had thought! If you have been any close to me by any chance, you’ll discover I am still on the verge of enjoying my triumph over been an extreme introvert… I am not there yet!
I have discovered that your life is strongly shaped by the people you allowed to stay in your life! That faithful day I made up my mind to join The YAC Ministry will remain ever green in my life! Yes, I was a member of the Scripture Union but something in me was telling me to make a shift! Not because Scripture Union isn’t a good place but because of something I was unable to explain at that time. I cannot forget the love I felt in me… for the first time I felt what love should be like! Then, it was the era of Chioma Okafor (now married), Chioma Okonkwo (Now married), Prince Ogoo Ekwem, Ifeanyi Okafor (Now married), Humphrey agu and so many others! Today almost all of them are all over Nigeria and abroad! Some are married, some are yet to get married, one is a Pastor in the Anglican Church and many others are doing so well in business! I could still remember how we all sat together, singing and praising God together!
I can still recall I traveled to Lagos, in my academic pursuit at UNILAG. When financial in capabilities flew me back to Onitsha, I met YAC in new dimension! Some old members were still there but many had travelled, many were beginning to become independent of their parents and of course the fellowship where I found love had age limits! Many had outgrown the ministry while some who really had outgrown it was reluctant to depart the glorious house of love into some other adult Anglican ministries! Although it came a time when some group of Yackites made jest of me and subjected me to caricature, the love in YAC was too strong to make me leave. I wanted to leave, I almost left but it was Olyrite who told me it was my time to become much more instrumental to Amazing Grace YAC. She wouldn’t just let me go… I decided to listen to her!
My return to Amazing Grace YAC also meant my return to the Anglican Church as I almost joined a new generation Church that seemed to be a magnified YAC fellowship! YAC was my reason to willingly be an Anglican, YAC is my reason to remain an Anglican and YAC is the reason I loved the Pentecostals and Catholics. My return gave birth to an extraordinary zeal that I can’t explain, a multiplication of the zeal I had when I joined it for the first time! It was not long, I was appointed as a unit (Chapter) President in The YAC Ministry, I was became the President of Amazing Grace YAC Ministry in 2012.
Then, almost everyone had outgrown the ministry! New faces began to resurface! It wasn’t just from Amazing Grace Church but also from different Pentecostal Churches, Catholic Churches and other Orthodox Churches. We almost wanted to meet every week! We met every Sunday, every Wednesday, every Thursday and every Friday night! We were all blessed with the Holy Spirit as virtually every member spoke in other tongues in our every meetings! It was members. I could vividly remember when it seemed everyone walked out on me, it was always me and Edith Chinaza and then from a vibrant Pentecostal Church God brought me someone who has not stopped believing in me, in the person of Miracle Okoye! He didn’t only join the YAC Ministry, he relinquished his office in the previous church and took up an office in Amazing Grace YAC ministry! I could remember that night when we were rehearsing our songs, immediately everyone began to speak in other tongues! It was then that Mbonu Chidiebere made up his mind to join the ministry!
It is was in the aura of God’s manifesting presence that I was led to found “The Voice of Angels” and “theaters of Heaven”. This two departments became the most famous in the ministry! With Anulika Izuchukwu assisting me, God used us to break new grounds! I could remember the year 2013! God have us a theme for that year, it was “Breaking New Grounds”… That year was a success, our music department was invited to various Pentecostal Churches to minister! We had no choice than to always be on the move! Voice of Angels became a ministry where music could raise the dead! Ifunanya Atuchukwu, Uche Onwudiofor, Chidimma Nwofor, Godswill Duke, Miracle Okoye and Nzube Kosy Obianwo was very instrumental to the department! The drama wing of the ministry, theaters of Heaven was not left out! At first, I did a little directing alongside Donminic Johnson, when I saw he was equal to the task, I decided to give totally handover to him! The drama department was revolutionary in the hands of Donminic Johnson and through God’s power, they were able to join in the ground breaking as Ukamaka Izuchukwu was a helping hand! I wouldn’t talk about this department without talking about Chiamaka Millicent who is presently the President of Rotaract Club, ANSU Igbiariam, she brought in ideas that set the department ablaze!
Many people began to see the YAC ministry as a threat. There was great pressures from every side but God provided me and the executives with members and partners who are like-minded! What about Pastor O. Peters? The present president of Nifes, Oko Poly Chapter? He was always keen to have us talk, he had loads of encouraging words and he was very committed to Amazing Grace YAC Ministry.
In 2014, we merged with Mount Zion Church to give birth to Amazing Grace and Mount Zion YAC! Although the union lasted for only one year as I summarized my leadership as a Chapter President, it was never a waste of time! We were not able to utterly win the minds of all the young people in Mount Zion but we were able to make impact! Let me clearly say this, our Chaplain, Rev. Elochukwu Ojukwu gave us sense of belonging, we were engrafted into many programs and our music department saw a trememdous increase as we had better opportunities to make serious rehearsals! I and my executives enjoyed the trust of Amazing Grace YAC members! Although there was challenges, it was not capable of breaking up the ministry! Let me clearly admit that there were scandals, there were rumors and speculations, our unity was beginning to become suspicious… But, God was able to doing exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ever ask for. In 0ctober 1st, 2014 when we celebrated Nigeria’s independence, our Voice of Angels was able to inspire and minister greatly into lives of people. It reminds me of Williams Sharon who was greatly instrumental basically in all the classics that we performed. Some of my course mate would come from school as far as Abagana to Onitsha to attend YAC services… It was God, it can only be God.
One big truth is that Bro. Ifeanyi Molokwu played a role in the ministry. He may not know it… There was a day he told me that the entire YAC on the Niger would look up to Amazing Grace YAC, that day we were sitting outside Amazing Grace Church, in a modern canopy. I wish he can still remember, it would make this presentation authentic. He was prophetic when he said it and it was in conformity with many visions I had seen concerning Amazing Grace ministry and me as a product of Amazing Grace YAC.
While I was still the Chapter President, I was appointed as the Diocesan satellite and Media Director in 2013, it was supposed to be a bigger office! In 2014 the office was expanded and was renamed “Talent coordinator”. Truth was that I wasn’t able to do much at the Diocesan level, all my interest was at the Chapter level… I only handled the media aspect of the office. In 2014, God began to give me so many directions, they were so many and too big for a Chapter to handle. I never knew why God was giving me such visions. I had so many visions where I was handed over a very larger congregation, I could remember telling female Pastor I saw in the dream that I am not yet ready and I can remember she told me “we choose you because you are not ready, it is God’s duty to make you ready” (emphasis mine)… I could remember a vision where I saw the ministry extending into very remote areas and I saw many other Churches that were not Anglican adopting the ministry.
Before the end of 2014, a Pastor in a Pentecostal Church approached us during one of our street to street evangelism, he told us he would love to youths in his Church to become involved in the YAC ministry, I could remember another Pentecostal Pastor who did not only loved the ministry but joined the ministry and was always present in our youth services! The move of God was evident! It was during that time that I received a call!
Things where going to change, my leadership style was going to change, my priorities where going to change and in fact, I had to become even more committed than I was. I was going to become the Next Diocesan President of the YAC ministry! It really didn’t go down well with me and when I narrated it to Amazing Grace Yackites, there was tears in many people’s eyes.
On December 2014, I can remember how we did the handover! I had to handover the Chapter to a brand new leadership. That evening was passionate, I could remember crying there on the stage, I could remember the prayers that sent all the congregations speaking in other tongues as some people who are not Yackites wondered what was wrong with us! Right there on stage, I embraced Chidi Mbonu as my successor. I wouldn’t let go but I had… We cried until our tears got dried up, we prayed until we wouldn’t utter any other word and we groaned… Yes, we would only groan.
As we handed over office, I refused to hand one thing over! I refused to handover my absolute love for the ministry that gave birth to George O.N, the ministry that gave me a voice, the ministry that helped me grow and the ministry where I had my first leadership experience. Today, it is my passion to see young people get rooted in God’s word and love, it is my passion to see young people walk in genuine love for Christ! Oh, I could remember that faithful day we went to evangelize and rain couldn’t even make us think twice. If I should begin to mention names of instrumental personalities here, I may not be able to complete my story.
It has become a burden in my heart to put it into writing and remind every Christian out there not to neglect the days of their humble beginning. I have seen where God is calling me into, I have seen where God is taking us to and I have seen the value of true friendship! I have “Sweethearts and they can only be my sweethearts”. Presently, some are studying outside the country, some are planning to, some are in Nigerian institutions, some are married and some are doing it big many other places but one thing is certain, LOVE STILL BINDS US TOGETHER. Things may not always be the way it used to be, sometimes certain traditions of Amazing Grace YAC will begin to change with time as various kinds leadership progresses but the certainty of genuine love cannot be compromised and many great men and women will always hold on to this report and say “yes! These were the days of our humble beginning”.