The fifth edition of theÃ‚Â West African Faith Believers ConventionÃ‚Â (WAFBEC 2018) is just a couple of days away and the excitement keeps rising in leaps and bounds.
For regulars at the convention, the Honours Night is one of the scheduled events that are most looked forward to. The Honour Night is the time where men and women who have laboured for the cause of the Gospel are honoured.Ã‚Â The Honours Night became a critical part of WAFBEC in 2016 with lateÃ‚Â Archbishop Benson IdahosaÃ‚Â as the recipient. The culture did not stop that year asÃ‚Â Rev (Dr.) Mike Oye, first Traveling Secretary of the Scripture Union (SU) who is widely recognised for his exemplary work in spreading the gospel of Jesus all across Nigeria was awarded in 2017.
This drive is not ending anytime soon asÃ‚Â Pa Sydney G. EltonÃ‚Â popularly calledÃ‚Â Pa EltonÃ‚Â (of blessed memory) has been announced as the man to be honoured during the Honour Night of WAFBEC 2018. As much as history reminds us,Ã‚Â Pa EltonÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs work although most times forgotten in mainstream Pentecostalism is foundational to Christian movement in Nigeria.
Pa EltonÃ‚Â had arrived Nigeria as a British missionary in 1937 with a clear mandate to raise a new breed of leadership in the Nigerian Church, who, powered by the Holy Spirit, will take the message of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kingdom to the very ends of the earth.
He lived in Ilesa, Osun where he founded several platforms designed to impact and disciple young men and women who continue to be in the forefront of genuine Pentecostal revival and missionary enterprise in Nigeria. Apparently,Ã‚Â Prophet Joseph Ayodele Babalola, Bishop Benson Idahosa, Brother GbileÃ‚Â AkanniÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â Bishop Francis Wale OkeÃ‚Â are some of the men thatÃ‚Â Pa EltonÃ‚Â fiercely laboured over in discipleship, in mentoring, in influence, in the word and prayers.
Pa EltonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â work in the continuity of faith, devotion to the word and ministry of the Holy Spirit is responsible for so much of what we see today in the Pentecostal/Charismatic expression.Ã‚Â He lived fully and wholly for the cause of the gospel. One of the prophesies thatÃ‚Â Pa EltonÃ‚Â will be forever remembered for is thatÃ‚Â Nigeria is AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trigger. That prophecy has gone far and wide, it can hardly be traced back to him. Although he passed on after 50 years of a remarkably eventful ministry and was buried in Ilesa, the award, however, will be received by his daughter who is now in her eighties still serving in the Vineyard based in Ilesa.
The Honour Night at WAFBEC might just pass as one of the best movements to come out of the Nigerian Church as it constantly aims atÃ‚Â acquainting the younger generation with the truths found and embraced by the older generation that really made a serious impact on things. This subtly reminds us of how far we have come, the sacrifices that got us here and most importantly, how much more work we have to do.
As we reflect on the life, times and works of Pa Elton (of blessed memory), the question of Ã¢â‚¬Å“What will I be remembered for when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m gone?Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â easily comes to mind.