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Once an Area Boy, now a pastor

Posted by By EMEKA ENYINNAYA on 2008/01/23 | Views: 459 |

Once an Area Boy, now a pastor


Rev Ben Eragbai, of the Divine Appointment Ministry (Upper Room Pentecostal Bible Church) has almost seen it all in the other world before Christ arrested his soul. Not only did he smoke and womanize, he was a good example of an Area Boy, the catch phrase for street urchins.

•The story of Rev. Eragbai

Rev Ben Eragbai, of the Divine Appointment Ministry (Upper Room Pentecostal Bible Church) has almost seen it all in the other world before Christ arrested his soul. Not only did he smoke and womanize, he was a good example of an Area Boy, the catch phrase for street urchins.

But today, his story can be likened to that of the Biblical Saul who later became Paul.
However, having turned a new leaf, the Edo State-born preacher says he is more compassionate, regarding the fate of the less-privileged and social miscreants alike, in the society. According to him, “Some of us were in this mess until the grace of God saved us.”

“Personally, I don’t merit where I am today, that is why I will never write off anybody.”
The Area Boy turned cleric further says: “ The Area Boy of today can become the President of the nation tomorrow; that is why they need orientation in Christ just like me.
“Some of the people who occupy important positions in the country today were once area boys, that is why they behave the way they do. Look at the show of shame that rocked the National Assembly last year.

“ I call it a show of shame because the so-called people who were supposed to be representing the masses turned out to be boxers, throwing punches and fighting each other. Where did they learn this act? Certainly, from the streets.”
He contended that many of the Area Boys could not have been where they are today if they had been given the necessary encouragement.

“ A lot of them are not as bad as people imagine. There is one particular boy called Abe, whom God had used me to transform, he is now a pastor. This was a young man who was deeply into drugs but after we had an encounter, he gave his life to Christ. Today, he is a pastor. To have a cleaner society, we have to reach out to the Area Boys.”
Rev. Eragbai might be a pastor today, but the journey to this calling was never a smooth one. According to him, though he became a born-again person, there were still some rough edges to be smoothed, when he parted ways with the Area Boy stigma.

“ Personally, I didn’t get my salvation on a platter of gold, I knew what I went through before the grace of the Almighty rescued me. I love smoking a lot and my favorite stuff was Indian hemp, popularly known as ‘Igbo’. “ Aside that, I had women at my beck and call. I doubt if there was any vice that I was not good at before I was arrested by God and I believe it is for a purpose.”
Eragbai sheds more light on his aspiration to reform the Area Boys, using good Christian living as parameter and then takes a curious look at the problems of Nigeria, especially the crises in the Niger Delta region.
Excerpts:

Passion
You can never win anybody without love. I love the Area Boys. The difference between me and other pastors is that I do not move around with bodyguards or protocol team; I go about my activities freely. I remember sometime ago, while driving along the road, I came across a road block mounted by some Area Boys who were dancing, immediately they sighted me they began screaming ‘Pastor! Pastor!’ I had to park my car to join them in the dance and also used the opportunity to share the gospel of Christ to them.

2008
The year 2008 is a year where Baba (God) is at work. God created everything the way He wanted it, within in six days! On the seventh day, he rested. 2007 was actually a year of rest; now, we are in 2008, and it is not going to be business as usual. Now, Baba is at work, which means that a lot of things that went wrong in our nation in the past will be corrected this year. It is going to be a year of divine correction. It is going to be a year of judgment for those who had stolen our money. Most of them would try as much as possible to cover up, but God will expose them.

Niger Delta
What is happening in the Niger Delta should not even happen at all. The hostage-taking, the killings and the unrest should not happen. But the fact remains that in the midst of plenty, the people of the Niger Delta are suffering. This place called Niger Delta should be like Kuwait or America of this world. But the people of this part are impoverished; they are living in the creeks and among crocodiles. While they look on, the white men continue to take away their wealth to develop their own land.
What the government should do is to personally supervise development in the Niger Delta and stop putting money in the hands of individuals. Niger Delta should have what we call social security. There is danger, looming in the Niger Delta and if there is going to be any problem at all in Nigeria, it is going to start from the Niger Delta. The earlier it is looked into the better for everybody.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.