– By PATRICK OCHEI
Issele-Uku Royal Palace once again for the sixth time, was a beehive of activities as no less than a thousand widows from Issele-Uku and Onicha-Ugbo communities of Aniocha North LGA, gathered to receive their yearly Christmas packages from a renowned Lagos and UK based Evangelist June Odika.
Every 24th December, Evangelist Odika would gather widows in Issele-Uku for empowerment through her foundation – June Vision.
This year’s edition being the sixth, was different as she reached out to widows in Onicha-Ugbo to be part of the programme while hoping to include Issele-Mkpitime in the list by next year.
As usual, it started with prayers and then praise and worship, followed by a word of exhortation by Pastor Sunday Ikelede.
Pastor Ikelede had dwelt extensively on forgiveness and love in his preaching, insisting that God can never abandon any widow who genuinely trusts Him and possesses the character of love for her neighbours.
He challenged them to change for good and begin to see the difference in their lives as it concerns their children, welfare and health.
Pleased with the consistency of love being showered annually on widows by Evangelist June Odika through her Widows For Christ Project, the Traditional Ruler of Issele-Uku Kingdom, HRM Agbogidi Obi Nduka prayed for her to continue to break barriers to achieve her desires in life.
Worried by the high cost of commodities in the market, Obi Nduka wondered how she was able to buy and ship the number of bags of rice to go round the widows in Issele-Uku and Onicha-Ugbo respectively at this critical time in the nation’s economic history.
He commended her for her thoughtfulness and patriotism as an illustrious daughter who is inspired to share from the little she has, maintaining that God would replenish her purse and by extension the Odika family for having been of immense support to the brotherly and social development of Issele-Uku.
His words, “I am highly pleased by your act of love and kindness, especially to the vulnerable widows. You have continued to supply them with foodstuffs in the past few years, and in spite of the high cost of food items in the market, you still were able to achieve it this year. I pray God to bless you more and continue to give you the spirit, grace and strength to carry on with your ministry of love and reaching the unreached in times like this.
“We will continue to support your effort in any way you deem necessary. This Palace is always for you to use, because what you are doing is for the good of our people. I am indeed pleased because, not everybody can give like this even when they are richly blessed. But you have the heart and the spirit to touch lives in a unique way, God will always strengthen your paths for success”, Obi Nduka prayed.
In her vote of thanks, the Founder of the June Vision and widows’ benefactor, Evangelist June Odika appreciated God for the gift of life and vision to carry out His divine instructions.
She affirmed that what she is doing was a divine command from our Lord Jesus Christ who is the husband and lover of the widows.
“He sent me what I am doing. Irrespective of the stress and high cost of things, I can never complain because He will always supply all my needs.
“I don’t have much to say but to encourage you to keep holding your monthly meetings with your coordinators. Those meetings are vital because of the spiritual implications and other forms of empowerments that come once in a while.
“In spite of whatever happens, please, continue to dwell among yourselves in love through the sharing of the Word of God and gifts. Love is the greatest of virtues expected of us by our Lord Jesus Christ. When you dwell in love you encourage me, and that is what Jesus Christ wants from us.
“I appreciate my awesome and amiable King who has been supportive since inception of this project. I thank all my guests and to you all my dear Widows For Christ, I love you”, Odika professed.
It was a beautiful day for the widows as each went home with a piece of wrapper, a measure of rice, tomatoes, etc, after corporately praying for their benefactor, Evangelist June Odika.
Present at the event were HRM Agbogidi Obi Nduka, the Obi of Issele-Uku Kingdom, Pastor Ijeoma Herbert Odika, an Aviation Expert, Pastor Sunday Ikelede, Guest Preacher, Pastor Ejimchukwu Nicodemus, the officiating minister, Chief Innocent Ikpeamanam Nwakpati, the Omeogor of Issele-Uku, Comrade Patrick Ochei, NUJ Delta State Council’s Secretary, Mrs. Ijeoma Odika and others too numerous to mention.