Formal Ministry Training
My name is Liz “Blessing” Ogudugu and I am receiving free formal ministry training at Christian Leaders Institute. Contrary to my African name, I am actually Hispanic. I was born and raised in Panama and move to the United States at the age of 17. I currently reside in Jacksonville, Florida, with my husband and two of my children.
I grew up in a house with dirt floors and wood planks for windows. As a family, we endured so much need, especially after my father left us when I was just five years old. He was abusive to us in every way you can possibly imagine and eventually he abandoned us. I grew up seeing my mother struggle for years to provide for us. My mother was introduced to the Gospel by her oldest aunt who would come by the house to pray with us and teach us about God’s kingdom.
Auntie invited us to attend a crusade at a local school called Artes y Oficios (Arts and Crafts) when I was about 9 or 10 years old. There, I felt that I huge bright light was over my head, and I could hear a man’s voice saying, “The little girl with the red shirt, bring her to me.” And somehow, I found myself among a multitude of people. I remember feeling cold and hot at the same time as the Pastor was praying and I was crying uncontrollably. I’ve never forgotten the words the Pastor said that night, “You will leave this land to never come back. You will serve the Lord your God as a beacon of light to His people everywhere you go.” That night I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And, although I was filled with emotions, I laughed when I got home, saying to myself, “Leave here? My mother is dirt poor, where would I even go?”
I graduated from high school, and soon after, my mother sent me to the United States. At that moment, the words of the pastor came back to my mind and I started to cry as I entered the airplane. A year later, I found myself married to a man 15 years older than me. While I loved him very much, the difference in age and all the demons from my past started to take a toll on the marriage. I soon found myself divorced and a single mother of a son I named Isaiah. I found myself looking for the love of a father, the love of a mother, love that no one seemed to be able to provide.
I made many mistakes and ended up suffering from severe depression. In that process, I had a daughter which I named Ariana and a couple of years later I remarried. That marriage was a complete disaster, and I found myself once again alone. Now I had two children and my mother whom I brought to live with me. I was working two jobs and going to college full time.
I received a flyer from a new church just around the corner. We attended a service and my son was the first to jump out of his chair and walk down the aisle. So I went to support him in his desire to give his heart to God. But little did I know that I was going to recommit my life and start living fully for Christ.
It was under the leadership of Pastor Alonzo M. Walker, Sr. at Bethel Deliverance Outreach Ministries where my life was fully transformed. Pastor Walker took a special interest in me and my family to the point of coming to our home to do Bible studies with us. Both my son and I were very committed and we lent our hands and skills to serve in just about every ministry department we could. My mother also invited Jesus into her heart and was baptized at 76 years of age.
Several years later and with the blessing of Pastor Walker, I moved to another church to serve as a paid director of operations. There the Lord opened a door for me to start a home church teaching the Word of God in Spanish. The people there were in much need of emotional and spiritual healing. The stories they told me of how they traveled to the US and all they had endured always brought me to tears. We provided food and clothing to them and I knew right there, this was my passion and the ministry God was calling me to.
Free formal ministry training is crucial for me. So the Christian Leaders Institute is a great opportunity. The Getting Started and Ministry 101 classes here at CLI have touched me deeply, reigniting my desire to serve God. I identify as Pastor because He has called me to be a Pastor through the prophesy given to me as a child, the Scriptures He has given to me in prayer, by the community I served while teaching in Spanish, and through friends and family who affirm this is my calling. It was also during my hardest years as a single mother that I experienced the hand of God over me, sustaining me and transforming me.
Because I am still fairly new in Florida, I consider Bethel Deliverance Outreach Ministries in Maryland my church. Pastor Walker and the entire church body have been very supportive of my ministry efforts, but every day as I go around in my new community, I talk to people that I know God is calling me to serve.
The Lord blessed me with a husband who is an ordained pastor and a gifted musician. His name is Israel. He was born and raised in Nigeria, Africa. He renamed me “Blessing” for that is what I am to him. Our marriage was blessed with a son whom we named Israel Jr. While we both have a passion for serving, we know we need formal ministry training. That is why this opportunity to receive free formal ministry training at CLI is vital to us being able to plant a church and start impacting our local community.
Learn about ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.