I grew up in a Greek Orthodox home (no way to explain it other than extremely strict), not knowing who God was my entire life. I was always sad growing up, and then at the age of 14 I tried to end my life. A week later, I was invited to a youth group and that night Jesus said “Welcome home. I love you.” and ever since then I’ve been on this amazing journey with Him.
Jesus has given me a voice — to sing — and I realized that this gift was from Him, five and a half years ago. So now, being 19, God has been giving me great opportunities throughout these 6 years. I was able to lead worship at one of my old church’s youth group for almost a year, I was able to lead worship at some young adult groups that I’ve been to, and now that I am here at YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Kansas City, God is giving me opportunities to lead worship for my school!
What I’m doing here at YWAM is missionary training. I am preparing for a two and a half month trip to The Himalayas in September…which includes biblical training, spiritual discipline, major one on one time with the Lord, etc. I have been in Kansas City for 2 months already, and in order to complete the program I am in need of funds. My current goal is $4,000.00 to pay off the rest of my fees. If any of you are interested in partnering with me in this mission that the Lord has blessed me with, I would really encourage you to message me one on one so I can tell you more of what I’m doing!
Before a man or a woman is married, they are typically thrown a bachelor or bachelorette party, to celebrate their so called “last day of freedom”. These nights are usually filled with a series of adventurous, wild, intoxicated and sometimes promiscuous events. Personally, knowing that the rest of my life will be dedicated to one person, who I must love, cherish and essentially put up with, clearly demands one night of freedom from those pressing obligations, before they’re made real. But, what would happen if a fiancé found too much happiness or fulfillment at the bachelor party and didn’t want to get married anymore? What if the party gave them all that they thought they needed; excitement, inclusion, adventure, the illusion of love and luxury; and the pursuit of these temporary pleasures led them to completely discard the person they were about to marry. What if the fiancé only thought about their significant other at the lowest parts of the night, when the high was wearing off, the people were leaving, and the excitement was no more? Is that a commitment that you’re thrilled to have for you and your spouse?
Assuming you answered no, is this a commitment God wants from you? (Yea I went there!) If you couldn’t tell by the title, this post is going to address they way we Christians serve God haphazardly, how we like to be “lukewarm” in our relationship with Him.
I developed the love for the game of basketball through my dad. When I was a baby he used to sit me on his lap and have me watch Michael Jordan, (when the Chicago Bulls were at their best). I was always surrounded by basketball, especially because my older brother played, there was a basketball court outside of our apartment building and basketball was always on our TV. As a child I would try and mimic players like Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, as ESPN showed their unbelievable highlights. Once I entered middle school it was the beginning to something great. I was finally playing organized basketball for the Scarborough Blues Club team and at my middle school; Charles Gordon Sr. Public School. At that age I was wowing crowds with dunks, which no one had really seen before. This gave me the opportunity to play for the great Coach Ro Russell, who is the founder of Grassroots Canada Elite. Playing for this organization has brought me places I would have never imagined. From Detroit to Virginia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and Texas. I’ve done really well at these tournaments which carried on to my first year of High school at Chaminade College School. After that year Coach Ro and I saw that I could have a future in basketball. We thought it would be a good idea to go off to the United States to evolve my game and play against better competition. So he sent me to Montverde Academy which is located in Florida. That year was probably the hardest year of my life but also the most helpful year. Going away at 15 years old forced me to learn how to do things I’ve never done before like laundry, shopping and living without my family. The competition was also unreal. This really opened up my eyes and I appreciated the game more and wanted to really get better as a player and more importantly as a student athlete. From then on I made sure my grades were the best I could get and I was always working on my game. After that year I transferred to be with my trainer/coach; Ryan Schmidt at 22ft Academy. At first the program wasn’t really stable. We moved around quite a bit considering we did not having a lot of money and schools not being able to accept a bunch of international students. It came down to us living in motels trying to find somewhere to establish our new program. We finally settled in Kentucky from starting in North Carolina, but with all the moving around and being out of school, it forced us to do online schooling so we could catch up with all the school we missed. The next year we settled in South Carolina. As a second year program we still had our struggles not having a lot of money and a lot of food compared to most programs. But we made the most out of it. I then finished my high school in Arizona under Elite 1 Academy, a first year program.
“Hi my name is Ryan Ofei, I am a 22 year old Carleton student who loves God”
One of my earliest childhood memories involves me at age 6 in Ghana, West Africa. I grew up watching preachers and worship concerts….a little different right? At that age I could remember a burning desire leading me to sing. It was as if it was coming out of me and I was being suppressed. I was telling my mother, “mommy I want to sing”. Her reply was an irritated no, but after much persistence she gave in and she was so astonished that I was good, that she invited all her friends in the neighbourhood to come hear me.
From that time on I kept singing at churches but my passion and encounter with the things of God were at an all time low. At 18 I moved from The GTA to Ottawa and began school at Carleton University. On my 19th birthday I escaped an accident that almost took my life. After this event I couldn’t help but praise God and realize how close He was to me, even when I running away. I began to get more involved and find out who this God, really was to me. At age 20, my best friend and Pastor, Kofi Dartey accepted God’s call to start a ministry on our campus called Campus Rush. I remember him sitting down with me in my meadowlands summer home that I was subletting at the time. He said, “I want you to lead the worship team”. I almost laughed, but then I saw he was serious. He went on to say it won’t be easy and we may loose friends along the way. I told him that I was in 100% as my spirit locked with the vision immediately.
I released an acoustic EP named Kairos Moment on my 20th birthday. The Campus Rush Music collective consists of worship leaders who are passionate about witnessing this generation on fire for God. I have had the privilege of leading the worship team alongside pastor Sewa Ayoola. Our group is now over 20 members and has been together for 2 years and have sparked a revolution on campuses at Carleton University and UOttawa. Campus Rush Music has now held two “discharge” events, which are essentially worship nights held in the enemy’s territory. Whether a club or a school theatre, we are unashamed to declare the name of Jesus. Our unconventional approach and faith has led to many souls being won to the kingdom. Under CRM, I have been privileged with releasing two group albums named Young on Fire (2015) and Secret Place (2016). I thank God everyday for allowing me to find purpose and achieve destiny.
In this short time span, I can truthfully say God has transformed my life. The passion I carry for singing is now greater than ever before. The revelation of who God is to me is as deep as recognizing Him as the source of my next breath. I have come to an understanding that we are called to live out our worship. We are called to bring Glory to the King in all that we do. I am now understanding the key to a deeper walk is not in getting more of God, but in giving more of ourselves. It is for this reason that I jump as high as I can and sing as loud as I can. My worship is my sacrifice to the Lord. I know sometimes I may look crazy… But hey it got me featured on this blog… Ahaha
2016 has been a great year for me personally. Elohim has really worked many miracles for me, proving himself as Yahweh Yireh. Within the past couple months, I have received provision and favour that I never imagined. I want to return all the Glory to God. He has truly shown me that the tests we face are for our good.
Things to look forward to for the remainder of 2016 are the “Jesus in the City” concert on June 25th. The team has been called to minister for a set in the heart of downtown Toronto at what is one of Canada’s largest Christian events. As well we are releasing the revival single on the 25th of June. I will be leading worship June 30th to July 3rd at the Young on Fire conference at Campus Rush which will be a powerful time in Gods presence. The last major plan is in the works. I am working on a project entitled songs of deliverance. the expected release date is November 30th. The songs will be in two fold, deliverance from oppressing and dark forces as well as songs of joy and freedom in the exodus.