By OvieEdomi

The prolonged prodigious battle, themetaphoric cataclysmic struggle between heaven and earth, in a ubiquitous contention for the most mandatory, obligatory, or deserving abode for the matriarch of the Archbishop Goddowel Avwomakpa Family of Jesus Christ, of Oginibo and the Christ Missionaries Crusaders Church worldwide, with headquarters in Ekpan, Effurun, Delta State, has finally come to a rather abrupt end.
Mamo Victoria Avwomakpa, the matron saint, prayer warrior, fortifying instrument, love-chamber, sous-chef, building block, binding glue and better half of the General Overseer and President of the Christ Missionaries Crusaders Church, who has been locked down in the grips of divinely inflicted physical instability for well over a decade; fortuitously occasioned between heaven and earth, ostensibly and invariably in a struggle and partition for her domicile.
Incredibly, on the 12th of June, 2020, the same June 12 that Nigerian never forgets Mamo bowed to death. Oh, Mamo, as we her biological and numerous foster and spiritual children fondly called her, decided on heaven’s victory and succumbed to the waiting arms and embrace of heralding angels and hosts of faithful earthly-departed, heavenly-triumphant Christians. Paradoxically, it was a grim, grievous and glorious moment, both clustered and intertwined. The tears flowed freely and uncontrollably from the recesses of physical agony, pain and hurt, occasioned by the consciousness and sensibility of final physical separation. The surpassing glory on the other hand came from the inspired glimpses of the victory over sickness and the grave, most of all, the assurances of a fulfilled life and triumph unto eternal salvation. Mamo had run the race to the end. She had finished her course. The vision of an awaiting Christ with outspread arms to receive and present a glistening golden crown of un-diminishing glory was both mesmerizing and tantalizing. But Mamo deserves it all, having served Christ from an early age with dedicated zeal ‘‘by birth and by inclination’’, to borrow Wole Soyinka’s phrase in the wittily Trials of Brother Jero.
In the active years of Mamo’s life, one was never certain of which came first, between Mamo’s love for Christ and her family; which undoubtedly built the foundation of the battle in the later years of her life, for domicile and supremacy, between earth and heaven. Earth never had and therefore never saw an amazon of unsurpassed faith, love and trust in God. Her complete confidence, trust and utter reliance on the word and power of God were utterly unprecedented. In the most distressing moments of challenges such as imposed variously on mortals by diverse vicissitudes of life; Mamo held her head high, unbending and unyielding. The devil himself must have been amazed and perplexed by the level of unbroken faith, resilience and tranquility in the face of the odds and complexities imposed upon Mamo’s duration of earthly life from his directorate.
Solid-building up and encouraging multi-faceted labyrinths of faith virtues were effortlessly and undoubtedly imparted and impacted upon Mamo’s various varied audiences in diverse platforms and platitudes through her very constant cornucopia and traversing Christo-Scriptural peregrination. Compelling affirmations of faith and solid trust in God prolifically fecundated Mamo’s river of faith-based existence. Mamo fascinatingly fulfilled Paul’s paradoxical-exegesial thesis, that to live is Christ and to indeed die is gain. Being in her audience was indeed like being a piece of rock embedded in the sea bed, forever cooled by flowing streams of God’s word, embodying spirit and life with tremendous effervescence. This deeply treasured exhortive inspirational profundity everyone derives from being in Mamo’s presence-audience, is one of her legacies that shall be sorely missed. To recount some instances, in one forum, Mamo would say, ‘‘The Almighty God is my Ebenezer, my Helper in the face of EVERY CHALLENGE that comes my way in life’’, in another she says ‘‘He is my eternal Rock and fortress; He is the Horn of my salvation’’. When Mamo’s faith is direly tried, she would strongly declare‘‘The Rock of Ages is my unshifting ground; ALL other grounds are sinking sand’’. Faced with the challenge of failing health, Mamo remains resolute and undaunted ‘‘It is good if I am healed and I succeed in my aspirations; but I will serve Him UNCONDITIONALLY as long as I am ALIVE’’. At another time, in another forum,in another place, Mamo would declare, ‘‘With my God, nothing and that means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING shall be DIFFICULT or IMPOSSSIBLE’’, In yet another instance or occasion when it appears certainly that, this is the last straw that must break her back, Mamo would wry and declare with astonishing philosophical and stoic strength that comes from her inner recesses that ‘‘My Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel liveth; therefore SHALL I NOT BE MOVED. LET HIS WILL BE DONE’’. Infinitely, Mamo’s dazzling faith phrases or statements which express her indefatigable trust in God must be left for another occasion and volume, as this chapter of press-form tribute can clearly not accommodate them.
In the perspective of chronological years, Mamo may be deemed to have not exhausted her chronological years on earth; but so indeed was her Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who did only 33 chronological years on earth. We are very highly comforted and consoled that Mamo lived a quintessential, dedicated, diligent, devoted and triumphant Christian, who undoubtedly surmounted all earthly obstacles to salvation and received the un-diminishing and glowing highest prize of Christian calling.

Reminiscing on my last moments with Mamo, it is still just like I am dreaming. Our Papa, Archbishop GoddowelI’s polytechnic’s matters in Warri warranted my visit. Incidentally, it was Mamo, looking radiant and ravishingly dressed, that welcomed me first when I arrived the Avwomakpa House on Monday 8thJune, 2020. Her overflowing inner joy, radiance and filial concern over my safe arrival and the well-being of my immediate family washed all my fatigue away. “You came from Lagos in this lockdown”, she said that fateful day. Nothing about her demeanor or the motherly care and concern she showed with her usual poise gave any hint of the ominous imminent demise which occurred barely 4 days later. Not even when I returned on Tuesday (9th June), to the house and thereafter left for the meeting which drew me from Lagos and actually met her eating, (though without much appetite) did I get any premonition that Mamo was about to bow out of the life stage in but 3 days. It was therefore with rude shock, utter bewilderment, unsettling trepidation and great consternation that I received the heart-shattering news that Mamo was no more by Friday 12th June, 2020.
It was a below the belt dealt blow because there was nothing I (or anyone else for that matter) could do anymore.Papa and all of us her numerous biological, foster and spiritual children and well-wishers all over the world would bet all the money we have to have an opportunity to re-have Mamo. But no appellate interventory establishment superintended by man anywhere in the world (even in the so-called 1st world) can adjudicate over and reverse the finality of death. It is therefore certain that the only option left to the immediate family, friends and well-wishers is to immortalize Mamo through the glowing legacies she has enshrined in various terrains of her well-lived life. The arising personal question is how would you remember Mamo? As for me and my house; we cannot and will never forget Mamo. Though our hearts are broken and our homes may not be as glamorous as those Mamo occupied on this side of life, we shall clean, rehabilitate and refurbish with all fervor in our determination to offer Mamo befitting museums to archive her glowing earthly legacies for posterity.
Curiously, in the aftermath of her death, Mamo has appeared to me in all-white robes in a dream, though I still can’t quite configure the circumstances. But the all-white robes were so strikingly cutely cuddled around her, making her look like an angel on vacation. The indelible picture registered is that Heaven is real and no genuine heaven-seeker shall toil in vein. If therefore none who genuinely toils shall be left unrewarded, let us make every effort to make our Christian calling and election sure. Pastor Mrs Victoria Avwomakpa; a General who fought and won many hideous physical and spiritual battles; A Co- General in God’s kingdom is gone the way of all mortals. How are the mighty fallen. Tell it in the streets of Oginibo, publish it in the avenues of Warri. The church worldwide is mourning. Christians of various denominations across Nigeria are bewilderedly shocked. The good people of Urhobo Nation are grieving over you. Oginibo Community is mourning you. Even pagans are mourning over you. Why won’t they mourn? You and our beloved Papa were used mightily as instruments by God to immeasurably bless their lives. You served as God’s faithful Principalities; you were demon destroyers, you brought the light to our communities and to us individually. You set captives free, you saved loss souls and you preached the acceptable way of God’s salvation across creeks, crannies, tributaries and to manors, vassals and feudatories across the Niger Delta. In faraway rural and urban places across the diaspora and the globe, you became phenomenal through the preaching of God’s word with unalloyed and un-tempered diligence, humility and sacrifice.
Mamo, in almost 50 years of marriage to Papa and service to the Lord, you remained steadfast, fervent in prayers, committed to God’s people and expanding the work of the kingdom. You were an exemplary Christian, mother and preacher. Christ Missionaries Crusaders Church family will miss you greatly. God’s people the world over will greatly miss you. You fought a good flight and finished well. You could not conquer death. But when Christ returns when the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall rise and death shall be swallowed up in victory. Mamo, may you have and enjoy everlasting rest in peace in the bosom of the Almighty God, until we shall meet to part no more on that faithful and glorious resurrection dawn.
Fare thee well, my Mamo.

Edomi, is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of South South International magazine and Acting Rector Goddowell Polytechnic.

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