FOUNDER and General Overseer of Mustard Seed Assemblies International, Dr. Ini Okpon operates an itinerant prophetic outreach ministry all over the world. He conducts quarterly revival programmes in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State where he brings together all the churches under his oversight.
His vision for the San Jose, California, US church is to have an ultra modern church that benefits America.
His vision is to have a growing church that will expand greatly in size, with more pastors under his wings, a school, daycare and rehabilitation center all attached to the church. Prophet Okpon was the opening act at the just concluded Word of Life Bible Church’s annual Jubilee Word Festival 2018 with a theme, “Advancement and Enlargement” where he narrated a teenager’s prophecy about his US’ trip in this interview with our Sam Eyoboka.
The prophecy by a 13-year old girl
It started before 2005, I was given a word of prophecy by a now woman of God. Then she was just a teenager at a little occasion. She turned around and prophesied to me that God is going to take me to America. I didn’t take it to heart, but it came to pass that I played America lottery randomly and I won. But the process was something that really took me back.
I got to the American Embassy for the first time and I saw many people that were called to the booth to talk to the consulate officer turned away. I remember a lawyer who won the America lottery turned back. I was a mere pastor by that time.
My wife was standing praying in tongues and the consulate officer called my wife and asked what was going on, my wife said she’s praying. The consulate officer said there’s no prayer here and asked her to go and sit down.
So my wife sat down and was tapping her feet while still prayingnwithout the consulate officer knowing that she was still praying. He called me forth and said we have seen your WAEC result. Congratulations, we are going to test you on that.
I started shaking because the testimony of my WAEC result was a miracle after I had failed several attempts. I took that exam in Lagos and I had no hope of passing because at the time, my sister in Lagos had lost her marriage. My older brother had lost his job and his house. I was kicked away from where my brother was living and I had to go and squat with one Muslim gateman at a certain compound to enable me stay for extra two weeks to write the exam.
In the process of me trying to take the exam, there were several times I had to trek for miles with no food in my stomach, and there were times when I got to there and the exam was over. I remember one time when I was supposed to write mathematics, I got to the venue few minutes before the end of the paper.
That is the testimony of my life. I sat down and just wrote my name, I was on fasting at that time, waiting on God se-riously. I just wrote one or two answers, I wasn’t good with mathematics, so I knew I wasn’t going to make that result but when the result was mailed to my father, I discovered I had nine A’s includ-ing Chemistry, Physics and Further Math-ematics which I never took. So, I claimed the result because it has my name and exam number on it.
So when the consulate officer saw it he said he was going to test me on Math-ematics and I told him no problem. He gave me an equation to solve to prove that I owned the result. I just looked at the paper and moved the X one way and the Y another way and just made it two-two and I pushed it back to him.
I didn’t waste time. The man looked at my face and said you know that’s not correct. I said yes I know. He gave me another difficult equation which I didn’t know. I thought he was going to test me on reading Bible or something because I wore a collar like a pastor but it turned out to be that the second question was more difficult than the first one and I just went around and did what I did and pushed it back to the man. Again, he said you know you didn’t get the answer. I said I know.
He just looked at me, swung his head, took his stamp and stamped my pass-port and said come back and get your visa, you are welcome to America. I told my wife I passed and got the visa, my wife did not believe it but on the fourth day, I got the visa for myself, my wife and our two daughters. That was 2005. I walked out of the embassy with my briefcase containing N250,000 and the visa. I entered a bus and left the brief-case at the bus stop. When I got to the hotel and a friend asked to see what the visa looked like, I told him it’s in the briefcase only to turn round and there’s no briefcase.
I trekked, ran like a madman and by the time I got to VI it was almost 8.00 p.m. crying because everybody was gone and the road was empty. While I was crying, there was this traffic warden that walked up to me and asked what I was looking for? I told him my briefcase. He said he’s been waiting for me, adding that when he was controlling the traffic, he saw me enter the bus but I left the briefcase and people were gazing at the briefcase and wanted to steal it but his conscience told him to go get it. When the day was over that evening, he went and sat by the street waiting for me and brought out the briefcase from a nearby bush flower.
I told the man if I could give him part of the money, he said he doesn’t want the money. I didn’t know what to do with him. I asked him if I could have his number that when I get to America, I will remember him. I got his number. Do you know that I’ve only spoken to that man one time since I left. I went to his office address but was told he was long transferred out of that place. Some people said he never worked there. I have no trace of him.
I went home with the briefcase, pre-paring for our trip to America when a few days later, fire entered my house and burned everything except the briefcase confirming that when God speaks, He is able to prove His word. That is my testimony and I have lived in America for 12 years now.
Do you remember the young lady that prophesied?
I still remember her. As a matter of fact we reconnected last year and as I’m going back to Uyo now I have a present for her. She’s a big lady now, married and her name is Itoro with a ministry of her own.
You have been coming to Jubilee. What has been your experience?
It’s phenomenal because I notice that I’ve been the one opening Jubilee and opening major conferences in Word of Life Bible Church. I ask myself why. I even asked my spiritual father, Papa Ayo and he said he doesn’t know, but what he said the beginning of a conference matt-ers. He said if we fail the first day, it will be hard to recover. He said God told him that I should be the one to open it. For me, it’s an experience that this meeting takes me months of preparat-ion and I thank God that it’s been a huge testimony. You can see the crowd, the testimonies and all of that miracles. Today, we had over 3,000 people watch-ing on the Internet from all over the world.
The opening ceremony happened to coincide with Papa’s birthday which featured several persons paying tributes to him. What’s your opinion of him?
Papa Ayo is a different specie of human being. I happen to be very close to him and whenever we are together in Ameri-ca or anywhere else, I see simplicity in him. I see humility mixed with greatness. He has touched many lives.
If everyone Papa Ayo’s ministry has touched were to be in this building, will not contain them. I know where we have travelled to. I’ve hosted him in Jamaica and men of God who met Papa Ayo 40 years ago… a man came and said ‘I met you 40 years ago and you anointed me and today I have churches all over Jamaica.’ He has touched many lives. What moves me is that he is still relevant till today. Not every man that carries the oil becomes relevant after a while.
Even among the white pastors, you see degradation. People go from up to down, but Baba is still relevant…his voice, his energy, his grace. If you leave him there, the service is not going to close today. He’s a man with a heart of gold.
How will you rate the Church way back in America and here in Nigeria?
It’s a different game. In America, a 250-member church is considered to be a mega church because America, though loves God but they’ve seen a huge reduction in the number of people. America believes in God but they hardly go to church. So American Church is now receiving African preachers. They brought the gospel to us but now when we preach to them they sit back and receive it with joy because the anointing in Africa is raw.
A keyboardist in Africa could be a mega pastor in America. The passion is much. I will say because part of it is technology. Unemployment level here is high and so there’s a difference of culture and a difference with passion. We represent the breed, the remnant of the Pentecost, the power of God is still real. I still see miracles of God in America, where crip-ples walk and the blind see. We’ve had Obama write us a letter. I was invited to the White House for a meeting, Obama’s inauguration meeting. Even the last election in America, there were people who came to meet us because they know we are a voice in the community. When you keep your fire, it will burn. The Church is different.
The Nigerian Church is currently is going through a series of challenges. Do you believe there’s an Islamic agenda?
There’s always been one. The Church in Nigeria is going through a shaking. Remember the man on top determines how the flow of the tempo of the country. If you look at America, we have a very radical president right now and we feel it. I don’t like talking politics but when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was in power…let me just say when the righteous rule, the people rejoice but when the unbeliever rules, it will always be there. The crisis is waking up the Church because it was the Church who voted the unrighteous into power.
Now God allowed us to be punished whether we like it or not. Who are the people being slaughtered? It’s the Church. The Church should have noticed that they have power to retain their own. So, we forgot to retain the one that belongs to us, now the unrighteous is ruling. But I know it’s seasonal and it’s coming to go. Very soon the Church in Nigeria will enjoy the liberty again. God is allowing us to realize what we got… how we lost it and how we can go back to get it. I believe the next election will favour the Church.
But let’s be careful on who we allow to rule us because it sends a message to the Body, it affects the economy, the body of Christ, marriages, employment, investment.
Do you know how many people have walked away with their businesses from Nigeria? All of that is a sign for the Church to wake up and I believe the Church is going to get back its act tog-ether. I happen to have spoken to my spiritual father, a couple of times and I shared with him my sentiments. I felt he was mistreated by the Church and when God gives us a leader like him who’s passionate about the sheep, the Church rose up.
But what I saw on the Internet was a sign that the Church was fighting its true leadership and you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. Now there’s division, now there’s disunity. What is it teaching us? It’s making the Church know now. I want to thank God that other pastors are stepping up now because they were not talking before. They wanted one man to be nailed on the cross. I’m not again-st leadership but I did not see the unity when our own was leading and now they are voicing out. I believe that the shaking will soon end.