How God Started GEM
Moses C. Onwubiko
Whenever we tell the amazing story of how Grace Evangelistic Ministries came into being people exclaim “this is the finger of God!” Next, they say “Why don’t you write this down?”
This is a story of what God alone has done, of Moses’ spiritual journey and how God used him to spearhead the ministry. It is our prayer that you too will join the many across the globe from all walks of life who have joined in with G.E.M. because they too were convinced that “this is the finger of God.”
Time and space will not permit us to narrate every step God took to intertwine the threads of Moses’ life with those of the ministry weaving them into one divine tapestry. It is our prayer that even with this brief version, you too can see God’s handiwork and stand with us in praise of Our Great and Awesome God.
Moses was born into a cult in Nigeria, where thousands believed he was the reincarnation of the founder and worshiped him as such. But God knows those who are searching for Him, and God saved His servant Moses. Missionaries brought the gospel to his remote village in Nigeria when he was about 11 years old. There on the crusade ground Moses trusted Jesus Christ for his salvation and was delivered from the beliefs of the cult.
Upon regeneration, God gave Moses the spiritual gift of evangelism and instilled in him an unquenchable passion for the gospel. He began preaching in the churches of the very cult where he was worshipped, traveling from congregation to congregation, city to city, and state to state, sharing what little of the gospel he knew (John 3:16-18, 36; John 1:12; Acts 4:12; Matthew 11:28). The passion within would wake him in the middle of the night. He would light his kerosene lantern and go from family compound to family compound in the villages, early in the morning, sounding his homemade trumpet and declaring the gospel. He did this day after day. His passion for souls also led him to preach in schools, on trains and buses.
Later, God, in His Master plan, used Moses’ elder brother Professor Chinyere Onwubiko to bring him to the United States where he would be further equipped for the work of God’s Kingdom. After arriving in the U.S., Moses mixed God’s plan with his own. Driven by his academic prowess, he determined to become a neurosurgeon. Moses knew he was playing with fire, because he had taken his own path which put him on a collision course with God’s plan for his life.
Moses pursued his course with a do or die attitude; and God pursued Moses with a seasoned, orchestrated regimen of pain and suffering, garnished with His salt of longsuffering served on a platter of His grace. Similar to His dealings with Jonah when he rebelled against God’s plan and with the Jews when they turned away from Him (2 Chronicles 15:2-6), God brought mounting suffering upon Moses’ life, to bring him back to God and His will. He gave Moses severe migraines, which had no medical diagnosis or cure (they are totally gone now).
In addition, Moses suffered car wrecks, one after another, 8 within 13 years, because he was in defiance of God’s will (he has had no wrecks since yielding to God’s plan). The ultimate and final car accident was a head-on collision with a drunk driver. No one looking at the wrecked car could believe anyone might possibly have survived that accident. But God spared Moses and that accident was the great attention getter. It was obvious that he could have been killed, but God granted him grace. This finally broke his ambition, and caused him to say, “Lord, here I am.”
Following Moses’ ordination at Berachah Church in Houston, Texas, 1995, God laid upon the heart of a young man, Danny Warner, to send funds to Moses on a regular basis. He had not met Danny, nor did he even know who Danny was! But Moses assumed the money coming in was to be seed money for the future ministry.
He told his wife Gloria, “Though we are in financial constraints, we must set the money aside until God starts His ministry.” When Moses went to the bank to open up an account they asked, “What is the name of the ministry”? On the spot he came up with the name, Grace Evangelistic Ministries.
Moses left the funds untouched and continued his work at Vanderbilt Hospital. As he cared for the patients medically, his real passion was for their souls. He wanted to reach them with a message of hope. In the mean time, the seed money account was growing substantially. Using those funds, he wrote his first booklet, Riding the Death Train, a gospel tract that has since been translated into many languages with hundreds of thousands having been distributed worldwide with amazing results.
Moses sent one of the first copies to his mentor, Pastor R. B. Thieme, Jr., who was overjoyed at its content and invited Moses to visit his congregation. After Moses spoke, Pastor Thieme announced that he believed Moses’ ministry would make a great impact in Christendom. With that commendation members of Pastor Thieme’s congregation began sending donations. Observing the steady flow of unsolicited support, Moses told his wife, “God’s ministry has begun.” That was the birth of Grace Evangelistic Ministries. It was then incorporated as a 501(c) (3) and registered in the State of Tennessee in 1997.
A year or so later, God used Danny to bring Debby Hagar into the ministry, a woman He has used extensively. A few years later, God provided for her husband Richard Hays’ retirement from his profession as an architect. This couple became fully engaged traveling and working tirelessly. That’s not all. God assembled a team of the finest Board members and brought Mr. John G. Brunner into Moses’ life as a source of support and great encouragement. God has stirred the hearts of many to financially support His work through gifts and prayer. What a joy to know that God has the Master list of the names of all G.E.M.’s supporters. Though our space to list everyone is limited; His is not. His promise will not go unfulfilled.
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, and in having ministered and in still ministering (Hebrews 6:10).
Along the way there were other signposts from God. When Moses and other pre-med students were attending a medical preparatory class, his passion for souls kept revealing itself. At the end of the program, he purchased enough pizza for the entire student body with the last of his stipend. When they were assembled, he shared the gospel. Afterward, a student came to him and said: “Moses, I think you are wasting your time with us; you don’t belong here.”
While Moses pursued his ambition, God pursued him. One day while in a barber shop having his hair cut, Moses quietly listened to the customers engaged in a heated debate on a spiritual issue. The barber tapped Moses on the shoulder and asked, “What do you think?” His answer put the debate to rest. A man listening to the entire conversation approached Moses and said, “Sir, I don’t know who you are, or what your profession is, but if you are not a minister, you are wasting your time!” With that the man left. The shop owner asked Moses if he would start a Bible study in the barber shop, and the Barber Shop Fellowship was born. The fellowship has grown over the years and is now Amazing Grace Fellowship Church, where Moses serves as interim pastor.
It is our heartfelt prayer that God, who started the ministry for His own glory,
will honor those whom He has brought in to join us in His work. In Christ’s name. Amen.