Tribute: Foreover in Our Hearts, Supercute Big Sister, Deaconess Nne Acholem (Nee) Okpanku
By Justina Okpanku
Deaconess Mrs. Nnenna Acholem (nee Okpanku) doubled as my sister and a confidant. She was a very pleasant person. Adorable one she was, very caring. If folks ever wondered where most of my super cute qualities come from, you have found the source. Words can’t describe you. Always assuring me there is light after the darkest tunnel.
Sister sister (as we fondly called you) you are incredible, kind and a selfless person, an exceptional creation! She came to this world with the priority of filling people’s lives with joy. She demonstrated true love, lived and breathed Christ!
If I could turn back the hand of the clock, I would simply ask God to allow her spend more precious time with us, I guess God didn’t want His precious angel to stay any longer in this ungodly world full of hate, dishonesty and evil!
I was so close to my sister that I always wanted to be with her, no matter where she was or no matter how far. It was so when she lived and practiced as a nurse and I was a student. Everywhere she went, I would go.
I was a frequent visitor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Umuahia now Federal Medical Centre, where she studied Midwifery. I also frequented School of Nursing in Emekuku, Owerri; Oguta General Hospital, Oguta, Imo State and other places she lived and worked. “What do you think you are doing feeling much at home in my town?” asked a school mate of mine who was surprised at seeing me in Arochukwu during one festive period. I jokingly pointed at Sister. We had visited Amannagwu as she thought I needed to go sightseeing having stayed indoors in her Lancaster residence for several days during one of my visits.
In fact, Arochukwu, Abia State became home away from home for me. That was even before we had our in-laws, when she married an Arochukwu man. It was instructive that I imbibed her caring nature and of course I became very prayerful. When you are in her home, you have to pray with her and go to Church with her. Naturally, she would want people around her to study the Bible and read other materials that promote Jesus Christ.
Lest I forget, Sister has a stickler for time. Church services, choir practice and other church activities were very important to her and she must get there on time. Most times, she would go to Sunday School before me (during my visits) and most of her neighbours who also worshipped at Assemblies of God Church. Not only in religious matters.
I overheard some of her colleagues in Oguta when they were discussing shift and ward things. Many of them said if every nurse is like Nnenna, there won’t be a problem. As one of them put it, Nnenna is one nurse who will arrive an hour or so before her shift actually begins whereas others will arrive late to keep the nurse taking over duty from them waiting. It is also instructive that Sister was a friend of all.
She was not only approachable she was also genuinely interested in people. She was able to get on with people. She would not pass a judgment or condemn you even if you are not a “Born Again” Christian. Let me explain. One would have expected Sister to have friends only in her Christian circles, but she wouldn’t do that. She was a bridge and I understand it was partly this reason she was always made a prefect in her class during her training as a nurse.
Adieu big sister, a true soldier of Christ. O jere Chineke ozi.
I miss you sister.our aged mother, Leader Ezinne Comfort Okpanku is missing you too.We however find solace knowing that you have joined the great cloud of witnesses and I love you always. Thanks for always been there for us especially during crucial moments. We miss you greatly, Sister, and the vacuum you left behind will be very difficult to fill. But we thank Almighty God for that will help us to keep the flag flying.
Matron Mrs. Nnenna Acholem who was a staunch member of NIPSS women, Jos, Plateau State joined her maker four years ago.