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ECU, a foundation of solid discipleship

I entered Ife during the 1991/92 session to read physiotherapy and I graduated in March 1997. I had become a Christian before entering Ife and served in a leadership position at the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS), Federal School of Arts and Science Sokoto where I did my A/ Levels. However, this did not prepare me for the deep dimension of discipleship and Christian service that I learnt in this informal school of ministry called ECU.

I had made up my mind based on my FCS experience to join a non-denomination fellowship, so it was not difficult for me to gravitate towards ECU even though I was a Baptist by background. Some early experiences in Ife opened my eyes to the great things that lay in stock in ECU. I will mention only two here.

What makes Ife great, a message delivered by Dr. Joe Takon, a former ECU president who was the main speaker for the University joint Christian Mission UJCM)s welcome programme for ˜Jambites was one of those early experiences. Brother Takon, being an anointed and eloquent speaker that he is, spoke glowingly about his days in Ife, particularly in ECU. His passion and drive were contagious. I think it was at this meeting that I made a commitment to avail myself of all the opportunities for God to train me via ECU.

I also recall with nostalgia an Ife city crusade organized by ECU when I was in part one. I remember the zeal with which we went around Ife Township evangelizing and advertising for the crusade. Some ECU drama costumes were worn by some of us and I remember the brother coordinating the event (I think it was Lekan Akodu, one time drama chief) throwing a black costume with skeleton drawn in white paint (signifying death) at me. My lot was to wear this costume and cry ˜repent for the wages of sin is death as other brethren evangelized and invited people to the crusade. This I did without fear or shame through Ife town. I believe the grace and the unction of God saw me through, as naturally speaking, I am not a ˜drama person.

The highlights of the crusade for me were the speakers. They were none other but our own Emmanuel Ogbechie and Gboyega Shitta. I was challenged by the fact that
these were men of like passion and fellow students being used mightily in this way by God. Needless to say that many souls were saved and notable miracles
were wrought to the glory of God. I further resolved to seek God and know Him personally for myself, and if possible to be used by him. I became a regular
visitor to fields in Sports Centre during the next five years of my stay on the campus.

I served in follow up school and later represented ECU in UJCM as the General Secretary but my sub-group was World Prayer Band. Here, we agonized in our
meetings for unreached and closed nations of the world. We were delighted when in the early 1990s, news came that the communist wall in the former Soviet Union
had fallen and the nations there had become open to the gospel. Looking back, its interesting to note that our prayer meetings in the sub-group were not
about what God can do for us as I cannot remember us taking personal prayer requests. Those meetings were about bringing His kingdom and rule to bear over
nations of the earth. I would say my little involvement in mission today, is due to my experience of praying in World Prayer Band and of course to the mission
exposure that ECU offered us. I recall brethren travelling to Benin Republic and far away Niger Republic to take the gospel to the people in darkness. I also
recall us going for a mission outreach at Kuta village in Osun state. There we made do with minimal comfort by sleeping in a church auditorium and bathing in the open. We would go for house to house evangelism during the day and do crusades in the evening. On one of our evangelism, brethren gathered round a blind man that we encountered on the street and prayed for him and God restored his sight.

Thank God for the founding fathers of ECU and the covenant which I believe they entered with God that generation to generation of ECUites still enjoy today.
Recently, in a Capro United Kingdom meeting that held in our house, I met one of those, in the person of uncle Peter Ozodo. Uncle Peter was ECU president in the
late 1960s or early 1970s (not sure now) and it was a privilege and joy not only to hear a bit of what happened during their days in ECU but also Gods exploit
through them in Capro.

If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Ps 11:3. I thank God for the foundation of solid discipleship, service, holiness, balanced bible teachings prevailing prayers and spiritual warfare that I received in ECU. I recall a series on spiritual warfare done by uncles Emeka Nwakpa and Steve
Okitika (both ex ECUites) to the Christian body on campus. I can say with thanks to God that the reason my anchor still holds in Christ despite lifes
challenges and a battle is this good foundation. In ECU, I learnt how to travail and prevail with God in prayers and we have seen God won personal battles of
life for us times and again.

God is helping us as a family to serve Him ˜silently and fruitfully in a predominantly white church that we attend in the part of the United Kingdom
where we live. I say with all humility and gratitude to God that this could not have been possible but for the training at ECU.

I attend regularly the alumni meetings in London and its always a time when ˜iron sharpens iron and a time that we remind ourselves of the common
heritage that we have in God via ECU. I will be in the next one on the 24th April 2010 by Gods grace.

God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His word says, ˜one generation shall praise thy works unto another... Ps 145:4. Can I implore us (ECU
alumni) to carry a burden for the student fellowship? Can we continually plead with God that whatever it is that is in ECU that makes men go there as
˜ordinary men and leave after 3, 4, 5 or 6 years, transformed, sanctified and meet for the Masters use will not stop? Can we continually ask God to
preserve His heritage in the midst of the decadence and gospel of convenience that abound in these times? Can we ask Him that it will continue to please Him
to find men (and of course women) in ECU that are breakable, mouldable, fillable and useable for His glory? Can we?

Finally, please sing this song that we used to sing with me if you know it:
˜Praise the Lord, the God of ECU is still alive, praise the Lord; He never changeth at all at all.

Joshua Opayinka

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