“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” — Hebrews 13:7
Our almighty God, in His all-wise providence and at the time appointed by Him according to His grace in Christ Jesus, has summoned out of this vale of tears to Himself in heaven the soul of another of our dear brother pastors in Nigeria. The Rev. Allenson Karibi Asawo was the beloved Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria; and his presence will be sorely missed.
Pastor Asawo, by God’s grace alone His humble and faithful servant, was born on March 15, 1949, in Abalama-Asalga to Mr. and Mrs. Allen Asawo, both of whom preceded him in death. He originally prepared for a secular career at the University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt. But in 1995 he began his preparation for the Lutheran ministry at Abonnema in the theological training program of the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations in Nigeria. Upon the successful completion of his theological studies, he was called to be the pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Port Harcourt, where he was ordained and installed on December 27, 2003, and served as its shepherd and Christ’s ambassador for almost twelve years until his death.
Pastor Asawo succumbed to only recently-diagnosed prostate cancer, complicated by a long history of hypertension, and died at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in the early evening hours of Thursday, November 26th. The Lord in His mercy did not permit Brother Asawo to be tried and tested beyond his ability in humble, childlike faith to endure those chastisements; but, true to His promise, He made a way to escape them (I Corinthians 10:13), as He does for all His dear children, and received our brother into the peace and rest of heaven, where in God’s presence he now experiences only “fulness of joy [and] pleasures” at [His] right hand forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Pastor Asawo is survived by his beloved wife, Lolo, and six grown children. The care of St. Matthew’s congregation in the vacancy of its pastoral office is being undertaken temporarily by brother pastors in the F. L. C. N. until the congregation is able to call another shepherd. In the meantime we commit the Asawo family and the dear brethren of St. Matthew’s to the tender, loving care of our Savior, who promises them and all of us: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
According to our latest information from Nigeria, funeral arrangements are still pending. Pastor Asawo’s presence will be greatly missed by his family, his brother pastors, the sheep and lambs of his flock, and by the wider fellowship of the F. L. C. N. and of our Conference; and we share with all of them their tears in this bereavement (Romans 12:15). At the same time, however, all of us together rejoice in Pastor Asawo’s salvation by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, and look forward to our own blessed departure to be with Christ, with him, and with all true believers in that “far better” home in heaven (Philippians 1:23).
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth! Yea, saith the Spirit, that
they may rest from their labors; and their
works do follow them.” —Revelation 14:13
—Pastor David T. Mensing
Concordia Lutheran Conference President
and Chairman of the Committee on Missions