Rev Raymond Stephens pastors the Loyalty House International, Saltpond, one of the 18 individual denominations making up the United Denominations Originating from the Lighthouse Group of Churches (formerly Lighthouse Chapel International) and founded in 1987 by Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.
In fact, he is a vociferous soul winner and thinks about planting and building churches daily, and as for raising pastors, he would have loved it to be a menu on his breakfast to super, as he is always working on raising effective men of God, to assist in winning all of Saltpond for Christ. In his experiences as a minister of the gospel under the genuine ministry of Bishop Dag, he shares these wonderful experiences.
"I am an ever-grateful son, and I have named my children after him and his wife – Cyrus-Dag and Adelaide. When we talk about exposure, I was a crude guy when I got into his house, but now, some people say I am a gentleman. I have had the opportunity to travel abroad, he took me as far as Malaysia and Korea. I can only honor this great man of God on his birthday.
I joined the church in Aug 1990 at the early stages of the church in Korle Bu. It was exciting. I fell in love with the Lord and became a shepherd. I volunteered as a receptionist for the church office at Agbado for some time. One evening, at a crusade at Banana Inn, Bishop Dag asked me to join him in his car and invited me to stay with him. I went to stay with him and became part of the family.
I needed to further my education in Ejura, so I asked him to send a pastor there to start a church. But to my surprise, he rather prayed for me and asked me to start the church. He gave me two pieces of advice which I have never forgotten. First, he said, “Raymond, as you are going don’t disgrace me. If you disgrace me, don’t disgrace God.”
Secondly, he said told me that he believed prevention was better than cure, so I should ensure I do the right things right from the beginning. These two pieces of advice have guided me all these years, and on every occasion, I started a church. Bishop Dag was ever present in our lives, and even visited us with the family in Ejura, as well as the church, to encourage us.
After starting the church in Ejura, I then went on to start a branch in Atebubu, then Ashanti Mampong, then finally to Saltpond. At a point, Bishop Dag suggested we move to Switzerland, but my wife and I were so happy here, so we chose to remain and establish the church in Saltpond.
Indeed, we are incredibly happy to be here. I cannot say that it has been easy, but despite my many mistakes, Bishop Dag has never given up on me. He will always pick me up, encourage me and put me back on my feet again. He has been a father to me, through and through. Spiritually, physically, and even financially, he has been there for me.
The fact that as a missionary, I have been able to build a 5-bedroom house right here in Saltpond is a miracle to me. I believe it is an anointing I caught from him. In fact, he even sowed a huge financial seed into the construction of my house. I cannot fail to mention that.
In terms of the churches, we have built 3 church buildings, and are currently building a fourth, as well as an office block, all under the guidance and financial support of Bishop Dag.
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