Encounter With The Paralytic Preacher!

by SOC Okenwa

First Friday of November night like every other first Friday of every month I had attended an all-night vigil in my church tagged “la nuit de la liberation divine” — (Night of divine liberation). Fire-brand pastors were invited from other evangelical ministries to minister to our spiritual needs. We sang, danced, prayed and listened to spiritually-edifying messages from a host of God’s battle axes, men and women of God whose track record is beyond reproach. The battery of events and attendance must have kept the devil at bay, discomfituring its dark kingdom! We were able to deliver the ‘liberation’ message to hell and its occupants, as Majek Fashek did in one of his songs, to ‘leave us alone’!

For almost everyone that deprived himself or herself sleep that night overcoming the devil and its intrigues remained a battle worth waging and waged it we did till dawn. Since the forces of evil are most free in odd hours of the night each and everyone of us went home satisfied and happy that we partook in the adoration of our God, the living God who did wonders through His Holy Spirit Angels. Collectively we cried out from our sin-burdened hearts for forgiveness of sins and sought His Mighty Face and He did not disappoint us! Halleluyah!!

It was a little after 3.30 am when the host pastor introduced a special guest preacher to mount the pulpit. The pastor in question was in wheel-chair, a disabled man of God paralysed from waist downwards! The encounter with the fearless evangelical orator was an unforgettable one. As he was wheeled onto stage Pastor Soro Josieh did a short prayer and launched into a powerful praise song supported by the church choir. As the song and music died down the paralytic preacher began by explaining how he became a preacher against all odds, against the imaginations of many including established men of God in his former ministry.

He set the gathering literally ablaze with laughter as his voice, demonstrations and intermittent comedic relief sent us all occasionally into the humour slab as it were. His beginning according to him was tough, rough and challenging. Indeed there was no dull moment for the two hours he was on stage with microphone worn like ear phone sometimes asking that his assistant pushed him nearer the congregation row-by-row for a better view of the proud paralytic preacher.

He recalled the day he met up his pastor and demanded on a crusade ground that he be given opportunity to preach. The pastor rebuked him questioning furiously how the people who came for miracles, deliverance and salvation could feel when they see him speaking from the wheelchair, would they not ask questions about how the All-Powerful God he supposedly represents was not able to restore his paralysed legs and make him walk again miraculously?

Undeterred Pastor Soro knew within himself there was something in him waiting to explode, something he had to offer spiritually. He made another attempt to convince his principals to see reason with him but they dismissed his entreaties asking him to stay on the background and not heard. Frustrated, Soro left the church and his encounter with God began in earnest. When he doubted his ability to deliver something in him kept reminding him that if he wanted he could! If you want you can!

He began “playing football” in dreams, an impossibility in real life, which whenever he woke up from sleep made him to see his disability as a possible vehicle to fame and service to mankind. As he built his pastoral life he ‘denounced’ associations for the disabled who approached him to solicit his membership as their secretary telling them that he was not part of them. He recounted how he met a fellow disabled on the street and the fellow waved him greeting him as a “colleague” to which he responded that he should look elsewhere for a “colleague” and not him.

Pastor Soro is a very intelligent man, roundly educated with a doctorate and widely travelled. In fact he is a stationary Biblical encyclopaedia! Whenever he opens his mouth he spits fire with radical takes on issues fearing no one but God and telling it as it is. He tells truth to both power and the opposition alike! For this pastoral radicalism he is loved by some and loathed by others. But he cares less preferring to please God than man since the ultimate judgment belongs to this immortal invisible Being.

According to him the major problem with Africa and Africans remains our inability to measure well enough our opportunities; for him charity must begin at home. We must begin to look inwards since God blessed Africa with abundant natural unexplored resources. There should not be any justification why poverty should continue to have its way unchallenged reducing majority of our people to “glorified animals”.

A quintessential orator with great grasp of issues Rev. Soro Josieh recounted his experience at the Presidential Palace when President Gbagbo in the middle of the war played host to him. He said before their meeting he had ‘ordered’ the President and his close aides to go on their knees for prayers. As their meeting was up the President offered to push his wheelchair towards the exit and he felt on top of the world as the President pushed him around! President Gbagbo is a remarkable man who has the fear of God in him. His staying political power could be attributable to this divine reverence.

He told us a story about a certain woman who came to him and asked him to pray for her as she had planned to visit her village after a long spell in the city. Pastor Soro did a short prayer for her but the woman was not satisfied asking for more. He prayed further but the woman was obviously puzzled protesting to the man of God that if he wanted to see her alive by going to her village and back safe and sound then the prayer must be deep and penetrating enough. The woman intimated him that in her village the biggest and greatest witches and wizards were to be found there with competition among them for who would kill more or suck fresh blood of the innocent more!

He told the congregation of how a certain church was pastored by PMU-playing seekers of mundane fortune. The head pastor called him and complained about how his subordinates were playing PMU. Pari Mutuel Urbaine is the French version of pool, fixed odds. Pastor Soro then took appointment with the man of God and went there on appointed date. There in the church with huge followership the paralytic preacher upon introduction according to him took a quick survey of the surrounding and took a sharp look at the seated congregation and thundered: es que ma securite est guarantee!? (Is my security guaranteed?) to which the pastors and congregation responded loudly: oui! (yes!).

His first salvo directed at the PMU-playing pastors was unmistaken: if Jesus Christ did not do you a favour by making it possible for you to have money then a dead horse cannot do it! PMU has a horse on motion as its sign. He went on: pool-playing should not be the pastime of men of God because their work is surely going to be rewarded here-after. Pastors ought to be sober and frugal in their lifestyles to be able to inspire confidence in their followers, he concluded.

Pastor Soro is a perfect example of man’s determined quest to conquer natural handicap and adversity. Author of inspiring religious books Rev. Soro Josieh is well-to-do and happy touching lives and freeing burdened souls in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He loves God and I believe God loves him too by empowering him spiritually to affect lives and effect some changes in the ecumenical order of things in his native nation. Thus far he is doing well and the devil is a loser on his case.

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