FROM CONFUSION TO CONVICTION
I was born into a family where my Dad was a nominal Christian and my Mom a Muslim. Dad was a Christian only in name and never went to church except for a funeral or wedding ceremony occasionally😊
Really, Dad had no religious belief. He was more or less an atheist and we were free to follow whatever religion my mother practiced.
Growing up, we observed all the Islamic practices and festivities with my Mom whilst we went to church twice a year – on Christmas and New Year’s Day. I would say I had no particular religious inclinations as I was raised to be a Christian/Muslim simultaneously. All in all, we had no strong religious inclination as a family. Reflecting on the situation now, it looked like a recipe for confusion.
My mom went from being a Muslim to a nominal Christian, then back to being a Muslim. After a while, she joined the celestial church, (a white garment church), changed back to being a nominal Christian and finally back to being a Muslim. As was customary, all the children were mandated to practice whatever religion she was practicing. In 1984, she was planning on going on pilgrimage to Mecca.
That year, however, by some divine orchestration, she found herself in a crusade in Ibadan, held by T. L. Osborne and Archbishop Benson Idahosa, where she gave her heart to Christ. Since the children always followed whatever religion she practiced, my siblings and I were now under intense pressure to become born again.
My greatest observation was that her life was different and she was a happier person. She seemed so thrilled about her new found faith and avidly witnessed to all her friends and associates. I was glad for her but did not know how long this would last. Again I began to attend her church meetings with her.
Shortly after, she became a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s’ Fellowship International (FGBMFI) and started taking me to some of their meetings. These meetings changed my impression of born again Christians because I always thought they were a bunch of fanatics.
However, I saw something entirely different in these meetings. I saw people who were well accomplished in society, well dressed and well mannered and this began to change my perception of Christians in general.
In the summer of 1986, my elder brother and I travelled to the United Kingdom and Canada for our annual holidays. Summer holidays was something we usually looked forward to every long vacation, and this one should have been more exciting since we were travelling without our parents which would have meant more freedom to do all the things we would really want to do.
But somehow I did not feel so happy about this holiday. I felt sober for the entire three weeks and was under great conviction to give my heart to Christ.
I began to preach to the friends I met and made in the UK and Canada on the need to become a born again Christian. They asked me if I was born again and I said No, but I will get born again when I get back to Nigeria after the summer vacation.
I found myself praying and for the first time reading the bible which was an entirely strange thing to me considering the fact that we never opened a bible in my house. In actual fact, we had Qurans and occasionally read from it.
When school resumed later that year, I made enquiries about the different fellowships on campus and their meeting venues. I stayed off campus and Youth For Christ Fellowship -YFC (now BLW Inc) was the closest venue to where I lived.
I got to school on Sunday evening and learnt that the fellowship meets on Wednesdays and Sundays. Since I had already missed the one on Sunday, I planned to attend the Wednesday meeting.
Meanwhile, as I was returning to school, I made up my mind to associate with those who were born again Christians in my class which I began to do immediately. On that Wednesday evening, I went for the fellowship with a friend (Funke Olusanya), who incidentally had the same feelings with me about Christianity.
I can’t remember what message was preached or what transpired in that meeting. I do not even remember who was preaching on that day. All I was waiting for was the moment the altar call will be made. As soon as I heard the altar call, I raised up my hand and gave my heart to Christ.
Incidentally, my friend and I were the only ones who got born again that evening. And boy was I relieved! I felt a big weight had been rolled off me, I felt so much at peace. I felt really happy. I felt I had come home at last. I had been under so much conviction of sin throughout the holiday period and was glad to have this weight lifted off me. I wanted to tell the whole world about my new found faith in Christ.
I immediately began witnessing for Christ. The next day I met a friend on my way to the faculty and I told her I got born again the previous night and invited her to fellowship on Sunday and she also got born again.
All this happened in November 1986 whilst I was in my 300 level at the University of Benin, in Youth For Christ fellowship now known as BLW Inc. Since then, it’s been one way Jesus Christ.
Friends, joined us as we celebrate Pastor Dupe Isesele. Yesterday was her birthday 🎉