Appealing Grace Assembly Int’l Ayobo, Lagos, has presented cash prizes to the winners of its 2023 Praise up! Chop up! talents hunt competition. A 17-year-old Precious Okonkwo carted home a sum of N300,000 as the top winner of this year’s competition. Paul Lucky, the first runner up smiled home with a sum of N150, 000 while the second runner up took home a sum of N40,000.
L-R: Mrs. Mariam Sunday Udoh, Pastor Akinola Akinwale, Precious Okonkwo and Paul Lucky
Praise up! Chop up! is a gospel talents hunt organized since 2010 by Appealing Grace Assembly as a platform for young artistes to showcase their talents in music, dancing, singing and comedy. The winners in the yearly contest are presented cash prizes by the organizers.
In an interview with Christian Benefits on the Praise up! Chop up! competition, one of the anchors of the yearly event, Mrs. Mariam Sunday Udoh, says the talents hunt competition has been impacting the lives of young artistes over the years.
“I’m one of the anchors of Praise up! Chop up! It is a gospel talents hunt started since 2010. So far so good it has been impacting the lives of young gospel artistes. It is a platform where the participants showcase their talents. The main targets of the yearly competition are young talents between ages 18-30. The competition features music, dancing, singing and comedies. At each competition, the top winner, the first runner-up and the second runner-up emerge and they cart home different cash prizes ranging from N200, 000, N150, 000 and N100,000. The competition is opened to both members and non-members of the church,” Udoh explained.
Mrs. Mariam Sunday Udoh
She further explained that the Praise up! Chop up! competition is part of the vision of Appealing Grace Assembly aimed at rising the iconic generation of leaders. “The vision of Appealing Grace Assembly is Raising the Iconic Generation of leaders. The church is all about the young people. The young ones can’t hide their talents in this church. There are lots of young talents out there but they have no platforms to showcase their talents. This church also extends the Praise up! Chop up! platform to those young talents that are non-members. From the inception of the competition the past winners emerged from outside the church until this last one that all the three winners emerged from the church,” the competition’s anchor disclosed.
Precious Okonkwo: First placed winner of N300,000 cash prize of 2023 Praise up! Chop up!
Precious, the top winner of the 2023 Praise up! Chop up! described the competition as a tough one. She confessed to Christian Benefits that she was scared before registering for the singing category of the competition. “This competition was a tough one. Though I can sing very, I was scared of registering for the competition. But my Papa (Pastor Akinola, the church’s senior pastor), our choir mistress and some other people in the church encouraged me and I was able to pull through. I bless God that I emerged the top winner of the competition and carted home a cash prize of N300,000,” the elated young Precious expressed.
Paul Lucky, the first runner-up described the Praise up! Chop up! talent hunt competition as “a very wonderful initiative encouraging young people to showcase their talents. I bless the name of the Lord for our Papa (Pastor Akinola) who He is using in raising the iconic generation of leaders. He has created an avenue for talented young people to showcase their talents. There are lots of young people with great talents falling into wrong hands and ending up singing in wrong places. I also participated in the singing category.”
“I believe part of the vision of the church is to bring more young people to worship and praise God. I want to use this medium to advise more young people out there to grab the opportunity to showcase their God-given talents. It is fear that cages some people from showcasing their talents. I was encouraged when I joined this church. I didn’t expect getting to this level of the competition. The church gave me a cash prize of N150, 000 as the first runner up in the competition,” Lucky disclosed.
The second runner-up says: “This year’s competition was not easy. But with the encouragement of the judges and other members it was fine. I participated in the singing category too. I came third with a cash prize of N20,000. Don’t hide your talent. Be eager to showcase it. Don’t allow fear hinder your success,” she advised.
Elder Florence Oluyemisi Fawoye also speaks with Christian Benefits on the impact of Appealing Grace Assembly upon her life and family. “I started with the church from the inception in 2004 at the church former location. God has been greatly moving His hands in my life, in the lives of my children and in all that He bestows upon my life. Prayers are answered on this mountain. Pastor Akinola Akinwale is my spiritual father, pastor, mentor and a God-sent to my family,” she shared
Pastor Akinola Akinwale and Elder Florence Oluyemisi Fawoye
Mrs. Fawoye also speaks on the church programmes, “We hold life-transforming and impacting programmes at Appealing Grace Assembly, especially our Grace Pasture service every Wednesdays where we are deeply taught the undiluted word of God. God impacts lives with His word at this weekly service, and also at our Sunday worship service at which the Holy Spirit moves unhindered breaking protocols,” the elder disclosed
Fawoye describes Appealing Grace Assembly as a family church where she says the church members see their senior pastor as a caring father, adviser and counselor. She adds: “He is not arrogant. He is a free giver. He touches lives. Among the churches in our community our church is unique because of our community social responsibility activities. We provide water to the community and periodically grade the road. Our church has been imparting lives in this community since we came here. Before we came here this area was a den of armed robbers, kidnappers, rapists and other criminals. But since we got here the people now sleep their two eyes closed.”