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My first contact with her was in my Church, God of Glory Christian Church, Ketu Lagos, when she came to speak during the Women’s Convention. To so many men, speakers at most women convention have nothing to say more than how women should take care of their homes, cater for their husbands, submitting to their desires, sexual and otherwise, the children, parenting, etc. No wonder most men always sit back and allow the women tutor themselves during such conventions. But this Sunday, there was a shocker. The speaker hit not only the women, but the men. She was saying new things. Her approach was different. Her experience weird. You need to be under her ministration to know she is something else. She said some explosive things about conflict resolution in our homes, love making and sex, the Church, pastors and congregations and … her own life. She is an only child. Her mother died when she was just 14months. She was raised by her maternal grandmother and doesn’t know my Ikole-Ekiti born biological father till date. Her left her mum probably when she was pregnant of her. So early in life, she was in shambles because people called her a bastard. “So many people hurt me deeply. I was a girl going nowhere. All I wanted was to die. I contemplated suicide so many times. One day I held a knife in my hands in the kitchen, ready to pierce myself… then I heard a voice… the Holy Spirit… “If you know what I want to do with your life in the future, you will not do what you are about to do”. The knife dropped … When there was nowhere to go again, I thought marriage would save me. I went into it. It was abuse all over. After I aborted more than ten times, I stopped counting. I was written off medically. It was like God had finished with me. No. God just started. My story is to encourage someone out there that God is God. In spite of all the abortions, the abuse, the mysteries, I have three boys today, a sweet home and a wonderful ministry. God has a plan for you. Don’t give up my dear woman! Excerpts from an interview conducted by Bola Adewara.
What are you called to do in the body of Christ?
To minister healing to the hurting world, to build Christian relationship in a world that is hurting and dying. God told me that He has healed me and I should go in that might to heal other people. So many people that Jesus died for do not understand the concept of salvation and healing for their souls and bodies.
You said God said He has healed you. What really happened to you? Were you ill?
My life is a bundle of testimonies. I grew up basically as an orphan. My mother died when I was just 14 months old. I never get to know my father even up to this very moment. I was raised by my grandmother and while living with her, I lived with so many other people who were unkind to me. My grandmother was a loving woman whom anybody would love to be with. Everybody grew up to know their fathers and mothers. But that was not the case with me and my granny would not call me to discuss that with me. So I never knew where I really belonged to. I was hurting inside and nobody knew I was.
At a stage in my primary school, a cousin and I had a quarrel. In abusing me, she said Tolu’s mother is dead and she doesn’t know her father. That statement began a terrible pain in my heart that I became so bitter about life and I didn’t want to live again. By the time I got to secondary school, I became so unserious about my education. I would sit down at the kitchen and be ruminating in consternation, asking myself questions that what kind of a father would leave his daughter to suffer in an unkind world as I was in. Along the line, I became sickly. I was down with Rheumatism. When your heart is sickly, it affects the whole system too. I was always in and out of hospital.
I remember a day I was taken to Odogbo Military Hospital in Ibadan. The doctor, who thought I was sleeping, told my granny that I wouldn’t live beyond age 30 and so whatever I would have to do in life, I should be allowed to do them quickly. I remember my granny telling him that the Lord who has kept me for her since my mum died would keep me. That was my life, going nowhere. I was just like that. I am the only child. No biological siblings. No one to call my own. If anybody did anything to me, like my uncle would say something to me, I would interpret it based on my pains.
One day, an elderly lady whom I so well respected came to the house and told me that I am a bastard. She said that I should take a look at the pictures on the wall of the house and check if I resemble anyone of them. It was a terrible day for me. I went inside the kitchen to kill myself. I remember that I told God that ‘since I was young, I’ve been hearing about You but today, I am coming to meet You’. I held the knife, looking for where to pierce: my tummy, my wrist or my heart. I knew that if I did not get it right and did not succeed in killing myself, that would be another big issue. So I had to get it right.
As I was about to pierce myself, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit. The voice was as loud as if using a loud speaker and He said: ‘If you know what I want to do with your life in the future, you will not do what you are about to do with yourself’. The knife dropped. I sat down there and began to weep, telling God that I am not looking for a future. All I am looking for is a day of peace. I wanted to wake up a happy person and sleep a happy person.
Every October 15 was my saddest day. I would sit somewhere and cry myself out, asking God why did You create me and why would my father and mother leave me in this terrible world. Some of the children I grew with, because we were all children and knew nothing would say some unkind statements to me out of joke but that would get to me badly. And that would become a real issue.
Mrs. Ladipo, the Principal of my secondary school, St. Anne College, Ibadan, one day noted that I was not a happy child. There was a day that I was so rude to the French teacher because all I wanted was to be expelled from the school. After that first suicide attempt, I tried a few more times. I thought of running into an on-coming vehicle. Anytime I heard someone committed suicide, I wanted to know how the person did it so as to know how to do it best.
In 1989, after my secondary school and I realised I was not going to die again, I attended a Crusade in Ibadan to which I was invited by a cousin. At the Crusade, the preacher spoke on how God could take over our life. I gave my life to Christ that day but there was no proper discipleship. All I knew thereafter was that I was no longer committing suicide. I loved God and I was worshipping him.
But the pains of life continued and I began to think of solutions. One of such solutions which came to my mind was to get married. I had thought that at last I would stop bearing Adewumi, the name of a father I don’t know. I heard he is from Ikole Ekiti. One day, I attended a party and I met this young man. He talked to me and he sounded a very caring person. For the very first time in my life, I met someone who cheered me up, telling me I am beautiful, a brilliant girl. All my life, no one had ever said this to me. My uncle would tell me I would amount to nothing. I was a useless girl. But here was a man passing complements. So I started a relationship with him. I mean I was coming from a background where people would shout me down, shut me up, where I had no confidence in myself, where there was no love but naked hatred, as I saw it then. I was the one doing all the chores at home. And here was a man who would encourage me, listen to me talk, do things for me. So I was carried away.
Up till that time, I was thinking I would remain a virgin till the wedding day. But when he began asking for sex, I thought well, since he is the man I would get married to, why deny him. That was how I gave in to sex without experience and series of abortions began. I would get pregnant and abort it. That was how the abuse started. He would beat me up, slap me and the next minute he would be prostrating to beg me. I had no one to talk to. I had no experience. To walk out of the relationship was difficult. The abuse continued for four years. He was still better than where I was coming from. But it eventually came to an end one day, when the Lord spoke to me that He has not led me into that relationship.
I returned to Church and started the discipleship programme. This helped me to understand God the more. I started studying the Bible. I joined a Christian ministry, Urban Frontier Mission in Jos, plateau state. I was made the secretary of the body. The outreach went out to preach to people, especially the prostitutes and I found out that so many of them listened to me. When I tell them my story, it touched them easily. By the time I got out of that relationship, I had done so many abortions. When it was beyond ten, I stopped counting. There was a time I was wheeled to the theatre. I bled so much. It was obvious that something had gone wrong with my womb. On hearing my story, so many of them gave their lives to Christ.
In 1998, the ministry, organised by some foreigners brought us to Redemption camp in Lagos for a conference. Preaching on the third day of the conference was Pastor Gbile Akanni. On that day, April 13, 1998, at exactly 12noon, the Holy Spirit began to minister to me, saying I should get my pen and paper ready. I had a red pen on me that day. The very paper where I wrote the message is still with me till date. The Holy Spirit said “I have healed you. Go and heal other people. Concerning all the things you have gone through in life, I did not bring evil to people but I permitted it. Now with the same healing you have got, go and heal the hurting world”. That was how it started.
I started organising the ladies, talking to them about their lives and purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 is the key to my ministry. From that time, I came to know that my life was not about my father and mother coming together to have me, It was about God bringing me to this earth for a purpose. How I came does not matter. What matters is what I am here for. Since then, I stopped being carried away by self-pity and I began to live and build myself normally.
I decided to go to the bible school. That was where I learned so much about the workings of faith. After the school, I joined the church. That was the time my aunty went to England. They packed their things and left me alone. The landlord was coming in the evening to pick the keys. It was another challenge for me. I packed my things, kept them with a neighbour and moved to the church office. That was how I lived there for over three months before I got an apartment of my own. Throughout this period, I was so busy in the church, was a lead vocalist in the choir, joined virtually every department in the Church. I was virtually too busy to be bothered about my challenges until 1998 when I got an apartment which signalled the full commencement of the ministry.
Did you make any effort to trace your father at all?
Well, yes. At a time, I tried to but when I heard that he was actually married as at the time he met my mother, I stopped. I wouldn’t like tobe associated with issues of paternity, someone destroying someone’s family. All I know of him is that he is from Ikole Ekiti and his name is Adewumi. All I saw of my mum was a suitcase she left behind. In there, I saw some letters she exchanged with my dad. I actually heard that my mum committed suicide but later someone told me it was not so. Information about them was skeletal. I tried to trace him but I don’t like all the paternity noise that could arise from finding him. By God’s grace, I am ok. I don’t need to find him.
Discipleship helped you to become steady in Christ. Is that kind of discipleship still available?
In our churches today, character is lacking. James 2:17-18 says if you have faith, let me see your faith in your character. One of the problems in the Pentecostal fold is that though we speak in tongues, some can quote all the verses in the Bible, but how much of the word is seen in their lives.
In our ministry, our focus is to build the people through discipleship, to reconcile men back to God and to build them up into maturity through discipleship.
The reasons for this are that if you are not rooted in God, you will only be a butter Christian. The Great Commissions says go and make disciples…not go and make members. That is where the church is getting it wrong. Most pastors are looking for great congregation, not great disciples. That is why we find Christians having passion without integrity. They carry anointing without Character. That is why there are plenty Churches all over the streets but we have not been able to change our society.
What do you consider the major challenge facing young couples as they face life?
The foundation issue. Most foundations are shaky and it takes a little wind to make the foundations give way and the whole marriage collapse. Eighty, if not ninety percent of young marriages are not working because they are more of passion, feelings of love and not having understanding of what the word of God says about marriage. Most of them are not properly counselled about marriage. What most Churches do is to project their own doctrines in people’s lives. People come into marriage with the wrong expectations and selfish motives. A woman marries that guy because he is rich, so he could take care of her and her family. A man marries a lady because he wants to kill loneliness. All wrong motives. After you get married, you find that all of you have expectations that were not met and if care is not taken, the marriage crumbles.
How do you distinguish the Christian marriage from the circular marriage? How can we make the Christian marriage different?
As I said earlier, it’s all about the foundation. What kind of marriage do you want to have? The godly marriage? The Cultural marriage? Or the Societal marriage?
In a cultural marriage, the parents warn their children not to engage in inter-ethnic marriages. The cultural sentiment is exalting itself above the godly factor. Don’t marry Ijebu girls. Benin girls are wayward. People spend millions to marry Igbo girls. You don’t call your husband by his name. Culture! The marriage is set to please the culture rather than God. Yes, there are values in our culture but there are also so many wrong things.
The next is the societal marriage. Who are we inviting to the wedding? Who will be the chairman? What clothes are we wearing? How much are we spending? Mr. X spent N2.5millon on their wedding. We should spend N4million on ours. The wedding is guided by societal expectations. When they get into the marriage, the next round of societal expectations begins: we need to make our house super. Mr. X has plasma TV and Range Rover jeep. We must have that too. The problems of the society fall on them and in no time, the marriage crumbles.
The godly marriage is the one based on godly principles. Let us look at how Adam did it. Before Eve came, Adam had a relationship with God. He had a purpose in God. He had a job. That is God’s method. If any man has not that, he is not qualified to be married. And when Eve came, she came to fulfill her purpose. People get married today not to fulfill purpose but to fulfill passion.
When my husband came to propose to me, I told him about my past. I have aborted uncounted times. I may not even be able to have a child on account of this. Don’t just be carried away by the church figure or the pretty woman you see. This is where so many people get it wrong. They portray who they are not. I laid down the basis, told him that I have gone beyond the emotion thing. I am not blind in love. If you are blind in love, you need to get a pair of glasses because marriage has a way of opening blinded eyes. I told him about my ministry. By His grace, this is my fifteenth year in the ministry. I don’t earn a penny and I am not on salary or allowance. When there is food I eat. When there is none, I drink water. I asked him, are you prepared to marry a wife like me? So that tomorrow won’t come and financial pressure will force you to insist I have to go get a job. But if you are the one the Lord says would marry me, in just one year, you will see how your finances will change.
How do you resolve conflicts in marriage?
The type of marriage you build determines how you resolve the conflict. One of the passions I have is about men understanding the leadership roles in the house. Right from Genesis, God has never asked woman concerning marriage. It is the man. Right from childhood, a baby girl is taught how to cook, take care of the house. But how many times have you seen the boy being taught how to become a man, how to protect his sisters, home, etc? Our people prefer to make the boy sit down and watch TV, expect his food from the girl cooking with the mother in Kitchen. So right from childhood, the boy grows with the consciousness of a rule rather than a leader. A leader leads by influence while a ruler rules by force.
The man is to protect the woman. The woman is like a garden, the man is to tend it. These days, the man wants to marry a woman who works in a good place so that her money will be available for the house and you still want to be a ruler! It does not work like that.
The first point of call in all conflict is that the two of them have to sit down and talk issues. They have to communicate. The two of them must know that they have to give up something. Both of them can’t insist of their rights and this has to do with brokenness of the two and the man takes the lead.
The moment the two of them can’t communicate properly, there is the need for spiritual counselling. And in doing this, they have to know where they go to. If they approach the families, sentiments would come in depending on whose side you are consulting. You have to go to a neutral person. When issues are resolved, a couple should end every resolution with sex. It helps to strengthen the marriage.
What should a man look for in getting a godly wife?
The first thing the man should look out for is himself. You can’t give what you don’t have. Human beings are like magnet. We attract ourselves. When God created animals, He said let it reproduce after its kind. When God created Eve, He did that from the bones of Adam. A man will naturally attract a person after himself. So if you want a godly woman, are you godly yourself? A man has to work on himself first when you are still single. Everything about life starts with you. Build your character, deal with yourself. You have to find yourself before you have to find another person.
Can you explain the difference between sex and love making?
They are very different. Sex is a mechanical thing. It’s like just having carnal knowledge of the woman, without message or spirituality. You often hear men asking, are you ready for me? Sex for most men is physical. For women, its emotion. So many men do not understand this. To them sex is a responsibility and so the women do it with no affection.
But love making is when you understand one another. A man can be aroused by anything. Woman is not. Sex is a thing of the mind for the woman, for the man, it’s the head. Some men can even be aroused by a naked mad woman. A woman can see a naked man, even her husband and may not be moved. This is how nature wired us.
The man must have the understanding of the woman, how best to meet the emotions of the woman, how to approach the woman. I also advise women to make advances to their husbands. It makes it easier for them.
If a man wants to get his wife easily, all you need do is excite her. When a woman is excited, she releases herself, her body so easily. So he question is how do I get my wife excited?
Sex does not begin on the bed. A man shouts on his wife in the morning, shuns her in the afternoon and at night, you throw your hands to her. Of course, she will throw the hands back. If you want your wife at night, start the process in the morning. Call her pet names. Appreciate her. Speak sweet things to her. Excite her emotions from the morning; she should be ready so easily for sexual desires later.
Is divorce truly out of bounds for Christians? Why do we see so many pastors going the divorce ways these days?
The Bible did not say divorce cannot take place. The Bible says God hates divorce. There is also a place where it says if a woman… and man is caught in adultery, divorce can take place. But it is not sufficient to be preaching this in the church. Where is the place for forgiveness as Jesus preached?
However, there are so many cases of battery where the life of the woman is threatened. We have seen instances where women are beaten to death. There are cases where women are beaten that they bleed profusely, yet the pastors try to reconcile them and send the woman back to the home and the same thing still take place. In cases like this, separation could be proffered because we can’t risk the life of the woman.
But the problem now is our people always take that for license. Every little disagreement, they walk out of the marriage. Every man and woman gets to that stage of walking out of marriages but not all issues are resolved by walking out.
Let me also add that for those who are divorced, God does not hate them. He only hates the idea of divorce. He surely loves divorced people. No matter what you are, God still loves you. There are instances where we judge the woman as the divorcee but it was the man who walked out of the marriage. One cannot condemn her on account of that. Marriage was not established to define our lives but to enhance our lives.
Can being a divorce stop anybody from ministry?
I do not think so. I have come to know that whatever happens to me is leading me to the next level of ministry. I want to speak to people that men walked out of them that they can actually start ministry for people in that shoes. Let me explain this with the example of a woman in Jos who was married to a politician who lived in Abuja. One day she was watching the television when she saw her husband’s traditional wedding ceremony with another woman being telecast on TV. She fainted. Thank God that there were people around her that day to revive her. The marriage eventually collapsed. But much later after she recovered from the experience, she started a ministry where she was speaking to women who have gone through that experience and those going through it. The same thing with me. When I tell people what I have gone through in life, many of them know that there is no issue that God cannot handle. When you give up on anything, you give up on the ability of God to handle your situation.