Pastor Charles Omofomah
The Early Years
Charles Ehidiamen Omofomah was born into the family of Leonard Ereyokan Omofomah and Elina Ahalazoha. He was the third son and third child of his mother’s six children. His father was a teacher with a reputation for neatness and well known for his excellent handwriting. With limited education, he hungered for greener pastures for his children because his desire was for all of them to be educated up to university level. His income as a teacher / farmer could not make that dream come to reality.
In 1966, he left their village, Irrua, in Edo State without his family for Kano because he felt things would be better there. After about a year, he sent for his wife and two of his children Albert and Charles to join him in Kano. He secured a job as a clerical officer with Leventis Motors – a job he carried out with great diligence. Throughout the nearly twenty years he worked with the company, he never went late to work once. Later on, Charles’ beloved younger sister Odegua, came to join the family and his younger ones, Tina and Aiye (both of blessed memory) were born in Kano.
While still at home in Irrua, Charles never liked farming and would rather stay home with his mother. When he played truant from the farm, his eldest brother, Godwin would want to flog him but Mama Elina, his mother would hear none of it and Charles got away with it.
Charles’ daddy also loved him very much because he was a very honest child and was never found lying. If ever he got into trouble, his daddy was convinced that he was unduly influenced by his more rascally immediate elder brother, Albert, who always got punished instead! As a result of this, whenever Albert and his friends went out on daring trips like stealing mango fruits from a farm, they wouldn’t go with Charles because they felt that he would not run fast enough and thus was going to get the whole group into trouble!
“So Poor That The Poor Called them Poor”
Charles often described his upbringing as being “so poor that the poor called us poor”. As hilarious as this may sound to some, it was really an understatement of the abject poverty he and his family experienced while growing up.
In Kano, after living on Odutola Road and then on Niger Street, the only affordable accommodation was a room in the market place with a gutter passing right in front of it. Apartments and flats were way out of the family’s economic reach. This room had no windows but only one door and the family used a curtain to divide the room into two in order to create a private area for the parents. The hot and arid weather in Kano made it almost unbearable to live in the “apartment”. The family could not afford mats (and mattresses were an unthinkable luxury for all). The children would gather empty cartons and packing cases from the market place, flatten them out to serve as mats for sleeping. In the morning, they would then have to literally peel off the cardboard “mats” because it would have stuck to their sweaty backs in the course of the night sleeping in the room with no ventilation.
Pastor Charles was a man who abhorred poverty and he often described as a curse. It didn’t matter how and where you were born, his message and ministry was that you didn’t have to stay there and he didn’t. He stands out as an example of how your background does not define you. People who knew him to the end described him as a very secure person with no trace of inferiority complex resulting from the poverty he experienced in his upbringing. The key to this was his discovery of the truth in the Word of God.
2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.
Job 13:2 (NKJV)
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV)
Developing a Work Ethic At An Early Age
Poverty stole so much from the family as they struggled tirelessly from one day to the next. Every one had to pool together in their own little way to make ends meet. Charles was a very responsible person even in childhood. He always felt a sense of responsibility towards his family.
When the family moved to Kano, he and Albert became proficient hawkers of bread. At about the age of eleven, following a long day at primary school, Charles and his brother hit the streets selling bread right after eating their first meal of the day at home. Their routine was to go to book down their quantity of bread for the day very early in the morning at the Hope Rising Bakery or Villas Bakery, often as early as four-thirty a.m. The worst thing you could do to Charles was offer him yam to eat after waiting so long for his first meal. He complained that being so hungry, he should not “work” to chew the food before getting it into his empty stomach! Even as an adult, Pastor Charles maintained his childhood dislike for boiled yam.
Mama Elina got her sons to compete with each other on who finished selling bread first. Charles, who was a little charming pre-teenager, usually went into the nooks and corners of the motor park and in no time people patronized him and his goods sold out – beating Albert to it. At the end of the month the brothers collected their commissions from the Bakery, recorded in their little pass books and gave the money to Mama Elina to help the family. On one occasion, an aunty spotted Charles while he was hawking bread and beckoned to him to cross the road to where she was. Charles froze, torn between respectfully obeying and staying right where he was. He chose the latter because he was ashamed of the shorts of his school uniform which were torn in the seat and he didn’t want his aunty to notice that. Even his school friends tauntingly called him “Mai brodi” (Bread seller!). Inspite of these pressures, the strong sense of work ethic and responsibility to his family did not stop him from selling bread.
As time went on, Charles’ mother started selling akara (fried bean cakes) and yam and stew and the boys worked with their mother after school. One of them distributed the meals to customers while the other washed-up the dishes. Eventually, an aunty of theirs requested that the boys help her in her own business and their father obliged her. So after school, in the cold Kano evenings, Charles and Albert helped their aunty distribute her cooked meals of rice, beans, yam etc to customers at the local Cinema. Sometimes they would be done at midnight in the blistering cold of the harmattan season. God in His sovereign mercy and goodness kept them safe as they worked hard in such an environment.
It is said that “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Poverty created many ingenious ways of generating income. Another source of income was through a roadside groundnut oil refinery. There was a place in Kano where trailers discharged groundnut oil. Some of the oil spilled on the ground and over time the place became marshy with oil. With the heat of the sun in Kano, the oil floated up to the top of the puddle and young “refiners” got bits of foam and soaked up the oil squeezing the liquid into bottles for sale. Their customers bought the oil at prices that were dependent on their assessment of the quality of the “refined” oil. No matter the amount, young Charles and his brother had some extra money to bring home to the family.
Pastor Charles was known to say that “Work is not a curse. It was created to release potential. Money will always flow in the direction of energy”. He taught people to have dignity in labour and to have a quest for discovering divine purpose. The application of the principles of the Word of God guarantees that tomorrow would be better than today – regardless of how bleak today was.
With his Roman Catholic background, Charles attended the Saint Thomas’ Primary School, Kano in 1967 where he studied until 1974. He was a very intelligent child and did extraordinarily well at school and was noticed by the school authorities. For example, he served as School Prefect several times, a position which was directly linked to merit. His brother recalls that when Charles came second and not first in class, he refused to come home and ran away crying bitterly. On such occasions, Mama Elina sent his siblings and friends to find him and beg him to come home promising that he would be first in class next term! It was at Saint Thomas’ that he met his childhood bosom friend, Tony Ojukwu.
Although Charles was outstanding in his academics, he attended all the “wrong schools”… as he described it. After his primary education, he was admitted into the Federal Government College, Gwazo and one can only imagine how excited he must have been at this opportunity, considering his quest for knowledge. His excitement was short lived however when it became obvious that the school fees of just a few Naira was not affordable by the family. Reluctant to let that dream go, Charles and Albert trekked for several kilometres along the hot and dusty road from Kano to Gwazo,to see what could be done about Charles’ admission. Albert also lost his own admission to secondary school due to poverty a couple of years earlier and the brothers did not want to see the same thing happen again. On the way to Gwazo, they got a lift from a Police Van and eventually got to the school exhausted. The School Principal encouraged them not to give up hope and said the school was willing to work with the family because they wanted to admit the intelligent but obviously poor boy. He asked the boys to tell their father to come and see him so that they could work something out.
Charles’ father was a man who did not believe in asking for favours. One could call it a form of pride or a form of self-dignity irrespective of the dire financial circumstances the family was in. Whatever the perspective, the unfortunate end result was that he refused to go to see the Principal. Months later while Charles and Albert were cleaning up their parents’ partitioned space, they lifted up the mattress to discover a personal letter from the Principal of the Federal Government College requesting a meeting with Charles’ father. He never responded to the personal invitation and for the second time, an Omofomah lost out on an admission to school due to poverty. What was more painful was that the Principal kept the admission offer open for Charles for about one year and he still never got the opportunity to attend the school. It is no wonder that Pastor Charles was a man who was passionate about educating people. He could hardly stand hearing that someone dropped out of school because of lack of finances. So many people who had no biological relationship to him were and are scholarship recipients of The Carpenter’s Church, receiving secondary and higher education both in Nigeria and in Europe. Likewise, so many extended family members have been able to complete their education as a result of Charles Omofomah’s personal generosity.
Having lost the Federal Government College admission, Charles accepted the scholarship that he was offered by the Kano Teacher’s College (KTC) in 1974. The College admission was a blessing in many ways to the family. The students were given a “soap” allocation and also some pocket money (approximately 15 Naira). Charles always brought garri home once he was paid and always shared his soap allocation with the family. The scholarship provided for uniforms and some books but he made the extra sacrifice to provide for the family against all odds. A testimony of his extraordinary intelligence showed up again in his graduation in 1979 from KTC as the second best overall student in the school.
In 1979, he took a job with the United Bank For Africa (UBA) in Biu, in Borno State where he worked for just about two years. His original desire was to study Law, but when he eventually got admitted into University, it was not for Law. Maybe it was all in God’s plan that he did not immediately gain admission into the course of his choice because by the time he eventually attended University, his passion was totally and wholly committed to establishing the kingdom of his Lord Jesus Christ here on earth.
His last lap of formal education was as a student of Sociology in BENSU (Bendel State University, Ekpoma) from 1983 to 1987.
In Primary School, Charles was an expert football goalkeeper. He was nicknamed “Magneto” because of his sharp reflexes. He was loved by the Games-master because he was an asset to the team. However, he had one disadvantage – his height. He caught low “ground” balls and “high” balls, but once the ball was kicked very high at the angles of the goal post, his weakness would be exposed. As a result of this, Charles was not fielded in matches as often as he would have wanted.
He switched to table tennis and became an expert table tennis player dealing out left handed serves that paralyzed his opponents. Charles played competitively even at National level when he represented his University in table tennis at the NUGA Games.
He introduced his love of tennis to his family and while he was a Roger Federer fan, his wife Joan and his sons, Osose and Osememe, were sold out to Rafael Nadal. Visits to Wimbledon in the UK are part of some of the fond memories he has left with his family.
In his later years he also became an ardent soccer fan and could be heard passionately supporting Arsenal in the Premier League much to the chagrin of Chloe Ene who was an unflinching Manchester United supporter.
A man of God and a man of the Word to the core, yet Pastor Charles believed that “Uwe na ufo ugbo” meaning “Work no dey finish for farm!” It was necessary to create time for relaxation and rest – and sports was one way he did this.
A New Dawn – From Religion To A Relationship
Charles always had a passion for God. He had a hunger and a void that he tried unsuccessfully to fill with religion. He was an altar boy and mass server in the Roman Catholic Church and did his duties with such dedication that far exceeded his age. Even when other altar boys ate and drank the “communion” bread and wine left over by the priests, Charles refused to be part of such an “unholy” act. When he saw some of the priests smoking cigarettes behind the church, he did not let that shift his focus from seeking to know this Supreme Being who would fill that aching void.
He found Him in Jesus Christ and a new dawn began for Charles Ehidiamen Omofomah.
One day at about the age of sixteen, Charles gave his life to Jesus Christ having been ministered to by a Christian brother. After this life-changing experience, Charles’ began to act differently. His family observed that no one could find him when it was time for the altar boys to go to church for their duties. At certain specific times of the day, Charles “disappeared” and could not be found. He began attending fellowship and was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Charles received his prayer language and the birth of a passion for prayer occurred. Charles was known to pray drenched in sweat for hours and hours and hours. His parents became very alarmed. Mama Elina cried often saying that she had heard that this “thing” Charles had entered into made people mad and she didn’t want her precious Charles to go mad. They tried to get Albert to influence him out of this new “madness”. Instead, Charles eventually influenced him to Christ.
Charles was also introduced to the efficacy of the living Word of God. With his Catholic background, the Bible had not been part of his existence because what they were used to were the Prayer Books provided by the Catholic Church. When he got in contact with the Word of God, he got in contact with the Source of his life. He believed, breathed, lived and spoke the Word. His favourite expression to his perplexed siblings and friends was “the Bible says…” He was consumed with a passion for the lost and would pray for hours for his best friend Tony, telling God that “heaven would not be interesting if Tony was not there.” A few years later, Tony got born again.
His first involvement in Christian Ministry was with the Kano Students For Christ Crusade (KSCC) now called the Students For Christ Ministry (SCM). At KTC, he was an active participant in anything he could get his hands into. The main activities of the KSCC were held during the long vacation months when most students were out of school. The students fasted and prayed and went into the surrounding villages to live among the people. The brothers followed the men to their farms and weeding and witnessing went on side by side! The sisters stayed with the women and harvested dawa with them. In the evenings, the students showed movies and then preached and ministered to the indigenes who gave their lives to Jesus Christ in many numbers. Some of these village trips were dangerous and the students, many of whom could not swim, had to cross many rivers to get to their target locations. In crossing these treacherous rivers they usually formed human chains with each person holding on to the clothes of the person in front of him or her. In the course of one of such crossings a precious sister, Sade, lost her grip and drowned in the river and her body was later found downstream. Such were the sacrifices of these young men and women and such was the foundation of Christianity that Charles built his life on and taught to others.
While at KTC, Charles was an Executive Member of the KSCC. The KSCC students usually invited the then Dr. Duro Adegboye (later Professor) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to preach at the crusades organized by the students. KSCC played a major pioneering role in the introduction of the tangibility of the Word and power of God in Kano.
No Man Takes This Honour Upon Himself
4 And no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
In the early years of his walk with God, Charles became very conscious of the call of God upon his life. It was like “fire in his bones”. He knew however that he needed a period of separation and training. He also felt strongly that he needed a University education. First of all, this would erase any notions that he went into Ministry because of educational frustration and also an education would increase his ability to reach people of all strata in society.
Gospel Unlimited Foundation
Charles resigned from UBA as the call was now overwhelming him. All he wanted was to grow in the things of God and to serve Him. In 1981, he went to work with Professor Duro Adegboye at the Gospel Unlimited Foundation in Samaru, Zaria. That was a time of hands-on ministry in the field for Charles. The Foundation’s activities included recording Professor Duro’s teachings, tape production, village crusades as well as movie shows in the Foundation’s building. Films such as The Robe were shown regularly to a nondenominational audience and after that Charles gave the altar call and people were saved, healed and delivered.
His coming marked a turning point in the effectiveness of the Gospel Unlimited Foundation. He was the catalyst for the explosion of the supernatural, challenging everyone there with his passionate effectual prayer life. According to Professor Duro, “Charles could best be described as a man of prayer”. The gifts of the Spirit especially the word of knowledge and prophecy were in tangible manifestation in his ministry. His precious friend Tony soon met up with him at Gospel Unlimited Foundation in 1982. Tony describes how Charles was a motivating and driving force for most, if not all of the activities of the Ministry while he was there.
In the two years he worked with Professor Duro, he held several positions in Gospel Unlimited – Head of Intercessors, Chief Counsellor and The Coordinator of the Gospel Centre. He served faithfully and diligently and served as the major domo of the Foundation. The entire Ministry was run sacrificially by Professor Duro and his team and all they breathed and lived for was getting souls saved and established in the kingdom.
Right up to the day of his passing, Pastor Charles believed that anyone could accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The Gospel he preached and believed did not exclude the vilest of sinners or the most religious of people. He believed that the Word of God could establish anyone who was saved and was known to give people endless reels of rope with chance after chance after chance. His message of forgiveness was not that of a second chance but that of another chance.
“Headquarters” – An Explosion Of The Supernatural
While in Samaru, Charles passed the JAMB exams and received an admission into the then Bendel State University (Now Ambrose Alli University) Ekpoma. He made it clear from the first day on campus that the only reason he came to the university was “to reach young people for Christ” and that was exactly what he did.
Shortly after he came to campus he met Oje Ohiwerei. Oje had been secondary school mates with Chris Oyakhilome and thus the three of them worked as a team and a common love at that time for the things of God kept them together. There was a tireless quest in these young men for a manifestation of the supernatural and of God’s glory in the lives of the young people on campus. This quest drove them to begin to pray every night. They prayed in the Pavilion, the halls, classrooms and the deepest parts of the bush – in gullies and plains. Charles often said that “There was nowhere on campus we did not pray for hours on end”.
While still seeking for God’s guidance for the fulfillment of this quest and yearning, they were active members of the Christian Fellowship (CF). Although they did not hold any specific positions in the fellowship, Charles was marked out as a prophet because of the easy flow of the gifts of the Spirit in his life. There were times when he ministered and prophesied for so long that he would be exhausted and ask God to pass on the prophetic unction to Oje or someone else. The Lord did just that and Charles still wrote down the specific prophecy which served as further confirmation to those who had prophesied. From CF, Charles and his friends began to hold special meetings and special seminars. In those meetings, Charles ministered by the word of knowledge with an amazing accuracy and the anointing fished people out of the crowd with the most bizarre of conditions and they got saved, healed, restored, delivered and set free. Even many leaders in the CF became “Nicodemously” attached to the young men due to the power of God and His Word that was so tangible in their ministrations and in their lives.
One day, at a CF meeting things were going to change forever. Charles respectfully raised his hand indicating that he had a prophecy to deliver. He was ignored by the President. Deciding probably that the President wanted a more appropriate time, he lowered his hand and waited. After a while, he raised his hand again and still he was ignored. Towards the end of the service, he lifted his hand again and still he was ignored. Vexed by what was going on, his friend Oje stood up, prophesied and walked out of the meeting. Charles left a few minutes later and Chris left at the end of the service because he tried to obtain the permission the young men needed for a program that was scheduled to hold on campus. The President never granted the permission. That was the last time the young men were seen in CF. They went ahead and held the program which was explosive and shook the campus with its impact. This eventually marked the beginning of the fellowship that later became Youth For Christ (YFC) – a ministry that the three young men founded which later was renamed Believers’ Love World.
So YFC began and set the BENSU Campus on fire.
Charles was known by several nicknames “Charlie humble”, “Weeping prophet”, “Pastor Charlie”, all indicative of his way of life and ministry, which mirrored that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was a very quiet person with a servant’s heart and could be in a crowd unnoticed until the anointing distinguished him. Brethren found him easy to talk to and unburden their problems. People were drawn to his shepherd’s heart – single girls to his transparency and purity, married women to his maturity and understanding, young men to his leadership and sterling character. He became a big brother to all and followed-up people personally such that each person felt that he or she was the only one who had gotten saved. People trusted him and could tell him anything because he laughed with them and cried with them also, but was always there for them.
After the first year at Ekpoma, Charles and his friends decided that it was expedient to stay in the same room, in the same hostel on campus since they were spending so many hours praying together. In their second year they were able to work around getting into the same hostel and eventually the same room 187.This room and all other rooms the friends shared subsequently became nicknamed “Headquarters” by unbelievers on campus. “Headquarters” was a place of succour, a place of counsel, a place of healing, a place of study, a place of deliverance. There was an unending flow of traffic from “Headquarters” as students were seen leaving the room, laughing, crying, praying in tongues or just with a glow of peace and love on their faces. Since Charles and his friends never locked the room, students who were sick and diseased were known to go in to lie down on their beds and get up totally healed by the power of God.
Pastor Charles once recalled the story of how a young man who was totally addicted to alcohol ran into “Headquarters” declaring his problem and recommending the solution! “Pastor Charlie, I need three hours hot prayers and I will be okay”. Charles was always tolerant of sincere ignorance and saw opportunities to channel people to the Truth that makes free. The young man was eventually saved and delivered of his addiction.
The impact of YFC had such a far-reaching effect that it affected the social structure of the Campus. Beauty Queens got saved – Miss BENSU and Miss BENSU runner up, Miss Hot Legs, Capones of the most dangerous cults got saved bringing their “bad boys” with them, all the Chiefs of the Palm Wine Drinkers Club got saved year after year. So many souls were saved in YFC. Emman Ogiemudia, Franca Akue and many more lives that are established in the faith and in ministry today were affected by the ministry of Charles and his friends. The impact Charles and his friends had even went beyond Ekpoma as they were often visiting other campuses such as the University of Nigeria, Nsukka holding Faith Seminars.
Such was their influence that even lecturers who were immoral no longer had the type of girls they were used to dating because all of such girls were now born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and on fire for Jesus. On one occasion, a Professor in Charles’ department who was well experienced in the mystical realm summoned for Charles and Oje and with hostility asked them directly “what is the Source of your power?” This opened up an opportunity to minister the Gospel and lecture the Professor on the love of Jesus Christ. The young men earned his respect after that.
They were students in school yet they were also ministers on campus. In spite of this busy itinerary, which caused the friends to miss most of their lectures, Charles always did well in class. Even in situations where they ran out of a deliverance session, to write an exam, and run back into the deliverance session to finish it up, God’s grace and mercy always came through in their academics enabling Charles to graduate with Honours from the university.
Living By The Standard Of God’s Word
After an explosive four years at Ekpoma, Charles was called to serve his nation at the NYSC program and was posted to Ejegan LGA in Cross River State. Charles describes the place as a remote jungle with elephants and pythons. So remote and interior was this place that pythons and other reptiles used to fall from the ceiling of the room where they lodged. At some point, Charles began to use his faith to believe that pythons would not fall into his room anymore and that was the end of it. Charles literally believed that the believer had authority in the Name of Jesus Christ and that there was nothing impossible with God and them that believe His Word.
While at Ejegan, Charles met a lot of discouragement among the Christians there. He was instrumental in bringing revival to that community and established a fellowship that affected so many lives. Pastor Charles often said that the only purpose he could see for the NYSC program now was that it was an opportunity for the preaching of the Gospel by Christian students in some areas where the Gospel had never been preached before. Such was his experience in NYSC.
Also while at Ejegan, Charles decided to learn how to swim. As children, they had been forbidden to swim after a close friend of theirs, Raymond, died in a swimming pool. So, he wanted to use the time he had during National Service to learn how to swim. One fateful afternoon, Charles strolled down to the river hoping to meet some villagers who could give him swimming lessons! He encountered villagers indeed but it was not what he expected. They were some girls from the village playing in the river stark naked and beckoning on him to join them. Charles took off and fled for his life! That was the end of his swimming lessons forever!
Such was Pastor Charles approach to purity and sexual integrity. He remained a male virgin until his marriage and remained sexually faithful to his wife in the thirteen years of his marriage. He often stood boldly at the pulpit and declared that there was no female who had ever lived who could accuse him of sexual impropriety towards her in word or deed. Unfortunately, not many so-called men of God in our time can boldly make such declarations. Some are quick to apply the message of God’s mercy to their deliberate “actions” as they repeatedly violate the sheep that God gave them oversight of, often deceived by the fact that the gifts and callings they manifest continue to be expressed in spite of their sin.
Although a man of deep compassion, Pastor Charles was also a man of very high standards. Often accused of setting standards that were way too high, he always responded that these standards were set by the Word of God for us and God would never ask us to do what He had not already equipped us to do. He believed that a dependence on the grace of God was what we needed to make it. He was always there with open arms for those who were willing to change but sometimes took painful decisions to cut off those who were not, especially if God’s sheep were endangered or exposed by maintaining such relationships. He believed in the diplomatic principle of “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”
After the NYSC, he was asked by a friend to come and help him in his church in Northern Nigeria. It was a volunteer experience that didn’t last very long. As with everything he did, he poured his life into it and his ministry made a huge impact during his time there.
Being a very principled young man, Charles knew that it was time to leave after a while.
A Divine Assignment
Eventually it became clear to Charles that it was Port Harcourt that God was sending him to – a city that he had never been to before. Just like Abraham, he went purely by raw, undiluted faith. 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 (NKJV) This decision represented a new beginning for Charles Ehidiamen Omofomah, an Apostle sent to his generation with a base established in Port Harcourt. Once he received that divine assignment, Charles made the best investment he had in the new work – prayer. What did he pray for? Money? No. Contact with the “big men of God” in Port Harcourt? No.
In his own words, “When the Lord asked me to come to Port Harcourt (a city I had never lived in before) to start a brand new Ministry, – I took out time to pray and fast for the new project. My main prayer point was for human resources – people who, at different times and in different capacities, would run with the vision and together we would see it come into reality……” God answered that prayer and the answer is still being made manifest today in the many vessels that have been birthed from the ministry of this General of Almighty God.
On Friday the 29th of June, 1990, Charles arrived at Mile One Park in Port Harcourt. He had the brilliant plan of going straight to the University of Port Harcourt to enroll for a Masters degree, get accommodation all on the same day. His plan was never to attend the lectures but to start the new Ministry. The only problem with this plan was that he did not realize how far away the university was located from the town and he had no guarantees that he could get admission and accommodation in one day. Such was the faith of Charles – he never considered any report that was contrary to what the Word and Voice of God had to say about any matter.
When he arrived at the park, with approximately N250 (Two hundred and fifty Naira) in his pocket and no money in any bank anywhere, God told him that “wherever the soles of his feet were placed, He had given to him”… and he believed God. He decided to deliver a letter someone had given to him from the North to give to a Ghanaian brother who worked as a Quantity Surveyor in the Construction Industry in Port Harcourt. He happened to live not too far away from the Park.
This was how Pastor Charles first met Joseph Tagoe and his young family. Having delivered the letter, Joseph engaged him in a little chit-chat and asked Charles what he came to Port Harcourt to do. He replied boldly “to start a church”. To this Joseph exclaimed in his thick Ghanaian accent “Another church?” Even as far back as 1990, there were so many churches in Port Harcourt and Joseph who was born again, did not see what this young unassuming man thought he was going to offer that was different from the many churches already active in the city. Charles smiled and politely turned to leave. Then, Joseph asked him where he planned to sleep that night. Charles declared his brilliant plan, still having no clue how far away the University was.
Then came a destiny invitation. Joseph told Charles he could stay with his family until he sorted himself out. Charles accepted the invitation and ended up living in the Tagoes’ guest room for two years until the Ministry rented his first accommodation at 5 Baen Street in the State Housing Estate, Abuloma. During the years he lived with the Tagoes, Charles was a welcome guest whose presence was a blessing to the family and Joseph engaged him in hours of Bible discussion. His soft spoken wife Patience was a wonderful hostess and Charles was never made to feel like an unwanted stranger in his home. The relationship with the Tagoes continued even after the home-going of Joseph in 1999 because the Ministry that Charles founded in Port Harcourt gave scholarships to his daughters all the way to university level, built Joseph’s dream four bedroom bungalow in Accra, set up a thriving business for Patience and bought two brand new cars on the same day for Patience and their first daughter. The lessons to be learnt are overwhelming because Joseph never knew how far reaching an impact his simple act of kindness to a stranger would have on his family many years after he had gone to be with the Lord.
Royal Evangel Church Begins
“There is rest in knowing and discovering purpose, and let there be turbulence all over, you’re just rested in the fact that you know that you’re in the purpose of God.” Pastor Charles
“If there’s anything that should disturb you, it is discovering purpose and pursuing it. Once you discover purpose and are pursuing purpose, you will sleep at night and your sleep will be sweet. The work might be tough, but you will be enjoying it. You’ll get up in the morning and you’ll be excited, not because it’s not tough; it may be tough, but that is nothing compared to the joy of knowing and pursing purpose. There is relaxation once you discover and are pursuing purpose. It’s just a matter of time – those who thought they left you behind will begin to come to you.” Pastor Charles
On Friday, the 6th of July 1990, exactly one week after Pastor Charles came to Port Harcourt, Royal Evangel Church began. Such was his determination and his commitment to fulfill the vision God had laid in his heart.
The first service was the Friday fellowship in a nursery classroom at the Christian Council Centre in Elekahia Port Harcourt with a three or four people in attendance. All Pastor Charles cared about was that the work had begun and people’s lives were going to be transformed by the grace of God.
Then another meeting of destiny was about to happen.
A few weeks after the Church began, a young lady, Nkechi Chijioke, who had recently come to Port Harcourt, was searching for a Bible-believing Church. She had been told that Pastor Charles Omofomah had just come to Port Harcourt by three different independent sources, so she was curious to locate him. Having been a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nkechi had heard of Pastor Charles and was eager to find this new Church.
That fateful evening, as Pastor Charles would recall “I saw two fine girls bounce into the nursery classroom for Friday fellowship and I thought why today that no one is around? Will they stay?” Nkechi and her flatmate, Ifeoma Nwobodo, walked in and found only Pastor Charles in the classroom at 6:00 p.m., service time. Not sure they had the right venue, Nkechi asked him “Is this Royal Evangel Church?” to which Pastor Charles replied with a confident smile “Yes”. That was all they needed to hear. They sat down and soon enough a few other people came in and the service started. Nkechi had never seen anyone worship with so much passion lying flat on the concrete floor. Then it was time for the message and Pastor Charles preached with so much power and vigor that anyone who was looking for the Truth would have no reason not to stay. Nkechi knew she had kissed destiny and come home and excitedly informed, Emeka Ene, her fiancé who was offshore working on a rig for an oil-service company, that she had found the Church they were looking for. Strangely enough Pastor Charles knew that Sister Nkechi had the call of God upon her life from those first weeks but never told her. He told one of his friends and kept it at that. A few years later when Nkechi was now consumed by the call, Pastor Charles still counselled that she waited another year for Emeka to be fully ready before her ordination and separation into full time ministry – which she did. Such was Pastor Charles’ selflessness and care for the destinies of the sheep in his care.
It was exciting times for Charles and his Church of few faithful brethren. John, Akunna, Emeka, Nkechi, Ifeoma, Yemisi… He would declare under a great anointing “I do not want to raise banana Christians! I want to raise people grounded in the Word of God. E.W. Kenyon had a Church of 300 people and they were strong and healed and prosperous and walked in love! That is my idea of a Church! It is not how many you have in your congregation but of what stuff the people are made of!” Over and over the brethren would hear these declarations and their minds were being changed and renewed. A paradigm shift was happening and it was becoming clear to some of them that something really great was being birthed here. Yet all they saw did not look like greatness. A humble Pastor “squatting” with a Ghanaian couple who attended another church? How was that greatness? A humble Pastor who rode on a motorbike taxi to church clutching his microphone and tape recorder in one hand and his big Bible in another hand? How was that greatness? A humble Pastor who swept the nursery classroom and arranged the seats before the brethren came? How was that greatness? A humble Pastor who had one or were they two, suits? How was that greatness?
34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:34-35 (NKJV)
According to the Word of God, this was greatness.
Little Beginnings, Great Foundations
In the first year of the Royal Evangel Church, there was no Sunday service because the venue did not permit it. The brethren met on Friday evenings and Pastor Charles encouraged them to attend other churches on Sunday mornings. That was how secure a man of God he was. This quiet confidence continued to be a hallmark of his ministry. Probably the greatest display of how secure he was as a man of God was his insistence that his Associate Pastor, Pastor Nkechi Ene (nee Chijioke) hosted the Ministry’s TV Outreach “Freshdew” which began airing in 1998. This was a first and an uncommon thing to see in Ministry. Some of his friends constantly challenged him on this decision and he always replied with a smile “Can you see me sitting down, smiling on TV and dissecting the Word of God? Pastor Nkechi is one of the best teachers in the whole world and God sent her to me, so why on earth shouldn’t she teach on TV?” Such was the rare type of heart of this great and secure General of God; a father in every respect of the word. Over the years, this father’s heart attracted pastors of other independent ministries to submit themselves to the grace upon Pastor Charles’ life and learn at his feet. He eventually stepped into the grace to become a pastor to pastors.
His impeccable integrity was also clearly displayed during the early years and integrity became a major foundation of the Ministry. For the first year not one offering basket was passed around in the church and money was not collected…yes you read correctly…money was not collected. Why did Pastor Charles do this? He wanted to establish without a shadow of doubt that he was not in the ministry for the purpose of financial and material gain. He knew how to believe God for finances and his one year in Port Harcourt was proof of that. After the first year, the brethren had a meeting with Pastor Charles and implored him to begin to take collections in church because they were being robbed of the opportunity to give and thus to prosper. Only then did collections begin in REC.
“Once you know the purpose of God, step into it. Don’t wait until all conditions are perfect. There is no time when all the conditions will be perfect. Just step out. Once you take that step you will begin to see strange kinds of miracles of provision. God will help you, and that, right early!.” Pastor Charles
This was the foundation of financial integrity of the Ministry. In the twenty years of its existence so far, the Ministry has never “raised money” for Projects. Once a minister friend came to minister in REC and was “led” to raise money from the congregation. Although he meant well, there was an embarrassed silence but some people still responded. At the end of the exercise, all the money that was raised to buy Pastor Charles a car he sowed it all back into the Ministry and did not keep a kobo of it. Shortly after that, God miraculously provided his first car. The Ministry also has never distributed letters of appeal for funds. Once, in the second year of the Ministry, Pastor Charles approved the idea brought up by some eager brethren to write such a letter. Praise God for he later withdrew the letters and they were never distributed! His belief was simply based on this Scripture below:
27 “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
He believed that a Ministry should evangelize and “catch fish” and those fish when nurtured would freely pay the bills of the Ministry and prosper even more in the process. In another analogy, Pastor Charles taught that the Ministry should feed the sheep in its care and those sheep would provide for the Ministry without any need for manipulation, seduction and control.
When the Ministry turned one year old there was great celebration among the brethren. What was the size of the Church? Well, one crate of mineral of twenty-four bottles was bought for the celebration. Guests were invited and yet after both the members of the church and their guests had taken a bottle each, there were still a few bottles left in the crate for anyone who wanted a second drink!
The great foundations in the Ministry those early years included hours of work done by Pastor Charles and the then Sister Nkechi on materials such as the Believers’ Classes, Counselling Notes, Orientation Notes and so much more. This foundational work involved tireless hours of study, writing, typing, and editing for material that is still being used in the ministry decades later.
Still a man of prayer, Pastor Charles introduced Pastor Nkechi to a lifestyle of intercessory prayer. The two of them often prayed for hours on end in other tongues. For Pastor Charles it was a way of life he was used to. For Sister Nkechi, it was an adventure into realms of the deep things of God she had never known was possible. Once in late 1994, after praying for nine hours non-stop, the two ended their prayer and Pastor Charles had gone so far in the realm of the Spirit that he could not speak in English or in any known language. Each time he opened his mouth, it was his prayer language in tongues that came out. He used his eyes to calm Pastor Nkechi who was beginning to entertain thoughts of her beloved Pastor doing an “early Rapture”!
5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying-“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
Hebrews 11:5 (NLT)
He beckoned unto her to lay hands on him and pray gently in tongues which she did simply in obedience not because she had any clue what was going on or what that would do. After a while, he “came back over from the edge” and began to speak in English again.
Those times of intense prayer and deep study and meditation were instrumental in building not just the foundation of the Ministry which would be called The Carpenter’s Church but also they were instrumental in building the divine uncommon relationship that existed between Charles and his protégé, Nkechi.
Write The Vision And Make It Plain
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV)
Sometime in 1991, having taught on Habakkuk 2:2, Pastor Charles and the few brethren of Royal Evangel Church met one evening in Emeka’s bachelor house and he expressed his heart for the new work. He spoke articulately about the vision God had given him and there and then the vision of the local church was articulated in a three-fold format.
1. Maturing the saints for the work of the ministry through the systematic teaching of the undiluted Word of God.
[Colossians 1:25-28; Ephesians 4:11-15]
2. Restoration of the scriptural order of worship and praise.
[John 4:24; 2 Chronicles 20:18-19; Psalm 95:6]
3. Developing and Maintaining a high sense of family.
[Psalm 133:1-3; Ephesians 3:14-15; Ephesians 4:4-6]
From that day and for many years since, this vision has always been displayed as a backdrop at every venue the church has used for service. The banners have the vision and the supporting Scriptures written out clearly on it. Pastor’s life exemplified every aspect of the vision.
He taught the Word of God faithfully and systematically and was very “jealous” over his pulpit for the sake of the sheep. Many “popular” ministers have deliberately never preached from the pulpit of The Carpenter’s Church because Pastor Cee was careful to insist that the sheep were exposed to the Word of God and only the Word of God. He abhorred mediocrity in thought, form and deed with a passion. Having lived a deeply religious life before he got born again, he taught his sheep about the evil of religion and led them in a quest for a deeper experiential relationship with God. His message was a balance of grace and faith, teaching the people to believe and receive all that had already been done freely and given to them in the Sacrifice of Jesus. On the other hand, he challenged people to believe in themselves and take adventures in faith. He built a team of Pastors, leaders and workers without whom he always said the work of the ministry could not be accomplished. It was never about him, but always about God and His Word, which is why his work is guaranteed to live on in greater glory.
Pastor Cee as he was fondly called, believed so much in true worship and praise unto God. Worship is meant to be a lifestyle in the life of every believer yet there are moments to offer the actions of worship and praise to God from a heart full of reverence and love and gratitude. From the Hebrew and the Greek, he taught the people to bow down, prostrate, kneel, crouch in their worship unto God, a practice which has become a signature of the Ministry. Worship sessions are awesome sessions in Church with a few songs ministered to God in deep meditation and beauty. He also taught the people to scream and shout like though they had taken leave of their senses when praising God for His goodness. What a powerful tool of faith, praise has become in church. The Praise and Worship Team members were hand-picked by Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi. From the early years, Pastor worshipped and praised God by example. He always lay flat on the floor weeping, kneeling down at his seat or even bowing with his face to the ground during worship. In Praise sessions, he danced and jumped and stood on his seat and waved his jacket as a flag shouting his signature – “parararararaaaaaa Oh HooooooH!!!” when he led the Church to shamelessly make their boast in the Lord with no airs and graces. In Church, there are no “big men” and “small men” – just believers, saints who love God, honour him and endeavour to do His Word”.
As for the sense of family, that is just who Pastor Cee was to his sheep – the father of one big loving family. He believed very much in the Family Outreach Groups that met in people’s homes as an avenue to express love to one another and learn from one another within a closely-knit group. As the Church grew, it became increasingly difficult for Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi to continue to visit every member who got married, who had a baby, who had a challenge in hospital, who lost a loved one and yet he wanted every such case to be surrounded by the love of the family in the Royal Evangel Church. This sense of family is accentuated by the Family Groups and Pastor Cee always expressed excitement and fulfillment when a member of the church gave a testimony that did not include a Pastor’s involvement but the involvement and support of another believing member or faith-filled leader.
From One Venue to Another
The early years were years that seemed to see the Royal Evangel Church wander from one venue to another. With each move brethren left the church because it was now “too far” from their homes and others became members because the church had moved close to their own neighborhoods. As discouraging as this was sometimes, Pastor Charles never made the wrong confession but always declared that the sheep that God had assigned to him would stay in the sheepfold and those who wandered away would come back home one day.
In 1991, the Church had to leave the Christian Council Centre and the Tagoes offered their parlour for the church services. By this time, Joseph was enthralled by the ministry of Pastor Charles and he and his family began to attend services at the Royal Evangel Church. Although using his official accommodation was against company policy, Joseph obtained favour from them and the Church was able to meet in his home. After a while, in 1992 the Church moved to the St. John’s Church on Aba Road Port Harcourt. Services usually would hold in the church building in the afternoon after the Anglican congregation would have met earlier in the morning. One fateful Sunday, having gathered for service the brethren found that they had been locked-out unceremoniously without notice because the new parish priest frowned at the arrangement. They were confused and felt helpless, but without any fuss, Pastor Cee gathered his flock under a near-by tree, sat them down on the grass and began to preach like we were in a big auditorium. He was shouting and jumping and skipping across the logs of wood and stones scattered on the ground. According to Emeka, that was a turning point in the lives of many brethren as “he inspired us to ‘look’ as far as we could ‘see’ to lay-hold and experience God’s purpose and provision for our lives”. There was nothing that could stop the brethren as a collectivity and as individuals – for as many as would believe and hold on to God and His Word.
The Church was able to secure a Hall within the same St. John’s Campus and services continued in earnest as the first season of explosive growth occurred and about 50 to 70 people were in attendance on a Sunday morning. Then it was time to move again. In 1993, the Royal Evangel Church received the greatest accommodation miracle by moving into the then EffBee Hall. It was a former Cinema Hall with padded walls and carpeted floors and for the fledgling ministry, it was a leap into “luxury”. It was here that the second season of continuous explosive growth began. In the early days at EffBee Hall, it seemed like the Church was beginning all over again because only about 30 to 40 people moved and attended service at the new location, meanwhile, the Hall could sit 500 people! Rather than allow the empty seats create a sense of failure and despair within the hearts of the faithful brethren, Pastor Charles used the situation as a faith extender during every service by asking the church to look back and stare at all the empty seats. Then he challenged the congregation to go out to evangelize and bring in the people who those seats belonged to. He often dissuaded the people from “sheep stealing” from other Churches while yet acknowledging that Royal Evangel Church would be a place of refuge and rescue for broken sheep who had been manipulated, seduced, controlled and abused in the hands of hirelings.
10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.
12 But the hired servant (he who merely serves for wages) who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away. And the wolf chases and snatches them and scatters [the flock].
13 Now the hireling flees because he merely serves for wages and is not himself concerned about the sheep [cares nothing for them].
14 I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me-
15 Even as [truly as] the Father knows Me and I also know the Father-and I am giving My [very own] life and laying it down on behalf of the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be [they will become] one flock under one Shepherd.
John 10:10-16 (AMP)
His sacrificial shepherd’s heart kept the sheep together during these tough times. Pastor Charles would do anything even risk laying down his life for his sheep. He could give his last amount of money to pay someone’s school fees if it is was necessary – and many times he did so. He fed the sheep spiritually and often times fed them materially as well.
On one occasion, he personified the true-shepherd described by Jesus in the Bible when he literally stood between a known fraudster and “419” kingpin at the time and the mother of a church member. Note that this was not a church member, but the mother of a church member. He protected her when the man attempted to kidnap her and when the man raised false accusations against him and even unjustly attacked one of his minister friends, Pastor Charles spent over a month in police detention in Alagbon Close rather than give up the lady who had been a victim of torture and abuse in the hands of the man. He stood in the gap both spiritually and physically for his sheep. What a man of God!
Leading up to the fifth Anniversary of the church in July 1995, Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi met with a young architect in the church then and painted a picture of the dream building that God had laid in Pastor’s heart for the church. As the meeting progressed, the picture became clearer and the very first sketch of the 5,000 seater auditorium was developed. This sketch was now built into an architectural model and unveiled during the fifth Anniversary program called “The Royal Banquet”. The model remained at the side of the stage for every service after that to serve as a faith extender.
By 1997, Royal Evangel Church was running two full services at the EffBee Hall and then the Word of the Lord came and said…
You Have Stayed Too Long on this Mountain
5 On this side of the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying,
6 “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.
7 Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.
8 See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers-to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-to give to them and their descendants after them.'”
Deuteronomy 1:5-8 (NKJV)
The church embarked on a huge faith project – purchasing of land for the permanent site. The target set was for twelve plots of land and even that looked like something that needed extraordinary faith to achieve! Pastor instructed that the stage banner with the three-fold vision be removed and replaced with a banner that declared the target for the church – the Land Project. Brethren became consumed with the project – searching for suitable land for the project and contributing their finances by selling their material things just to be part of making this dream a reality. However, the weeks rolled into months and soon it was obvious there was no real time target for the actualisation of the project.
Then a season of discomfort and apparent setback, often a prelude to great change and greater glory, visited the church. The landlord of EffBee Hall, who hitherto had a wonderful relationship with Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi, refused to renew the rent for the Hall. The Pastors visited him at home and spoke at length telling him of the land project and pleading for more time. Very unlike him, he just refused to budge. Then he made a statement – “Just go anywhere and build anything… a rectangular building and put a zinc roof. Is it not for church? You know you can never build anything as glorious as my EffBee Hall!” At that point, Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi looked at one another, smiled, got up and thanked the landlord for his kindness affirming that the church would vacate his premises.
By that time, the Church had located thirty-nine plots of land in the first phase of the current Greenville location. Pastor Cee looked beyond the situation and laid claim to the permanent church site. In searching for a name for the site, he proposed “Green” and Pastor Nkechi suggested “ville” and thus the new property was christened “Greenville”.
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Genesis 15:1 (NKJV) 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
He called together the Associate Pastor and the laity Superintendents (Bishops) and led them in a march around the Greenville site. The church did not have the money to pay for the land, yet he looked the villagers in the eye and told them that they should come on a particular day to collect the installment payment promised. God honoured Pastor Cee’s word and the money was available. Thus the payment began for Greenville. Eventually in a three stage purchase the total size of Greenville was approximately fifty two plots! What a mighty God we serve! Yet Greenville was virgin land with no building on it. What was the church going to do?
After a time of prayer, God provided an answer of peace and He also made the provision available and the church bought two tents imported from the USA.
Greenville Here We Come
In the last quarter of 1998 Pastor Cee took the church to see the “Promised Land” for that season. The excitement was tangible in the air that afternoon. From that day to the end of that year, the brethren were involved in manually clearing the land, cutting down trees and uprooting tree stumps.
On the first Sunday of 1999 the Royal Evangel Church [which was soon to be renamed The Carpenter’s Church by Pastor Charles] had her first service on Greenville. The tents had arrived at the port but they were not cleared because the officials there were insisting on a bribe. This was something Pastor Charles had an uncompromising stand against – indeed like anything that was contrary to the Word of God.
As a result of this, in the first six months on Greenville, services were held under open skies and after services, Pastor Cee and Pastor Nkechi had counselling meetings under trees. God honoured Pastor Cee’s faith and that of the brethren. It never rained on a Sunday morning for those six months and thus Sunday service was never interrupted or halted on account of rain. Anybody that knows the weather conditions in Port Harcourt situated in the heart of the humid Niger-Delta knows that this was a supernatural miracle.
As those six months rolled by without the tents, the already depleted membership strength continued to deplete. The roads to Greenville were lonely and rough and some brethren could not handle the idea of having service under “open skies”. At one time, a young boy literally fainted from the heat of the sun on a Sunday morning service. Those were tough times but there were the faithful brethren who stayed through those times. At some point, the attendance strength was down to about 100 people and there was every reason to be discouraged after nine years of ministry. However the words “discouragement, doubt, fear and unbelief” did not exist in Pastor Charles dictionary and thus were never on his radar screen.
He and Pastor Nkechi continued to travail in prayer for the release of the tents. Apart from the bribe that was being requested for, the amount quoted to release the tent was outrageously expensive. Pastor Charles chose five ministries and the church sowed a seed into each one tying that seed to the release of the tents. One day after he and his Associate had finished praying, God spoke clearly and said “You have been praying but you have not told me how much you want to spend to release your tents!” Wow! All along the ball had not been in God’s court. What a reminder of the truth of God’s grace and our authority in the name of Jesus Christ. Immediately both Pastors agreed on an amount, which was a ridiculous fraction of the amount being demanded. As soon as that happened, within twenty four hours, God raised up a clearing agent who was not even born again, who heard about the case and took it upon himself to release “God’s tent”. Within a week, the tents were released and delivered to Greenville without the church having spent one kobo! The clearing agent later brought his charges and it was exactly the ridiculously low amount that Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi had mentioned to Jehovah, the Covenant keeping God!
Thus, the tents were erected in a glorious exercise that all the brethren participated in and the third season of explosive growth began in the church. Like all other seasons, it was slow and steady with increase in the quality of life of the members as well as increase in the number of members of the church. None was sacrificed at the expense of the other.
The church arranged to grade at its own cost, the main road and the major feeder road, “Chinda” road repeatedly and eventually government approval was received to name the main road popularly known as one of the “Ada George Roads” as The Carpenter’s Drive. The church continued to enjoy a good relationship with their host communities. Pastor Charles authorized the electrification of the Chinda Road with Street lights powered from the transformer and electric Generators installed on Greenville.
An End To Bachelorhood At Last
Pastor Charles’ bachelor status had become a constant source of teasing from his friends and church members… but that was soon about to end.
A young lady, Joan Opusi Idumesaro, just out of the University, had joined the church and was being closely followed-up by Pastor Nkechi. The young lady became excited about the Word taught in church and started coming to church faithfully with her little niece Deedee. Then in 1999, just like a romantic story out of a fairy tale or much better still, out of the Bible, Pastor Charles fell in love with Joan and a new phase in the life of this virgin, bachelor man of God was about to begin. He declared his love and asked for her hand in marriage stating his intention to “pamper her and take care of her like no one had ever done before”.
After a brief courtship, Charles Ehidiamen Omofomah and Joan Opusi Idumesaro were joined in marriage in Royal Evangel Church, Greenville on the 20th of February, 2000. Pastor Nkechi did the joining and it was a glorious service, graced by over a thousand attendees. Everyone was enthralled that Pastor Charles had eventually crossed the marriage divide. Pastor Charles spent the next decade “paying back all the years of teasing” by launching a teasing campaign on his friend Tony who remained a bachelor in that time.
The union was blessed in 2001 and in 2003 with two handsome sons, Osose and Osememe. When Osememe was to be born, Sister Joan, like most women, really wanted the baby to be a girl and each time she expressed this, Pastor Charles, a prophet to the end, would chuckle in his characteristic way and say that God had told him many years ago that he would have two sons.
Pastor Charles was very “jealous” over the privacy of his marriage by repeatedly telling his members and his friends that he, Charles Omofomah not The Carpenter’s Church had married a wife. He wanted to build a private family life with his growing family without the traditional ministry pressures usually placed upon a Pastor and a Pastor’s wife. He believed that the call of God into full time ministry came from God and did not come by inheritance, proximity or marriage. Sister Joan remained an active member of the New Wine Choir and spent the thirteen years of her marriage as a wife to the man who loved her even as Christ loved the Church. His children had easy access to their daddy and always came into his office after church services to hug him and “loot” any goodies in his fridge.
Despite his schedule, Pastor Charles was a committed and loving husband and father who made out time for family birthdays and vacations with his wife, Osose, Meme and Deedee. Great memories of visits to Abuja, London and Wimbledon reveal a General of God who knew when to be a Boaz and a daddy. Funny family squabbles over tennis stars and football teams showed a man who truly believed in a sense of family.
The children tell a story of when the family went to watch “The Lion King” play at a theatre in London and after the play their daddy asked “what was the story about?” They all laughed hysterically because they realized that he had never watched the Lion King movie. Due to his background, Pastor Charles would often joke and say he didn’t even know of television programs like “Village Headmaster” when growing up!
The divine relationship with Pastor Nkechi and her family extended to Pastor Charles’ family as there was a bond between the children that was supernatural. Deedee, Zoe and Chloe, were nicknamed the “The Three Musketeers” and Chloe was often known to stand up to anyone in school who attempted to bully her baby brothers Osose and Osememe. Once Sister Joan went to pick the children from school and found Osose crying in frustration. He had spent the whole day trying to explain to his classmates that he really had two mothers – a first mother in Sister Joan and a second mother in Chloe’s mother. Of course no one believed him! Such was and is the covenant relationship between both families – a relationship that was authored and sustained by the very Throne of God.
And I Will Build My Church…
On the 19th day of February, 2006 in the Year Of The Overflow, the membership of The Carpenter’s Church gathered on Greenville for the groundbreaking foundation-laying ceremony of the Auditorium.
On that day, under the warm blue skies with the people standing on the fresh green lawns of Greenville, Pastor Charles prophesied based on the Word:
6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
8 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Zechariah 4:6-9 (NKJV)
The Auditorium design had since been updated and upgraded from the initial 1995 model after Pastor Charles and Pastor Nkechi took a tour of some “mega churches” in the United States to take a close look at their designs and facilities. They visited the Faith Dome pastored then by Pastor Frederick K.C. Price, the Potters House pastored by Bishop T.D. Jakes and the vast Eagle Mountain property of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries. In Pastor Charles’ words: “When Pastor Kech and I went to the US, we visited Kenneth Copeland Ministry and TD Jakes’ church. I said to Pastor Kech. First, these our so-called ministers who travel abroad don’t they see these things? And these things they see won’t it condemn their hearts? Because I don’t see how you can see those things and still remain the same again. I also said something important and I’ve been saying this since then. When you see some of the things that they have done, it’s either you will come and pack your things and say there is no point (in continuing in ministry) or you will be inspired to say, “It is the same God we are serving and it will work anywhere. It’s not because it’s America.” If you apply the same principles of the Word of God, the Word of God will work anywhere as long as that (place) is God’s purpose for you and you are in the place where God wants you to be. If you are in the place called “there,” then it will prosper.”
So the Word of God has prospered Pastor Charles’ vision and as at March 2013, the construction of the Auditorium has almost reached the roofing level.
Although it is extremely painful to think that he will not see it completed, the Word of His Grace which began the work will finish it to God’s glory in Jesus’ Name.
Other building projects such as Caleb’s Flats (the twelve apartment Staff Partner’s Quarters) and the first Ekklesia School block (the School of Local Church located on Caleb’s Gardens) have been completed while the Auditorium Project has continued. More acres of land have been fully paid for within and outside of Port Harcourt as the Vision continues to expand and be established to the glory of God.
Consistency of Teachings, Consistency of Faith, Consistency of Results
23 If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians 1:23 (NKJV) 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Galatians 1:6-10 (NKJV) “In consistency lies the power.” Gloria Copeland
If one were to use one word to describe Pastor Charles it would be consistency. Although he grew more in the Word each passing day and therefore had his mind renewed in line with the Word as he walked away from religious thinking, he never lost his consistency.
His message was one of achieving excellence through the message of power, direction and integrity to his generation and to generations yet unborn.
He taught a complete salvation package (soteria – salvation, deliverance, health, wealth) and never withheld any of the truths he discovered from God’s people.
In The Area Of Righteousness
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:16 (NKJV) 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
Pastor Charles believed and preached the finished work of Christ and that on the basis of His accomplished work, the gift of righteousness was available to everyone who believed in Christ Jesus. He presented righteousness as the ability to stand in the presence of God without a sense of sin consciousness, without fear or intimidation. This revelation of righteousness he received was a radical departure from the popular teaching of righteousness being good works. He had been steeped in this consciousness in his early days as a believer before he received light concerning what the Bible says true righteousness is. This light he received became an essential truth he wove into the fabric of his messages. He taught that every believer is righteous and therefore should live right. This truth is littered throughout his messages and anyone who has taken time to listen to his messages will discover for himself that Pastor Charles did not condone loose and licentious living. He called believers to continue to walk in their righteousness and produce the fruit of holiness. However, he carefully distinguished righteousness from living right. Righteousness gives the believer the ability to stand before God, and fellowship with the Father in a state of innocence of sin – as though sin had never been. He taught often that righteousness means equality with God for fellowship cannot exist where there is inferiority complex. Therefore through the gift of righteousness God has made us equal with Him so that we can have fellowship with Him. “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Hebrews 2:11), was one of his favourite verses.
In The Area of Finances
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV) 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.
1 Samuel 2:8 (NKJV)
As pointed out earlier, Pastor Charles described the background he came from as “so poor that the poor called us poor.” The truth that brought Pastor Charles out of poverty was the truth of God’s grace in Christ’s redemptive work for mankind wherein He became poor for us that we might become rich. Another dimension of God’s grace that Pastor Charles learnt and lived by was the grace to give: honouring God with the tithe and sowing generously to God’s work. There was nothing he couldn’t give. This he only did by revelation.
It is a known fact that those who once experienced the depths of poverty, but then come into wealth and prosperity live the rest of their lives under the fear of poverty. It is a life they dread. This fear often manifests in hoarding all they get and planning for the future under the paralyzing spell of fear of not having tomorrow. In the words of Pastor Charles, they “get all they can; they “can” all they get, and then they sit on the can!” However, the incongruity of Pastor Charles’ impoverished background and his generous spirit coupled with his freedom from being fettered by material things is almost breathtaking.
God blessed Pastor Charles with much prosperity and a church that has become very prosperous through the truths he taught, by precept and example, but Pastor Charles was one never to set his heart on material things. This is evident by remaining a very simple man free from the airs of pomposity and vanity which often follows those who attain a level of financial comfort.
His story is a testimony that what God did for him. He can also do the same for others if they will follow the same principles that brought Pastor Charles out of poverty.
In The Area Of Health
24 Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) 20 He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Psalms 107:20 (NKJV)
Pastor Charles shares his personal testimony on how he came into the truth concerning divine healing. “It all started one day when I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine, with whom I worked at the Bank. He shared with me how he had trusted God plainly for his healing for the past two years. I said to myself, “He’s a Christian like I am.” Truly, if you saw his mannerism, he didn’t look as serious a Christian as I did! My faith was challenged by his simple commitment and that was how my journey of believing God’s healing Word and acting on it, even in the face of apparent life threatening symptoms in body. I do not claim to know everything, but I have definitely made some progress in my application of this benefit. For us all it takes a commitment to systematically renew your mind with the Word of God and build your faith concerning your healing and health. It is not an overnight magical act.” Pastor Charles Omofomah, The Real Deal, Page 36.
Pastor Charles had a remarkable healing ministry and God used him as a vessel to minister healing to an uncountable number of people. Apart from praying the simple prayer of faith for those who required healing from sickness, disease or the other, he called out cases requiring healing through the gift of the Spirit known as the word of knowledge. Sometimes cases called out could not be mistaken as they were very specific and graphic. Some of these healings were instantaneous while others were gradual. Pastor Charles always taught that healing was part of the finished work of Christ and that believers should appropriate it through their faith in the Word of God.
Pastor Charles often said that he hated two things with a passion: sickness and poverty. God led him to start the Broken Wall Healing School (BWHS) in 2001. Through this avenue he channeled his hatred for sickness, teaching believers that it was God’s desire not only for them to be healed, but also to live in divine health and become ready vessels allowing God’s healing virtue to flow through them. In the early days of BWHS, he would often burst out in prophetic utterances like this:
“When I talk about healing, it’s one of my most exciting moments. I can’t keep myself because I know what God wants to do. God doesn’t just want to heal you. That’s not just why God wants you to come to Broken Wall Healing School. God wants to use your hands and your mouth to be an expression of His healing power. There is a healing revolution that is going on, and the people that will carry it are these, all of you who are here. God is not just bringing you here, so you can be healed, but He will heal you, and you will carry the healing because His grace is able to cause us to abound unto every good work, so that when we have sufficiency in healing, we can also abound unto every good work.” – A Picture of His Mercy (BWHS #5).
He raised a mighty army of believers who were inspired by the testimony of his faith and consistency in the area of divine healing. They also have dug their heels into the living, unchanging, never-failing Word of God and are appropriating this benefit of healing and health and ministering it to others.
The Good Fight Of Faith
Soon after the construction of the Auditorium began, Pastor Charles had his health violently attacked. For nine months from November 2006 to July 2007 he did not attend a church service. In line with his strong personal convictions on the efficacy of the Word of God to heal all diseases, he refused medical attention as he took in God’s Medicine. Not everyone fully understood his convictions but since he was an adult, they had to be respected. He never taught that medicine was evil, however he encouraged people to put their faith primarily in the Word of God irrespective of whether they chose to receive medical attention or not. He often said he was not proving anything but that he simply believed the Word of God. Twice a day, morning and evening, Pastor Nkechi drove to his house, and led him in confessing Healing Scriptures over his life, ministered to him and encouraged his family. His bosom friends, Pastor Tony Ojukwu and Pastor Sunny Williams stood with him in his decision to believe God for his healing and also ministered to him daily in his decision. His brother Pastor Albert and other friends such as Pastor Sola Kolade, and Rev. Joe Uwareme and many others, supported and upheld this great man of God as he fought what was to be the greatest fight of faith of his life.
It was a very trying time for him, his wife and children, the church and indeed everyone who knew him and loved him. He was literally bedfast and many times came to the very brink of death. Once he called Pastor Nkechi to rush over to his house. On getting there, she found that his skin colour had changed, his body had grown cold with the atmosphere and smell of death every where in the room. He asked her and one of his nephews to sit on either side of him to keep him warm. Then Pastor Nkechi began to declare the Word of God and Pastor Charles muttered along with the little strength he had. Eventually he fell asleep and woke up greatly improved. On a second occasion, Pastor Nkechi and Pastor Tony were in the living room where he used to lie and literally saw life leaving Pastor Charles. Turning away from him, they spontaneously faced the wall at different corners of the room and began to worship and praise God, declaring Him to be the Awesome God. Sometime later, they noticed Pastor Charles had fallen asleep.
Steadily and supernaturally, he began to get better and better and stronger and stronger. On Sunday, the 8th of July, 2007 on the 17th Anniversary Service of the church, Pastor Charles, supported by two ushers walked triumphantly into church to a standing crowd of his sheep. From that day, he was referred to as a “General” for he had fought the good fight of faith and had spat death in the face.
Explosion And Expansion – The Work Cannot Be Stopped
With Pastor Charles leaping and jumping and preaching again, the explosion and expansion in the Ministry continued. The local church continued to grow in the quality and number of members. The television ministry Freshdew (www.freshdew.tv) expanded to more stations in the country. Broken Wall Healing School (www.brokenwall.org) Services began to experience a greater manifestation of the supernatural as brethren began to hunger after the Word that not only healed their bodies but kept them in divine health and taught them to minister healing to other people. Ekklesia (www.ekklesiaschool.org) the training school for full time Pastors graduated the first set of Pastors. More outreaches included a fast growing resource centre at www.thecarpenterschurch.org, the Ready Writer Publishing House, Jubilee Prison Outreach Ministry, Scarlet Thread, a Home for Ladies and Zamar Records, a vibrant Music Label.
The Prophet’s Last Words…
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labour; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Philippians 1:21-23 (NKJV)
In February 2013 after hosting the twentieth Word Conference of the Ministry – Discovering Treasures, Pastor Charles experienced a rapid relapse in his health. This time, he decided to travel to London for medical attention.
He had preached his last message to the Church on Sunday the 27th of January 2013 and he prophetically titled it, “It Is Finished”. In that short message he emphasized how Jesus had come to abolish the Old and establish the New.
On Sunday, the 17th of February, 2013 he was in church for the last time and obviously with great effort, this General of God took the microphone and told the brethren to ensure they blessed Pastor Nkechi with a “sumptuous” birthday offering the following Sunday. Pastor Nkechi teased him after he finished his “coup announcement” that she thought that he made all that effort to come out because he had a prophecy for the church. To which the man of God took back the microphone and said, “Some things are greater than prophecy”.
After the service that 24th of February, Pastor Nkechi went to see Pastor Charles at home. While there, he telephoned Pastor Sola Akinwale, an Assistant Pastor in The Carpenter’s Church and told him, “I am going to London for a medical checkup; be strong okay?” Pastor Sola pondered those words for a while wondering why his father was telling him to be strong.
After a time of fellowship that afternoon with Pastor Nkechi and Pastor Tony, Pastor Charles looked at Pastor Nkechi and said, “Take care of the church, like you have always done”. She chuckled and said, “Sure, but you are going to London and coming back soon right?” To which he smiled and said nothing more. As she walked out of his room she had a knowing that she would never see him again. She stood on the corridor and fought and “bound” the thought but yet could not go back in to the room. Indeed that day, her birthday, was the last time she saw her father, her Pastor, her Prophet who had taught her everything she knew in Ministry.
On that same Sunday the 24th of February, he gathered his wife, Joan and his children, Osose, Osememe and Deedee and had communion (the Lord’s Table) with them. He told them he was assured of God’s healing power and enjoined them not to be afraid and that he would be back.
On Monday morning the 25th of February, Brother Emeka spent hours with his beloved Pastor choosing the warm clothes he would need for his trip. That afternoon, Pastor Charles, his wife Joan and his friend Pastor Tony flew to Lagos. As Pastor Tony saw them off at the international airport, Pastor Charles looked at him and smiled and said, “Till you come”. Pastor Tony thought he was referring to his plan to get a visa and come to minister to him while in London. He did not know that was the last time he would see his childhood friend.
On arrival in London and having had the first doctor’s appointment the same day, Pastor Charles and his wife went back to the rented apartment where they had checked in earlier.
He spoke with Pastor Nkechi and Pastor Tony on the phone and said to them he would speak to them later. Then a while later, he looked at Joan, and said to her “I just want to sleep a little”. She settled him in to bed to sleep and took a short nap herself. After a few hours, she looked over and saw that her husband and father of her children had slept indeed, a peaceful transition to the other side.
This was the way a man of peace chose to go – in peace, in his sleep.
It Can Only Get Better
18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:18 (NKJV)
These pages have only attempted to summarize the life and times of a great man of God, a General of the Gospel, a Pastor of Pastors and a father of millions. Eternity alone will reveal the impact this man had on his generation and generations yet unborn.
For all those he left behind, it can only get better.
If you have been inspired by the Life and Times of God’s General, Pastor Charles Omofomah, you are invited to visit the ministry website www.thecarpenterschurch.org to access faith building resources.
A Prayer Of Salvation
Making Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour is the best decision you will ever make. The Bible says:
9 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Romans 10:9-10, 13 (NKJV)
If you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart to be your Lord and Saviour, then say the following prayer out loud meaning every word from your heart:
“Heavenly Father, I come to You today in the Name of Jesus. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and that He was raised up from the dead for my righteousness. Jesus, save me now. I confess you as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You Father, for saving me. I am now born again, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Congratulations! You have just taken the best decision in your life! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall gladly guide you on how to make this decision a lasting, fruitful one for you.