In an exclusive interview of the chairman of the Committee that organized the Crusade, Mr. Chigozie Philip Agwuncha in London, by the Editor –in –chief of AMEN Super News, Barr Ike Maximus Ugwuoke, he gave some mind-blowing revelations on whom he is, what prompted their invitation of Fr Mbaka to the London crusade, the challenges they faced in organizing the crusade, how they conquered the challenges, what it was like having Fr Mbaka in London with them, some deep insight into the character and person of Fr Mbaka that made him unique among other ministers of God and expressed his appreciation to all that contributed to the success of the crusade. This is what he had to say.
Introduction of who he is
“My name is Chigozie Philip Agwuncha. I am a Nigerian from Anambra state, Awka Etiti to be precise now resident in the UK. I am the Assistant General Coordinator of God Is Able Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Nigerian Catholic Chaplaincy England and Wales.
On what prompted their invitation of Fr Mbaka to the London Crusade
“Daddy Mbaka has always been a spiritual mentor and a source of pride to us as Catholics and lay ministers of the gospel. I always enjoyed and made it a point of duty to attend adoration programmes while in Nigeria. I would always travel from Awka when I was studying for my degree to attend Adoration vigil and this has blessed my life in ways too numerous to count. When I was applying for a post graduate course in the UK, I came to the Adoration all-night vigil with my passport and lifted it to God as the man of God was praying and ask God to grant me favour and success in my visa application and the Lord heard my cry. It came as a shocking surprise to many of my relatives who never took me serious when they heard of my dreams. Uk visa was not easy even for the rich let alone someone from a very poor background, but the grace of God made it possible.
“I won’t continue to enumerate the many blessings bestowed upon me via the Adoration ministry and Daddy Mbaka that could take up a whole edition of your bulletin. But I was not the only one, virtually every member of the Service Team of God Is Able Prayer Group has their testimonies and life changing encounters with Daddy Mbaka. Unlike the church back home in Nigeria, the church here in the UK is in need of serious revival and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is working very hard in trying to bring about this revival. One of our major programmes geared towards this goal is our annual crusade, usually held in the month of August. Getting a suitable catholic minister for this task has always been a challenge.
“Apart from the need for revival, many people here were suffering all kinds of afflictions, satanic yokes and other problems that made life unbearable. Indeed for many here, they just had the reputation of living abroad with nothing to show for it, their life was far from being bouyant. All of these required superior anointing to break. Fr Mbaka is one of the very few Catholic priests with such grace not just as a priest but a Charismatic.
“The prayer group has been praying and inviting Fr Mbaka to come and help for years but until now, he was not able to honour our invitation. I had to fly in from London last year with a letter from the group for this year’s crusade. Meeting Fr Mbaka in person was not easy but the help of Hakuna Matata, one of his aides, made it easier for me. After the meeting, Father asked us to continue to pray and if the Lord approves, he would come. You can imagine our joy when Father finally accepted to honour our invitation.
On the Challenges they had in hosting the crusade.
“We had to surmount some quite serious challenges; one of the major ones was the venue. Unlike the past crusade, we knew from onset that hosting Fr Mbaka would not be like every other crusade because we knew he would be attracting a larger crowd and getting a hall that was big enough that will be able to accommodate the kind of people that usually attend Father’s programme was a big challenge. Churches are usually not built in a very big way here, particularly Catholic Church because not so many people attend church. Getting a hall that was big enough would require a lot of money. Hiring a venue for crusade is usually very expensive. It took the greater chunk of our expenditure. That was a big challenge. We searched really hard and was able to get a venue with the capacity that we had in mind.
“The last crusade we had, the venue had a capacity of just less than 600 official capacities, but the one we used for Father’s coming, the one we used was nothing less than 6,000 official capacity. So you can see there was a huge difference. Getting that venue was a big challenge. We had to pray real hard. The whole prayer group was praying, the service team, and the prayer ministry and even father himself because I was calling Father and asking him to support us with his prayers. God helped us, and the only place we were able to get a hall that was a big enough was actually a Pentecostal church hall, the Rauch city church Hall which we know would be able to take 7000 to 8000 people unofficially. So getting a suitable venue and funding was a major challenge. On funding, we tried our best and tried to do in-house fund raising and we had to pick up some bills on credit hoping to pay back at the end of the crusade.
“It was not just getting a minister that would attend the programme that was the problem but you might get a minister and after that you may now have to think of the visa. There had been several occasions when we invited ministers only for them to apply for visa and they were refused. But we felt Fr Mbaka’s own was not going to be a problem because father had visited here about 10 years ago and being a man who had travelled far and wide we knew that he had a travel history. We knew that his visa would not be a challenge by the grace of God. So we had to surmount all these challenges.
“The life here in London is very busy. Being able to do enough publicity to gather that number of people for a programme that lasted for one week was a big challenge. We had to do parish to parish publicity which was quite difficult here because life here in London is very busy, every one minds his business, people work round the clock. So for the service team and the planning Committee and for the prayer group itself, it required a huge sacrifice and task on our side which the Lord by His grace helped us to make and to be able to surmount these challenges. We had to involve print media as well as physical visitation in our publicity. That was quite expensive but at the end of the day, we were able to achieve our aim and it were worth every of the sacrifice.
What it was like having Fr Mbaka with them in London.
“I would be frank with you. I don’t think it is something I can put in words but suffice it to say that we had this joy. I had this joy that I can’t explain and the whole service team, community and planning committee were ecstatic and even before Father came the fact that we knew that he was coming filled us with excitement. Each time I spoke with father on the phone and he assured me that he was going to come, I was filled with joy. This is Fr Mbaka we are talking, about, this is the world-acclaimed minister, not just known and talked about in the Catholic Church but even more in the Pentecostal circle. I know the grace he carried. I know the anointing that is upon him. At least I knew a little bit of what God has done through him. We were full of expectation, we were full of joy, and we just couldn’t wait.
“So when Father came round, you can imagine the kind of joy. This is someone you can’t have all the time because of the crowd. Remember, the last time I came to Adoration ministry, I spent the whole day trying to see Father and at the end of the day I am not sure I spent up to 2 minutes with him when I finally bumped into him, just chatting with him and he was off again, busy with so many things. But his being in London here was different. Father spent time here with us. He sat down with us, we were gisting and talking, just like father and his children would do for hours. The first day he came, we stayed up late with him chatting so much so that even the chaplain did not get the opportunity of doing that with him. Afterwards he said he wanted to celebrate mass, we went in with him and guess what, and few of us that were there had the privilege of being prayed over by Father. During that mass he started by praying for the organizers, laying hands on us , putting his mantle on each and every one of us praying and prophesying upon our lives. I mean this has never happened before in any crusade and of course not done by any of the past ministers in this way.
“One thing father did was that he took time to pray for the organizers and so I benefited immensely. We were amazed by the kind of simplicity and humility that he was exuding. And you would not believe that this is the world-acclaimed Fr Mbaka, that this is the man that the whole world is trying to get his attention. But here he was, chatting with us, praying with us and for us, listening to us. It was just out of the ordinary and the feeling alone is something else. He is that kind of person that when he finishes discussing with you, you will feel as if a burden has been lifted over your shoulder. When he tells you ‘God bless you’ actually you will know that you are blessed (laughs). I can’t really speak for others but I am telling you what I felt and how I feel and those who had confided in me, the service team and the planning committee, we were all overjoyed. We wish we could keep father here with us in London but obviously it’s not going to happen and I know you guys there are also eager to have him back. Having father here has been wonderful and the remaining few days that he is going to stay here with us, I intend to make maximum use of them, God willing.
What he had to say about Fr Mbaka
“I don’t know how to approach this question now but there is a lot to say about Fr Mbaka. But let me start somewhere. Father, from what I know and from what I had even experienced in a deeper way, is unique in too many ways. When I say unique I mean it with every sense of sincerity. Like I said before, one of the things that will strike you when you meet father is that he is a man of genuine humility and simplicity which to my mind is one of the hallmarks of a true servant of God, a child of God and someone who has the spirit of God. Like the Lord Jesus whom the bible say that even though he was God, he humbled himself and did not claim equality with God and he became humbler even to accepting death on the cross. The kind of humility that father carries with him is unbelievable. This is one of the things that anyone who comes across father will testify to.
“When you are with him, he never tried to prove the fact that he is a prophet or that he is a man of God. He just plays with you like a normal human being, just like any father would do with his children, speak with you. He just presents himself like a normal man even though he is endowed with great potentials, unbelievable anointing and power. But father is just father. That is the way he presents himself and that is the way he wants us to see him. So he is very approachable
“One of the things I have to say here is that of all the people who have come to minister for our crusades, we have always deemed it appropriate at least to pay for their flight ticket as a way of appreciating their acceptance of our invitation. But in father’s case, when I told him to provide his travel plans so that I could book his flight, he told me not to bother, that he would book it himself and he did. He told us that, that was his own contribution to our crusade. That has never happened before. The tradition and what had always happened was that we had always booked the flight of those coming to minister, which I think is in order but again that is just another nature and attribute of father , that of sacrifice, giving, always thinking of what he could do. He was even assuring us that at some point he could be able to support us here in UK, in our programme here, from Nigeria. He had this understanding of the challenges we are facing and the sacrifices that we are making. So that spirit of sacrifice is one of the things that will strike you when you meet him.
“I can also tell you that Father has a genuine heart of compassion for the sick and for those who are in need. When he came, we took extra measures to ensure that he was not in any way put in any situation that will jeopardize his security or safety. We had security on ground and made sure that people did not have access to him unnecessarily after his ministration except at his permission. But a lot of people were thronging and pushing around, struggling to meet with him at all cost. One of the things that Father said to us was ‘please at the end of the programme when there is still time please let the people come to me because at time miracles happen when you don’t expect it, God works in different ways and in strange ways. Let the people come to me, let me listen to them. You never can tell what God wants to do”.
“He spent time listening to people. We actually had to intervene at some point sometime to take him away, let him have some rest and even when we tried to encourage him to have some rest he would tell us, that this is the reason why I came to London. I am not tired, I don’t need rest, let me do what I have to do”, so when you see him, you will see a man of great compassion, a man of great love. This is just true; it’s so obvious when you meet him.
“I can also tell you that Father is a lover of children. He has a heart for children. Children were one of the best friends he had when he came. Even in his programmes children would flock around him, pushing to touch him, cuddle him and give him a hug. Father would take time to embrace them, cuddle the little ones, give them a peck and even when we want to stop them, father would say, ‘please let the children come to me’. According to him, he believes in their prayers when praying for those seeking for the fruit of the womb. So he is a man that loves children dearly.
“Another thing that will strike you is his style of ministration. Father doesn’t struggle to minister. And this was one of the feedback that one of our chaplains also gave, which I will come to shortly. He is preaching and ministering and doing deep spiritual ministration and it is as if he is not doing anything serious, one minute he is joking and laughing and the next minute the whole place is on fire. We don’t understand it. He doesn’t struggle to minister, it comes very natural to him. You could see that the anointing is just there in him. The moment you are in his presence you will know that you have met a man of God, that you have met a prophet of God.
“Another thing you could discover is that father could go on for days preaching and ministering. I don’t know how he does it and to our own confusion, you wouldn’t see him eat. And this was one of the feedbacks one of our chaplains gave. He said they were together with him in the house, you will see him wake up and sometimes he will be indoors all day, in the evening he would come out and go for the crusade , come back, go back in and you would not see him again until the next day. You wouldn’t see him eat yet he is not tired and even looking stronger and fresher than you who have been eating all day. This is just strange. When we were pressurizing him to eat he told us listen, “I am stronger when I do not eat, I become weak when I eat”. I don’t understand that myself but yea that is father.
“One other thing with him which I learnt is that you can’t be with him and not learn how to worship. Father has the spirit of worship. He will not pick up his mic to minister without first of all falling prostrate before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Worship is his character. Worship is his personality. Worship is his style. Even the deliverance prayer he did in the last day, he did it with worship. A greater part of the prayer went into worship but even as he was worshiping, laying hands on people, deliverance was taking place. So it is amazing. When you are close to him, you will learn to worship God genuinely. You will just begin to have that spirit or heart of worship. You will begin to see that this is the formula and how to unlock heaven. If there is anything I have learnt from father, it is to worship God and worship God and worship Him again. Father is a great mentor, a prayer. When I look at him I see the spirit of a youth that will not age. You look at him, even at his age, his vision, his passion and his zeal and what he tries to achieve spiritually are things that can only be dreamt by youth. When I say youth I mean people of twenties. Yet in his age, you will see such zeal and passion that you will not find even with young ministers. It is amazing. It’s just amazing. He is a man of great zeal, great passion for the work of God.
“I would also tell you that Father Mbaka is a man that is completely detached from every form of materialism. I don’t know how to use the word but permit me to say that he was not just like other priests. When he came, it was all about the work, how are we doing, how have you been surmounting this and that challenge?’, ‘how are your work?’ ‘In the future I want to see how I can help?’. I mean this is the kind of thing we don’t hear from people. That was father for you and these were really striking to us. These were unique to him and something we have never seen in all past ministers that have come before. Father Mbaka is a spiritual enigma, the more you think of him the more bemused, the more amazed, the more surprised you become, the more you fall in love with him and his personality. I am just blessed to have known him. It is a great privilege and a blessing.
His Appreciations to People
“I will start by first of all thanking God who made our dreams come true. He made it possible not just for us to have yet another successful crusade but to finally get father to come and minister to us here in Uk. It has been our prayer for a long time and God made it possible. We know that but for God, father would not have been able to honour that invitation considering the number of challenges and other busy activities that he is engaged in. But God made it possible for him to come and we are eternally grateful to God for that. God made that possible and we see it as a form of spiritual expansion and growth which the Lord made possible for us. I want to thank God for the gift of Ejike Mbaka , He is a great blessing, a great gift which God has given to the Catholic Church, the Christian fold and the world. I thank God that this is happening in my time and that I am alive and privileged to experience all of this.
“I also want to thank Daddy Ejike Mbaka who remains our father, our brother, our mentor, and our friend. We can imagine the kind of sacrifice he had to make to abandon everything he was doing, you know his busy schedule in Nigeria, just to come and be with the people of God here, not for some form of fun or just to come and rest during his holiday but actually ministering, making sacrifices and bearing the pains and burdens of people. I want to thank him for all of that. At a point he told us that a lot of people have been calling him from Nigeria and that infact this one week that he is spending with us is like one year away from home, from his work and other things that he had to do. We are very grateful and highly indebted to father for this and we cannot in any way repay him back for this. But all we can say is that we love him as a father. For some other blessing he showered on us, any time you meet him, he blesses you, and prays for you. It was as if he was in a hurry to plant enough seed of blessing in us before leaving and we really appreciate that.
“I also want to thank our chaplain, the Nigeria Catholic Chaplaincy of England and Wales, the overall chaplain Fr Peter Babangida , the Chaplain of the Charismatic, Fr Matthew Maduwa and a new Chaplain who just joined us, Fr Peter from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
“I want to thank my brothers and sisters in the service team who worked together to ensure that the whole crusade was a huge success. It was a team work. It was a family work and worked in unity here. We bless God for His grace at work in their lives. I want to thank the people who worked with me in the committee. I was the chairman of the planning committee and also had other people working with me in that committee. I want to thank Bro Christian Duru, I want thank Bro Peter, I also want to thank Sister Chioma Nwosu who did a lot travel to Nigeria to see father. She was always there to chase up things for us both in Nigeria and here. She worked tirelessly. I want to thank her especially for working closely with me to see that this crusade was successful.
“I want to thank Bro Chukwuka Ebelebe, also a member of the planning committee, he is a brother and a dear friend. He was very helpful. I want to thank every member of the committee generally, each and every one of them was really a blessing. I want to thank Sister Ngozi Igwebuike, also a member of the committee who took charge of the media aspect of our publicity. She prepared the advert, did the voice over and spoke to the media houses on our behalf. She is an asset and a great blessing to the group.
“I want to thank the prayer ministry for their prayers, their sacrifice; they went out of their way bombarding heaven with prayers for every aspect of this crusade. As the Lord gave the revelation, they tarried in prayer to ensure that this crusade came to be and was successful. I also want to thank the members of God is Able Prayer Group who helped in visiting different parishes to share fliers and different stations to hand down fliers to members of the public. They all worked tirelessly to make this crusade a success. I also want to thank our benefactors, those who contributed financially to the success of the crusade, members of the group who donated money and helped us in the funding of different aspects of the crusade. We really appreciate them, without them the crusade would not have happened. I thank God for their good heart and ask God to bless them and reward all of them mightily and abundantly in the mighty name of Jesus.