Pastor Sami Dagher, Matthew Nowery, Jonathan Oloyede, and Lou Fellingham
Pastor Sami Dagher
Sami Dagher was born in Rmeileh, a village near the old city of Sidon where the Lord Jesus came and spoke to the Syro-Phoenician woman and healed her daughter.
Sami is the youngest of twelve children. Graduated from the Hotelier school in Beirut, he went to Europe for further training, starting in Switzerland. After seven years of training at various hotels, moving from one country to another, his last stop was in London working at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane. In 1963, Sami married a British girl and returned to Beirut to accept a position with the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel.
After seven years at the Intercontinental Hotel, Sami accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour through the work of an American missionary couple. In 1971, he was invited to a conference in Amsterdam where Dr. Billy Graham preached for one week presenting the need of Europe and the Middle East. At that time Sami felt that he received the call from the Lord for a full-time ministry. Sami resigned in 1973 from the Intercontinental Hotel and started working full time for the Lord. The first two years were not very profitable in winning souls for Christ as he spent most of his time studying the word of God at the feet of Jesus.
In 1975, the civil war started in Lebanon between Palestinians and Christians, the Muslim population in Lebanon stood with the Palestinians. The war went on for 17 years. During the war the Karantina church was born and three other churches were planted. Thousands of New Testaments were given to the Arab peace keeping forces which were all Muslims.
After the Gulf War, Sami went to Baghdad, Iraq and started a ministry in a Presbyterian church where he was able to reach many people for Christ. One of the young people who accepted the Lord expressed their desire to study in a Bible School. Sami brought him to the Alliance Bible School in Beirut which he started in 1986; Ghassan Thomas was trained for three years before being sent back to Baghdad to pastor the Alliance church which Sami started. Today they have the largest Evangelical church in Iraq. Sami got to know people in high positions in Iraq, like the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Affairs, and he was able to give a Bible for Saddam Hussein. Saddam sent Pastor Sami a gold watch in return and a letter thanking him for the precious gift of the Holy Bible.
Sami started an extension of the Alliance Bible School of Beirut in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. Today, teachers from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt go to teach there. 39 students are currently being trained in the Nuba Bible School and five Sudanese are being trained in the Beirut Bible School. Once trained, they will then go back to Sudan to carry on the teaching role for their people in the Nuba Mountains.
The Lord led Sami recently to go to the Kurdish controlled region in northern Iraq. The Minister of Religious Affairs helped him to obtain a piece of land and build a centre there to help people and preach the gospel of Christ in an area where nobody knows about Jesus.
Sami is currently the Pastor of the Karantina Alliance church in Lebanon and is the President of all Alliance churches in Lebanon which he founded.
Sami has two children. Paul is a surgeon in Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A. His daughter Anna is married to Rev. Dr. Milad Dagher who is the Director of the Alliance Bible School in Beirut and responsible for training people and sending them back to spread the word of God in their own country. Milad studied for seven years at the Dallas Theological Seminary; he has a PhD in the Old Testament theology.
Sami is responsible for an orphanage in the South of Lebanon where 49 boys and girls are being looked after, 50% of whom are from a Muslim background.
Sami is starting a church in Cairo. A young Egyptian man was trained in the Bible School in Beirut and sent back to serve the Lord in his country. Just recently, Sami received a letter from him asking him to go and baptise 20 new believers in Egypt.
Rev. Dagher has been serving the Lord for 46 years. He planted 6 churches in Lebanon, one church in Baghdad, a Fountain of Love centre in Northern Iraq, a Bible School in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan and a Bible School in Lebanon. He is supposed to be retired but is working harder than ever, helping displaced people and refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
Matthew Nowery began working with Samaritan’s Purse in 2005. He spent five years working with the persecuted church in Sudan. There he spent time researching and documenting the atrocities committed against the Sudanese church by the government of the North. He used that information to develop a programme that enabled the construction of churches that had been destroyed in the civil war, as well as a seminary to train up new pastors to replace those who had been martyred. More importantly, it was here that the persecuted Sudanese taught him what it means to walk with God.
In 2010, Matthew was re-assigned to northern Iraq where he managed the Fountain of Love community centre. In August 2014, the SP-northern Iraq office was established to meet the overwhelming needs of the people who had fled ISIS persecution. Matthew serves as the Country Director of SP-Northern Iraq and lives in Erbil with his wife, Sarah and their children, Ezra and Macy.
Dr Jonathan Oloyede
Dr Jonathan Oloyede is a medical doctor by profession, called as a missionary to England and Europe. He is a Muslim convert, following a revival that hit the Nigerian Universities in the 1980s. Jonathan was ordained into Pastoral Ministry in 1993 at Glory Bible Church (Glory House). In 2008 Jonathan, along with his wife, Abbiih together were appointed as Team Leaders of City Chapel in East London.
Jonathan was the key catalyst for London’s Global Day of Prayer, and more recently, the National Day of Prayer & Worship mobilising over 32,000 to Wembley Stadium in September 2012. His vision is to see the United Kingdom saturated with prayer and this continues through the Joining the Dots tour. Jonathan is married to Abbiih and lives in Kent with his two lovely children: Samuel and Hanita.
Having served as lead singer of Phatfish for almost two decades – during which time she recorded eight albums, toured extensively throughout the UK, Canada and the USA, and became an integral part of the worship team at the Stoneleigh Bible Week – Lou Fellingham is now four albums into a firmly-established career as a solo artist. Her distinctive voice and heart for people have made Lou a much loved worship leader, singer and recording artist.
Her debut solo album – Treasure – was released in 2006, followed by Promised Land in 2008 and Step Into The Light in 2010. Together those early releases brought her industry awards and repeat invites to appear on the BBC’s Songs of Praise. More than that, they demonstrated Lou’s desire to communicate the love of God, feed the church and bring revelation of God through her singing and songwriting.
2014 brought the release of Fascinate, her fourth solo album, which was written and recorded after Lou and family returned from a 6-month working sabbatical in South Africa. Lou and her husband Nathan came home knowing that God had been doing things in them and that they are now in a new season. Facing new challenges and new opportunities, they are also aware that there is the same eternal, loving Father calling them on.