Having spent the better part of the year deciding on where to go for my spiritual uplifting, reflection, soul searching and resting my body from the tight and rigorous schedule, I decided to once again travel to the West African city of Lagos, for a date with Senior Prophet Tomitope Balogun Joshua aka The Man of God.
Although I am a regular visitor there and I can claim to some extent to know the place very well, what impressed me most this time was the extraordinary measures that the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) had put in place to make the stay of the pilgrims enjoyable.
In simple terms SCOAN has turned around 360 degrees in improving its daily service to the visitors. The Martyrs are extraordinarily friendly from the protocol officers who receive their visitors at the point of entry Mohamed Murtala airport to drivers who have mastered the art of manoeuvring around the over congested Lagos traffic in a convoy without missing each other, kitchen staff who cook delicious meals and ensure visitors are well cared for throughout the day and the cleaners who sweep clean so much that one could find a needle on the floor.
Others are security personnel who ensure the safety of pilgrims, ushers who take you to any place and, or attend to your needs, coordinators who are assigned to each hostel block for ease of reference and improvement of communication between the church administration and to evangelists and the spiritual leader himself, Senior Prophet TB Joshua purely to ensure the comfort and safety of the guests.
Although the place is visited by hundreds of visitors in any given day who come with all sorts of life challenges, one does not need to worry about hygiene as the church premises, be it the courtyard, passages, hostel blocks, dining halls or ablution facilities, are kept sparkling clean around the clock. Those who watch both live televised and recorded emmanuel.tv transmissions will attest to the fact that they have seen how quickly the floor is cleaned as soon as the viewers have seen whatever would have been used as exhibit by those being delivered.
Forget about the fact that some of the hostel blocks look like a boarding school hostel hall- they have many beds and still leave enough space for residents to move around. All hostel halls no matter their size are well ventilated with fitted air-conditioners placed at strategic points.
Based on this one may come up with a different view and, or understanding on why visitors are accommodated that way. My spiritual understanding is that, although pilgrims go to SCOAN for different reasons which include but not limited to Spiritual uplifting and drawing nearer to their Creator in a conducive atmosphere, in Christ there are no boundaries as such there is the need to widen his scope by meeting other nationals.
Contrary to some talk, what comes out clearly before the multitudes who attend the SCOAN church sessions inside the Arena of Liberty and overflow per any given time, is SCOAN is not a threat to any congregation around the world whose members, whether individually or as a group, decide to visit Prophet TB Joshua for their healing, deliverance and or salvation.
The praise and worship
The praise and worship session is simply the best moment for any visitor as it prepares you for the day. The music is very lively, performed by a professional resident band- who sings all types of songs from praise songs on any rhymes from reggae to soul and so on and so forth. The band is universal and is composed of highly professional artists of different nationals, from the host country of Nigeria, South Africa, USA, etc. it is a true reflection of Psalms 150 that states that one must Praise God in his temple and praise him with trumpets, drums and dancing.
The Prayer Mountain
Visiting SCOAN will be incomplete without a visit to the Prayer Mountain. Though still under construction, it is open for church visitors to go and draw nearer to their Creator under a peaceful atmosphere. The prayer mountain is simply TB Joshua’s vision, everything is done according to how God directs him. It is a multimillion structure which without doubt is amongst the top Nigerian foreign currency earners which attracts tourists from different countries.
The respective residences at the prayer mountain are different, there is the presidential suite, private apartments, which are not fitted with air conditioning, but TB Joshua himself being someone who likes nature, has ordered that they should be built in such a way that the apartments use nature for cooling as the rooms are surrounding the 5-metre deep pond which adds glamour and colour to the area. The pond is full of fish which is used to feed the pilgrims and is also given free of charge to people who live near the mountain. There is also a helicopter pad for the chopper that ferries visitors who reside there from the airport.
The story of the pond is amazing as well. It started as a small stream within the area where TB started his church after uprooting the trees in the area in order to build the mountain, there was a heavy downpour and within a short time the place was filled with fish. The prayer mountain is built on top of the pond and all pillars holding the massive structure are wood, but inside that wood there is steel or iron structure. The wood is used for amongst others, decoration. This is not an ordinary wood; it absorbs water and gets stronger when wet.
The prayer mountain has two gardens. The first which is an open garden accommodates up to 4000 people per time. The second is usually used by Prophet Joshua for both prayers and live TV coverage, but is also open for the visitors to pray there. The same garden has a library which contains all kinds of books for visitors to relax. The gardens are covered by natural trees which are automatically watered by the pond.
I was one of those who were blessed to give live testimony on Emmanuel.tv. But that came with a price. To this day I still receive correspondences of many well wishers some of whom I have never met who live both locally and other countries asking if I could give them the morning water. I feel I had a good rest to continue with my schedule.