Learning from the Past and Choosing Something Better
As a boy, I was brought up in a family that professed to be Christian. Our parents would take my four siblings and me to church every Sunday, but the story of salvation was never told there. However, an uncle of mine came into contact with the Apostolic Faith Church in Ibadan, Nigeria. In the early 1950s, he invited our entire family to the services, which were then held in a milling house. The owner operated the mill during the day, and in the evenings, it was used for revival meetings. There my father prayed his way through to salvation.
My father was a goldsmith by profession. After he was saved, the Lord spoke to his heart about changing his job, but sadly, he did not because he was anxious about his material needs. Before long he left the church to continue with his goldsmithing. From that point, the family plunged into an ocean of problems and difficulties. In time, my older sister and brothers were sent to live with other members of the extended family, while the youngest child and I stayed with our parents. Because the sorrow and suffering persisted, my parents could not cope, and our upbringing suffered.
Fleeing hardship, yet going nowhere
Our grandparents lived in our hometown, and I wanted to live with them in order to move away from the troubles. One day, I informed my father about this intention, and he did not hesitate to approve it. So I left my parents to live with my grandparents during my primary school days. By the time I completed primary school, my oldest brother had finished a teacher’s training program, and was teaching in a secondary school in Ikorodu. I hoped he would sponsor my secondary school program, but after a few years, he moved to Lagos to take another teaching appointment. Six months later, I joined him in Lagos, but there was no plan to further my education.
There was a vacuum within me that desired the true worship of God.
It was necessary for me to find something to do for my upkeep. One day in 1961, while roaming the streets, I met a group of people holding a street meeting and telling of what Jesus can do. I followed them to their church and began to attend their services. They taught me how to sing songs, memorize verses of the Bible, fast, and do penance, but I was not told how to be free from sin. Despite observing all these instructions, I still committed sins and had bad dreams. There was a vacuum within me that desired the true worship of God. One time I went into a building that was under construction and prayed that God would show me the true way of worship. However, at the time, I was engaged in a business which was not in conformity with the way of the Lord.
A choice that finally brought joy
In front of my workplace one day in 1964, I met my uncle who had come from Ibadan to the annual camp meeting convention of the Apostolic Faith, and he invited me to join him. I did, and once there, I remembered it was the same church that my parents had left ten years before. What I heard and observed was quite different from my former place of worship.
After the service, I began to pray, and the Lord revealed the sins which I had committed from the age of five, including how I had lied to my parents and cheated the government. This prompted me to start making restitutions, even though I had not yet experienced salvation. God’s Spirit let me know that I needed to change my job, and also I was confused about some of the doctrines and teachings of the church. I did not allow God to have His way with me, to plan my life and lead me into salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and so the camp meeting ended without my receiving what God had for me.
God helped me to understand that during my childhood, my father had gone away from serving God because he would not surrender his all, and I knew how our family had suffered because of that decision.
For almost two years I shuttled between my former church and the Apostolic Faith. Meanwhile, my work was not progressing, and everything in my life was turning upside down. Then God helped me to understand that during my childhood, my father had gone away from serving God because he would not surrender his all, and I knew how our family had suffered because of that decision. I purposed that during the next Apostolic Faith camp meeting, I would surrender my all to God.
That year Reverend Loyce C. Carver, the worldwide leader from Portland, Oregon, visited Nigeria for the first time. On August 26, 1966, he taught about the three basic spiritual experiences and how they can be procured step by step. That teaching swept away my erroneous beliefs, and I was saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. That day I went home with joy!
By that time I had an espoused wife from my former church. She began attending the Apostolic Faith with me, and one day at my workplace, she prayed through to salvation. Later we were married, and God blessed us with children. Now we have grandchildren who are being raised in the Gospel.
Victory in persecution
In 1991, the traditional ruler and inhabitants of the area where I was living attacked another minister and me. We were mistreated and roughly handled. I was mercilessly beaten and dragged on the floor like a criminal. Later we were taken before the police and put in a cell, but thank God, we were delivered and released.
On the third day after the incident, I returned home and went blind. Our church leader sent a message to all our branch churches and to the Portland headquarters to pray for me. Truly, “the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up.” I have since regained my sight, and I thank God for healing me miraculously.
After my recovery, I was sent back to the same location to continue the work of the ministry, and God showed that we had not suffered in vain. The traditional ruler later asked our church workers to preach the Gospel right inside his palace to himself and his subjects. The seeds sown that year germinated and have brought much fruit. Now there is a branch of our church in that ruler’s domain.
I am happy to tell the world that the God of yesterday is the God of today, and He will be our God for ever and ever.