David Oyedepo, founder and Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church, an organization with one of the largest networks of about 11,000 branches in 65 countries has acquired a brand new helicopter.
This is in continuation of his quest to ease movement while reaching large numbers of people in his evangelical work.
This acquisition is especially unique as it is the first time he will buy an aircraft with his personal resources. Previous aircraft including the only one presently in the Church inventory, a Challenger 605 with registration N633WM (World Mission) which was acquired at a cost of $25 million were all acquired by the Church through Dominion Aviation Center.
Speaking at a gathering of pastors recently, Bishop Oyedepo announced that the aircraft which had arrived Nigeria could fly from Lagos to Maiduguri or from Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos without a need to refuel.
Church Gist investigation also reveal that the aircraft is still in a Lagos seaport undergoing clearance after which it will be brought to the Church’s hangar for assemblage.
Church Gist also gathered that the helicopter could be of Italian origin and produced by the Leonardo Helicopters (formerly Agusta Westland). In particular it could be either the Trekker or GrandNew series as these have capacity for covering a long range before the need for refueling.
Dr David Oyedepo has spoken often about how he was inspired by the visit of white missionaries to his village of Omu-Aran in helicopters while he was a kid. He also mentioned as early as April 1982 that God had shown him wings in a vision and when he asked, it was revealed that his ministry was going to be flying around the world carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ. This led to the acquisition by the Church of the first aircraft in March 1996 and since then, the Church has been acquiring aircraft for missionary purposes.
Also, as each aircraft gets old, it is quickly exchanged for a new one to ease cost, maintenance and servicing. A few years ago, precisely in 2011, the Bishop travelled to 6 African countries within 7 days and preached 11 different sermons. This is an example of his usual itinerary which could certainly not be achieved flying normal commercial flights.