I was still a young child when I started seeking God. I attended a mission school, and when I heard the Word of God, I wanted to be good. As much as I tried, however, I found myself failing. Down in my heart I hungered for something more.
After my schooling, I started teaching in a Baptist mission. We were preaching that we did not have power over sin. Nevertheless, I did not stop reading the Word of God, and I did not stop praying. The hunger was there, but I did not know what I was searching for.
After some time, I moved to Lagos to get a job, and there I looked for a church where the truth was preached. I saw the Apostolic Faith signboard by the roadside when I passed through the area, but each time I continued on without stopping. One day, however, a lady invited me to go with her to a service. It would be her first time to attend the Apostolic Faith Church too.
During that service, I felt the presence of God. For the first time, I heard that “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9). I knew that my searching for the truth had come to an end.
Although I could have been saved that day, somehow I was hesitant. I had many friends in the world, and I did not know what would happen to those friendships if I became a Christian. However, one night, in my sleep, God put the song, “Never Alone,” in my mouth. When I opened my eyes, I was still singing the song. I knew God was telling me that He would not leave me alone if I followed His holy way. The next Sunday, I went to my knees and prayed until Jesus saved my soul. The lady who had invited me to attend church with her also prayed and was saved. Incidentally, she later became my wife.
God later sanctified me and filled me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He also taught me about divine healing. During one camp meeting, I became very sick. A church service was in progress and I needed to leave, but I did not want to go out because I had brought a visitor. Over the platform was written, “Jesus saves, heals, and keeps.” I asked myself, “Paul, why are you not trusting Jesus?” There, in my seat, I whispered, “Jesus, please help me,” and the sickness left.
God helped me to see the need to draw closer to Him and to get my messages from Him.
In 1981, my company sent me to Ghana to help establish a shoe factory, and I made contact with the Apostolic Faith Church in Accra. When I saw the problems they were passing through, God put a burden on my heart to pray for that church and the Gospel work in Ghana. I did not know that one day I would return there as a missionary.
After concluding my assignment with the shoe factory, I returned to Lagos. I became a Sunday school teacher and before long, I was asked to preach my first sermon. It was unique in that, during the camp meeting of that year, God had told me clearly to prepare for a sermon. I did not understand why I was to do that, but He gave me a message. God helped me to see the need to draw closer to Him and to get my messages from Him. Many times it was as though I was being preached to first before I ever preached it to others.
In 1992, while working as manager of a shoe manufacturing company in the city of Ife, I was asked to pastor the church there. Pastoring is challenging, and I soon discovered that I could not be a pastor and a manager at the same time. The secular job was taking more and more of my time. Eventually, I was asked to give my whole time to Gospel work.
When a new leader was needed for the work in Ghana, the mantle fell on me. When I arrived in Ghana, the church had no money; there was no church building; the people were worshiping in a mission house. However, the climate for evangelism was very good. A challenge lay before us. We wrote down our list of requests, and then I encouraged the members to pray morning, evening, and night. Soon God started answering. After two years and ten months, God gave us a campground. The tabernacle there was already halfway finished; the basement was completely ready. We held our 1999 camp meeting on that property.
During that camp meeting, we received the news of the passing of the leader of the work in Nigeria, Reverend Josiah Soyinka. After the funeral, much to my surprise, I was appointed to assume his responsibilities. God has helped me in a marvelous way. Come what may, my purpose is to serve Jesus to the end, because He has done so much for me.
Paul Akazue, District Superintendent of West and Central Africa passed away on May 7, 2010. Appointed leader on October 3, 1999, Brother Paul faithfully served from the Lagos, Nigeria, Anthony Village church headquarters until his passing. During his ten plus years of leadership, the work grew significantly.
In his preaching, Brother Paul often challenged the audience to make sure they were “raptureable.” Though he passed away before the Rapture, we may be alive when the trumpet sounds. Either way, we want our hearts to be tuned to that coming sound so we can meet the Lord, and Brother Paul, in the air when it occurs.