From the desk of the Director 

Dear friends,

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31 

Godswill Elisha was amongst the first Foundation students who came to Stephens Children Home in the year 2000.  He was very humble student who did all he could and endure throughout his primary and college education at Stephen Centre and to Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State. Thru, the support of all our friends who gave their support to the family of Martyrs at Stephen Centre.  Godswill story and several others are the triumphant story of the Grace of our Lord Jesus who made us and making more Godly images from the family of Martyrs at Stephens Children Home.  

Thank you for your help to His little children under our cares. Merry Christmas and a blessed new year to you all.

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace   Isaiah 9:6


I Made It, But, You Made Me

Some years ago, before I got acquainted with Facebook and other social media platforms, I received a letter from a Canadian Christian couple – Jim and Rosemary Mason (May they and theirs enjoy God’s beautiful friendship and blessings) – enquiring about my welfare after the incident of May 22 2000 and my aspirations for the future. I wrote back to them, intimating them of my new lease of life in Abeokuta and my desire to study Law and practise as a legal practitioner. They responded, but it was the last I heard from them but that letter is the most heart-warming I have ever received. They informed me that Legal Studies is long and difficult but that with determination and hard work I can achieve my dream. They assured me of their prayers.

Their prayers were answered. I gained admission to study Law at the Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University. I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School where I underwent the vocational aspect of my studies. My efforts were rewarded on the 29th November 2018, when in a solemn ceremony at the Abuja International Conference Centre, I (alongside hundreds of Nigerians) was admitted into the Nigerian Bar to practise as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

At a point during the ceremony, where we were instructed to don our wigs as a symbol of taking our rightful place in the league of legal practitioners in Nigeria, overwhelmed with joy and appreciation of God’s steadfastness, I could not hold back the river of tears in my eyes from flowing.

The prediction of the Masons was right. Law proved difficult. Its tonic was a complete one, dosing me the benefits of savouring an admixture of successes and failures in my sojourn through the forest of legal erudition – I sometimes regard it as traversing The Forest of a Thousand Daemons. I had to be contented with rewriting my O-level after an inexplicable woeful performance in the first one I wrote. Having gained the experience of writing the University Matriculation Examination thrice, who would discountenance my opinion of myself as a veteran of that exam? At the university, the grades were not coming in the stellar form that I have been accustomed to from my Primary school days. There was a time I became disinterested in studies and was giving up on myself. That time, I thought of myself as that boy born with so much potential but doomed not to fulfil his potential.  I enjoyed the support of good people in school and beyond, in Nigeria and abroad. The support and encouragement I received kept me on track.

The Masons are not alone in this. They are but a microcosm of the love, care and kindness that I have benefited from people of goodwill from across the world. It is impossible for me to reel out all the names and organisations that have supported me.

All my life, I have depended on others to grow and develop. On the 22nd day of May 2000, my native home of Kaduna was aflame in the inferno of a religious unrest that led to the wanton destruction of properties and loss of hundreds of lives – my father’s inclusive. I was taken to the Stephen Centre International where I had a new lease of life studying without the fear of another incident that would claim lives and possibly mine. I enjoyed support from good members of staff who helped me in their own little way. I gained exposure of the reality that exists beyond my locality. I received immense support from good people from all backgrounds and works of life, both at home and abroad.

I hereby use this medium to appreciate the Stephen Centre International, Voice of the Christian Martyrs Nigeria and VOM missions around the world and their benefactors for the support I have received. Words are too inadequate to convey my sentiment of gratitude. I assure you all that your acts of kindness will ripple through me a billion times. May God reward your kindness with blessings here on earth and with a sweet welcome when you transcend to the realm of angels and saints.

I may have fulfilled my boyhood dream of donning the wig and gown and having LLB, BL and the honorific “Esquire” after my name but I owe it all to you. Yes, I made it! But, you made me.

I am now in a race to rank amongst the finest in the only learned and most noble profession. I will be counting on your prayers to achieve this seemingly lofty ambition. I appeal to you to not hold back your support from my alma mater, Stephen Centre International, so that many other children may equally enjoy the benefits I received and go on to realise their dreams - be it ever so lofty.

 

GODSWILL GWANZWANG ELISHA, ESQ.