ROGERSVILLE — “Old Time Bible Preaching on the Square” is coming to Rogersville in May with the visit of Dele and Stella Akinbowale, native Nigerians, who will be bringing their “brush arbor-style” ministry to Hawkins County, where they will meet face-to-face, for the first time, a local pastor and Hawkins County congregation that has supported their ministry for several decades.
Dele Akinbowale will be ministering on May 3, 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. each evening at Occasions on the Square, located at 101 West Main Street. On Wednesday, May 2 at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, May 6 at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5:0 p.m., at Guntown Community Church of Christ, located at 215 Guntown Road.
The meetings are open to all and no collections will be made.
The senior-citizen couple have served the Lord as Bible-believing Christians in Nigeria for many years.
In their native country, Dele “preaches the gospel in the local Nigerian congregations and the old ‘brush arbor’ way,” he said, while also training and mentoring young aspiring preachers to be faithful servants of the Lord”.
“I believed the gospel in 1965 after hearing the gospel for the first time from Jim Sasser,” he said in a letter to local pastor Marshall Stubblefield. “Out of many, I signified my intention to obey the gospel.”
At that time, he said, he was working with the Cocoa Development Union.
“Beholding my zeal and enthusiasm towards the gospel, I was advised to resign my appointment,” he said.
Later, Akinbowale said, he was blessed to work as a guide and interpreter for several visiting preachers from the U.S. who came to Nigeria.
In 1968, he left his home to preach in the Ondo State of Nigeria. There, he said, there were “many challenges”, not the least of which included the scarcity of clean drinking water and electricity.
Akinbowale said that in 1982 he returned to his native Oyo State and there worked briefly with a Church of Christ before starting a congregation in another town, the church where he still ministers today.
The goal of the Bible lessons is to “teach God’s power to salvation of the soul”.
“I came to knowledge of Dele back in the 1960’s while in Chicago,” Stubblefield told the Review. “At that time, he was a young man and had obeyed the gospel as a result of hearing the gospel preached by missionary preachers sent to Nigeria by local congregations of the Church of Christ.”
When the Stubblefields moved back to Rogersville in 1970, a need to support the preaching of the gospel around the world arose in the small congregation at Guntown and he suggested that the church support Akinbowale.
“He was approved by the congregation to receive monthly financial support. We have supported him, in the work of the Lord in Nigeria, ever since and still do,” Stubblefield said.
The visit to Rogersville will be special for both preachers in that heretofore they have spoken only by mail ... never in person.
“We made the decision to bring him to Rogersville to preach the gospel and we want to share this experience with one and all, which is the reason for preaching on the town square,” Stubblefield said. “We invite one and all to come and hear Dele proclaim the gospel, and I promise, you won’t be disappointed. He is truly “God’s servant!”