A SPIRITUAL DIAMOND @ 60.
I first met him sometime in 1997 at an event organized by the students and young graduates of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo, in honour of their mentor, Ofonime Inyang. The event held at The Chosen Church, Ekpo Obot Street, Uyo. While I served as the Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Ukafia was the Guest Minister.
From an orthodox Christian background, I was startled (or is it jealously impressed?) by a young man I was made to introduce as a Minister of the Gospel of Christ. It was a very strange feeling for me. His English was polished and the ease with which he shared God’s message introduced me to a new vintage. Yet, I was confused rather than convinced that a young Medical Doctor, neither dressed in cassock nor collar could exhibited such great knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
Not convinced, I stock to my background.
Nine years later, contretemps in my former place of worship sentenced me to look for a viable alternative. I tried a few, but there was no satisfaction. As a result, I opted for Tele-worship. Yet still, there was no satisfaction.
On the first Friday of 2006 (06/01/2006) a colleague, who knew of my dilemma, informed of Insight Bible Church (1st Service). I made it at 7:29am on Sunday, 08/01/2006. Notably, Pastor Anietie Ukpe preached the Message, but Dr. Ukafia received the First Timers. It was a very comely ceremony, dressed with Grace from on High. That clinched my conviction cord.
Series of messages tended my path in God. Mine now is path of the just that gets brighter and brighter onto the perfect day.
A Few Milestones:
- A Boy’s Brigade (BB) friend of mine wedded in Church. The Brigade under my momentary command played an active role. The next day, Dr. Ukafia made spirited attempts at meeting me in my office. At the fourth attempt, we met. His proposal was on how the BB could start in Church. Faith assures me that it’d soon be accomplished.
- Pre-Marital Concerns: I had my Pre-Marital concerns which were beyond choice, urge, and affluence. The situation constituted a heavy burden. Prayerfully, I picked a date with Dr. Ukafia, kept the date, and poured out my heart to him. I, honestly, cannot pick on any single thing he counselled in about an hour. I could recall his empathic face clothed with infectious smile, and his very brief prayer: “Father, thank you for this your son. He’s going through what’s beyond him, but certainly not beyond you. Show him that you died for him. We give you praise. In Jesus name. Amen. Honestly, burdens were lifted and I am married with children.
- Serious Ailment:
I was seriously down in 2007. Dr. Ukafia visited me in the hospital. Again his prayer was simple: “… intervene on the health of this your son…so he could serve you in good health…Amen. Here am I: Hale and hearty.
- The Classical Choir:
December 31, 2008. I presented a special number. A sister joined me. As we signed of the Crossover Service, information came that he wanted me to raise a choir that would be singing”my kind of song”. I had projected a six-month moratorium period. However, two Wednesdays later, Dr. Ukafia met me a rhetorically asked: “I hope you’re Choir is ministering in the First Service on Sunday?” Perhaps he noticed frustration on my face, he simply remarked:”God’s grace is available”. We did minister on that Sunday. Since then, it’s been forward ever. Interestingly, some products of the Choir are now ministers of the Gospel.
- Vida’s Dedication:
Vida is my first daughter. While dedicating her to God, the zeal in Dr. Ukafia’s tone provoked my spirit. Such made me
…trust God for him. On God’s appointed time, Uzzy and Victory appeared for his direct care. I’m grateful to God.
- Promotion and Appointment: Dr. Ukafia has been prophetic about these and the infolding has been sure and steady.
- His 50th Birthday:
His commitment to God’s word which made him resign as a lecturer in the University of Uyo to Full-Time Ministry is still very green. Then I learnt of his middle name as Owen. A book was launched. Two things stood out:
a). He thanked God who gave him a dad and mother-in-law who were still very viable; and
b). The hymn that was sung: Frances Havergal’s “Take My Life and Let it Be”. The hymn meant a lot more from then.
From the foregoing, I could submit that Dr. Sylvanus Owen Ukafia is a very simple, humble, committed, determined, charming, dedicated, faithful, and hardworking servant of the Most High; whose reliance on God’s Word is very tangible. Quite unassuming but firm, his commitment to making Heaven is second to none.
As he celebrates his 60th birthday anniversary, I do not have any doubt that he is celebrating God who has been his help in ages past and remains committed to his years to come. May that God fill him with fatness in things of the Spirit and the physical. May none of his members fail. May he raise many more men to the path of Heaven. May God’s Word through him not fall to the ground without exhibiting God’s power.
Happy birthday to him and many happy returns of the day!