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The church is the most unlikely place to open its doors to prostitutes. But Rahab Home for Divine Intervention, a church located at 31, Akanno...
The church is the most unlikely place to open its doors to prostitutes. But Rahab Home for Divine Intervention, a church located at 31, Akanno Street , Oke-Odo in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos is a safe haven for prostitutes. The home is involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration of prostitutes back into the society.
Emmanuel Eniola, pastor in charge of the church told Newswatch that on May 30, 1992 God gave him a vision to establish a home for the liberation of prostitutes from the hands of Satan. Because of the business he was running then, he actually started in 1994. He said, he started out as an NGO before God told him to plant a church, that will be used to raise funds and run the ministry. Once the prostitutes are liberated they are known and called brides of Jesus.
Eniola said, it takes a total of eight to 12 visits to convince the ladies of Godís genuine love and lead them to repentance. Thereafter, they are taken to the home, where they would be schooled more in the training of Godís work.
According to him, during the visit to the hotels, the home gives out such gifts as foodstuff, clothes and a weekly allowance of N700 to the new converts to enable them cope with their new life.
Later, they are introduced as official members of the church to the congregation who heartily welcome them into their midst. The brides are expected to stay two years in the home. Newswatch learnt that during this period, the home tries to resettle them by giving them accommodation and employment in different areas of commercial life. According to Eniola, it cost N65,000 to train and rehabilitate each of the ladies while those that wish to go back to school are given the privilege to do that.
He said so far, 400 of the brides had been well rehabilitated while 2,000 had relocated back to their states. Newswatch gathered that about 375 hotels have been visited so far with results within Lagos and Ogun, but due to lack of funds, they have not been able to reach out to other states.
Eniola believes that prostitution can only be reduced: "If we can make these scarlet ladies understand that prostitution is a sin against God and their body, we would be getting somewhere," he said. He stressed that prostitution was caused by several factors, top of which was the demon bobonigora, with seven other lesser demons. He listed other factors as frustration with life, poverty, having covenant with Satan and those suffering from nymphomaniac.
He informed Newswatch that the brides also go for AIDS test so that they can get treatment on time and prayers as well. He revealed that he took this decision when one of the girls who came out died of AIDS. In another instance, one of the brides went back to prostitution but came back fully restored and is married with two kids. One of the things that make him fulfilled in the ministry is seeing the brides live a normal healthy life. Recently, five of the brides had gotten married one of whom is an evangelist with the church.
Nelson Awanfo, a deacon with the church told Newswatch that he has been working in the home since February 2001 and explained that the work being done was a testimony of Godís grace to every person. He commended the brides of Jesus for their courage and described them as women of substance and virtuous women.
Tina, one of the girls who spoke with Newswatch said Rahab Home had given her an opportunity to start life afresh. According to her, a friend had lured her to Lagos from Oron with promises of a better future, only for her to come and find herself in the hotel. Now a computer student in one of the schools, she is grateful to the home.
Cynthia John, another bride from Ondo State told Newswatch that if not for Eniola, she would have died as a prostitute. She said frustration forced her into the trade and she had been in it for five years before she was rescued. Now she runs a shop in Ipaja, a suburb of Lagos . "In fact, Pastor Eniola has given me a new lease of life," she said.
Mary Godwin, 28, from Delta State , Tonike Ozaze, 22, from Edo State and Funmi Akinmola, 28, from Ogun State are among some of them said to have become brides of Christ.
Some of the ladies too support the home by going out for witnessing and using themselves as examples and singing in the choir.
The name, Rahab Home for Divine Intervention, according to Eniola, was given by the Holy Spirit. It was taken from the Bible to represent the prostitute who was divinely rescued from death after she had helped the Israelites. So to him, the name is very relevant to what he is doing. He, however, lamented that there are no people willing to support his cause though other pastors have lent their support in one way or the other.
As of now, Rahab Home needs a rehabilitation home and a shopping complex to cater for the ladies once they step out of the hotels.
Eniola is married with eight children.