TRACING MY HISTORY
I was born into a religious family; so I had some knowledge of the Bible, however, I wasn’t born again. At a very tender age of about six years, I started masturbating. But since I was a child, I didn’t fully understand the implications, I simply enjoyed doing it. I shared a room with my siblings and as a result, I couldn’t comfortably masturbate when they were present in the room. I always wished for them to leave. The scenes and pictures I was exposed to on TV also made my situation worse because I had begun to imagine all sorts of lustful images, even as a child.
I was also sexually abused by a boy who lived with us under the care of my parents, but God delivered me from him. He stole a huge sum of money from my dad and was caught. My dad discovered that he’d been stealing in the past, so he was beaten and sent away. However, I was also sexually abused by a family friend.
My deliverance from lust and masturbation began in my secondary school. I was sent to a boarding house for the period of secondary school which I wasn’t quite happy with because it meant that I wouldn’t be free to masturbate in private. Regardless, I still hid and did so without being noticed by anyone. I attended the Protestant Chapel back then in my Secondary School and we played host to some invited preachers from outside the school sometimes. It was in that period that I discovered that I was committing sins by being lustful and masturbating. As I began to understand that what I was doing wasn’t right, I developed hatred for the two persons who had earlier abused me sexually. This awareness caused me to look for deliverance but I couldn’t stop masturbating, I was addicted to it.
THE EFFECT OF WRONG THEOLOGY
In year 2 of my Junior Secondary School, I went out and signified my intention of being born again during a Sunday service where an invited preacher made an altar call. I, however, didn’t understand some things about the decision I made, so I kept going out each time any preacher gave an altar call. I went out on so many occasions that I can’t keep tabs on because I discovered that even after giving my life to Christ, I kept going back to sin. I felt that giving my life to Christ repeatedly was the only way to get right again with God. Another motivation for giving my life to Christ so many times was the fear of going to hell. With the scary stories I was told about hell by the preachers and the horrible things that would happen if I was left behind after rapture, I feared hell and the rapture. I really wanted to be delivered so I wouldn’t experience all those things.
But one day, a senior student who was one of the leaders in the chapel told us that we couldn’t keep going out endlessly in response to altar calls because God had already forgiven us since we had surrendered our lives to Him. We were told that when we sin, we should ask God for forgiveness and try to live right. This was my release from constantly stepping out for altar call in unbelief.
FIRST STEPS IN TRUE FAITH
During one holiday, I tried to get close to God by praying and reading my Bible, I saw a book on the floor of my room. The book was titled “He Came to Set the Captives Free” by Rebecca Brown. I do not know how it got to my room but I picked it up and read it. I tried to believe the stories in the book and was wondering if the scary things truly happened to the woman in question and yet, she was delivered from them all. From the stories I read, the woman’s condition was worse than mine. Though I didn’t really understand everything in the book, reading the book made me long all the more to be delivered from the bondages.
On one of those days, I found an old diary in my parents’ room which belonged to my mum. I took the diary, went to my room and read it. In it, I read about some experiences that happened to me as a child and the instances I would have died but God kept me. As I read it, I began to realize that the devil had been trying to kill me since I was a baby and may be it also had to do with God’s purpose for my life. Somehow, since he didn’t succeed in killing me physically, he decided to mess up my life. I harboured a lot of hatred and unforgiveness, especially for the people who had sexually abused and hurt me.
It was then I realized that my real enemy wasn’t these people that hurt me but the devil. I realize he used these people to try to achieve his purposes. At that time, I was angry with what the devil had done in my life so far. Then I cried out to God to help me forgive the people that had hurt me and to help me overcome masturbation. From that day, I tried to read my bible more and draw closer to God.
HOW I FOUGHT IN FAITH
I began to put measures in place to avoid falling into masturbation again. I tried not to stay in my room alone when no one was there since I shared the room with my sister. Each time I felt the urge to masturbate, I would leave the room. I avoided watching or listening to songs or movies that would ignite the desire to masturbate. I selected the kind of things I watched on TV. I remember that during those times, I fell into sin a few times and cried to God for forgiveness and for help to overcome. Before this period, I couldn’t stay a day without masturbating but when I asked God for help and began to follow these measures, the frequency reduced. Some months later, I was trying to remember the last time I masturbated and I couldn’t remember. God took it away and I didn’t have the desire for it anymore.
EARLY STIRRINGS OF THE SPIRIT
In year 2 of my Junior Secondary School, I joined the prayer and the evangelism group in my desire to know God more. We had some of the senior students as leaders and these students desired God. There, I learnt about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so I began to hunger and thirst for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I desired it so much that I fasted from 6am to 6pm on a Sunday. Then in one of the prayer meetings while seeking God, one of the leaders laid hands at random on some people and some fell under the anointing. I wished to fall as well because I thought falling was a sign of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. As we kept praying, he came and laid his hands on me and I found myself on the floor. I didn’t speak in tongues, nothing happened but I felt the power of the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t still satisfied with just falling; I felt I hadn’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit because it didn’t come with the evidence of speaking in tongues which I saw happened to other people who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
But my desire for the Holy Spirit began to die down because no one was there to encourage me to keep seeking God. So I kept on living a normal life with no serious relationship with God. My bible was boring, I didn’t read it much. Though God had helped me to stop masturbating, I began struggling with lust again because I had no one encouraging me. The seniors who used to encourage me had graduated and the love for God in the prayer team was getting colder. My love for God was getting cold too. But God preserved me during those times. I tried to live a separate life from others, without any boyfriend but it was all hypocrisy because I lusted in my heart.
SCENT OF LIVING WATERS
In the third term of my Senior Secondary School 2 after we were given leadership posts, I was happy to be free from oppression by the senior students. But I also saw it as an opportunity to get closer to God (because of the free time it would afford me). During this period of my life, God set me up in different ways. One day in the hostel, I was passing by a bend in the hostel when I noticed some classmates sitting there and listening to another classmate of mine who came from another hostel. I thought she was hosting (talking about the next big gist in school) so I pulled over to listen. When I sat down, I discovered she was preaching and so I listened. She was talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and was sharing her experience about how she got baptized in the Holy Spirit. She was holding a devotional, I asked to see it and she gave it to me.
BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
So when she finished sharing, I told her I would read the devotional. The devotional was all about the personality of the Holy Spirit and the importance of the Holy Spirit. I read almost the whole devotional that night and was set aflame with desire for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The next morning, I woke up as early as 3am and completed the book. When I finished the book, I was so hungry for the Holy Spirit. So, I knelt beside my bed and cried to God to fill me with His Spirit. I prayed and cried to God. I asked for God to baptize me with His Holy Spirit. I was afraid of speaking out in tongues because I didn’t want to say out what I didn’t understand. Also I wanted the Holy Spirit to take total control of me (supernaturally take over my senses) before I would be able to speak, but remembering what my classmate had said concerning speaking out in faith, I began to speak out in tongues. It was difficult at first but I kept on speaking. At a point I couldn’t speak again, I was crying. Immediately, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit came on me like electric current from my head and it flowed down all over my body and I was shaking. I was no more struggling to speak in tongues, it just flowed freely and I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit with me. After that day, I was no longer the same; I felt God’s presence strongly with me almost every time. I began to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I became so addicted to feeling God’s presence so much that the day I didn’t feel His presence, I felt I had sinned and needed to repent; I felt the Holy Spirit had left me. I was walking by feelings not by faith. I had a close friend who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and when I complained to him, he kept telling me that I should always remember God’s promise, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you”. But it still took me time to learn to walk by faith not by feelings. But the Holy Spirit always comforted me. I had wonderful spiritual experiences including dreams, visions and trances. I began to learn how to study my bible again little by little. This was just the beginning of my relationship with the Holy Spirit.
In the first term of my Senior Secondary School 3, I found a book in my dad’s book shelf titled “The God Chasers” by Tommy Tenny. Reading it stirred up in me more desire for God. I began seek God’s face and to seek more of His presence and during those times God revealed Himself more to me.
MY EARLY LESSONS – GOD FIRST
When I finished my secondary school, I was given a phone to use temporarily until a new one was bought. It was an android phone; I was very eager to have a Facebook account and chat with my friends. So I opened a Facebook account and this was the beginning of my struggles again. I spent a lot of time viewing pictures and chatting on Facebook that I didn’t really have time for God anymore. I didn’t put God first in my schedules instead, it was social media. When I woke up in the morning I logged in to Facebook first to check up notifications before I talked to God. Before I slept, I would chat till late at night before I prayed and slept. Sometimes, I didn’t pray. My relationship with God suffered. I didn’t really have interest in my bible anymore. But then, I didn’t think anything was affecting my fellowship with the Holy Spirit. After I gained admission into the university, on one of the days I was going back home in a public bus, my phone was stolen from my school bag. I went back home crying and my parents weren’t happy. So, I was given a small java phone to make do with until I got a new one. It was a painful experience but it was God’s way of drawing me to Himself. With the phone missing, I could read my bible and spend more time with Him. With time, I understood why my phone got lost and I thanked God for it.
EVERY DECISION COUNTS…
I remember when I wanted to apply for university admission, I wanted to go to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka or the University of Benin because I believed I would they were the best in my proposed course of study and my dad supported this view. However, he suddenly changed his mind and told me to make the University of Uyo my first choice which I did unhappily. It turns out I was right in the will of God for me.
LED BY THE SPIRIT
Before I came to the University of Uyo, I prayed to God to lead me to the right fellowship He wanted me to be part of. When I resumed, I felt lonely. I was quiet and made no friends. I had no close friend with whom I could share my issues and problems so I resorted to the Holy Spirit. He was the only person I could pour out my heart to and He always comforted me. He was my only companion and I prayed to God to bring physical companions to encourage me.
In my first year, I had a roommate whom I admired because she stood for the truth even when my other roommates said nasty things to her. Her name is Victory. Since I was a quiet person, I didn’t really talk to her but I always wished to. One day, I woke up early in the morning and was reading my books when a girl came into the room and called out for morning devotion. I wanted to go but I was still on my seat. Then Victory stood up later to go for the devotion and I found myself asking her to wait for me. It was after I said that, that I realized what I did but since I had already told her to wait, I carried my bible and we went outside together.
The morning devotions lasted for about two hours. Before then, I had never seen any morning devotion where people studied the bible for such a long time. I was amazed at the manifestations of the Spirit these people experienced and exhibited. One thing I liked about them was their boldness in praying in tongues in the open, in singing, praying and even lifting their hands with eyes closed without minding the passers-by. I wasn’t always bold when praying in tongues in public, but I had to learn from them. After the devotion, Pastor Peace hugged me and they all prayed for me.
One morning later, after I had finished praying outside the room, I came into the room and was going to my bed space when Victory called me. I went to her and she began to tell me how hungry she was for more of God with tears in her eyes. I also told her about my experiences in seeking God and that was how we began to discuss. Then she invited me to the Believers Bible class but couldn’t take me then. Before this time, I had been praying for God to show me a place of worship to join in school. So I prayed again and cried to God saying that I didn’t just want to go to any fellowship and that He should show me His will.
So on a Saturday night after I had prayed intensely for God to show me what His will was, I had a dream where I was holding two big glass cups with water inside. One of the cups was longer than the other and the longer cup had more water inside than the shorter cup. A woman in the dream told me that the cups represented two fellowships: A Redeemed Christian Fellowship where I had previously gone to and God’s Lighthouse where Victory invited me to. She also told me that the water represented the word of God which I would hear at these fellowships. The woman pointed to the longer cup with more water inside which represented God’s Lighthouse and told me to fellowship with them.
FIRST EXPERIENCE AT GOD’S LIGHTHOUSE
Finally the next Sunday, I followed Victory to God’s Lighthouse. When I arrived there, I was surprised at the set of people I saw. They were very simple in their dressing for a Sunday meeting but I was not comfortable with the fact that the females are allowed to wear trousers, and they had no musical instruments except a hand beaten drum. I had assumed the place would be boring but the preaching was cool; I was happy that there was such a preacher who still preached the truth. I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that the service went on for a long time but I enjoyed the worship session most of all. Everyone sang with all their hearts and hands lifted up. People were crying and repenting, some were on their knees and I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit all over the place. After the meeting the Prophetic Intercessory Team prayed for the first-timers. I was also prayed for but what shocked me was the acute prophetic gifting at work. I was amazed at their prophetic gifting; they only prayed for few minutes and were already seeing visions about me. Now, that looked weird because I had never seen it before.
The next time I came to God’s Lighthouse was for the Believers Bible class. I found my way there alone and attended the class. On my way, I was humming the memory verse from James 2:26, “For as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without work is dead also” which I had learned on Sunday. When I arrived at the venue, the teaching was on “Faith towards God” which was a confirmation to me that God was preparing me for the class.
I kept attending the Believers Bible classes and learnt a lot. My best classes were the classes on ‘The Resurrection of the Dead’ and ‘Eternal Judgment’. In these classes, my fear of hell disappeared; I had peace with God in my heart. From that time, I no longer had the fear of being left behind at rapture. I had a new hope which was the resurrection of the dead. I was given a Shepherd (Pastor) who encouraged me in my Bible studies. I became bolder in speaking the truth. Before then, I was shy and preferred my private Christian life. But in God’s Lighthouse, I saw those who were so bold in their walk with God to the extent that on school days, they would pray in tongues and lay hands on people not minding passers-by, people gave their testimonies about praying for dry taps in the hostel to flow and for faulty phones to work. My faith was strengthened; I drew closer to God and spent more time with Him.
I was also taught to be consistent in my bible study. My relationship with God grew deeper as I understood the bible more. The eyes of my understanding were being enlightened as I spent long hours studying my Bible. The Holy Spirit taught me a lot. Before this time, I couldn’t spend an hour reading my bible but now I can spend up to three hours studying my bible and still not be satisfied. As I study, the Holy Spirit reveals truths in the Scripture to me and connects different parts of Scripture to show me a picture. Most times, the Holy Spirit stirs me up as I read my bible and makes my heart long more for Him. He shows me hidden things in Scripture and draws me closer to Himself.
Before I came to God’s Lighthouse, I relied more on feelings as a way of knowing God’s presence was with me but here, I learnt to walk by faith. I was taught how to fight the right enemy the right way.
MY EVANGELISM EXPERIENCES
Before I came to God’s Light House, I had the fear of evangelism. I was afraid of what people will say and was afraid of being ridiculed by people. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me to be bold and open.
After the July retreat in 2018, we were sent out to evangelize to people. As we went out in groups, I learnt a lot during that period about boldness and confidence in speaking God’s word. I felt more comfortable going with people to evangelize than going alone, but I also had to learn to go out alone. First, it was difficult because I was afraid but with time I fought it and the Holy Spirit helped me to be bold. I met different kinds of people with different attitudes during the evangelism. Some claimed to know it all and didn’t really want to listen. In my evangelism experiences, I’ve learnt to endure and be patient with people.
I also had the boldness to preach in a bus. Before I began preaching in a bus, I could only talk to people individually. I was afraid of talking to a group of people. The first time I preached in a bus, I battled in my mind – thoughts of what to say, how to begin and how to end raced through my mind. But once I had the boldness to speak, I said nothing that was in mind, I said something that was totally different. The Holy Spirit spoke through me. I was shocked to hear myself say something different which I didn’t plan at all. This is because Jesus had already promised that we should not worry about what to say; that the Holy Spirit will give us what to say at that very hour (Luke 12:11-12). This is what the Holy Spirit has been doing in my life; each time I open my mouth to preach in a bus, the people respond in shock especially the elderly people. They all look at me in amazement.
There was an instance when my transport fare was paid for by a man after I had preached in the bus. I saw it as a blessing from God and assumed that if I kept preaching, people would pay my transport fare but my motive was wrong. One day I read a testimony from a brother in church about how he always expected people to pay for him after preaching in a bus and how it didn’t work out because his motive was wrong. So I dropped that mentality and preached to people out of love to help them come to know the truth not for selfish purposes. I discovered that after all the people I’d met and preached to although I’ve been ridiculed sometimes, I didn’t faint or die. So, there was no need to fear evangelizing to people.
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
I came to understand what discipleship was all about when I came to God’s Lighthouse. I had to let go of friends and things in order to be a disciple.
My first phone had been stolen so my parents bought me a new phone. I restrained myself from spending too much time on my phone doing unnecessary things but I fell many times. First, the Holy Spirit told me to exit Facebook; I wasn’t happy about it and started giving reasons why I shouldn’t obey. But later, I deleted the app and resorted to Facebook messenger; I gave the excuse in my heart that Facebook is different from Messenger. In December 2018, the Holy Spirit told me again to let go of the Messenger app. I also gave Him my genuine reasons why I shouldn’t leave the app. I told that since information about school was posted on my class chat group, I would’t be able to get any information about what was happening in school if I left the app. I also told Him that I was using it as a medium to preach to people. That sounded spiritual, but I learnt that obedience was not about what I think it should be but simply doing His will. It was painful. I struggled and argued with the Holy Spirit for days. It had become an idol to me without my knowledge; I desired to obey Him but I just couldn’t. So I downloaded a message by Benny Hinn on dying to self and two other messages on the same topic. When I listened to the message by Benny Hinn, he mentioned that God can give us the desire and the will to let go of whatever He wants us to let go. He spoke from Philippians 2:13: that God is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. So I cried to God to give me the grace to delete Messenger from my phone. When I finished praying, I summoned courage and with tears in my eyes, I deleted Messenger. I grieved about it for days, but the Holy Spirit comforted me. I had a deeper understanding of my Bible on dying to self.
I faced persecutions and ridicule at different levels; from my parents, siblings and especially my course mates but God has given me the grace to stand despite all that. My brethren were always there to encourage me.
LESSONS FROM MY EXPERIENCE
Despite all the negative experiences I had as a child, God worked out everything together for my good. From my experiences I learnt that love is the strongest weapon. I’ve come to know who the real enemy is. The bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. This means that our real enemies are not human beings. If we fight, hate and hold grudges against other people, we’re doing it to our own detriment. I had to forgive those who had hurt me in the past so I could be healed within and move on in my relationship with God.
Another thing I’ve learnt from my experiences is standing in the truth and for the truth. 2 Timothy 3:12 tells us that all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. If you must live a godly life in this world, you’ll be persecuted; people will say all manner of things against you but you shouldn’t be afraid because God is with you.
I’ve also known God as the Lion and the Lamb. I’ve come to know God as a Father who showers love and a Father who disciplines for love’s sake so we would share in His holiness. God has been so good to me. I’m happy God brought me to God’s Lighthouse; I’ve come to know God more and I’ve grown really fast spiritually. God’s Lighthouse has really been a blessing. To God be the glory. Amen.