The symbolic city of Jerusalem in Israel, yesterday stood still, as over 3, 000 Nigerian pilgrims, including President Goodluck Jonathan gathered to offer prayers for the country. The church service tagged: “A Day with Jesus for Nigeria In Israel,” had in attendance state governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly, led by the Senate Deputy President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, clergymen and regular pilgrims to the Holy Land.
The church service was the climax of a fast observed by over 3, 000 Nigerian pilgrims in Israel, including President Jonathan. The church service, which kicked off with prayers, hymns and songs, was led by high ranking clergymen, including the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The 1st reading was taken from the Book of Psalms 122: 1-7 and chapter 125: 1-3. The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ekweremadu took the reading. According to the passage of the scriptures, ‘as the mountains Jerusalem, so will God surround Nigeria.’
President Jonathan, who is the first sitting Nigerian president to go on pilgrimage to Israel since the country got its independence in 1960, took the second reading from Philippians 2: 1-11. The passage dwelt on love for one another and urged Christians to emulate Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself even before death.
In his remarks, President Jonathan promised that the pilgrimage, which he started this year will continue in the same spirit. He vowed that no evil forces would bring the country down. “We will overcome,” he vowed.
Speaking further, President Jonathan said: “This is the first time the pilgrimage is taking this shape. I believe we will continue in this spirit. Let me reassure you, even though we are passing through challenging periods, God has made it possible for us to be here. Even in the scripture, we have seen the many battles the Jews are fighting. But because of their zeal and commitments, God has kept them.
“We have learnt from the history of Israel. Every nation passes through challenges. We all have a role to play. We need to leave a better nation for our people. We promised to change the ways things are done and we have achieved that in the electoral laws. Evil forces will never bring us down. We will overcome. This is the turning point in our midst. Nigeria will never remain the same again after this.”
Similarly, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Board (NCPC), Kennedy Okpara, urged President Jonathan to make his visit to Israel, a yearly event. He said: “When I took over office, I asked God for one thing that during my tenure, a sitting Nigerian president will visit the Holy Land for the pilgrimage. Today, God has heard my prayer, as President Goodluck Jonathan has led other dignities to the Holy Land. It is my hope that Nigerians will continue to enjoy God’s presence by this pilgrimage. With the presence of the president, change has come to Nigeria.
“When we started this journey, we could barely lift 4, 000 Nigerians. Today, we airlifted over 30,000 Nigerian pilgrims. It is my prayer that the President will make this pilgrimage, a yearly event.” Pastor Paul Eneche, the founding overseer of Dunamis Church, gave the word of exaltation. He spoke on the theme, Experiencing His Lordship. He took his scripture passages from the book of Psalms 122 and Genesis 12: 1-3. Pastor Eneche took the congregation through the hurdles Israel has faced over the years, but added that it survived the tribulations.
He prophesied that God will replicate the successes Israel has witnessed after many years of wars and tribulations. “I’ve a prophecy for Nigeria and very soon, an unusual transformation will envelop Nigeria. The Lord is our Shepard, we shall not lack. God is always with us,” Eneche declared.