Tribute by Abena Yeboah Donkor
In 2006, I was one year old, and that was the same year I was told we first started the church, and there we were only six people attending. However, we didn’t have a church building then, but was doing it in our house, in the living room. These six people were my family.
The funny thing was that, when we were having the church service at home, we had to dress up as if we were going to church. So, I would always wear my best dresses. Because I was so young, I cannot recall most of the initial happenings in the Church.
I remember when we first started; we were fellow-shipping for a year, before my cousin joined us in 2007. He was called Uncle Yaw Stone (Yaw Antwi Donkor). After that, nobody joined till 2008. So, we were basically serving God, at home, with 7 people, for two years.
I learned from this that I should never give up because God does things in his own time.
I also remember the very first time (in 2008) we got a church building at Hazel bottom Road, called St. Thomas with St. Mark, in Lower Crumpsall. The church was huge. I always wondered why we asked for such a big church, able to seat about 150 people, even though there were seven of us. But I needed to remember that God worked in mysterious ways and could fill up the room in a second.
2009 and 2010 came quickly for me because that was when lots of French families came to the church, such as Uncle Emmanuel’s family, Auntie Nelly’s family, and Auntie Esther’s family. We also met Christlove’s family as well. Seats were getting filled, as the 2009 and 10 years went by.
I also remember when it was my 4th birthday; I was in our living room with my family and a keyboard tutor called Uncle Sam, when I started singing hallelujah. Everyone was so stunned and shocked, as I was telling them to sing. Uncle Sam played the piano whilst everyone watched me. This was one of the times I would never forget.
2011 was another memorable year because that was when I met my forever friend Jocelyn Asamoah, and her family, as well as Uncle Dacosta, Auntie Adelaide, and Prince.
I remember that I and Jocelyn would always play house together. We didn’t have a church bus then, so all the children, out of my family, the Asamoah family, and Prince’s family had to squash into a nine seated car.
I remember on Saturdays, we didn’t use the church building, so we had to do rehearsal in my living room. It was funny because Janice was so shy at singing, so she would hide the lyrics sheet in front of her face, so that nobody could see her.
I also remember when we did the rehearsal; my mum would always lead us into breathing exercises.
At the end of the singing for the day, we would get one of our biggest pans in our kitchen, and my mum would make popcorn, drinks, biscuits and sometimes rice and chicken whilst we would all play and eat together.
Watch night services were the best because you would just sing and dance all night, and I remember I used to do a competition with Kwadwo Antwi, who would stay awake the longest.
I also remember when it was the end of the church services; all the kids would run around the church and play tag. One time I ran around the church with Jocelyn, and we found berries, so we would wash them and eat them.
2012 was when I met Uncle Joseph, Auntie Monica and Rosemary. They came on the women’s day, and so Auntie Monica got a certificate for being a woman. I always wondered how my dad knew that she was going to come to church on that Sunday, even though she was a new person.
2012 to 2013 watch night was the best because when we were dancing at night, the people living on the other side of the road who were Moslem family heard our music and asked if they could dance as well with us. We were so happy; we gladly welcomed them in, as they danced in the church.
I also remember in 2012, that was when we were able to use the church building to rehearse our songs that we would sing on Sunday. I learnt that I was a Pastor’s child, so I would be looked at by every move, no matter how young I was. I also learnt from this that I needed to behave because I was being watched.
2013 was a fantastic year once again because that was when I met the Makumator’s family, and Josephine and Godson. I remember when new people came; me and Kwadwo Antwi would always welcome them in and play with them at the end of church. So, on Godson’s first day, me and Kwadwo Antwi sat with him at the end of church and watched him play on Kwadwo’s phone.
I also remember when we would have a big feast after church, and we could only go in the eating room. However, all the kids would run into the main room, and uncle Dacosta would shout at us, chasing us with sticks to come back.
2013 was also when we got a church bus. I remember at the end of church, me and Kwadwo Antwi would chase the church bus all the way down to the end of the road and run back. We also went on a whole church trip to Knowsley Safari Park. That was great fun. We saw so many animals; which brought me a love for big cats and meerkats. We also did a career event for the church as well, which really inspired me to be what I wanted to do in the future.
We went to Audacious Church in 2014, which was an amazing experience. We jumped up and down to the music and danced till we sweated. One thing I learnt from that conference was from Reggie Dabs, when he said, ‘your past is your history, and your future’s your destiny’.
The first time we went to Spree was in 2015. It was an excellent experience. We did rock climbing, bubble football, tug of war, a camp fire and a mini Olympics. It was so fun.
I remember when I was in the children’s service, and they were teaching us stories from the bible. If you got it right, then you would get a sweet from a big bucket. At the very end, the children’s leader threw the big bucket in the air, and sweets flew everywhere.
I also remember when Abena Konama had a nose bleed as soon as we got there. I was in the toilet with her for hours, hungry. After this, we went to first aid with my mum and dad. We were there so late, that the lady gave me an ice lolly, a sandwich and a drink.
In October 2015 was when we moved to Collyhurst, called Church of the Saviour. It was a lot smaller than the old church. However, it was fancier and my first thought were that it was like a hotel.
2016 was when all the kids did a massive musical, before I graduated to the youth. It was called sheep in heavenly peace. The drama, the dances, everything I loved it, and I’m really going to miss being part of the little Angels, and all its life experiences. I learnt so much that I have taken with me throughout my daily life.
We went to ramp in 2017. It was prodigious. There songs were amazing; their dances were impeccable, which inspired our youth to perform dances.
Our very first Youth Awakening Conference was in 2017. Lots of people came from different areas. We did three dances in town. I was so excited. It was just so fun, and I loved every moment of it. It was so good, that we did it again in 2018. This year was a fantabulous one. It was interactive. I learnt so much from watching facing the giants, like people look up to me, so I need to be wise about my actions.
As well as this, I also learnt that sometimes I am seen as a leader of my class, so what I do, they would follow, so I need to show a good example at all times and be positive about my actions.
Throughout my whole 12 years of church, I have learnt that in times of trouble, I should never give up and doubt God, because he can do anything.
This is what I have carried throughout my 12-year experience of church, and I would never forget this.
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