In 1987, as a year 4 undergraduate student in the University, I learned about a crusade on the campus at which a visiting Evangelist would be ministering. Up till this time, I had received multiple invitations to Christian Fellowship meetings on the Campus but never took them seriously, and either ignored the invitation or attended with reluctance and always leaving the same way I came.
But I went for this particular Crusade, probably out of curiosity to hear the story of the Minister who was widely known before his conversion, as a member of a nationally notorious gang of armed robbers. But he became born again, and went from city to city telling his story.
So I went, with a friend of mine. I don’t recall exactly which day of the program – as I think it was a 2 or 3 day program – but on one of the nights, the altar call was given and I found myself getting up and making my way from the elevated row of seats I occupied, to the front.
I said the sinners’ prayer as led by the Minister, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I wish I could say that from the next day, I began a saintly life full of the Spirit, but that was not what happened to me immediately.
After that night and the departure of the visiting Evangelist, I was like a baby born and left in the woods. I do not recall if anyone followed me up, but if so, it wasn’t effective because I continued as I was except that I gave up smoking from that night, for the next 12 months.
After graduating from the University, I proceeded for my National Youth Service, and then started work in a multinational company as an Engineer. It was here that I met a young engineering student who had come for her internship in the same company.
We became friends and then on her birthday, which was nearly a year after we met, she invited me to a ‘new’ Church in the town which she had learned about from School. She insisted that this was all she wanted as a birthday present, for me to oblige her invitation to attend her new Church.
The date was Sunday, Jun 30, 1991 and the Church was Christ Embassy, Warri. Interestingly, a colleague of mine at the company where I worked had invited me several times, and she made valiant efforts to get me to come, all to no avail.
But here now, the Lord arranged for the invitation to come from someone I could not refuse! So I attended and my life took a turn that set me on the course that God prepared for me to follow. I became a member of Christ Embassy, and for the first time since I got born again in 1987, I received the follow-up that was missing in my Christian life.
My Pastor in Warri, Rev Ray Okocha, prayed for me, prayed with me, followed me up, trained me, and invested enough in me that when time came for me to move from Warri to Lagos about a year later, I didn’t miss my way. I continued in Christ Embassy, Lagos, and set my eyes on my Man of God, Rev Chris, for the first time in 1992.
The sister who invited me to Christ Embassy became my wife 2 years later, and our story has been one of unending praise, and from glory to glory! When I think of how patient God was with me, how many opportunities He gave me, how he preserved my life (I recall at least 3 times when I narrowly missed fatal accidents before 1987), and finally ordered my step to come in contact with my Man of God, Rev Chris and our Ministry, I am forever grateful that He didn’t give up on me. That is why I never give up on anybody.
If God saved me, He can save anybody. Now my story is “praising my Savior all the day long.
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