GHANA MISSION 2016: SEASON OF GREAT EXPLOITS
The David Olatona Global Outreach (DOGO) team departed Nigeria for Ghana on Tuesday, 9th February, 2016 and were warmly welcomed at Katoka International airport by Pastor John, who took them to Ablotsi in the Eastern region of Ghana. As a tactical and experienced missionary, Rev. Olatona and his team went to the mission outreach venue at the first instance for preparation assessment and to meet some of the leaders and pastors. After which they retired to the hotel for final spiritual harmonisation and logistics fine-tuning as regard the mission trip.
DAY ONE: 10TH FEB., 2016
The School of Leadership started at past 9 am, with prayer, praise and worship. The chairman of GPCC welcomed everyone to the service and invited our host, Rev. John Nartey (Head of CAPRO Missions, Ghana) to do further introductions. In view of the foregoing, Rev. Olatona was introduced, with the host pastor explaining that he learnt about David Olatona Global Outreach (DOGO) through Sis. Ada Uzondu via social media in 2014. He had been told what God has been doing through His servant in all the nations, he became interested, made contact and was given a date for 2016 for this mission conference.
Rev. Olatona started the school of leadership session, after introducing his team. He spoke on LEADERSHIP: THE INTRODUCTION. He started by reading Matt. 9: 35-36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” In this verse, Jesus had compassion on the crowd because they were live sheep without shepherd, a people without a leader; the biggest challenge in that scenario was leadership – a lack of it. Everything rises and falls on and because of leadership. The Man of God define Leadership as moving people forward from one point to the other; from zero to surplus; from nothing to something. A leader looks for what to give and not what to take; what he can do for his country, not what his country can do for him!
He emphasised that there are three (3) categories of the leadership journey with its inherent question: People below 25 years old. The huge questions this set of people asks are “Can I do it?” “Can I do it better than my father, better than my predecessor?”, People between 30 – 50 years old. The questions this set of people should ask themselves are “can I sustain what I’ve started?” “Am I going up or down? Am I sustaining my capacity?”, People between 60, 70 years above. This category of people should ask themselves “can I take this across the finish line?” “Can I finish strong?”
Rev. Olatona asserted that, no matter the stage one is now, the stakes at each stage are high; and the value one can give himself is that of humility and willingness to learn at every point, so that one can start, sustain and/or finish strong!. After laying this solid foundation, the Man of God went further to explore the eight (8) things that form the basis of leadership namely; clear vision, build a team, motivate & inspire, be transparent in solving problems, establish core values, create structure, allocate resources.
Rev. Olatona concluded this School of Leadership session by urging the people not to kill emerging leaders, but to help them grow and develop; let them fail and help them succeed. The Q&A session followed immediately!
As part of the laudable platform of DOGO in reaching and empowering the people, the second event of day one which is the Skill Acquisition Training Class started at noon. They were taught on how to produce air freshener and body perfume.
The third leg of the mission outreach; Night of Encounter started at 6: 30 pm. Rev. Olatona preached exclusively on the topic “GOD’S FAVOUR & WEALTH”. He took his bible reference from Psalm. 102: 13, 14. He spoke about God rising on behalf of someone; that it does not mean that God had been sleeping or been negligent about your matter, but that He was sitting on His throne because He is the ruler of the universe that has everything under His control and power; but when He rises, it means your matter just popped up as being in a state of urgency and in need of rapid action. Your story changes when God arises on your behalf. The same people that rebuked blind Bartimaeus when he called out for Jesus, and told him to shut up (Luke 18: 35-43; Mark 10: 46-52) were the same people that asked him to rejoice when Jesus called for him. Many people saw him as unqualified to call on Christ, just as many of us are not worthy to come into God’s presence or ask Him for anything; BUT His mercy covers our sins and uncovers our strength! This shows that when God arises, the first thing that comes into play is His mercy – whatever we ask, we receive by His mercy!
He explained that When God arises, there is restoration. The God that created time can step in and out of time to control it, brings restoration and redemption for all our lost years; and He can bring that future glory that seems unreachable to the now! He resurrected Lazarus because He is the resurrection and life; He didn’t have to wait till the “last day” like Martha assumed, He made Lazarus resurrect in the present – why wait till the resurrection day, when the Resurrection and Life, Himself, is present! Resurrection is not a day, not a particular time; it is a Person, and when you call on Him, the day you call on Him becomes your resurrection day – your restoration day! All that you have lost, by choice or force, becomes returned to you!, the Man of God declared.
DAY TWO: 11TH FEB., 2016
Rev. Olatona started a new leadership topic on this second (2) day of the mission conference titled–SUBTLE QUALITIES THAT SET GREAT LEADERS APART. His Bible reference was Matt. 9: 35-38. Jesus was moved with compassion for the people because they were like sheep without shepherd. A lot of African nations are in the state that this people were – our people lack good leaders; many people are “fainting” and dying, businesses are collapsing, finances are crashing because of the economic state of the nations; there are not many selfless and truthful leaders like Nelson Mandela; leaders that will choose to live for their people, and influence things positively.
The first quality discussed was COURAGE. It takes courage to be able to pursue and do the work God has given you to do. Courage is long-term tenacity, doggedness and determination to act as God commands. True leaders do not give up; and leaders with more courage succeed more than those with less of it. Past courageous men like Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edsion, Martin Luther King etc. never gave up. True successful people were people that failed before but didn’t stop at the point of their failures.
The second quality dealt with during this session was SELF AWARENESS. This is the state or condition of being aware of yourself; knowing your strength and weaknesses. When you know yourself, then you know that you do not have anything to prove to anyone; many waste their lives trying to prove their worth and abilities – it is because they are not fully aware of their potential. Trying to impress people will take you out of what you are really supposed to be doing; lack of self-awareness can eventually result in a meltdown and mess. After self-evaluation, recognising what you can do well, what you can’t do and where you need help, then you can focus on doing everything to God’s glory. A true leader is not afraid, proud or negligent about asking for feedback and constructive criticism; because one cannot see his blind spots by himself, and blind spots, if not taken care of, can jeopardise leadership.
Day 2 skill acquisition training class commenced at noon. Attendants were trained in the production of body and hair cream.
On the second Encounter Night, Rev. Olatona continued his teaching on GOD’S FAVOUR & WEALTH. He asserted that when God arises, He knows that our inadequacies will show up to block His favour, this is why His mercy comes into play first to take care of our guilt and wrong-doings. When mercy shows up, people go out their ways to bless you; when God wants to bless you, He does not ask for people’s opinions – when he wanted to bless Jacob, He did not ask for the permission of either Isaac or Rebecca because He knew they both had their favourite kid. Instead of people seeing you, with His mercy in play, they see God instead, so they can neither resist nor stop you. A life without favour is full of struggle, pain and suffering; a life without grace is empty and filled with nothingness.
When God says it is time to favour you, it means it is time for you to enjoy excessive kindness. Despite your name, background, tribe, God pushes people to show you excessive kindness. In I Sam. 9: 1-2, David could not rest until He found someone to bless in the house of Saul; when God arises on your behalf, He puts people, kings and royalty, in a state of unrest! And then He makes people remember you – someone remembered that there was a grandson of Saul, Mephibosheth. Even though David could not stand people with disabilities (as seen in his story with the Jebusites), he had Mephibosheth – a lame man – eat at his table.
Mephibosheth was quite an unfortunate man, he had a cursed name, lived in a cursed land, he was disabled, it would seem that he could never succeed in anything in life; BUT God’s mercy and favour turned his story around. David was pushed to bless him because of the long-standing covenant between him and his friend, Jonathan. If a covenant between two mortal men can change the story of a once-hopeless and unfortunate person, how much more the covenant between God and His Son to turn your turn your life around more than you expect or can comprehend.
DAY THREE: 12TH FEB., 2016
The leadership topic “SUBTLE QUALITIES THAT SET GREAT LEADERS APART” was continued on this third day. The Man of God reiterated his lead scripture reference which is – Matt. 9: 35; Jesus moved from cities to villages preaching and teaching the word; every true Christian leader must preach and teach the gospel, because preaching motivates and inspires, while teaching establishes the listeners and followers. We should spread the gospel of the kingdom, and the gospel we spread must raise the poor, heal the sick and broken hearted, open the eyes of the blind, preach the acceptable day and year of the Lord, liberate the poor; above all, signs and wonders must follow the gospel of the kingdom (Luke 4:18-21). Recounting the quality of SELF AWARENESS, we must self-evaluate so that we do not break the laws or cross the lines that can send us failing forever; Samson lost his power, failed and died because he did not do a thorough self-evaluation of who he really was, his strengths and weaknesses, and in one day, he lost all what God had given him in the laps of a woman.
The third quality of a great leader is RESOURCEFULNESS. Every aspiring great leader should be resourceful; the ability to deal with situations skilfully and promptly is called resourcefulness. Without information, you will be deformed; a true leader should never stop learning, upgrading and updating. Research has it that resourceful leaders out-pay non-resourceful leaders by 20%. Read both spiritual and secular books, attend seminars, invest in your education, and be open to learning so you can grow. Reading gives you more to say and ideas on how to solve problems; the secret of great men are in their stories. Three things a potential employer looks for in an employee are competence, character and chemistry (the 3 Cs). Competence shows how well you can deal with and solve problems; character includes the fruits of the Spirit in you – patience, self-control, love, peace, long-suffering – all needed if you will work with others; and chemistry is your ability to relate and work with others.
The fourth quality of a great leader is SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE. It is the sacrifice of one’s personal interests or desires for the good of others. In I Sam. 22: 1-3, David sacrificed his time and energy to raise and transform four hundred (400) distressed, discontented and debt-owing men into great men. The true proof of leadership is that you are making men, not using men! Jesus said to His disciples, follow me and I will MAKE you fishers of men. A true leader recognises the potential in his followers and helps transform their lives, because he recognises that they are his vision helpers. David’s men – mighty warriors – risked their lives to get him water (I Chronicles. 11: 17-18), because over time, they had seen him risk his life for them, to turn them into the mighty warriors that they now were; they saw the love he had for them, and because love never fails, they risked their lives to break through the Philistine lines and drew water from the well he wanted. When followers and staff feel love from their leaders and supervisors, they perform better; do not hesitate to show love and care to team mates and followers; get personal with them, use affirming and encouraging words. Encourage them to love and complement themselves, and not compete.
On the third consecutive day of the mission, the skill acquisition training class started in the afternoon; they were taught the procedure of producing germicide and disinfectant.
At the Encounter Night session, Rev. David Olatona again continued on his topic of GOD’S FAVOUR AND WEALTH and scripture reference was taken from Psalm 102: 13. The moment one receives God’s mercy, it qualifies the person for His blessings. The prophetic word for that night was that “when God arises on your behalf, it means He is ready to honour you!” The Biblical person of interest was Mordecai (Esther 6: 1-10); again, a king could not rest and lost sleep because it was the set time for one of God’s child to be honoured. Mordecai caught the king’s attention when his name and good deed was read out in the books of record; and even though Haman had been coming to put Mordecai down, the God who puts one down to lift up the other (Psalm 75: 7) used his enemy to lift him up! May God open the ears of your destiny helpers when your name is mentioned for honour in Jesus name (Amen)! In that story, all the events, from the king losing sleep to him asking Haman for advice on how to treat Mordecai for his good deed, was not the king’s doing, it was the doing of the King of kings! When it seems like your good works have not been producing the harvest you deserve, you need to know that God has an appointed time not just to pay you back in your own coin, but to honour you beyond expectation like he did for Mordecai – from sitting at the gate to riding on top the king’s horse!
DAY FOUR: 13TH FEB., 2016
On this last day of the mission trip, Rev. David Olatona started the final School of Leadership session, still on the topic: SUBTLE QUALITIES THAT SET GREAT LEADERS APART; that is anchored on the scripture text in Matt. 9: 35-38. Jesus went about preaching the gospel for total deliverance. The gospel of Christ is the answer to all of man’s problems; salvation is an all-encompassing word, in it there is healing, deliverance, prosperity, success, breakthrough, favour etc. The only hope of the world is the church. The church is not a showroom, no; on the other hand, it is a carpenter’s shop, a potter’s house, a goldsmith’s shop where raw materials are transformed into finished products.
The fifth quality of a great leader as discussed is his/her WHITE-HOT WHY. This is your driving force, your passion, what you are willing to live and die for, what keeps you up at night and makes you lose your appetite, your purpose, that thing you are willing to see change in. It is what you are extremely hot and enthusiastic about. It is what answers the question of “why you do what you do and the way you do it (i.e. the “how”). For your “why”, you need ideas and passion.
Every leader must be a “Chief Meaning Officer”, finding and determining the purpose in your work. You must find what is in your top box and pursue it with all of your heart; life is too short to live without a “why” or with someone else’s “why”. Every individual is the solution to another person’s problem; find the solution that you carry and pursue solving the problem of others – that is your “why”. Age, sex, colour, tribe cannot hinder you having a “why” or pursuing it, Joseph discovered his at a very young age, while Abraham found his at his old age.
After four (4) days of thorough and indelible teachings, the astute Man of God ended the leadership session with series of breakthrough prayers particularly for ministry and leadership empowerment.
During the final skill acquisition training class, participants were taught to produce fifty-five (55) litres of liquid soap.
As regard the Encounter Night for the fourth day, Rev. Olatona gave God’s word to the people that; He would restore their health, their fortune and their lost years (Joel. 2: 25; Jer. 30: 17). The man of God led another breakthrough prayer session that night, and we bless God for deliverance and restoration.
As an addendum to the mission trip, Rev. Olatona was guest minister at Pastor Enoch Dugbatey’s church – Assemblies of God (Herald Center), Aklomuase, Ablotsi-Ghana on14th Feb. 2016. He spoke on the topic “POWER IN YOUR WORDS” (Prov. 18: 20-21). He told the congregation that the mouth is connected to the stomach, and your stomach will be filled with whatever your mouth speaks. Death and life are in the tongue, and the first prophet of your life is yourself! There is nothing in this earth that is so great and powerful, including your physical body that cannot be turned around by your words.
In Mark 5: 35-41, Jesus used the words of His mouth to change the atmosphere in Jairus’ house; the group of mourners that were crying started laughing when Jesus said the girl was sleeping. Change the words of your mouth to positive confessions, and your life will take a positive turn!
Rev. Olatona, after his ministration, prayed with Pastor Enoch Dugbatey and Rev. Dr. Steven Narh (Eastern Region ‘A’ Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Ghana & Chairman, Ghana Pentecostal & Charismatic Council – GPCC) in the church office before he left with his team. On a departure note, Rev. Olatona had a brief meeting with our host – Pastor John Nartey (National Coordinator, CAPRO) after which, the team left for the airport, arriving Nigeria safe and sound with grateful hearts for the wondrous things God has done in Ablotsi, Ghana.
Without doubt, the mission was a season of great exploits and Ghana is yearning for more!!!