Celebrity | 1 August 2008 21:52 CET

God packaged Stephanie for me—Pastor Chris Okotie

By Sam Eyoboka

THAT high profile preacher of the gospel and lately presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party,
Reverend Christopher Okotie is remarrying to charming Stephanie Henshaw in a ceremony spread over three days in Lagos in the second week of August is no longer news. That the twosome will jet out of the country for the month-long honeymoon in several European countries too, is no longer news.

What is news is that the ceremony will be devoid of the expected panache and fanfare and as such formal invitations were not printed.

The father-in-law is already in town for the ceremony which is billed to take place at the Ikoyi home of the in-laws, the Ikoyi Marriage Registry on Alfred Rewane Avenue, as well as the newly refurbished Household of God Church in Oregun area of Lagos.

Our reporter met the fiftyish groom on Monday in his church office and he was looking very athletic, bubbling with enthusiasm in anticipation of the D Day, saying that he had been taking adequate lessons on how to tie the Urhobo wrapper, something he admitted he had not done for God knows how long.

Recall that he was born in Ethiope Local Government area of Delta State to Urhobo parents. He hails from Abraka.

When our man Sam Eyoboka asked him what was special about his new found heartthrob, Okotie took a deep breath before saying simply that she was unique and that God had specially packaged her for him as a reward for years of steadfastness and the great task ahead.

His words: “Stephanie is the most unique individual that I have ever met in my entire life. I have known her for 19 years. When I met her, she was 19 years old. I have known her for that long. She is so unique that everytime that I look at her, when I talk to her, I discover more things about her. This is how I would put it. I think God just packaged her for me.

“God loves me so much and has done so many wonderful things in my life. When I met this woman and I think this is the point that I knew that I was going to marry her; I just realized that this is where I should have been from the very beginning.

That in my heart I believed that from the day Stephanie was born, God had already determined that she was going to be my wife.

“But you see that God has this plans, men, many times mess up. He had a good plan for Adam and

Stephanie Henshaw Eve and they messed it up. But so many things happened to me and to her; until we found each other.

It is still the power of the Almighty God, in the midst of all the vissititudes that we went through that we will still discover each other.

“That is the grace of the Almighty God, that is so overwhelming to me and that God has preserved her till today; through all the tribulations and all the things that she has to go through. He preserved her and kept her and if you see her now, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. So I thank God.

As a minister of the gospel, a lot of people have been asking if the Bible permits you to remarry after a failed marriage?

Some argue that the Bible says you must remain unmarried for as long as your spouse is alive...

The Bible doesn't say so. It doesn't say so. I think a lot of people don't study the Word of God enough. There is a difference between a man who marries a woman and the woman leaves him and the one that divorces.

Divorce is a termination of a marital relationship; that is why God does not like divorce because when you divorce a woman she's no longer your wife. But if a woman leaves a man and does not divorce him and goes to marry another man that is adultery and is punishable.

The only thing that breaks relationship is a divorce and even when there is a divorce, the Bible says you can remarry. There are so many people who are parading themselves as preachers of the Scriptures who do not know the Bible enough, particularly in the area of marriage.

They read a few things that Jesus said and the few things that Paul said and they don't know how to align scriptures with scriptures and so they just get confused. Marriage is a beautiful relationship ordained by God.

But you can't hold one person for it, if they say they don't want to get married again. I didn't ask Tina to leave. She wanted to go. It was her choice that she didn't want the marriage any more and she decided to divorce me.

So God can't hold me responsible for something I didn't do. And it's been like a pain since she left. This is the second time for me now to pick it up from where Tina left because obviously that is part of God's will for my life.

If she were to be here, I will not be remarrying or probably I would not have married in the first instance. So it's something that I know is scriptural. Its wonderful and I look forward to it with all my heart.

What's going to be your wedding gift to Nigeria?

I think is the re-establishment to a call to serve. I have been called by God to serve this nation. And any one who has listened to me and watched me, will know very clearly that it is so. And when you answer a call of God, you submit your self to His timing. And many times you may run ahead of your time like Moses.

But the call is a dial that enters, it doesn't change. So I have been waiting and I will continue to wait.

I want to assure Nigerians that I have not abandoned that call, and that marriage is also preparatory for me, because I realise that for a man to lead a nation, you must have a certain sense of responsibility that is associated with a man who has a home and a family, and can carry out those responsibilities in the home.

Because the Bible says that if you can not take care of your home, how are you going to take care of your church.

So I think is also part of what God wanted me to do. To prepare me for the ultimate call of serving Nigeria and the level of government.

And I want to let them know that I am still determined in my heart to serve this nation and everyday I seek for the concept that will better the lot of the Nigerian people.

I have been listening to the voice of God and has been studying to prepare myself to make Nigeria to be superb even far better than what Barack Obama is doing in America today.

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