For the family of Elder Ekeoma, chairman of Nepal Oil and Gas, and his charming wife Ngozi, the managing director of the family business, Christmas came 23 days earlier on a Sunday, as their beautiful daughter Ezinne gave birth to identical twin boys.
An ecstatic granny Mrs. Ekeoma erupted in a song of joy and gratitude to God on hearing the good news which sent her dancing.
“God gave me an early Xmas gift,” she said. “In fact it’s a double blessing as my daughter today delivered a set of twin boys. This is the miracle-working God at work. He has done it again for me and my family. This is my second omugwo (babysitting). I will be spending this Xmas cuddling my twin grandsons.
“It’s been so overwhelming. So exciting and full of amazing testimony of God’s grace, mercy and goodness. The year 2017 is ending for me and for my family on a high note blessed with these little angels. To God be the glory. I am truly blessed.”
Every year, Nepal Oil and Gas has the tradition of hosting a night of carol singing to usher in Xmas and the New Year. It’s a special night bringing together the cream of the Nigerian society and members of the diplomatic community in a night of praise worship and merriment. For the staff of Nepal Oil and Gas, it was one occasion they all look forward to, but to their surprise and disappointment, there was no carol night this year.
“This year has been very tough for us all,” Mrs. Ekeoma, the MD, explains, justifying the cancellation of the carol night. “Business has been very slow with hardship everywhere. So I felt doing a carol night will not do it.”
Instead of the usual carol night, the budget was diverted into a more rewarding corporate social responsibility activity aimed at the needy with the invasion of Aba by orange T-shirt-wearing Nepal staffers distributing Xmas gifts to the needy in an exercise tagged “Back to the Roots.”
“If we are worshipping God, then we know that true worship, according to the Bible is to take care of the widows and the needy,” Mrs. Ekeoma explains. “Knowing this, I felt it is better to go back to my roots, my state, my town to celebrate with them in a different way. Charity, they say, begins at home. I was born and raised in Aba. So I went back to my roots.”
Back to her roots, Mrs. Ekeoma travelled on memory lane to a happy childhood filled with “fun and very fond memories of an ordinary girl. The most important is the one I share with my immediate family, the Anyaso family. We are 14 children, ten of them girls. It was a community on its own.
“I have known giving since I was a child. In fact, my mum will call and keep encouraging me to send food items home, that people are hungry. She is a superwoman when it comes to giving. Guess she passed that to me.
“My mother-in-law is equally generous. I call her Mother General. In fact, I once asked her if the whole village is related to her because she will always tell you how she is related to each person she introduced to you. Guess that’s where my husband picked his giving from.
“When we married, he will ask me to hold on to my needs and the kids needs just for some time to enable him finish meeting the needs of his long list of extended family members. When I quarrel, he will insist I am with him, and they are not. From day one, I knew my husband to be a burden-bearer for so many. And when he became born again, the church became his first family and he continues to give in church and outside church. He is a God-fearing man but with rules that are sacrosanct to him. Under his chairmanship, we have enjoyed tremendous support, riding on his goodwill and impeccable integrity.
“For me, Xmas is the time when we remember the Saviour of the world Jesus Christ who came to save humanity. It’s a season of love and time to demonstrate love. Coming close to the end of the year, it is a time to take stock of one’s life and have every reason to be thankful to God.”
As part of their corporate social responsibility, the Orange Men and Women of Nepal who invaded Aba went about doing good, distributing bags of rice, paying hospital bills for patients who had been held hostage for months unable to gain freedom after they had been treated and given a clean bill of health but could not pay.
There was a very touching case of a handicapped woman whose decrepit wheelchair was replaced with a brand new one. On entering the new wheelchair, she burst into tears of joy. It was like a scene from the Bible as she witnessed this rare miracle of restoration.
“As a child, Xmas was a time to eat rice, wear new clothing, but as an adult, it is time to reach out, share the love of Jesus through gifts, medical missions and setting the captive free,” Mrs. Ekeoma says. “This year, we picked up bills from hospitals that are holding patients hostage because they were unable to settle their hospital bills. We also gave out wheelchairs to people who needed it but couldn’t afford it.”
For the staff of Nepal who missed this year’s carol night, there was a greater sense of fulfillment when they discovered that bringing smiles on the faces of the needy was far greater and sweeter than singing Christmas carols. And from the rewarding God above, came the double gift of two baby boys—the greatest gift and the “Greatest Love of All.” It was Whitney Houston who sang: “I believe the children are our future.” You know the song. Sing it!