The Downward Spiral
If my dad reads this testimony, he will be shocked. My parents believed that they had a good son but in reality I was not the good son they believed me to be.
In 2008, I gave my life to Christ and had fellowship with Him. There were sessions of Bible classes going on in our church then. It was awesome being there. In 2010, I got baptized in water. While going for the Bible classes, I learnt quite a lot of things. I learnt to not be rebellious and disobedient, and I applied this especially in situations where my mum would have had to push me to do my chores. Instead of waiting for her to do so, I went willingly. Sometimes I would have it done already before she even asked. This prevented her from scolding me and so I was seen as a mature child despite my age. Even at marriage seminars, I would often speak up and people would wonder at my depth of knowledge. They would often say “Well, you know little children have ears and eyes too”.
Back then, there was a girl I had been friends with since 2007. We used to discuss the Bible and talk about God. My life seemed good enough. We agreed to dedicate our Wednesdays to personal fasting and prayers. In doing so, God revealed things to us and we continued studying and praying together. The experience was great.
On getting admission and resumption in the University of Uyo in December 2012, my life changed drastically. I became a “big boy”. Inflated with pride, I got influenced and took on a bad character because of the company I kept. A lot of things changed beginning from my spiritual life. Then from 2013 to 2017, the girl and I delved deeply into the sin of fornication. Along the line, she became pregnant and had an abortion. During this period, I was in the church choir. I would fornicate on Saturday and sing in the choir on Sunday. Nobody in the church cared to find out what was happening. Deep down within me, I kept on praying, “Lord, please take away this life of sin from me”. I progressed from fornication to pornography and more terrible things, and still, my relationship with the girl did not end.
At a point, I started asking, “Is this friend of mine demonic? Lord, I don’t understand. Why can’t I ‘fall in love’ (lust) with someone else?” I asked myself these questions because I couldn’t fathom why she wouldn’t leave. We were both fighting the same mental battles. I kept praying that the Lord in His mercies would do something. But then almost every day, we would go for programmes and church activities together. And there, we’d still pray, make resolutions [to change], and still fall back into the same sins over and over again.
Path To Freedom
God made it happen that in April 2017, I came to God’s Lighthouse. Prior to this time, I’d been in the same church group with Sister E. [who invited me to God’s Lighthouse] but I never really used to talk to any female there. This was because of my fear of falling into fornication repeatedly. It was a weakness I was ashamed of. So, I literally didn’t talk to any girl in that group. I was quite comported.
However, one day, Sister E. walked up to me and said “There’s this place I’ll like you to come to”. I agreed to it as if it was just what I had been waiting for. I didn’t ask any questions about them or their teachings. I came on a Wednesday. At first, I felt the church was strange because it had no signboard. But the meeting was awesome! Not long after, a retreat began in July 2017. And it is the encounter I had during the retreat that I really want to testify about.
Before the retreat, there was a man in my compound whom I had an issue with over electricity bill payment; we quarreled. I wanted to get back at him. So I decided to date his daughter, just to annoy him. I searched for her and sent her a request on Facebook which she accepted and we began talking. I didn’t let her know it was me, until we exchanged contacts. Then we started seeing each other. Though I felt guilty for what I was doing, I felt I needed to do it because like I said earlier, I wanted to get back at her father.
On the day of the retreat I went to church and God met me there. I listened to everything that was said and began to feel deep remorse for all I had done. I felt I really needed to talk to someone so I went and narrated my sinful life story to the Pastor, not leaving out the fornication and abortion parts. He told me to go and end my sinful relationship. This was a very difficult action to carry out because I had dated my girlfriend for seven years and even her family was aware of our relationship. I cried when I got home and kept pondering on how to go about the breakup. Finally, I went and told her sister that God wanted me to end the relationship and her sister said that if it was indeed God, that I should proceed. So I kept praying for the boldness to tell her personally. When we finally met, she complained that I hadn’t called her in a long time but I did not respond or show care. She told me that she was feeling that we had become disconnected. I tried talking to her about Jesus but she told me that I should not bring in Jesus into our conversation. I told her about GLH and invited her to church but she flared up and said, “What is it they gave you at Lighthouse that made you like this? What is it? What’s so special about that place? What is going on there that has turned you into something else?” She went on and on. However, we eventually parted ways.
Healed From Veneral Disease
In the course of my life of fornication, I had contracted a venereal disease. Though it wasnt gonorrhoea, it had seemed like it. So I felt God was punishing me for my immoral lifestyle. I later decided to tell Pastor about the disease and when I did, he prayed for me and then I believe he felt the Holyspirit tell him to give me a drink of water. However, the only bottle of water nearby, the one he had been drinking was almost empty, as there was just a few drops left in it. He prayed and handed me the bottle. For the next two days, I felt parched in my throat but after a short while, I noticed the symptoms of the disease was gone! I was healed!
Another great testimony is that by Gods grace, I spoke to my former girlfriend. After speaking to her, we made a deal. I was to attend her cousins wedding and take photos with her to ‘mark our breakup’; while she on the other hand would come to GLH just once [that was the whole essence of the deal, to win her]. She came and when she was about to be prayed for, she refused, saying that God was wicked for taking away the only friend she had loved. Then she said she was not yet ready for God. But God’s grace found her still in her anger, she had an encounter/experience with God that day that which was just so miraculous. She got born again and has continued to fellowship with us.
A New Walk With Christ
In all my years of existence, I had never preached to anyone because it felt like there was nothing to tell people. After all, I was an active sinner myself; so what could I possibly tell anyone about Jesus? God helped me and for the first time in my life I witnessed to a Muslim. While witnessing, I heard this question withing me; “If the Muslim guy you were talking to could read his Quran that thoroughly, how much scripture can you store up? How much more can you pray? How often do you even pray?” So I returned that day asking God for more grace. He has been helping me and I have been able to witness to more people.
Fellowship At Home Too
On a certain Sunday, I came late for service along with a friend, E.B. I had also invited one of my other friends who stayed in my house. He even got to church before I did. After the service, we chatted on the way back home. I had read in the scriptures that the early church met in peoples houses. I brought up the idea of a group Bible study at my house based on what we had learnt that Sunday. So we started sharing the scriptures from the Sunday teachings. In the course of our study and sharing sessions, the guy shared a message, but the scripture he had mentioned did not match the message so he thought it was a mistake; but I said it was not and that God had a reason for it. I further expounded on it. My other friend added a thing or two and then we just worshipped God. Unbelievably, in the course of the worship session, the Lord gave prophecies and scriptures too!
Saved From A Gambling Addiction
I used to participate in online sports betting. I mean I could leave a church service and head straight into the betting centre. In fact, I could be browsing out the bet slips right in the church meeting.
But thanks to God for how he delivered me. I now see that He has indeed saved me. Gambling was really a stronghold that started one Sunday in 2014 as an innocent thing. I used to despise the guys next door (in my compound), how they would place bets over a game and await the results like someone waiting for an entrance examination result. But later, I started to love their new clothes, and began to think about the various possibilities of having “other sources of income”. So I went to him — yes, I went up to the guy I despised so much initially — to show me how to play and so he did. I can remember 5 games that almost came through [I almost won] but I didn’t, so I started out on my own without his help. Almost every weekend, I would place different bets and then I played on week days too. Then in February, before Valentine’s day I won a 5-digit figure! I got a new phone, paid off my electricity bills debt and of course, (now all roads led to sin) that weekend, went to commit fornication.
Prior to that weekend, I had just enough transportation to take me back to my parents’ house because we were done for the semester. But here I was right in the middle of sin because I had a lot of money to spend.
So I became consistent in betting both in season (football games) and out of season (hockey, volleyball, etc) for the next three years. I had another major hit after attending a tarry a friend invited me to. I had with me two slips of betting papers in my pocket while on the drums [I was playing during the meeting] in the tarry, when the pastor said, “This week is your week!” Of course I shouted amen with all my heart, because the value of money in my pocket in paper form if successful, would both amount to N250,000. By the end of that Saturday, I had N125,000. I felt like a big man, so literally, even in church meetings, I would be busy because “White paper must pay o”. What also facilitated my betting was free data; not free in that sense but we had to resort to cheat codes, and the bet office was right in my compound!
As time progressed, I had more wins in small thousands, and had a clique of friends who were amongst the good, bad and evil, sharing one mutual relationship – gambling. Then, I began losing money in multiples of N100, and never won anything more. Then I decided it was enough (I think this was God, because I can’t explain how I made that decision). Since there were two entry points into my compound, one of them was where the Betting office was, I stopped following that route, and it helped as I did not have to see my clique of friends who would want me to come and choose some games for them, check up last scores on my phone or something else and that was how I got delivered. I remembered after a long while, the guy who worked there saw me one morning coming out from the compound and asked if I travelled, as he had not seen me come around for a while. I can imagine what would have happened during the season of recession Nigeria was in. I would probably have resorted to begging. But glory to God, for He has saved me, my money and my body.
A Weird Hobby – Forgery
During my 400 level, I travelled home for my Industrial Training [or internship]. I looked for placement in different companies and workshops but got none. I stayed at home for about three months doing nothing, and so I got angry with people and became desperate. Finally I had to resort to going to a roadside mechanic to start my internship. The road side mechanic wasn’t a registered workshop. In fact, it didn’t have a name, or a letter head [on any document, if there was any] to even start with! These things were required, including a stamp, for the centre to be approved and accepted by the university as an Industrial Training Centre. I had to do something.
I travelled down to Uyo shortly before the time for my internship elapsed. I asked friends who did their internship in registered centres in Uyo. They told me of a company somewhere in town so I went there with my friend and met the manager. We told him our challenge and asked how much it would take to get his company’s letter head, stamp and signature. The man told us he’d get ₦7,500 from each of us. By this time, I had just three days to submit my Industrial Training workbook. I told my friend I couldn’t afford the money at that time and instantly, I knew I had to look for another way to sort my self out.
I made calls and found another person who had done his Industrial Training in a registered mechanic workshop. So I got his papers and photocopied everything, including the stamp and the manager’s signature. I also got the address where I could produce stamps, went there and made the exact stamp for ₦1,500. I got my work book, wrote down all I needed to, signed and commented exactly like the manager, then stamped all the places required. Some of my colleagues were worried for me when they heard my predicament earlier (they weren’t aware I had sorted myself out my way) but when they asked, I started bragging and even telling people who needed help to meet me and get their work books signed and stamped, even though most didn’t believe me.
When it was time to submit, I made sure I submitted with the people who did theirs in that same workshop. The supervisor assigned to that particular workshop from the university was surprised when he saw me. He said “Ah ah, I’ve been coming to the workshop and I haven’t been seeing you, where have you been?” I told him I had been working oh, that maybe the times he came, I had turned in sick or was sent on an errand. He told me he couldn’t believe me until he opened my workbook.
“Young man, your workbook and signatures are intact but I cannot put my own signature on it because I haven’t been seeing you,” he said.
Because of the whole hullabaloo, I removed a thousand naira note and slipped it across the table and the whole thing was history! He began to say, “You students, you know you are very unserious…you have to be doing things…” On and on he went.
That was how I submitted a signed workbook. I ended up spending ₦2,500 for something I was to pay ₦7,500!
On the day of the defense, I had nothing to be afraid of because I was good at the mechanical work. The guy with whom I had submitted my workbook came up to me after the defense to hail me, and he told me that he had a job for me. He gave me 4 copies of a state government document. The document was about a land related issue and the commencement of a project on that site. I was to replicate a signature on that document. I started practicing how to sign the original signature and by evening, I had signed all four documents. Upon submission, the document was found legitimate and accepted. I continued this ‘business’ till the second semester in my 500 level when I rededicated my life to Jesus. Listening to the words of God and attending the Believers Bible School helped me put an end to such activities as they were fraudulent and not pleasing to God.
Ministering To Others
The same guy who gave me my first job called me after my rededication. He told me that there were many 400 level students who wanted to sign and stamp their Industrial Training workbooks just like I did and they had heard that there was someone with the stamp. He told me I’d make a lot of money from it too. I told the guy on a chat platform that I had repented and wasn’t involved with such anymore. He replied “Ekpo, forget this your repentance…we know…just do this thing!” He thought I was joking because everyone knew I was a ‘Christian’ already, so what was the new story? When I stood my ground, he couldn’t believe it and insisted on seeing me face to face. When he met me, he was shocked that I had turned down the offer!
I don’t know what I would have turned out to be; obviously someone who did evil and helped others perpetuate theirs. Looking back now, even though I can’t remember the exact time frame, I recall that I even used to sign my father’s signature on my documents when it was required! Even on my brother’s own too. At the time, it was something I played around with, like a hobby, whether I was paid for it or not. I could be asked “What do you do?” And my response would be “I am a freelancer on signature forgery (replication).”
One day, while listening to an audio message, my friend [E.B.] and I could literally feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. We started prophesying about our family members and got directives to give to them as well as personal instructions from the Holy Spirit. My friend [E.B.] was given a word that he should be bold when preaching to people, and more. Later that evening, we went out to witness. We prayed for a sick person who got healed that same day!
The Holy Spirit also taught me about obedience though a friend of mine who was owed a certain sum of money for over 3 months. She had gotten angry and said that she would pray against her debtor. But the Holy Spirit ministered to her and told her that she should pray for the person’s peace of mind instead and she obeyed. The next time she called to ask about the debt, she was told to come and get her money.
While listening again to an audio message at home, the presence of the Holy Spirit was felt, and I prayed in my heart that I should not be a castaway after this encounter. I broke down in tears and immediately, I heard the voice of the Lord saying to me, “Just obey. Learn, don’t rush”. And then, there came multiple confirmations. I used to think that the power of God was only felt in church meetings, but I understood that God’s presence went beyond church gatherings, beyond locations. It is just inexplicable.
I thank God for all he has done, for how He has touched my life.
– Bro B
Bro B. is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Uyo. He is currently serving out his mandatory National service year in Ekiti state. He is the Zonal secretary and Prayer Secretary in NCCF, Ikere LGA, where he coordinates activities relating to prayers and intercessions, teaches Bible study, and follows up others to be committed on their relationship with God.
He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
© God’s Lighthouse 2017.