“I hawked all kinds of wares for my mum. Things were so bad that all we had was God” -Pst. Jerry Eze (Author of Streams of Joy Devotional)
Jerry Uchechukwu Eze is the dynamic Founder and President of the fast-growing Streams of Joy Ministries. A seasoned Pastor and leader, a consummate conference speaker and leadership coach. The work of ministry have taken him to major platforms around the world. PJ as he is fondly called hosts â€œYou are the best â€“ half hourâ€ and â€œBlind Factsâ€. Both radio programmes have a teeming audience of listeners. PJ is also the author and publisher of the Streams of Joy Daily Devotional â€“ A bestseller that has made its way into 5 continents on the globe.
LOWLADEE.COM: Pastor Jerry, Kindly describe how growing up was for you.
Pst. JERRY: I grew up in the South East of Nigeria, precisely a sleepy and quiet town in Abia, that is Umuahia. Where we lived wasnâ€™t the upscale part of the town. We lived in the area where you find the low income earners. Growing up was tough. My mum was a single Parent. She had four of us. She wasnâ€™t quite literate; I didnâ€™t enjoy the normal luxury, children of my day enjoyed. I knew what it meant to eat the same type of meal on a daily basis. However, we were happy. My mum was a super comedian. She made jokes out of everything. The amazing part of growing up is the way we all learnt from my mum how to laugh at ourselves (mistakes). So, before you mock at our short-coming, we probably would have mocked ourselves big time. I hawked all kinds of wares for my mum.Â Things were so tough that all we had was God. We learnt to love God through the things we suffered.
I remember time and time again, fellow children would ask me to go and bring my father. One actually had the guts to tell me that my mum was a prostitute. She may have had her short-comings, but my mum was my hero. She was the laughter in our home. Severally, I bumped into her crying, I reckoned there were moments she was confused about where the next meal was going to come from. Promptly, she would encourage herself and become strong again. She was a hard worker. She was my first exposure to prayer. She could pray for long hours without stopping.Â She taught me how to give. We gave everything to better the lives of those around us. We were poor but we were confident people, we were deprived but we were happy. Our background seemed messy but we werenâ€™t messed up. With this, I told myself that I MUST break the backbone of poverty in my generation. Growing up, I was a smart kid. I always took the first position in my class. Everyone knew me. I didnâ€™t interact with kids on the street a lot because my mum would warn us severely not to, and if you defied her instructions, she would use her â€œkobokoâ€ on you. I dreaded my mumâ€™s koboko. My Mum was our friend, confidante and icon.
LOWLADEE.COM: Can you let us in briefly also on your educational background?
Pst. JERRY: I had my Primary School Education in Urban Primary School 11 in Umuahia, proceeded to Ibeku High School for my Secondary Education. Thereafter, left for Abia State University where I studied International Relations first degree. I also have a second degree in Human Resource Management from ESUT BUSINESS SCHOOL.
LOWLADEE.COM: Interesting. Please tell us about your family life?
Pst. JERRY: I am married to an amazing woman. My Calabar Princess, my â€œemegrinyeâ€ (I alone know the meaning). Eno is a Human Resource Manager, She works for an Oil Company. Eno is my friend; We share a lot of things together. She likes to pray like me and has a first degree in English, an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management and an MSC in International Human Resource Management from University of Greenwich London. She has some other certifications. She has also done a bit of photography and runway modeling. We just have a child- Samara and we are fine (We wouldnâ€™t have another). I have a close knit family; my wife and I would throw banters at each other and laugh out loud. I am the detailed and precise one. Eno is the goal getter. My â€˜can doâ€™ girl! She doesnâ€™t give up too easily. She isnâ€™t the regular woman.Â She believes in roughening it out. She believes in bringing something home. One thing, I share so much with my wife is the way we cry during worship; when we start, you probably would wonder why this couple is just crying out their eyes. We are broken before God. We value our walk with God. My life is a bit boring but Eno has got fun in her life and I allow her inject into our marriage. She loves the movies. She loves a bit of sports. I love my newspapers. Samara our daughter is just one. She is so pleasant to be with. She reminds me of the mercies of God. During her pregnancy, my wife kept bleeding but we didnâ€™t lose her. She is our walking miracle.
LOWLADEE.COM: Please let us into the genesis of the vision of Streams Of Joy
Wow!Â I started off life as aÂ Broadcaster with the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia as a TV / Radio Presenter. From there I moved on to CMTV Port-Harcourt as the Head of News. Soon after, I joined the World Bank Project on HIV/AIDS as the Communication Specialist. I had a fulfilling Career there. Our minimum Prevention Package for MSM(Men who have Sex with men) was adjudged as a BEST PRACTICEÂ by the members of the John Hopkins University. I domesticated the Strategic Behaviour Change document on HIV/AIDS. I am glad that during my time, the prevalence rate dropped. After about two years in World Bank, I moved on to United Nations(United Nations Population Fund), I handled the Communication and Media desk for the South South and South East States. It was interesting being there. I pioneered the first UNFPA Communication Guide for the thematic areas of UNFPAâ€™S interventions. Prior to my coming, we had low visibility on UNFPAâ€™s activities. My coming changed it all.Â Our advocacy to media owners gave rise to increased visibility for UNFPAâ€™s activities. Within this period, Streams of Joy was birthed, precisely in 2008, I was still working for the United Nations. Amazingly, Streams of Joy grew in leaps and bounds. First, it started as a gathering of 15 people who shared the Word once a week, before we knew what was going on, it had become one of the fastest growing ministries South East of Nigeria.Â The ministries Mission Statement is simple: To create a conducive environment for the constant flow of the Streams of Joy into every area of human life by remaining permanently glued to the mind and will of God for His people per time.
Our vision statement is: To preach the fresh and undiluted Word of God in such a way that everyone can easily understand and apply it, till the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Apparently what people know all over the world isnâ€™t just the gathering but the DEVOTIONALÂ which is selling in several countries of the world. Infact, Â Â it has made its way into 5 continents of the world. The DEVOTIONAL has become one of Nigeriaâ€™s biggest export. A particular governor in Nigeria would actually read from it to his cabinet before they start EXCO meeting. People know Streams of Joy Devotional more than they know Pastor Jerry
I wouldnâ€™t say it was very difficult answering the call. I have been a church boy all my life. This is what I love to do. I have no life outside of God, So, serving him in a higher capacity wasnâ€™t going to hurt me at all. Not because I am in an interview, I love God passionately. I am in love with my Jesus. I want to see his face after all these service to him. Every one minute of my existence must definitely count in service to him.
Â LOWLADEE.COM: How has the journey been so far?
Pst. JERRY: Itâ€™s been totally amazing and absolutely phenomenal. I live everyday excited that I am doing what I was born to do. There is an inward satisfaction and peace and may I add, Joy that answering the Call gives me. Seeing people smile on account of what they heard or read from me is the biggest joy of all times. Seeing great miracles happen because of the word God has spoken through me, humbles me further. Destinies are tied to me, I donâ€™t live anyhow. Peopleâ€™s lives revolve around me; it makes me crave more of God. I always and always want to be forever under the tutelage of God; I donâ€™t want to go down in history as a onetime wonder, a chip off the old bloc or a flash in the pan. My impact must be trans-generational. With the impact of Streams of Joy spreading across the globe, I am still Jerry. I love to laugh. I love to smile. I want to remain this way. I am not pushy or forceful. Those who know me know that I am just the pastor next door. Definitely, my schedule has been immensely crazy, thatâ€™s the only thing that may have changed about me. Altogether, I am still a husband, someoneâ€™s friend, anotherâ€™s brother and Samaraâ€™s daddy.
Pst. JERRY: Everyman has got something that he loves to do, I mean that thing that consumes your body, soul and spirit. You donâ€™t mind giving up so much time for that thing. That thing that causes your eyes to brighten with smile. That thing that gives you a kick on the inside. That thing that sends adrenalin all over you, please pay attention to it. if you are presently a consumer with that thing, ask yourself, how can I be a producer?
Â LOWLADEE.COM: To those who donâ€™t hear a voice or some spiritual conviction telling them the way to go life, how would you advise them in discovering their divine call or purpose?
More importantly, I think it is a dis-empowering statement to even start by saying- I donâ€™t hear the voice of the Lord. God speaks to everyone. Itâ€™s not about God; itâ€™s about our capacity to hear. Incline your ears to the dealings of God and your spirit man will be sharpened. Start obeying the one you have read in the bible first, then God will make new distinctions in your spirit. Until the last instruction is obeyed, new ones arenâ€™t given.
LOWLADEE.COM: Did/do you sometimes have doubt in your calling?
Pst. JERRY: Doubt? I have never doubted. I will never doubt. I could get discouraged but I have never doubted. NEVER EVER!
LOWLADEE.COM: How did you get the idea of ministering through the Blackberry Messenger and how impacting has it been?
I specifically heard God say to me, share this to your BB contacts, I want to begin a Revolution. The day I sent it first, Ali Baba and Chioma Chukwuka responded swiftly and told me how much of a blessing it was. In fact, Chioma told me she also sent it to her contacts and sent me a few feedbacks she got from them. Chude would daily encourage me to continue to send these words as they were highly impactful. Those encouraged me and fired me on. I was prepared never to stop. From then till now, itâ€™s been a huge success story. I guess the BB version went viral. From Facebook to twitter to whatsapp, everyone started talking about STREAMS OF JOY DEVOTIONAL. Â It left the shores of Nigeria and hit other nations; demands for the hard copies also rose around the world.
Lives are being changed on a daily basis. Joy restored to lives. Broken marriages mended. Addictions broken. Miracles happening even in 24 hours. Paralysis healed just by reading the devotional. Women conceiving just by believing the promises of God through the devotional. It was handy for a particular woman who lost a loved one during the Dana crash. Its impact is unmistakably remarkable.
LOWLADEE.COM: Do you sometimes get overwhelmed by the messages you get?
Pst. JERRY: yes oooooooo. I do oooooo. Sometimes, I canâ€™t respond to everyone. I wish I would. I also have other things I do. I want to give everyone a personal touch. I have staff that I could easily hand over the phones to but I donâ€™t just want to kid around with peopleâ€™s destinies. I presently use about four devices of Blackberry and yet on a daily basis I have more contacts. Then again, I decided to launch a blog for the devotional which is www.jerryeze.com
LOWLADEE.COM: Where do you see the Streams of Joy Ministries four years from now?
Pst. JERRY: A global outreach with undeniable impact, its materials would become a major part of every Christianâ€™s devotion.
LOWLADEE.COM: How do people subscribe to your devotionals?
Pst. JERRY: For hard copies, just call +234 -816-561-9933
LOWLADEE.COM: What inspiring message do you have to say to readers out there? (Something you would like them never to forget)
Pst. JERRY: Average is a long queue and a lot of people are standing there. Average men follow processes and traditions while Processes and traditions follow Excellent men because Excellence challenges status-quo and births a process, while an average man settles for a Process birthed by Excellence. Jump out that caravan called AVERAGE! At the source of all accomplishments is first the declaration, â€œALL IS POSSIBLEâ€.
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