Relative of Movement
As I write this article, I am awaiting the arrival today of Emmanuel
Essien. His uncle started a movement in Nigeria. He baptized a friend
who baptized him, and from that beginning, a fellowship that now numbers
over 300,000 began.
Soon after the end of World War II, a church in Nashville, Tennessee
learned that some of the GI’s stationed in Germany wanted correspondence
lessons to study the Bible. At the same time, C.A.O. Essien, a policeman
in Nigeria, was using a correspondence bureau in Munich to improve his
English. He asked Anna-Maria Braun who was affiliated with the bureau if
she had a Bible course he could take. She told him she had no such
course, but she knew of a course U.S. servicemen were taking that might
meet his needs.
Clearly the hand of God was involved in what took place! Even though
the church in Nashville had no intention of evangelizing Africa,
teachers began sending, receiving and grading lessons from Essien. His
grade was 100% on all but two of the 24 lessons, and the scores on those
two were 95 and 96%. He and some of his friends put what he learned into
The number of churches Essien said joined the movement, without the
aid of missionaries, was large enough to raise some doubts back in
Nashville. Two returning missionaries from other African countries were
asked to stop by Nigeria to verify Essien’s claims. Boyd Reese and
Eldred Echols had this to say: “Their fervor is evidenced by the fact
that in 3˝ short years they have established more congregations than we
have in the whole of Southern Africa after 30 years of labor by white
C.A.O. Essien invited American missionaries to join him. His promise
was, “We can teach our people, but we need teaching ourselves. Send men
to teach us and we shall take Nigeria for the truth.” My father was one
of the men who answered Essien’s plea. C.A.O. and other great Nigerian
evangelists zealously fulfilled his promise.
Emmanuel Essien Is a dedicated evangelist who wants to keep the
legacy of his uncle alive.
Emmanuel and Victoria Essien.
He is the Director of C.A.O. Essien Bible College in Ikot Usen, Akwa
Ibom State, Nigeria, his uncle’s hometown. Emmanuel’s uncle is no longer
living, his mission completed, “But,” as Emmanuel puts it, “his
wonderful dream continues to be fulfilled as the gospel of our Lord is
spread among the people he loved and the name of God is glorified in the
land of Nigeria – and beyond.”
I look forward to interviewing Emmanuel this week. I knew him as a
boy. It is hard for me to believe that he is now an accomplished church
leader and family man, carrying on the work of his uncle and his father.
I want our listeners to learn from his experience as part of our series,
Making a Difference in Africa.
As C.A.O.Essien’s movement started small and grew, we hope our
listening audience in Africa will grow. The Lord used the growth of a
mustard seed to describe it. We ask for your prayers in our effort to
reach more open hearts with the compelling message of Jesus. Thank you.