East Texas Baptist University welcomed Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi and his wife, Gloria, from Nigeria as the special guests during the chapel service Monday.
University students, faculty, and staff were empowered by the archbishop’s message of overcoming religious persecution to proclaim the Gospel. Prior to his address, ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn presented Kwashi with a Max Greiner Great Commission Globe Sculpture and Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes presented the couple with a Texas State flag that was flown over the state capitol in honor of Archbishop Kwashi.
“It’s just remarkable to see how God has moved in the life of Benjamin Kwashi and how God has protected his life in his faithful commitment to the Lord declaring the Gospel of Jesus across the country of Nigeria,” Dr. Blackburn said. “Benjamin and his wife Gloria are living out the Great Commission from Matthew 28. From continent to continent, they are here to proclaim the message and the hope of Jesus Christ.”
Kwashi left his military career in 1976 to pursue his calling to the church. Since then, his pastoral experience stretches across various opportunities working in rural and urban churches, as well as at a theological college. Kwashi has held numerous national and international posts, currently serving as the International Chairman of SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad). He was also appointed General Secretary for his work with GAFCON, a global movement of Anglicans who uphold the authority of scripture.
“On the 12th of March in 1987, more than one hundred churches, houses, and businesses were burned down and destroyed. I still carry that around today. I believe, as I tell the children, that on the 12th of March in 1987, I had died. Any other day I get to live is extra time to share the Gospel,” Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi said. “The Gospel does not kill, the Gospel does not steal, the Gospel does not lie, and the Gospel does not destroy. The Gospel builds us. The Gospel helps us. And we cannot tell you, that the ways in which you have allowed us to walk into your school and doing so, into your lives, as we share our testimony and seek to encourage you.”
The Kwashis have experienced several near-death experiences while sharing the love of Christ in Nigeria. Touched by a growing orphan crisis in Africa, the Archbishop and his wife have adopted and care for over 60 children. With their arrival at ETBU, Benjamin and Gloria Kwashi bring stories and wisdom about the value of living out the Gospel through every circumstance and every trial.
“The children who are orphans might need clothes, they might need a place to stay, but the need I felt the Lord show me was that they need people who would offer their lives to be parents,” Gloria Kwashi said. “The discipline and love that parents should give is what we try to provide these children. God has given us reasons to testify. Looking at us, we have nothing to bring, but for the sake of Christ we are in your midst and we feel honored.”
Preceding chapel, a reception was held for the Kwashis, where local community members and University faculty, staff, and students from the humanities and religion departments at ETBU had the opportunity to personally meet him and ask questions. Also in attendance of the reception was Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes.
“President Blackburn let us know that the Archbishop was going to be here today and it was so important for me to join ETBU in welcoming and honoring him,” Senator Hughes said. “If you look at the Archbishop’s record, it’s clear that the things that matter to him also matter to us. He’s a real leader in religious freedom and protecting people from religious persecution. It’s so neat to be here to welcome him and I thank the Lord for ETBU.”
In the Archbishop’s new biography, “Neither Bomb nor Bullet: Archbishop on the Front Line,” by Andrew Boyd, Kwashi shares the compelling story of three different occasions he was almost killed for sharing the Gospel of Christ in Nigeria.
“We have a gospel worth living for and a gospel worth dying for,” Kwashi added. “If we die, we go to be with Jesus, if we live, we work for Jesus. Either way, we lose nothing.”