Popular Christian singer Blessing Offor is crediting God's grace and is singing patriotic tunes after he received a green card that will allow him to stay in the United States and continue to use his talents there.
Offor was born in Nigeria but has never returned. In May, he officially received his EB-1 visa, which is given to noncitizens who are "of extraordinary ability," as described by the U.S. government. It is often called the most difficult visa to obtain.
The day he received news of the EB-1, he recorded a social media video singing God Bless America. He received a nomination for Song of the Year (The Goodness, with TobyMac) at this year's K-Love Fan Awards, which will be broadcast Friday night on TBN.
"I've been here since I was six, and so, this is my home," Offor told Christian Headlines. "And I said to myself, 'Man, I want to stay here because of this gift that God has given me and for America.'"
Receiving the visa was an extraordinary moment, he said. Offor is legally blind and often shares details of his life story during concerts.
"It's one thing if a radio station tells you you're really good. That's awesome. But for the entire government of America to say to you, 'Hey, we think you're pretty good, and you can stay based on the fact that you do this pretty decently' – it about made me cry. It was wonderful. I'm blessed. I'm happy. … That's my green card."
Successful EB-1 applications are rare, he said.
"So when I tell people this was a miracle, trust me, it was a miracle," he told Christian Headlines. "We applied, and our first answer was not a good one. They said, 'Hey, we need further evidence of this claim you make [of extraordinary talent].' And so my lawyer was like, 'Hey, man, it doesn't look good.' And my manager was like, 'Blessing, I've known bigger artists that didn't get this.' And I said to these guys, 'Hey, listen, I've been in more tough times than I can tell you about, and here I am. So we're gonna be fine.' There was so much that was riding on this [that] I said, 'God, I know this is happening.' And against all of the perfectly rational pessimism – God [took care of it]."
Photo courtesy: ©Ashley Sirinakis, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.