“When I was in SS2, I began smoking weed. People hardly believed I could smoke because I looked so slim and gentle. Weed (Indian hemp) was not hard to find there. Smoking weed helped me to not to react in anger to those who provoked me. It pacified me.”
Testimony of a Former Drug Dealer
I’ll start my story from the time I can remember. I was born in Lagos and stayed there for about nine to ten years. My dad wasn’t around much in Lagos. He was working in Abuja and had to travel a lot. I was always locked inside the house with my younger siblings. When I was about four or five years old, I and my family members went visiting at the house of one of my father’s friends in Lagos. That was where I had contact with porn magazines through someone far older than I was. I think she was about 16 or 17 years old. At 7 to 8 years of age, I recall that I had serious anger issues. I picked up a pestle once and hit my sister with it. I was severely beaten for it by my dad who happened to be around when the incident happened. About a year later, we relocated from Lagos to Abuja.
While I was in primary school, my parents always wanted me to be the best in my class. Because of this, they usually promised to buy me bicycles if I could get the first position in my class. These promises made me develop more interest in reading and I usually made the 1st position in expectation of the bicycles. However, they never fulfilled their promise. I got admission into secondary school and life went on. Initially, I was just an average student. However, when I got into Senior Secondary School, I became a very bright student.
Also, I used to be very rebellious. Once, I went out with my friend and got back very late, by about 2am. My parents and grandmum were at home but I did not mind. One time, I had serious issues with my dad and in anger, I picked up a machete to kill him, this happened when I was about 14. Since that incident, I was cautious of the fact that there was something inside me that triggered those things; I was afraid and because of this, I tried my best to avoid fights. Sometimes, I would keep quiet and allow people beat me up because I knew I could react impulsively and cause some serious injury to them.
Engaging in Weed Business
I wanted to try out smoking, so one day, while I was with my friends, I suggested that we should try out dry pawpaw leaves and we did. By the time I was in SS2, I began smoking weed. People hardly believed I could smoke because I looked so slim and gentle. Weed (Indian hemp) was not hard to find there [in my school]. Smoking weed helped me to not to react in anger to those who provoked me. It pacified me. You could insult me and I would not worry about it. I started taking codeine too. Even though I was always smoking, I was still a very intelligent student. In fact, I usually taught my classmates mathematics. It got to a point that my Mathematics teacher left most of his work for me to do.
I finished secondary school in flying colours. I wanted to get admission into UNILAG [University of Lagos], my dream university, so I wrote JAMB and POST-UTME and passed them excellently. However, I was not given admission.
During the period I was at home waiting to re-write the JAMB examination, I started hanging out with armed robbers, street hustlers, cultists, drug dealers, ex-convicts and the likes. With time, I started buying weed in bulk for myself. Whenever the need for weed arose in my area, I would sell it out to those in need.
I had a number of friends who were about 6 to 7 years older than I was and some of them were cultists. One thing we had in common was that we all smoked. The boys I had around me talked fondly about the time they had spent in jail, and they would ask questions like, “You don do time?” [“Have you ever been incarcerated?”].
I looked innocent amongst them though, so it made me stand out in a quiet way.
During this period too, I was a church goer. Sometimes, I would come back from church feeling convicted about the kind of lifestyle I was living. Whenever I tried to tell my friends I wanted to stop doing those things, they would counter everything I said with Scriptures [applying them wrongly, of course]. They usually liked quoting Genesis 1:29 that says that God has given all the grasses of the field to man for food. To them, weed was included. I was ignorant and did not know how to interpret scriptures so I believed it totally.
Hills and Valleys
One day, one of the bad guys I was hanging out with told me that the lifestyle I was living would eventually lead me to become a cultist when I got into the university but I shoved it off. In spite of my lifestyle, I prayed that God should help me gain admission into the university. I promised to serve Him and be faithful to Him if He answered my prayer. Since I could not get admission into University of Lagos, I decided to apply to University of Uyo. I did not really like schooling and only wanted to be in school because it was the norm.
God answered my prayer! I gained admission into University of Uyo the following year. There, I had some Christian roommates in the hostel; one of them was even the president of a fellowship who was in his final year. I began to attend fellowship with the president, and pray with him early in the morning. I would read a little Bible in the morning, obey the little things I knew like not cheating in exams, not lying, etc. Later on, he started to disciple me – taught me to pray, and even lead a few prayers in the fellowship.
I lived a quiet life and purposed not to get involved with bad company. Then there was a strike action that occurred which made me return home. At home, I reconnected with my old friends and old lifestyle. In fact I bought the drugs in large quantities and supplied freely or at a cost when it was needed. l forgot my promise to God.
The strike was called off and I resumed second semester, Year 1. I tried to get my spiritual fire back, but it wasn’t as the first time. I was very inconsistent with the fellowship meetings. However, I regained my initial fire by my second year, mainly due to my academics because I wanted to do much better. Everything was going well. By now, I had moved to another campus and was consistent with a church group. I stopped drugs completely, I even got baptized in the Holy Spirit!
By the time I got into year 3, things began to take a downturn. Pride set in because of my current status. I was also very discouraged academically when we (Engineering students) couldn’t do most of the practicals I had expected an Engineering student to do especially in the labs; and also some subjects required cramming which wasn’t exactly working for me. I gradually began to slip back to my past, until I was knee dip in drugs again. In fact, there were some people who thought they were bad, so I decided to do them the honours of showing them how to be properly bad.
I went from being a ‘spiritual’ brother to cultivating Indian hemp. I also used different kinds of drugs, including codeine. Weed at a time could not satisfy me, so I would mix weed and tramadol to get the ‘high’ feeling (and there were songs I listened to that spoke of how to mix drugs hidden in their lyrics). There was a kind of drug called ‘Arizona’, it had no smell but was very potent. I took that too. I transported and traded in drugs. I had skills to keep the drugs from the border patrol teams, sometimes hiding them inside bags of crayfish and because I had an innocent look, they would not suspect me.
I had contacts, mostly cultists, who I sold drugs to. These cultists needed to take something to keep their minds off their fear. I would give the drugs to them for free sometimes, and whenever they ordered, I would supply. I knew how to blend in even though I didn’t talk much.
At times, we would put drugs of different kinds in different foods and drinks, especially at parties. Mostly, my job was to deliver the drugs to these parties. I also knew how to get girls; I would learn cool lines from songs and use these lines to captivate them. Sometimes too, I was dared by my friends to date a particular girl and I would do it!
Experiencing Liberty In Christ
At a time, I fell seriously sick. It was like a combination of many different diseases. The sickness wasn’t normal as my symptoms could not be traced to any particular illnesses. By this time, I had lost confidence in ‘The Church.’ Some of the church folk even smoked with me and some of what I heard in church was confusing.
Then I met a Christian sister again who had been one of my very few friends when I was in year one. Over the years, we had spoken just a few times so I was excited to see her. She prayed for me and some of the pain I was experiencing left. After some time, I told her once that I needed provisions as I was low on cash then. She told me to come with her and get it from a certain house. I followed her to the house and to my disappointment, a believers’ class was being held!
Shortly after, I was invited to a church meeting where I met the pastor. What surprised me about the pastor during the service was how he was constantly calling out Bible verses while preaching. I would check my Bible each time to confirm and they were correct. I had not seen anything like that before even though I had a church background.
I was invited for another meeting but around the time of the meeting, I was watching television as I had a liking for screens. When power went off, I decided to go. Coincidentally, the sister called and pressed on me to come. I complained about clothes and not having had my bath but she said I should just come, that it was not about clothes.
When I came that Sunday, I had a lot of plans that would soon be implemented. One of them was that I would quit school. I had an idea to get money for school fees from my parents, suspend studies, and then tell them I had an extra year. It was an intricate plan. There was no way they were going to find out. But I heard some of the things the pastor said and changed my mind. He was talking about telling the truth…
Not long after, a retreat took place in the church group. Prior to the retreat, I knew nothing of the prophetic apart from the blessings that would be said at the end of a service. On the second night, a tarry took place from 9pm in the evening till about 4 am the following day (It felt as if I just opened my eyes and it was 4am. Time flew so fast!). I had the baptism of the Holy Spirit (like a refilling) and saw the clearest vision of my entire life. From that day, God began to show me visions and I began to read my Bible. Before then I had not loved to read the Bible; I preferred devotionals which I would read hurriedly hoping to reach the end soon. I remember once when I was asked by our pastor to read the book of Mark, that was when I began seeing things in the Bible myself.
Once, I saw a vision in a meeting. In my mind, the things I saw did not make sense. I met the pastor and told him about it and he explained it to me. After the meeting, I began to build confidence in my ability to receive visions from God. One of the first dreams I had (as some vision) during that time was confirmed by other people who also said they had seen the same thing.
My Faith Walk
I watched a video of how a preacher laid hands and healed people easily and it strengthened and encouraged me! So, once I prayed for someone who was having chills and when I was done, he said he was feeling better. The next morning, he said he was completely fine after I left that evening. Some days later, another guy was very sick and vomiting, having gone for a party the night before to celebrate his final exam. I asked him if I could pray for him and he eagerly agreed. He said he was well soon after.
In the aspect of evangelism, my experiences have been great. I would talk to people and they would say I was God-sent, and that they had been waiting for someone to talk to them. This was especially because many times, I would end up talking to them about their problems. I never knew that things like this (that I’m experiencing) existed. I never knew that someone could live a normal life and still do the things of God. I thought when it was time, you would just go ahead and prepare yourself to become a Pastor.
The truth is that you, as a Christian cannot (should not) blend in! You cannot be ‘normal’. I have realized from my experiences being in the world that there is no neutral ground. You are on either this [God’s] side or the other [on the side of the devil]. You have to choose.
I give God all the praise. I thank God for everything.
– Bro E.J
Bro E. J. continues to serve God passionately. He is a leader in God’s Lighthouse, a congregation in Southern Nigeria, where he helps to disciple other children of God. Walking in grace and the Holy Spirit’s power, he reaches out to people wherever he finds himself, and is not ashamed to share of God’s goodness and love that he has tasted, and keeps receiving.
He can be reached via email at email@example.com
©God’s Lighthouse 2017.