Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

For the first time in over 25 years, I crossed over into the new year in a church. As a younger man living in Nigeria, I used to go to the New Year Watch service on the 31st of December, and welcome the New Year on the wings of prayers and songs. Somewhere along the line, I don't know exactly why, I stopped attending those services. There have been years since then then I was playing chess with friends at the moment of crossing over into the new year. At other times I have enjoyed a glass of wine and chatted with friends and family until that magical hour the New Year arrives. Last night my wife Nwamamaka, and our children Arinzechukwu and Nwachiamanda got to the church just before 9pm and worshipped right into the New Year at the Redeemed Christian Church of God. It was a powerful and spiritually-nurturing experience. Although most pastors and members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God are Yorubas, it has never mattered to me, it has always felt like a big family there. There was only one moment during the night that we felt excluded, when one of the presiding pastors chose to break into a Yoruba praise song. Roughly 90% of the congregation, Yorubas, sang along with him, and the other 10% could only just watch them enjoy themselves.

Now we have made it into 2009. I wish to ask you, as you read this blog entry to make time for God in your life. He will never let you down. You may suffer loss and pain, but check the gains and you will see that He has given you much more. Look at me, I am still faithful because He is faithful. In 2008, many things happened to me; some good and some bad. The year began badly with my mother turning ill and getting admitted into the Intesive Care Unit in an American hospital. As I write this message in 2009, one year later Mama is still in that hospital. She marked her 80th birthday on a hospital bed. I am praying hard and imploring God, the healer God the powerful, that Mama will not mark her 81st birthday on a hospital bed. On the 19th of July, 2008, my sister Ngozi went into transition. She would have turned 53 in January 2009, but it was not God's will. I pray that God gives me the strength, and the wherewithal to support the children she left behind. But to be quite honest, apart from these two issues; my mother's illhealth, mind you she is 80 years old, and my sister's passing, apart from these two issues, 2008 was not a bad year. God did a lot for me: My daughter Nwachimanda was born, the health of my wife, and our son Arinze held up nicely. As a family we are united and happy and growing everyday in love. This is something to thank God for. With the state of my mother's health, the Stephen Azuonye family could easily have had two funerals in 2008, but it was not God's will. He said no to that. We have not had to beg for food, we have not had to go homeless, we have not had to go naked, we have not had to go spiritually hungry, we have not had to re-imagine our dreams for tomorrow as we get closer and closer to each one.

Go on, claim everything you deserve in the year 2009. God guide and guard you throughout the New Year.

Nnorom Azuonye