It was a trying period, even for a man of God and his wife. For 22 years after their marriage in 1990, the Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, Sapele, Delta State, Reverend Raphael Itotoh and his wife, Praise waited on God for the fruit of the womb.
Their long wait ended recently when the couple were blessed with a baby boy, who was dedicated to God at a well-attended thanksgiving church service held at the AGC Branch 1, Sapele.
The importance and significance of the event was highlighted by the presence of the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, Reverend Paul Emeka, who led the executive board of the church to the ceremony.
Rev. Emeka was joined by prominent Nigerians, including Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Basil Ganagana to rejoice with the couple.
In a sermon titled “God’s time is the best,” Rev Emeka said baby Itotoh came at the time God permitted, noting that those who diligently and prayerfully wait upon God are never disappointed. He further noted that the answers to the prayers of Christian faithful may come longer than they expect, even as he maintained that God never fails his loved ones.
The cleric commended the couple for their dedication and faithfulness to their marital vows of staying together no matter the circumstances, stressing that it was indeed a test of their patience and faith in God to have lived faithfully for over two decades, with their expectations and trust in Him.
In a sermon backed by copious biblical quotes, the General Superintendent urged parents to teach their children God’s love and how to respect their fellow mankind at a tender age when they are amenable.
He maintained that only proper teaching and upbringing of children by their parents can bring about peace and development in the society.
In an emotional testimony, which held the congregation spell-bound, Reverend Itotoh said he and his wife never knew that their journey to having a child would take this long after their wedding in 1990.
They attributed the gift of the child to their faithfulness to one another, to God and the support of friends and family members including Governor Uduaghan who is an elder brother to the mother of the child.
Joining in the display of gratitude to God for His manifold blessings to the couple, Governor Uduaghan advised people of the state in particular and Nigerians in general to be courageous always and not to give up; no matter the volume or magnitude of difficulties they are experiencing in life.
Addressing the congregation which included the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Basil Ganagana, and the Executive Board of the Assemblies of God Church, Governor Uduaghan thanked God for the birth of the baby, even as he commended Reverend Itotoh and his wife Praise for their patience in staying together in spite of the challenge of their temporary childlessness. He described such attribute and dedication as uncommon among couples in the contemporary society.
While attributing the birth of the child to God’s benevolence and the expertise of medical doctors, the governor appealed to health caregivers not to withdraw their services to their patients as they have been empowered by God to save lives.
He said he was satisfied that the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, (DELSUTH) Oghara had impressive records in neo-natal care.
Governor Uduaghan, who led the congregation in choruses to thank God, said prayer and patience were important in surmounting life’s challenges.
Clerics including officials of the state wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) led by the chairman, Archbishop God-do-well Awomakpa, took turns to read out the child’s names which include Raphael Osedoharwen Itotoh before presenting him to the Lord.
Reverend Emeka prayed against terrorism in Nigeria, and for peace and progress in Delta State.