By Shola Mike Agboola

The release of ‘Life for Life’, our first ever movie, in 1991, was preceded by a dedication programme. There were about twenty people in attendance. This number was made up of members of the ministry and specially invited guest ministers. It was held in the sitting room of an apartment.
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We barely managed to produce 20 VHS copies of the movie for sale at the programme. At the end of the day, we sold about 8 copies. To us, it was a great achievement, because it meant 8 people believed in us and risked their hard-earned money to buy a movie produced by a relatively unknown drama ministry. Thereafter, demand for the movie increased. Though in trickles, we were able to sell more copies.
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The release of the movie was trailed by an avalanche of testimonies. Mouth-opening and heart-warming reports of exploits of salvation, restoration and revival soon flooded our mail box. This gladdened our hearts and challenged us to do more.
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Our second movie titled: ‘Torture Chamber’ was shot in 1992. We thought it unwise to allow the movie to ‘sneak’ into the market, like the first one, without any fanfare to herald its coming.
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Without any doubt, God used our debut release to bring the ministry into limelight. We started enjoying goodwill from people around us. Our well-wishers increased on a daily basis. With this at the back of our minds, we thought the wisest thing was to cash in on the success recorded by ‘Life for Life’, and the resultant acceptance of the ministry by the public, especially the Christian world. This prompted us to do what we were not instructed to do by God. It was a mistake – a big mistake!
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Please allow me to digress a bit. There is an incontrovertible fact in life. This is it: We all make mistakes! The only infallible one is God, and that is what makes Him God. As human beings, we are susceptible to committing errors of thought, errors of speech, errors of actions or even of inactions.
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When I hear some leaders boast that they are so anointed that they never make mistakes, I shudder at their unsettling display of effrontery. Personally, I shy away from such leaders. To me, they must be from another planet or better put, they must be living in another planet. I prefer those who make mistakes (but don’t make a habit of it). I love those who don’t hide their mistakes. I cherish those who don’t justify and explain away their mistakes. I love those who genuinely and obviously aspire for perfection. From this category, I have so much to learn in my quest for perfection and ultimately for heaven.
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Back to the big mistake I was talking about. It is both hilarious and humbling. Honestly, it taught us a big lesson.
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TO BE CONTINUED. Please check in tomorrow (07/05/2020).
Shalom!

Our second movie titled: ‘Torture Chamber’ was shot in 1992. We thought it unwise to allow the movie to ‘sneak’ into the market, like the first one, without any fanfare to herald its coming.
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THE STORY CONTINUES…
We decided to organize a launching programme to usher the movie into the market. As earlier said, we had no divine leading to do this. We simply thought that the programme would afford us an opportunity to raise money for the ministry. With this thought at the back of our mind, we chose a date for the launching and then set machineries in motion for the execution.
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The multipurpose 1000-seater hall of a big hotel was booked. Flyers were made to invite the general public. Specially composed Invitation Letters were sent to renowned wealthy men within and without Kwara state. We sourced for money to provide refreshments for the dignitaries whom we expected to grace the occasion. Prayers were also made to God to crown our efforts with success. Let me quickly state here that we got to know later that God has no obligation to support a vision He didn’t initiate in the first place.
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On the D-day, members of the ministry arrived at the venue gaily dressed. The dress I wore was specially made for that day. Two tables were set close to the stage. The first was to display copies of the new movie, to be launched. The other was for three of our members who had been specially trained on how to collect, count and make appropriate records of the expected huge donations that would come from our specially invited guests.
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The first indication that the event was doomed for irredeemable failure was that our invited guests did not arrive early for the programme. I kept looking at my wrist watch and at the main gate of the hotel praying silently, ‘Oloun ma je kowo jona loni’ (meaning, God, don’t allow our investment to go down the drain today). The second indication was that just a few people eventually turned up for the event. The third indication was that only 5 out of the many specially invited potential big donors turned up.
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As I looked at the few ‘big men’ on the head table, I thought within me: “Well, no problem. God does not move by numbers. These five rich fellows are more than enough to change our financial life forever.” Of course, I didn’t believe myself. It was only an attempt at encouraging myself in the Lord. To add salt to an already painful injury, these ‘big men’ made donations that were worse than peanuts. That was after watching our brand new movie free of charge, and eating our refreshments free of charge. I couldn’t help thinking: “Ha eyin ara ibi o beru Oloun.” (Ha, you this people do not fear God).
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It would be an understatement to say we recorded a colossal loss. As a matter of fact, we entered into a debt. In short, it was a disaster! The money spent on that charade of a launching would have been more than enough to produce two new movies at that time. When I got home, I kept wondering: “What happened?” A voice kept responding: “Who sent you?”
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Though a mistake, the whole episode did not go without teaching us a big lesson. We learnt never to lean on our own understanding. Suffice it to say at this juncture, that the 1992 launching was the first and only one organized by EVOM till date. Please read my lips. I have neither said nor insinuated that it is wrong to organize launching and fund-raising events. The point is that we should beware of allowing the flesh to lure us into taking steps (even good ones) without first obtaining divine approval.
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To the glory of God, we have since been enjoying a miraculous flow of divine provision over the years, most times, from unexpected quarters. I now recall how a well-known minister of God in Lagos, Nigeria, called us on phone. He spoke so highly of one of our movies, which he watched personally, and later showed to his entire church congregation during a Sunday service. He testified of the great things God used the movie to do amongst them. The pastor said God led him to sow into our ministry. He obtained our account number and went on to make a fat deposit into the account.
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This further proves that God knows how best to raise help for His work. As ministers of the gospel, we don’t have to resort to arm-twisting and base manipulations to extort money from our subjects. I hope the point has been made and understood. Thanks for your time.
Shalom!

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