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Chondol* (Chendol), Titus Machingo
c. 1938 to 2006
Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN)
Nigeria

Commenting on his father's work, Rev. Theophilus Chondol said:
Today, many people attribute their place in God to Rev. Titus Chondol's obedience to the work of God in Kulere land. He may not be known far and wide, but those whose lives have been touched by his calling and ministry have him written on the tablets of their hearts. [1]
Chondol was a man who sacrificed all his days and gave all his energy to work in the vineyard of God. His labor was not in vain, for many people were touched through his ministry. Titus Machingo Chondol served God in the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) for forty-three years. Though he did not assume the highest position of the church, his fame and his contribution to the growth of the church was enormous.

Amachingo Achendol, as he was named and referred to, came from a village called Ambul, among the Kulere tribe, south of the Bokkos Local Government area in Plateau State, Nigeria. It is assumed that he was born in 1938 to Mr. and Mrs. Achondol Agbayangau, who were traditionalists. His father, Agbayanga, was known as a "medicine man," which in the Kulere dialect is Ngah reid. With the birth of Amachingo, who was the only surviving male child, expectations were high with regards to the continuity of family lineage and pride. [2] At this time, missionaries had already made their presence felt among the natives of Kulere through the work of the Cambridge University Missionary Party (CUMP), who came to Panyam in 1907.

Conversion

The years 1950 to 1957 were years of deep meditation for Amachingo. He pondered the sermons he heard from the missionaries who were stationed in Toff (the first village that received the gospel in Kulere land). In view of his father's position as a medicine man and the repercussions of a public declaration of allegiance to a different faith, he had a difficult choice to make. He was not deterred by the crisis however, in spite of the consequences, and was inspired by a song he heard from the missionaries:
Yesu ya je kabari (domin na 3x)
Yesu ya je kabari domin na\ya mutu domin na, Halleluyah
.
Translated, it means "All the way to Calvary he died for me." After those years of meditation, Amachingo was converted in 1957 at the age of nineteen, contrary to the plans and expectations of his parents. After attending a thorough baptismal class for one year, he was baptized in 1958 by Rev. (Dr.) David Lot in Panyam. At that time, he took the name "Titus" to show his total conversion and his willingness to be renewed, and he came to be known as Titus Machingo Chondol. The sudden name change occurred because the missionaries had concluded that it was good to break with cultural affiliations to traditional norms and practices. Subsequently, he was fully integrated in the local church in his village, the Church of Christ in the Sudan, or Ekklisiyar Kristi a Sudan (EKAS), which later underwent a name change. After his baptism, an evangelist named Zachariah became very instrumental to his spiritual formation, mentoring him in fellowship, prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches, and discipleship. This spirit of commitment spurred him to devote quality time to reading the Bible. In 1958, he was always seen carrying his Bible to the mining ponds and to open places of worship. [3]

In 1958 Titus and Miss Briskila Anyhai were married. She had been adopted by Solomon Asiau after the death of her father. God blessed their marriage with eight children.

Education

Titus did not have any formal higher education. However, he did not allow this to deter him from what was good and reasonable. He attended evening classes with Zachariah Alangu, who taught him how to read and write. In 1965, he went to a basic Bible school in Kabwir, and in 1967, he proceeded to Gindiri Pastors College, graduating with a diploma in theology. In order to be conversant among English speakers, he went back to Gindiri Pastors' College in 1976 for English lessons.

Ministry

As a teenager, Chondol became increasingly dissatisfied with the mundane things that got others in his peer group excited. He therefore had plenty of time alone, and he used that opportunity for prayers and deep meditation. Coincidentally, the need for a volunteer to do pastoral work in the nearby villages and towns presented itself. In 1959, Titus availed himself of that opportunity, having considered that it would bring joy and fulfillment into his life, coupled with a calling into full time ministry. He was consecrated and commissioned the same year. In 1960, he was sent to Marish, his first station. His work at Marish was characterized by different degrees of testing. The newly married couple endured periods of hunger verging on starvation, sometimes subsisting for a whole month on edible wild green leaves. [4] An evangelist's sermons cannot be preached vigorously when the body is weak.

From 1969 to 1972, he worked among the Mushere people, serving as the pioneer minister of God in the area. It was in Mushere that Titus was ordained by Rev. Damina Bawadol, the first indigenous president of COCIN. During his ordination in 1970, he was told to take care of the Mushere tribe as a whole. Therefore, he traveled the length and breadth of the land, ensuring that the gospel was preached and that people were converted. In 1973, he was transferred to Richa to work among his tribe. He was there for six years and contributed a lot to the work of God. While he was there, he initiated a youth program, and his sermons were lessons about the evils of nominal belief and worldliness. He preached the message of salvation. In 1979, he was posted to teach at the Bible School, where he rose to the position of vice principal and later, principal. He left the Bible College in 1984, and was later posted to Mbar, which is presently in the Bokkos conference. He only spent two years there (1985 and 1986) and these were marked by numerous cultural challenges. He attacked some of the mundane things there, as he was a frank and fearless preacher. Because of his success at Mbar, the church transferred him to Manguna in 1987. While in Manguna, he was elected chairman of the district church for four years. He continued the discipleship program he had started in Richa, and many souls were touched.

In 1990, Chondol was posted to work in his village (Ambul) for six years. His children became very instrumental in the spiritual upbringing of the young people there, as they played vital roles in the formation of a Boys Brigade and a Bible study. Chondol became very instrumental in the spiritual revitalization of the people, especially with regard to biblical truth and Christian commitment. His voice was loud and clear, for he had nothing to hide. While serving in Ambul, he rose to the position of assistant conference chairman, a position he held from 1993 to 1995. As he was getting older, he was no longer being posted far from his village. From 1996 to 2001, he was transferred to Toff, a nearby village. Just as it had happened in Ambul, his children worked closely with him in evangelism. Although he faced some health challenges in Toff, he was not deterred from embarking on house to house visitation, assisting the under-privileged and comforting the downtrodden. From 2002 to 2003, he was posted to Bargesh, which was his last station as an active pastor. He retired in 2003 from active service, and after his retirement, he kept on visiting individuals and churches he had worked with, encouraging those still in service, which is a practice for all pastors to emulate. Furthermore, in 2005, the Plateau State Christian Pilgrims Board sponsored him on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. When he came back, he lamented that it could have been more useful if he had gone as a serving minister of the gospel.

Contributions to Spiritual Work in the Church

Chondol was very resilient, and his contributions to the spiritual growth of the church are worth mentioning. After his ordination in 1970, his work with youth took the form of discipleship, which he did in phases. First, however, he taught his children how to have a quiet time. He would wake up before daybreak, as early as 12:00 - 1:00 a.m., to pray and study the Word of God for a considerable length of time. Today, two of his children are pastors: Rev. Theophilus Chondol and Rev. Naphtali Chondol. He also planted a spirit of discipleship in the mind of his son, (presently Rev. Theophilus Chondol) , who then supported his father by influencing many youths to join the pastorate. Today, two of those youths are full time ministers. [5]

1. Formation of the COCIN Youth Fellowship

It is on record that when he was posted to Richa In 1973, he began what later came to be known as the COCIN Youth Fellowship. Their manifesto was "catch them young." In his capacity as the overseer, he began to mobilize and organize a youth conference twice a year (March and August). Young people were drawn from all over Kulere land for spiritual transformation. Because of the importance of this vision, COCIN took the initiative of involving all churches in the denomination. Today, COCIN handles it through the director of the youth program, who operates from COCIN headquarters via youth leaders who are elected at the conferences. Chondol initiated such programs everywhere, and there was a positive response from the young people. One of the youths that benefited from such programs was the Rev. Joseph Maren Sampson. [6]

2. Evangelistic Outreaches

From 1970 to 1978, he embarked on evangelistic outreaches that covered the Kulere and Mushere lands. These outreaches were mostly brief in nature, since he also had congregations to care for, but they nonetheless resulted in the formation of independent churches, which lessened the stress and weariness of the ministers serving in those areas. His children still have detailed notes of the sermons and messages he delivered way back in the 1970s.

3. Education

He did not start any schools, and he had no formal education, but he remains the epitome of education as far as the Ambul people are concerned. Apart from his personal encouragement of young people, he liaised with the local chief to implement a law on compulsory education which was enacted by the chief. Parents whose children left school had to pay a fine. [7] Today, many youths who are useful in the church and the community are the direct beneficiaries of that law, and Chondol will always be remembered for it in Ambul.

4. Formation of the Ambul Pastors Forum

Titus was also a peacemaker who engaged in the peaceful resolution of conflicts. He initiated the formation of what is known as the Ambul Pastors Forum in 1995, and was selected to be the first chairman for eleven years. The aim was to bring about peace in the locality, to transform the lives of the people socially, economically, and spiritually through prayers. The forum is being sustained by indigenous pastors today.

5. Humanitarian Gestures

Because of the hardships that Titus had encountered in life, he became very compassionate and resourceful in his work with underprivileged people. He paid their fees for various schools, and encouraged those who were hopeless and depressed to not only rely on God, but also to do something practical with their abilities, in order to earn money.

6. Loyalty to Biblical Truth

From 1959 to 2003, his upright living was the subject of various criticisms and allegations, but he kept on serving. He was not someone who would easily give in to the voice of the majority. He would always ask, "But what is the Word of God saying?" Instead of the majority bending him, he used the Word of God to bend them.

7. Discipline

Chondol showed discipline not only in his preaching assignments, but also in his time management. For instance, his luggage was always ready before it was time to travel. His personal discipline is also the reason his diaries still exist. He lived by example, and his life and teachings made a deep impression on the lives of those around him. He readily accepted his faults and made amendments when approached about them.

Challenges

In the 1970s and 1980s most of the evangelistic campaigns were undertaken on foot, as many churches could not afford modern forms of transportation. Because of the strenuous nature of trekking, Chondol developed some serious medical problems. Another challenge was the fact that his meager salary was not able to meet the growing demands of his family. In addition to his own children, he had adopted several other children, and they also needed attention. This affected his ministry and the education of the children, who were sometimes sent away from school because they could not pay the fees. After his ordination in 1970, Titus was on the transfer list eight times, which affected his psyche. At times, he was tempted to believe that such transfers were coming from the pit of hell. However, he would always be comforted by one of his favorite songs, "Where he leads me I will go." Even so, he used to ask, "When will Jesus come?"

Weakness

Chondol's only weakness was that he was not a good manager when it came to finances. The good thing is that he was aware of this deficiency, and that he asked his wife to be in charge of the finances. He had some managerial problems in the church in that regard, but they were often sorted out either by the church elders or by the officials of the conference.

He had an accident in Tudun Wada, in Jos on the 11th of July, 2006, while going out on visitation. Two weeks after that incident, he died on the 25th of July and was buried in Ambul on the 29th of July, 2006. Although he retired in 2003, he kept working until the end. His legacy is a lesson for contemporary church leaders. [8]

Patrick Ishaku Atokor



*The subject's son, Naphtali Titus Chondol, contacted DACB via email on August 26, 2012, to specify that the correct spelling of the name is "Chondol" instead of "Chendol," according to instructions given to him by his late father.

Sources:

1. Titus, Theophilus, Short Biography of Rev. Titus Machingo Chondol. Unpublished, p. 1.
2. ibid, p. 1.
3. Ishaku Ajita, interview by author, December 26, 2008, Ambul.
4. Titus, p. 6.
5. Timothy Amande, interview by author, October 9, 2009, Kaduna.
6. Titus, p. 2.
7. Arengeh Adangu, interview by author, April 4, 1995, Ambul.
8. Funeral Service Program for Rev. Titus Machingo Chondol, held at COCIN, Ambul, on July 29, 2006.


This story, submitted in 2010, was written by Patrick Ishaku Atokor, a student at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso under the supervision of Dr. M. L. Ogunewu and submitted by Dr. Deji Ayegboyin, DACB liaison coordinator.