At 80 I Have Reasons To Be Grateful To God – Anyamene

AFTER Pa Christopher Anyamene’s rousing testimony during a Sundaylight fellowship at the Watchman Fellowship Centre, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos, in which he expressed profound gratitude to God for keeping his life till he turned 80, edifying accounts of his dedicated soul-winning life were voiced by several of his converts, some of whom have become junior and senior pastors. At Charismatic Signs, we found his testimony very inspiring and decided that we wanted to hear more from him. So, shortly after, specifically, on January 5, 2017, two of our reporters visited him at his Lagos home and listened to him reflect on his life at 80, especially as a dedicated member of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (WCCRM), which he joined almost at the inception.
Charismatic Signs wanted to know how he came in contact with the Watchman. He said it was in 1979, but they were not yet known as the Watchman at that time. He explained further: “I was living at Ebute Metta by then. It was during Easter and I went to the (Catholic) Church one day to pray. When I finished my prayers and wanted to go, I saw some people; they were very few – not more than 6 or 7. They were praying and this attracted me. I loved the way they were praying. So I joined them because then nobody knew each other, and I was listening to and praying with them. When they finished and were about to go, I asked them where they came from? They said they were members of the Catholic Charismatic prayer group. I was happy because I had been seeking a way to find them.” At this time, Pa Anyamene was 43 years old, with a young family.
Soon after, he left Ebute Metta and moved to Aguda in Surulere, but continued to attend fellowship at Ebute Metta. The man of God, the Watchman General Superintendent, he said, was then living at Ketu from where he was coming to teach them the Word of God at Ebute Metta. “We were hearing the Word of God and the thing was very attractive to me. In fact, the Word of God is so sweet,” Pa Anyamene stated.
His encounter with the Watchman opened his eyes to truths he never knew before. “I discovered the truth and gave my life to Christ…Yes, I wholly accepted the truth, surrendered my life completely to Jesus and became born again. Not long after, I also got the sanctification experience.”
There were two fellowship groups at that time, one at Aguda and the other at Ebute Metta. Before the name “Watchman” was adopted, he said, they were made to pray for two years until God gave the name.
Early enough, it dawned on him that God has given him special grace and zeal for soul-winning. “I discovered that God has chosen me as an evangelist. He gave me the Spirit of evangelism and the spirit was moving me strongly to preach the Word. It was not a small thing!” he said as his eyes lit up with the joy of remembrance.
Explaining how the zeal to always evangelize burned inside him, he said: “You can keep food here, but if the time of evangelism comes, I will not eat again; I will move out to preach. The thing was pushing me. We used to pair ourselves. But whether I was paired or not, I will move out, preaching and teaching. The thing was very sweet, very interesting. Winning converts is my gift. God gave it to me to the extent that among my converts, many became established to the point of becoming pastors – not only parish pastors, but even senior pastors and serious workers in the Church. In Lagos here, I have many people that are my children in the Lord, youths and adults. I thank God for the grace and the opportunity to work for Him.”
Charismatic Signs listened to a pastor narrate how Pa Anyamene had invited him to fellowship many years ago as a young man when they were neighbours in Aguda and continued to follow him up, going to fellowship with him until he became established. He was later appointed a pastor. The Watchman Head Usher also said that he never knew anything about ushering until Pa Anyamene invited him to attend a meeting of ushers. After attending the meeting that day, he took interest and continued in the ushering work until he rose to become the Watchman Head Usher.
And how did Pa Anyamene himself become an usher? He told Charismatic Signs: “We started ushering work in the Watchman when we were using Pastor Tony Okeke’s house for fellowship. We had no ushers. I started the ushering work based on my experience as a former member of the Boy Scouts. We were in fellowship one day when one man whose wife had repented and joined us entered our meeting and sat down. That day, late Pastor Ifeanyi was giving a teaching. Suddenly, the man sighted his wife, went where she was, physically assaulted her, asked her what she was doing there, and dragged her outside. It was the days of serious persecutions and we were still very small in number. Pastor Ifeanyi asked us to remain calm and we complied. But after that day, I remembered I was a Boy Scouts member. I would stand at the door and observe everybody that came in. I even interrogated some.” Later, other people joined in the ushering work as the numerical strength of the fellowship increased. One of them eventually emerged as the Watchman Head Usher. Pa Anyamene recalled the various cities the work of evangelism took them to: “We went to Zaki Biam in the North. We opened fellowships there. We also went to Auchi and Umunede. We did evangelism in those places. We equally went to Mbaise where a fellowship was also opened. From here we went to several places in the East, North and the West. We went to so many places. Apart from preaching, I also did ushering work whenever we went for those programmes. For instance, when we went for a crusade and an altar call was made, people would rush out and we, the ushers, would quickly take down their names. With those names and addresses, they were followed up.”
He is particularly grateful to God that all his children became saved and joined him to serve God. “Two of them are pastors now and the others are committed workers in the Church,” he said. What does he have to tell the younger generation of Watchmen about
the kind of Christian life they led at the early period of the Movement?
“That time God gave us a special love. We loved one another. Nobody would cry and his brother would not listen and attend to him. If you told a person your matter, he would pray over it. We prayed one for another. At that time, a brother can come and ask you to give him the key of your car so he could use the car to attend to some matter, and you would give him without any hesitation. He would take the car to go wherever he wished. You did not regard anything you had as your own. We had everything in common, exactly, as it was reported in the Bible concerning the Disciples of Christ. We did it and we enjoyed it. And the Spirit of God was helping us.”
Pa Anyamene had a Toyota Crown that was regarded as a ‘big car’ in those days. He called the car Adamu. He related a particular experience when they drove the car to Benin for evangelistic work. “That very car was what we used for evangelism and went for crusades. One day, we went to Benin with the car for evangelistic work. We went around (the present day Edo State) ministering to people. In each town we evangelized, children were following us as we drove along. You know how some people do when they see such a big car (as it was then); they will say these people are rich. They were following us and sharing handbills with us. The people in that area appreciated us and responded.”
Pa Anyamene remains grateful to God for keeping his life all these years and for making him and his family to remain Christians in the Watchman.