Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A Year of Lights with Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and the Future Africa Leaders Award (FALA) Nominees



The prophetic words of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, President of Love World and Leader of the Christ Embassy, infused each corner of the earth last night. The annual New Year’s Eve ceremony at the LoveWorld Arena had audiences transfixed as they watched the night’s eventful performances, sermons, FALA Future African Leader Awards and Pastor Chris’ welcoming of the New Year optimistically declared the “Year of Lights”.

The December 31st New Year’s Eve ceremony held by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome was the most successful to date. The LoveWorld convocation arena was filled to brim with men and women brought together by their devotion to the Christ Embassy and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.  Millions of eyes across the world feasted faithfully on the proceedings on CeFlix and all LoveWorld networks (Loveworld Plus, Loveworld SAT, Loveworld TV, Loveworld USA). For those unable to attend in person, the event was live streamed on several different platforms.

The service kicked off with testimonies reflecting on the year of 2018. The year of 2018, dubbed “The Year of the Supernatural” was filled with miracles and prophecies alike. Highlights included the Holy Land tour 2018, where members of the Christ Embassy bore witness to the historic opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Furthermore, over 1.3 billion copies of the Rhapsody of Reality a Daily Devotion touched the hearts and souls of devotees worldwide.

The evening performances were an amalgamation of dancing, gospel and colour. Fireworks crackled, and the symbolic and physical the celebratory light illuminated the crowd. Musicians then took to the stage one by one.  UR Flames  serenaded the crowd with his opulent hymns. Joe Praize, a Nigerian gospel singer danced, side by side with Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. Mr. Jaga sang his mellow gospel, surrounded by mesmerizing dancers in beautifully embroidered white and yellow garb. The exciting group Password had a particularly energetic set, performing with a large collective of skilled dancers in traditional costume. The crowd drank it all in, singing, dancing and feeling the spirit of God.

In the words of a one audience member, the performances were “A mosaic, no a kaleidoscope of colour, sound, warmth and faith – truly exhilarating” Another added “I felt the ecstasy spread from my ears and eyes to my heart, then to my soul, the ephemeral part of my being”.

The performance by Mr. Jaga was particularly inspiring, given his return to the faith and pursuit of Gospel music after hearing a sermon by the famed Pastor Chris himself. The pastor, alongside his sister Evangelist Katty who serves as Mr. Jaga’s music director, has influenced the young artist both spiritually and musically. For Mr. Jaga, spirituality and music are intertwined, a point which was very much driven home by last night’s performance and shared with all of those who chose to join.

The FALA future African Leaders Award Ceremony was embellished with stars. If the performances were a feast for the senses, the Future African Leader Awards (FALA) was a feast for the mind.  The annual awards show, now in its sixth year, is an initiative sponsored by the Future African Leaders Foundation (FALF), which is run and founded by The Love World President Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.

This year’s star prize winner- the most prestigious prize- and the recipient of $25,000 dollars was Isaiah Deng.  Mr Deng, clad in a fitted suited, Isaiah smiled ear to ear as he accepted this award. The former president of Nigeria, His excellency president Olusegun Obasanjo and Nigeria’s minister of Youth and Sport commended the young man on his impressive accomplishments.  

Mr. Deng, 20 years old was honoured for his educational initiatives with youth. In particular, he spearheaded the “Acquire Skills for Your Future” training program, where Deng trained 20 youth on computer optimization and solar electric installation. He has also established training and development programs projects like “stop hunger in Sudan” that bring food stuffs to impoverished families.

Several other impressive young people were honoured by Pastor Chris and received a cash prize of 10,000 dollars. Among the recipients were Dahaba Daniel Sakho from Senegal, a 22-year old computer engineer who created an innovative transportation app and medical crowd funding app, as well as Ngassa Merlin from Cameroon who worked with at risk youth and established entrepreneurial programs. The Star Winner was announced by former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.

Other FALA recipients included Yusuph Gasase (Tanzania); Maame Yaa Addei Mensah (Ghana); Godwin Egba (Nigeria); Isaiah Deng (South Sudan); Ngassa Merlin (Cameroon); Taonga Ngoma (Zambia); Chris Iyama (Nigeria); Lantante Duamangue (Niger); and, Deliwe Makata (Malawi). Each of these inspirational youths spread hope for the future of Africa and give pride to each of their individual nations.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated part of the event was the announcement of this year’s theme, dubbed the “Year of Lights.” Pastor Chris hinted to the audience what this pronouncement means and how it will colour their year. Speaking with a steady tone full of conviction and strength the Pastor said to the eager crowd

“… The bible tells us as the days get closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ, gross darkness will cover the earths, he says thick darkness will cover the earths. He’s talking about spiritual darkness -but in the midst of this your light will so shine. The darker the darkness the more brightly you shine”

The speech was met with boisterous applause. The audience sang their praises to the Pastor, to Jesus and to God. The excitement to welcome 2019 was joined by members of the Christ Embassy community all over the planet.

From the songs, to the performances, to the poignant words, veracious words of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

and inspirational awards, the night defied expectations. The year of 2019 was welcomed ferociously in all its impending glory by the devotees of Pastor Chris. The inspiring journey of the Future Young Africa Leaders Award (FALA) ceremony inspired the crowd to look forward to the brightness and possibility of 2019 with lights of hope and devotion leading the way.

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