Africa - What's Going On?
AFRICA: "What's Going On?" July 2017
Henry Huffard Sr. Producer, Africa

Relative of Movement Founder Visits

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 practice.

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 evangelists.”

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.


Andy Baker, Vice President - Development      World Christian Broadcasting
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