October 1, 2012

Finding My Father’s God

Philip Inyang, father of the author of this testimony, was born in Ikot Enwang, Nigeria. According to the custom of the area, his parents offered sacrifices on his behalf to protect his life, because he was an only child. However, after attending Sunday school in one of the churches nearby and learning that God was the only One who had the power to protect, he refused further sacrifices on his behalf. To the surprise of his parents, he soon began to enjoy perfect health.

One day in 1935, Philip received an Apostolic Faith tract titled, How to Become a Disciple of Jesus Christ. Though he did not read the tract right away, after he finally read it for the first time, he read it again and again, sometimes in tears. He was dissatisfied with the church he attended and finally decided to start a separate fellowship. In 1940, he constructed a small house for prayer. He wrote to the Apostolic Faith Headquarters, and in 1951, Reverend Timothy Oshokoya of Lagos, Nigeria, visited Philip and invited him to the 1951 camp meeting in Lagos.

In later years, Philip testified about his first prayer service in Lagos: “I pretended to be praying and stayed very long at the altar of prayer. I was the last person to leave. A brother came to me and asked how it was with me. I told him that he saw that I left the altar bench last, and that should prove to anyone that I was saved. I thank God that this brother did not leave me. It was the second day that I sincerely prayed and God forgave me of my sins. Soon after that, God sanctified me and gave me the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

Philip Inyang served the Lord faithfully from that day forward. He was determined to teach the Bible doctrines as upheld by the Apostolic Faith organization, and to instruct his own family in the truth. Over the years until his death, he was instrumental in establishing branch churches in many areas of Nigeria, and eventually became the Overseer of the Apostolic Faith work in Eastern Nigeria.

His son, Samuel, visited the Portland camp meeting in 2011. In the following testimony, Samuel tells of the tremendous impact his father’s godly life had upon him.

Testimony of Samuel Inyang: Finding My Father's God

God gave me the great privilege of being born into a godly home. My father was a committed Christian before I was born, and the leader of the Apostolic Faith work in the eastern part of Nigeria and Cameroon. He taught my siblings and me how to pray, how to trust in God, how to read the Bible, and he taught us godly virtues. In my early years I did not take these teachings seriously, but instead just considered them a normal way of life.

On my birthday when I was twelve years old, I was angry with a member of our household and caused her to be punished. When my father learned about this, he disciplined me, and then explained that God has an even greater punishment for people who disobey Him. He said that the only way to escape God’s punishment was to be saved from sin. A man from a neighboring town was meeting with my father that day, and my father had the three of us go to the altar of prayer at the church. He said this must be the day of my salvation. I knelt and pretended to be praying, thinking my father would soon leave me alone, but he did not. When I became hungry, I decided to look for a way to sneak out. As I lifted my face, my father was praying with tears, and the other brother was also. Their tears touched my heart and it melted. I said, “Lord, if this salvation they are talking about is true, and You can change somebody’s life, and You can save today, let it be my day of salvation.” That day, Jesus came and washed my sins away. Oh, I cannot explain the joy I had in my heart. Immediately, I rushed to my mother and confessed that I had been telling her lies. I found the member of our household who had been punished and begged for forgiveness.

My concern was that the joy of salvation might diminish if I prayed for sanctification. My father said, “No, sanctification will make the joy to be greater.”

When I thanked my father for what he had done, he said, “That is just the beginning. If you will humble yourself and pray, the Lord will sanctify your soul.” My concern was that the joy of salvation might diminish if I prayed for sanctification. My father said, “No, sanctification will make the joy to be greater.” I believed him and quickly went to prayer saying, “Lord, I understand there is sanctification. As You saved my soul, also sanctify me.” It was not long before Jesus applied His Blood the second time and sanctified me. I was very happy.

At school the next day I told my teacher, “Sir, kindly forgive me. I have been gossiping about you and also did things that the school authorities forbid. God was not happy with me, but He has saved my soul. So I want you to forgive me also.” The teacher embraced me and said he had never seen such a thing before. He asked about the church, and I invited him. That Sunday he came, and before long the Lord saved his soul, and he became a worker in the church until his death.

Soon I began seeking God for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. One Sunday as I was praying that the Lord would heal my Sunday school teacher who was sick, the Holy Ghost came upon me and I began speaking in another language. I was a little concerned, wondering if this was truly the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, so I told my father about it. He suggested that I could go back to God and ask Him to confirm that experience. I rushed back to the altar and my father came with me. Even before I asked God to confirm the gift He gave me, I began speaking in another language again. It was the experience of the baptism.

From that time God helped me to live for Him in a fuller way. He prompted me to invite my peers to Sunday school, and many of them came. Parents also sent their children to church because they saw Christian qualities manifested in my life. Thanks to God, many of those people are now workers in this church.

Not long after that my father was called to Heaven. In the last Bible discussion we had, he told me he was not sure if he would survive, but that I should always keep Psalm 37:25-26 as my pilot verses. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.”

As the eldest of my parents’ six surviving children, I have had to pray those verses and ask God to provide, but He always has. When my father passed away, I did not know if I would be able to finish Primary school, yet God made a way and also took me through Secondary school. Then I began working in government services, and the government of our state sent me to a university.

God has been faithful to give me direction in life. At one time, a lecturer at the university arranged all the paperwork to take me to America, where I thought that life was very comfortable. We were at the airport and our luggage had been checked in when there was an attempted coup in Nigeria. Immediately, the airports, seaports, and all borders were closed, so our luggage was brought back to us. The lecturer said to me, “We will wait awhile, and when this situation is over, we can start off on the journey.” But I told him, “I am not going.”

Meanwhile, the people from our church had heard that I was planning to leave Nigeria, and someone had rushed to the airport. As I was leaving the airport, he saw me, and arrangements were made for me to journey back home to Ikot Enwang. It was the opening day of the annual camp meeting convention when I arrived there. The people of God were happy to see me, and the fellowship was good. God blessed my soul, and I told Him, “No more going anywhere; I want to serve You and give You my life.” Now I understand that if I had moved to America, I might not have continued serving the Lord. God had a brighter future for me and prevented the trip.

At the appropriate time, God had the right wife for me and He has blessed our family with three boys. God has healed me of illnesses, undertaken when I was seriously injured in a traffic accident, and miraculously protected me.

It gladdens my heart that even though my father was called to Heaven when my siblings and I were still young, all of our family is in the Gospel and serving God in one capacity or another. My mother, all my brothers, my sister, our children, and our grandchildren are happy that God has answered prayer and kept us in the faith. It is not by our might, but the Lord has done it. We are looking forward to the day we will meet in the Rapture.

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