Pleasant Gathering Club of Nigeria, a faith-based Non-governmental Organisation, with the aim of equipping and empowering the next generation, recounts its achievements and challenges when it celebrated its 12th anniversary in Enugu, reports our Correspondent.
Sunday, September 9, 2018, will remain indelible in the hearts of many youths across the country as Pleasant Gathering Club of Nigeria, an interdenominational youth organization, held its 12th anniversary in Enugu, the Enugu state capital.
The event which began the previous day with lectures and talk shows ended on September 9, with pleasurable activities.
As early as 10 o’clock the conference hall of the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, venue of the event, was filled to the brim with men, women, and youths from all walks of life.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s anniversary, “Amazing Grace,” Barrister (Mrs.) Joy Ogbonnaya, the international president of the group, recounted the achievements and challenges of the organization in the past years, and concluded that the vision of the organization to equip and empower the next generation has been fulfilled.
According to her, Pleasant Gathering has established 51 reading clubs in secondary schools where moral and reading culture have been restored with an annual convention that hosts over 4,000 students.
The organization has also commenced same in some tertiary institutions in Enugu state. Ogbonnaya said that in the past 12 years, the group had encouraged professional prostitutes to drop their “water pots” for evangelistic venture, while men and women marry and inter-marry effortlessness.
“Of a truth, we have seen the amazing God do amazing things in all our meetings, conferences and conventions. The Pleasant Gathering has been granted the 501© (3) status of the United States of America, which makes us an international organization with full powers to run our activities in the USA.”
The Pleasant Gathering was officially inaugurated in Nigeria in 2006. The group will also be officially inaugurated in South Africa, before the end of September this year, and her maiden convention is scheduled to hold at Durban University.
However, Ogbonnaya said the organization needed financial support to enable it offset salaries of staff, secondary school facilitators, sponsorship for annual students’ convention/conferences and monthly support for rescued prostitutes.
Pastor Don Odunze, president, Family Circle Ministry Incorporated, had earlier admonished the youths to keep away from those vices that are in conflict with their spiritual lives and their closeness to God.
Speaking on the topic: “Handling Besetting Sins”, Odunze cautioned young men and women to remember that “at every point or place or time and whatever you are doing, there is a cloud of witnesses watching.”
Indeed, the event was filled with amazing grace of God as many, including former commercial sex workers testified that the organization has restored their hopes and redirected their ways to the path of honour in the past 12 years.
The conference hall came alive with renditions from Chika Okpara, a gospel artiste and a member of the famous ‘Nothing Mega’ group. For one hour he engaged the youths in melodious and spiritual songs that electrified the environment.
Certainly, the Holy Spirit literally came down as many felt the presence of God as they prophesied.
The group had earlier in the week traversed major streets of Enugu in a motorcade, to sensitize the public about the event.
Goodness Ude, a student in the School of Nursing, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozala, Enugu, expressed happiness at the turn of events
in the organization.
She told The AUTHORITY that she had been a member of the group for three years, and had learnt a lot from Barrister Ogbonnaya, and other resource persons that had reshaped the lives of the youths.
Ude said the 12th anniversary of the group was unique going by the number of quality resource persons and their excellent presentations at the event.
“My life has changed since I joined the group three years ago. Today I know that Christ has already given me the power to do many things. I don’t need anybody to tell me about the power of God in me. I have freedom of mind and there is no more room for stereotype life that has kept me and many young men and women stagnant,” she confessed.
In her reaction, Uche Orakpo, who graduated for the same School of Nursing, said the group had impacted positively on her life since the past six months of becoming a member.
She said: “Of a truth, the event was awesome and full of grace. I thank God for the privilege. I love being where I am today because it has impacted in me the spirit of loving, skills and other positive qualities.
“It’s more like a family. The group has given me an opportunity to express myself, as well as reach out to other students. I can testify that truly, the group has empowered many for the next generation.”
However, Orakpo advocated for an expansion of the group to include parents and elderly people. This, she said, would help check the activities of the young ones who might feel too free to indulge in frivolities.
The high point of the event was the cutting of the 12th anniversary cake. Many dignitaries including Archbishop
Austin Nwaodika, of The Throne of Grace, Rev. Ugo Chime and wife; Pastor Folake Oloruntoba, who flew in from London, Evangelist J.J. Ijakhire and many others, attended the event.