When a child was born on November 10, 1962 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Omuya Ogaroke, now deceased, in Okene, Kogi State, there was no comet seen. Before the birth of the child, a stranger had prophesied to the mother that the child she was carrying in her womb was a pastor.
The young child was enrolled for his primary education at the St. Andrew’s Anglican School, Okene in 1971. He would later attend his secondary education at the Crowther Memorial College, Lokoja, from 1976 to 1981. The death of his father in September 1968, just before he turned six, proved challenging. His mother played the guardian angel before she eventually died in 2006.
For Pastor Inda-John, he saw education as the key that unlocks the bountiful fruits of the future. He wasted no time in reading books in a bid to make life better than what was given to him as a child. Though he never went beyond secondary school in formal education, his deep knowledge of issues and clarity of thought remains an indisputable trait that has advanced his work as a pastor. Combining experience hinged on a voracious reading culture, the pastor combines deep love for humanity and irrevocable resolution to stand for the truth as his staying power.
Attaining six scores is no mean feat for a Nigerian whose average life span is less than 55 years. Despite encountering a health challenge that almost threatened his life, he underwent a major surgery in 2011 when, no fewer than 12 doctors, with other medics, worked on him for eight hours. In demonstration of God’s love and mercy on him, Pastor Inda-John recovered quickly and drove himself back home within seven days.
Though not desirous of building a big Cathedral, the pastor says God’s mandate to him is to gather the faithful. He attacks the root of impious living and frowns at tithes of questionable sources. According to him, it is far more honourable to account for fewer members than to be lost in a large crowd of members that are more strangers than church members. He believes in the prosperity of the body and soul in terms of physical and spiritual blessings.
He recognises the role of money in advancing the growth of individuals and the Church. He walks on both sides of the divides to create a synthesis of issues breeding rancorous discourses in the body of Christ. Beyond this, he has devoted himself to both religious and secular books, thus enriching and broadening his intellectual horizon.
I have known him for over two decades and can attest that while one may not agree with him one hundred percent on all issues; one can’t also deny the love he has for his members and humanity. He believes that the world is far in need of practical Christianity than mouthing scriptures with no fruits to show the world.
In a brief summary of life @60, Pastor Inda-John insists that six decades of his life has been fraught with challenges that cannot be confronted by running away from the problems.
He recalls that until after he made up his mind to be a Christian, he had always seen Christianity as a life of burden and bondage. After becoming a true Christian, “I found liberty and peace”, he quickly adds.
Can he recall his happiest moment? “Yes, the day my wife delivered our first child, a baby girl. It was an express answer to specific prayers”.
He looks forward to the building and dedication of a tabernacle for the Church, and sees that as his major priority. The pastor believes that the role of the Church in politics should be simply restricted to intercessory and advisory roles. The inability of Christians to deploy their faith in the awesome power of God, he laments, remains the major challenges confronting the Church.
Married to his lovely and beautiful wife, Jemima, on October 25, 1997, the marriage is blessed with four children: Elizabeth Oyiza, Gabriel, Lemuel and Zuriel. Striding past six decades of his life, there is no doubt that Pastor Inda-John has shown unquenchable resilience and determination to stay the cause of serving both God and man. As he turned 60 last Thursday, this is wishing Pastor Inda-John abundant good health and prosperity in staying true to a dream of a determined life in the Lord’s Vineyard.