Stephen Ogugha returns to the Johannesburg Church

By Percy Matshoba 

Having left the Johannesburg Central Region at the age of 14, now at 24, Stephen Oguagha returned home, not only as a disciple but a minister too. 

When Stephen stepped onto the stage on Sunday to deliver a sermon to the people who used to teach him, the room flared with emotions. A celebratory song erupted, the congregation danced, and half the room was in tears at his sight.  Even though his trip was short, his presence brought hope and joy to the central region, where his parents, Evangelists Neychi and Daisy Oguagha used to lead. His family left for Brooklyn in 2005 when Stephen was 14 years old. Stephen had been part of the region for as long as he could remember. 

He returned to Johannesburg with his wife Hannah and a baby on the way. Mpho Masumo who was teaching the pre-teens before the Oguagha family left the region said: “It was so inspiring to see him so firm in the word, passionate about God, because what we see around is that kids don’t want to become disciples, almost as if they come to church because they are forced to. So just seeing him so convicted made me wonder where he gets it from and what could I do to help my child to be as convicted as he is, because that is my dream for my pre-teen son to be independent in his walk with God and being passionate about working for God.” 

Mpho added that: “it was so inspiring to see someone that you last saw as a teen being a minister and not being ashamed of it”.

Stephen says he has always felt compelled to come back to Johannesburg. “This has always been where I understood my childhood to be, so the desire to return was immediate. What developed as future drive to come back however – which grew over the last 5 years – was desperately wanting to give back to the church here anyway I could. I felt very much indebted for how much had been done for my family here and how much love had been shown, giving back became very important to me. I also wanted my wife to see what and who molded me years back,” he says.

 

When asked how it felt teaching people who used to teach him he said it was “surreal”. “This trip has had a built in humility chip because I owe so much to what was done for me here. Seeing old preteen workers and people who had an amazing impact in my life was by far the most rewarding aspect of the trip. It didn't even feel like teaching to be honest, more like talking with family,” he adds. 

 

One of the people he inspired during his visit was Phumzile Tshabalala who was in the same pre-teens and teens class with him. She said his message encouraged her to go after God and discipleship. “I cried all through the sermon. I was awed. I had needed a push, encouragement, a sign, anything to validate my decision to be a disciple. Today, finally I understand that I've put options and conditions around what God wants for me,” she said. Phumzile made Jesus Lord of her life and was baptized the same day that Stephen and Hannah were leaving for America. 

 

 

To God be the glory.