“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. Elison Bibi Agborubere was one of the beloved pastors of Salem Lutheran Church in Abalama, Rivers State, Nigeria; and his presence will be sorely missed.
Pastor Agborubere, by God’s grace alone His humble and faithful servant, was born on July 27, 1950, in Abalama-Asalga to Mr. and Mrs. Bibi Agborubere, both of whom preceded him in death. He originally prepared for a secular career at All Saints College in Lagos. 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 in 2003, he was called to be the pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Abalama, where he was ordained and installed on December 27, 2003, and served as its shepherd and Christ’s ambassador for more than twelve years until his death.
Pastor Agborubere had been suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and malaria, and was receiving treatment at a clinic at Port Harcourt since a particularly serious attack in January of this year. In early April, he suddenly slipped into a coma and died peacefully in the early morning hours of April 5th. The Lord in His mercy did not permit Brother Agborubere to be tried 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. Having left behind “the sufferings of this present time” (Romans 8:18), our dear brother was received into the glorious 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 Agborubere is survived by his beloved wife, Ayafe, and six grown children. The care of the congregation is now in the hands of the two remaining co-shepherds of the flock, Pastor Balaiyi Thompson and Pastor Bateinm Bestman; and we wish them God’s continued blessings upon their work to His glory. We confidently commit the Agborubere family and the sheep and lambs of Salem Lutheran Church, as well as all the dear sorrowing brethren in the F. L. C. N., to the tender, loving care of our Savior, whose comfort in the Gospel is confirmed to all of us in the inspired words of the Apostle Paul and enables us to comfort one another: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God; for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (II Corinthians 1:3-5).
According to our latest information from Nigeria, funeral arrangements are still pending. Pastor Agborubere’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, we rejoice in Pastor Agborubere’s salvation by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, and look forward to our own blessed departure to be with Christ, with our dear brother, 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