The scriptural reference forms the basis for our counselling unit here at the CBN Africa office is Isaiah 50:4:
‘The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.’
Every day, our volunteer telephone counsellors sacrifice their time and experience doing something very important to what we do. They minister to people who call our counselling lines for spiritual or emotional succour. As viewers of CBN programs call our help lines for further ministration and assistance, they are always here to answer.
With 18 well-trained counsellors at our Abuja office, we are strategically positioned to offer guidance to a hurting society. From marital and financial problems to health challenges our counsellors deal with issues all kinds of issues. Counsellors have also had to talk several people out of committing suicide, to name a few.
God has blessed us with a team of dedicated volunteers who hear what is NOT said by the callers. They continually depend on the Holy Spirit to help them effectively counsel people who call our helplines daily.
Tanko has been counselling callers over the phone for quite some time. He sees his service as one of the best things to have happened to him since he became a Christian. According to him, “it is helping me fulfil my calling as a counsellor. It is also a platform for winning souls to Christ.”
“There was a particularly memorable counselling experience where the caller had lost hope because he could not feed his family. In his despair, he called our counselling line. He told me about his plan to take his life. The Holy Spirit helped me minister to him and I was able to talk him out of it. He eventually accepted Jesus into his heart. When I called him during a follow-up, he was very happy. He told me that he had been able to start taking care of his family soon after receiving counsel.” This experience stood out to Tanko because he achieved two important things through one call. He saved a life but and won a soul for Jesus!
Thankfully, not all callers have such complicated, life-threatening issues to deal with. Peter recalls taking a call from someone who required financial assistance because he thought the initials ‘CBN’ stood for Nigeria’s apex bank, ‘The Central Bank of Nigeria’! “When I explained that we were ‘CBN Africa, the Christian Broadcasting Network’ and NOT CBN, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the caller kept muttering, ‘…..Christian Broadcasting Network…, Christian Broadcasting Network…,’. He eventually said (in the local pidgin English), ‘I don hear, Una do well eh’ and hung up. I found that really funny and burst out laughing!” he says, smiling at the memory.
Our counselling unit has also witnessed miraculous healings as testified by a caller who had an HIV + diagnosis change to HIV- after he called our line. Henry, one of the counsellors prayed with him. “I remember the man telling me that the doctors had recommended that he takes anti-retroviral drugs, but he was not ready to live on drugs all his life. I wanted to advise him to take the drugs, that they would help him live a normal life but instead I heard myself ask him – ‘What do you want God to do for you?’ When he replied, the faith in his voice made me agree with him in prayer! I told him to go back for another test, that God had answered his prayer. He called back a few days later after taking the test, to tell us that God had indeed done it!”
Some of the callers also share their testimonies of how God met their needs for counsel when they called the CBN Africa helplines. Mrs T.J, a civil servant called in from Ilesha, Osun state (south-west Nigeria) to thank the telephone counsellors for praying for her when she lost her job. Mrs T.J was affected by a corporate downsizing exercise. She called our counselling lines in despair and after tearfully explaining what had happened, had a counsellor pray with her. God heard their prayers and not long after, Mrs T.J. was called back and reinstated at her office!
Goodness, another caller, also testifies about how God restored her marriage. She had been having a number of challenges in her marriage and one day, during a brief respite from their bickering and squabbling, they were both drawn to the television. The 700 Club Nigeria was showing, and while watching, they prayed along with the host, trusting for God’s help in resolving their marital issues.
As is their tradition at the counselling centre, the counsellors had also been upholding the family in prayers. Goodness later testified that “God heard their prayers.” She said that her family has been restored with the peace of God enveloping their home ever since she prayed with the 700 Club Nigeria hosts during the programme.
All of the telephone counsellors agree that the experience of counselling has been a tremendous blessing not only to those that call our helplines but also to them personally as they minister to the hurting and lost. Israel, another counsellor testifies that by counselling others, God has helped improve the quality of his life and marriage, as well as the quality of his service to the church he fellowships in.
By way of encouragement, the counselling unit of CBN Africa wants our callers, readers and viewers of our television programs not to give up hope but to trust the Lord. “Everything will eventually work together for your good……no matter what you are passing through, God is still sovereign over the affairs of men….no matter how dark it looks, the sun will shine again!” Spoken like true counsellors!
We invite our partners, viewers, readers and friends to call our counselling centre with their prayer requests and/or testimonies. The numbers to call are; +2348060042271, +2347080601700, or +2348130824422.