Thousands of people from at least 23 countries have gathered around Mount Precipice in Nazareth, Israel, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, awaiting one of Africa’s most popular but also controversial preachers,.
Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as T.B. Joshua, is famous for his charismatic healing sessions broadcast live on Emmanuel Television, his donations to the poor and controversies surrounding his miracles and sometimes scary prophecies.
Some people have labeled him a prophet of doom and gloom because of his accurate prophecies on plane crashes and other major disasters on earth, as well as documented predictions of the death of world’s leaders and celebrities, including, as he famously claimed, American legend, Michael Jackson.
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The Nigerian preacher and healer has often rejected that label, saying he only reveals God’s visions to the world.
His activities in Israel are just one of the many around the globe.
Reports said even with more people still being expected before the commencement of his activities in Israel on Sunday, in Nazareth, the host city, most of the hotels, especially in the Old Nazareth, were already fully booked.
Tour operators were busy ferrying pilgrims for the program from the Ben Gurion International Airport to Nazareth.
Pilgrims were said to have come from Holland, Jamaica, Cuba, Russia, Nigeria, Singapore, Japan, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Others came from Canada, Botswana, Mexico, Argentina, Finland, Iceland, South Korea, Cameroun, Ghana and Italy.
One of tour operators ferrying pilgrims for the program, Mrs. Deborah Luca, an Israeli national, described the turnout so far as overwhelming, according to a Nigerian newspaper, The Nation.
Organizers say nationals from more than 50 countries are expected at the event.
“I did not know that there will be so many people coming.
“It is tremendous; it is beyond my expectation. I am a minister of worship. I bring people annually here in the past three years, we have our annual Art of Worship, what we are seeing here is better seen than described,” she was quoted as saying.