March 13, 2007, Brent T: First of all, let me say that I approve of capitalistic activity, self-initiative, and supporting missionaries! I do that myself. And I want to be clear at the outset that I support the Sjogren boys' fundraising for the tornado victims, soldiers and others. Those actions are commendable, and I don't in any way intend to disparage the hard work these boys have put in to their endeavor.
However, when I read this article, I thought to myself, "What a perfect snapshot of what the Assembly was all about." Let me explain.
In the Assembly, we did many really good things, like Bible reading, praying, helping people out, giving money, etc. These things are all admirable in and of themselves, much like baking cookies and supporting "aids orphans" is a wonderful thing to do.
However, the reality of our Assembly service was that we could not actually be honest and forthright about it, just as the Sjogren boys can't be honest about what they are doing!
We said, "All of the money is used in the Work of the Lord, both here and abroad." However, the truth was that all of the money went to George Geftakys, and he spent it however he pleased. The "Work of the Lord" included such things as automobile parts for one of David's five cars, embryonic beta cell injections for David G.'s diabetes, and many other things documented elsewhere on this website. "The Work" was funded and supported entirely at a local level, with all the profit going to George! That could never have been said, it would have sounded silly.
In the same way, the Sjogren boys can't say, "All the money raised here goes to Samuel Ochenjele, a man in Africa who is the leader of a group of churches that are part of the cult known as the Assembly of George Geftakys." Nevertheless, that's the truth.
Samuel spends the money any way he sees fit, and somehow finds a way to fly to the US for fundraising, while his "brethren" live in various stages of poverty. I'd like to see some of these "aids orphans." I'm sure there is someone around Samuel's locale who fits that description, but I am quite skeptical that these cookies are supporting anyone in Nigeria other than Samuel.
Even so, I find it interesting that they just can't speak the truth about who is getting the money. But then again, this fundamental dishonesty is perhaps the chief value we were indoctrinated with under George and Betty.
March 14, Anonymous in Nigeria: I have just read this post about a so-called orphanage here in Otukpo for which Samuel gets money from the Sjogren boys and others for the upkeep of AIDS orphans. I can assure you that there is NO SUCH ORPHANAGE here, and any money raised will be for other purposes.
Samuel has no human feelings for orphans, widows and or anyone who will be a burden to him or his visitors, especially the whites. Roger Grant should be able to testify to this when he got a sharp rebuke from the fiery eyes of Samuel at the Abuja hotel when Roger wanted to preach to Samuel's neglected driver without due permission from the Samuel. Why should any of the brethren Samuel had labored so hard to bring to Nigeria show any bowels of mercy to someone else....
This is why whenever the white brethren visit Nigeria, they are under lock and key. Samuel resorted to falsehood about a possible plan to poison them by enemies of the Assembly. It is a ridiculous and empty attempt to save face for him to insinuate that the Muslims will attack them if G.G.'s immoral lifestyle is made public. We know some alcoholics and Catholic faithfuls who are the best friends of Samuel and are given the Assembly pulpit at Samuel's will. For him that is okay, so long as he continues to enjoy their financial support and protection. The school, Livingstone Academy, is yet another tool and source of income for Samuel's lifestyle, but we believe God has His own timetable.
March 14, Brent T.: Reading the comment from "here in Otupko" was really interesting, especially the part about, "no such orphanage." Let's step back and study what is going on here.
The Sjogrens, former/current Assembly devotees, told a reporter that Samuel is a "family friend who runs an orphanage for kids with AIDS. That is not true!
We have known for years that Samuel's chief business is not, and has never been, running orphanages! He is an itinerate preacher and administrator of a collection of "New Testament Assemblies" in Nigeria. In addition, he has something to do with running a school of sorts. (It used to be called St. George's, if I recall.)
Here is where the fascinating Assembly spin comes in. I am simply captivated by this, and can only marvel at the silent agreement many still have when it comes to lying in order to protect Assembly leaders.
How is it that the Sjogrens don't know that their "family friend" doesn't run an orphanage? Well, most likely there is a form of collusion taking place, similar to when we all agreed that George was an associate of Billy Graham.
These poor people can give so generously to tornado victims, and soldiers, but when it comes to the Assembly, they must tell a lie when they give! Samuel isn't worthy of getting money...but his imaginary orphanage is! Incredible.
Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? Why, after all that has taken place, after the truth about George has been exposed, do former members resort to subtle lies and half-truths about the simplest things relating to the Assembly?
I wonder how many of us are doing this without even knowing it?
The church is supposed to be the pillar and ground of The Truth! George's aberration has a lie as its foundation, and those who are still influenced by it continue to lie about something that would otherwise be honorable and good.
March 15, Marcia M.:
I found these articles via a Google search with keywords: Otukpo Nigeria
Samuel Ochenjele. Interesting, eh??
USC Marshall School of Business press release
USCMarshall News [no longer available]
[updated] Family blog of Krista Miller, who is engaged to Samuel's youngest son, George
March 15, Anonymous in Nigeria: There are no AIDS orphans, and every student pays school fees.
March 16, Brent T.: Yet again, I am intrigued by the latest bits on Samuel. The first thing that got my eye was that G.G.'s namesake, George Ochenjele, is going to medical school! Good for him. That takes a lot of cookie money, which means he's got scholarships of one sort or another. Well done, George.
Also, the school, as I clearly remember was called St. George's, wasn't it? Am I mistaken on this? Why is it now called Livingstone? I can speculate at least two reasons for this:
1.) It was never called St. George's, G.G. just lied about it for his own reasons
2.) Samuel changed the name, in much the same way that Assembly campus Bible study's used to change theirs....in order to avoid scrutiny by people who figured out what they were all about.
Still no sign of AIDS orphans...
I wonder how the supply of hymnbooks is holding up?
March 17, Anonymous: An anonymous reader of the website without an email address has asked that the Sjogren boys, and other financers of the said AIDS orphanage indirectly, find out Samuel's stand on people infected with HIV/AIDS. Has Roger Grant, Krista Miller and other visitors ever seen any people living with HIV/AIDS in the Assemblies in Otukpo? If such persons are not welcome in the Assemblies because the almighty leader has ruled that their illness is due to their sinful lifestyle, will it not be against simple logic and paradoxical if this same leader runs an orphanage for the children of these people? Some of the AIDS orphans might be infected with the virus, too. Are you not surprised that nothing on the AIDS orphanage appears in Krista's adventure trip story to Otukpo?
March 18, Unnamed reader: Let's set the record straight. St. George's College is not the same school as Livingstone Academy. St. George’s College has a change of name because the owner of the school, Joseph O., renamed it back to its original name, St. Joseph College, after George Geftakys was (unofficially) exposed. This is how it happened....
An (?ex-) assembly member, Joseph O., together with his wife Victoria, have owned and run two schools for over fifteen years. St. Joseph College and Victoria High School are situated in the village, Ichakwu, which is some twenty five minutes drive from Otukpo.
Some years ago, George G. visited the schools with his son, Timothy, and some other "saints", and offered some unsolicited financial assistance. Cash was given to Joseph, and the school’s name was changed to St. George’s College in honor of George G. It was not possible to verify if the change of name was because of the financial inducement or not.
But soon after the American "saints" left Nigeria, Samuel demanded and collected the money from Joseph, citing the need for a generator for the Assembly in Otukpo as the reason for his action. Soon after, further demands began to be made that the account of St. George’s college be reported to the Assembly leadership and that tithes be paid to G.G.’s representative in Otukpo. Mr. Joseph, wife and family went through a hellish experiences, but are too scared to speak out, but they have been bold enough to share with me their experiences at the hands of Samuel and the Assembly. When it was obvious that the school named after G.G. was not going to be handed over to the Assembly, the owner and family become targets of persecution and slandering and are called names, such as lovers of money. The school was still bearing the name of St. George’s, however .
A decision was made by G.G. was on his way from Nigeria to establish another school to be owned by the Assembly. He suggested it should be located at Anmoda in Otukpo, and be named Livingstone Academy. (At this time Mr. Joseph Olokpo had not yet reversed back to the former name of his school). The change in Mr. Joseph’s school name occurred after G.G. was unofficially exposed. It is doubtful if G.G. was informed about the reversal of name the school named in his honor. Joseph's son, who lived with Samuel later, attended Livingstone Academy, but was soon withdrawn and sent away under questionable circumstances. But who dare speak out!
It is amazing that any person with a viable means of livelihood should be treated in this manner by the Assembly leadership. To a large extent these people are made to lose almost all their assets. It is a frightful mistake to be involved with a group such as this. How long will the leadership of the Assembly here use the power of the American dollar to oppress, abuse, traumatize and destroy homes? These wealthy people do not work, yet they live in affluence like there is no tomorrow and no heaven. Is there no independent investigative journalism anymore? I have heard some say they do not pay taxes either! Thank God for the website and your courage and labor to keep hosting it. Maranatha!