God so loved that He gave His son
The wise men loved that they gave gifts to the Son
The Son loved that He gave His life
The Son at His conquest gave gifts to men
In His life were gifts to men and gifts of men
Dr. Sylvanus Owen Ukafia is a gift

God spoke in sundry times and in diverse manners
Through the prophets he did speak
In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son
And He is still speaking by his Spirit
And still speaking by His many sons
One of whom is Pastor Ukafia.

Today, people of diverse cultures across the world celebrate you
Many having known you from the wetlands of Eastern Obolo
To the classrooms at Hope Waddel Institute
And then on to University of Calabar
Until you emerged from the mould
A custodian of the knowledge of the human body.

In many ways, you choose like Moses
To despise the riches of the heir apparent
And turning your back you did
On the gold of the medical profession
Counting as dung all things
You forged ahead to press on
In the calling you received
To equip the saints and edify the body

Your choice of study wasn’t a gaffe
It was all written in a script
Which for heavens’ sake and our sakes
You have diligently followed

Studying words about the human body
And reading words in the holy written word
It was a parable God was showing you
That for and to His body will you be living for
That which others entered and became hirelings
You came in and proved
That yours was a calling
To which you left all and gave all.

Dr Sylvanus,
Many good adjectives describe you
But these three will stand out
In a book of a billion words
Your simplicity, humility and humor
Will dot every page
Like stars at night in the Arabian desert

How does one explain the mighty army
You have amassed in decades
Who just by listening to truths,
Wrapped like ekpangnkukwo,
Delivered in a plate of humor
Served by the breath of the Spirit
Are now captains of Industries
Both spiritual and physical

Our God has wrought mighty miracles by you
Without ever breaking a sweat
Anytime we are faced with some form of crisis
I always try to walk around you during
The one hour lunch break prayers
Just to eavesdrop on your prayers
But that’s when your prayers are shorter
‘Oh Lord, deliver Africa ’.

This answer-provoking short prayers
With which you are now popularly associated
Has bewildered many from far and near
Who come with a mountain of problems
Anticipating a long winded prayer session,
Receive so short a prayer as ‘Jesus wept’
Just with that, testimonies and miracles abound
The type that calls for party after party.
The once barren can testify of this
The terminally ill can publish this.

I can give a million dollars to anyone
Who can provide a digital picture of you sweating in prayer
Or befuddled or confused or wearied
You are never uneasy about life
You have modeled praying from a relationship
And casting our cares on God so vividly it can’t be missed

For many young pastors
You model what true discipleship should look like
You give a listening ear
The only rule you ever give
Is that young men take Godly instructions

You live and breathe training pastors
And scour the plains of Nigeria
And the mountains of Cameroon
From Chad to Egypt declaring
‘Anywhere I can find fifty pastors
I am willing to train for free’.

On many ministry trips
You ask that everyone carry their bags
And introduce us as your colleagues in ministry
You recline at dinner with us
Whether it is banana and groundnut
Or a big pot of fisherman soup
Whether in a Best Western hotel room
Or in a dingy thatched hut in Becheve hills
You emphasize ‘a pastor trained, is a city won’.

I have seen you command the ears of kings and nobility
I have seen governors and judges seek your counsel
I have also seen you adopt strangers off the street
And street boys by the traffic lights on the streets of Uyo.

You carry yourself with the gait of a King
Yet you adorn yourself with the humility of a servant
You could be rich in millions in the morning
And by night down to hundreds of Naira
Just to alleviate the pain of the poor
And that the orphans and widows might have bread.

In the midst of trials and difficult times
I have watched you with keen observation
Many of such instances come to mind
I recall in particular a situation
The roof of the new building caved in
All the offerings and supports, now a mess of tangled metal
I waited for your arrival
Searching your face for signs of distress.
You removed your glasses and asked
‘hope you people were not there?’
And asked after the welfare of the workers
I expected you then to lament
‘Don’t worry, God will restore’
That was all you said
And today our eyes have seen
That which the Lord has done.

We have seen these past years
The goodness and the mercies of God concerning you
It is evident to all and sundry
That here is a gift who has kept on giving
My colleagues and I
Alongside a host of many pastors across the world
Who have learnt under your shadow
With support from fathers, mentors and teachers
Salute you and raise 60 hearty cheers to you.
Happy Birthday Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia.

Composed by Felix Alalade.

Editorial Team

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