Rev. Pastor Prophet and Founder SAMUEL BILEWU JOSEPH OSHOFFA – SBJ Oschoffa – (fondly referred to as Papa was born on May 18th 1909 in Porto Novo in the Republic of Benin of fully
Nigerian Parentage (in order words his father Joseph Oschoffa was the son of Pa Ojo and Ma Koshina both from Abeokuta in Ogun State of Nigeria. Papa’s own mother, Alake Iyabo hails
from Imeko in Imeko/Afon Local Government area of Ogun State of Nigeria.
His birth was a commemorated one, being that his father like the biblical Hannah (1 Sam. 9:11
) asked the Almighty God for him and made a vow to dedicate him to the services of God. This was because, though Pa Joseph married
many wives, he had children all females by them and no male to be his heir, incidentally all the children except one died. He needed a male child to carry on the family name, since he never
wanted the lineage of Oschoffa to be wiped out in the land where they sojourned. The answer to that prayer came in the birth of little Samuel Bilewu (meaning Bileayebawu Kogbe, sugbon mo mo
wipe mo ti toro re lodo Olorun) which in English translation means (if you prefer to live in this world, then you are welcome but if you prefer to live above in heaven, then you are equally welcome,
but l know l specially requested for you from God).
In fulfillment of the vow, Pa Joseph sent young SBJ Oschoffa at age of thirteen to the Methodist Church to work with the then Bishop, along side some other children of the Methodist faith.
The children at a time revolted against the instructions of the bishop and they were all sent back to their parents. Despite Pa Joseph’s entreaties to return young SBJ back to the mission
failed, as the Bishop refused to allow them. This annoyed him and as a sort of punishment he decided that SBJ should learn the carpentry trade which was his own profession. This marks
the first deviation from the divine plans of SBJ. This also led to his having any formal Western type of education.
SBJ became a proficient Carpenter, was very good in his new found trade, turning ebony wood into fine wood work. He continued with this work until his father Pa Joseph died on June
15, 1939. By the death of his father, he had to bear added burden, by taking up the responsibility of caring for the whole family. He needed a more prosperous trade to be able to cope
with the financial responsibilities. This led him to trade in Ebony wood. He became a logger and sold this at very high premium. He called it a very lucrative trade. He was a
Christian all these while, so he knew how to pray and he read the Bible daily, but a great thing that was to later change the course of things in his life happened in one of his trip.
On the 3rd of May, 1947 few months after his venturing into Ebony logging trade, Papa SBJ Oshoffa was in the forest in search of Ebony; it was time as usual for prayers and he shut his eyes to
pray and behold he heard a voice which said to him ‘LULI, the voice also said that LULI means the GRACE of JESUS CHRIST. He opened his eyes and behold before him stood these stationery
Papa SBJ Oshoffa spent his first thirty eight years
in the usual human mundane pursuit of life as a Carpenter trying to make a living for his family, the second thirty eight years marked that of a Sheperd of the largest congregation in the History of
the Church in Africa. With his complete break from the first thirty eight years, came the birth growth and spread of Celestial Church of Christ worldwide.