Friday, August 29, 2014

Thirty Years On…Still Growing in You.

The Universities were on break. I was back home for the summer vacation. It was August 1984. I had spent two years in the university already. Brought up in a religious home with a Preacher for father and a Teacher for mother, I had a very strict upbringing. I was like a bird escaping from the cage when I got into the university—freedom at last was my singsong. I used my freedom to the fullest. I followed my own rules while maintaining an appearance of Christianity by going to church on Sunday mornings, even after an overnight party.

My immediate junior brother who was born again already, persistently invited me for the Vacation Christian Fellowship organized by UNILAG Students at the Shepherd’s Hill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, in Lagos. Ibukun Williams is now Pastor of Jesus House (RCCG), Melbourne, Australia. Repeatedly, I rebuffed him. I didn't need anyone “brainwashing” me or hindering my quest for fun. On this occasion, towards the end of August, I obliged him—for my sanity sake. The minister that evening admonished us to be totally committed to God and to Christ, “You need to be totally committed,” he said over and over again.

 His words rang in my head throughout that evening, and left me restless and without sleep that night. It broke through the hardness of my heart and led me to ask questions on how I was living my life. I fell on my knees by my bedside and committed my life to Jesus Christ. I asked Him to come into my life and make me His own. He answered my prayers, gave me peace in the inner mind and made me truly His. And Jesus became my Lord and my Saviour.

Thirty years down the road, I am still scratching the surface of knowing Him. The more I know Him the more I want to know Him more. I look back to August 1984 and I can sing:

I don't feel no ways tired
I've come too far from where I started from
Nobody told me that the road would be easy
I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me
(Mighty Clouds of Joy – “I don’t feel no way tired”)

Indeed, the road has not been easy, but I must confess God that prepared me ready ahead of time for the path He chose for me. I was about three months old in the Lord when during my Bible Study, He ministered His word into my heart from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4;

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

His Word to me was, “I will comfort you with the same comfort with which you will comfort others.”

I knew there and then, that in whatever I go through in my walk with God, He will comfort me. So that I can with the same comfort minister His comfort to others. I had no clue what the future had in store for me but I had the reassuring confidence that He will be there with me through it all, come what may!

It was with this confidence that I returned to the University, I knew my lifestyle had to change. Old things had passed away, and all things must become new. I needed new friends. I needed “clean” music to listen to. I needed a thriving environment for growth.

So I joined the Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU) at the University of Ibadan. That was where the foundation for my growth in Christ was built up. That was where I became firmly grounded in the faith. I bless God for the diverse and rich words I received through the likes of Pa Elton, Prof. Adesogan, Dr. Durojaiye, Friday Bekee, Moses Aransiola, Emiko Amotsuka and many others.

Because I love to sing, I became a member of the Jesus Revolution Voices (JRV). I thank God for those who groomed me and encouraged me in this ministry – Abraham Aiyelabowo, Adebowale Salako, Sis Toyin, Victor Okoruwa and many others. We had a great time ministering God’s love through songs at concerts (Living Springs, OAU, Ile-ife) and in campuses. I will never forget the almost 700km drive through the night, singing all the way from Ibadan to Kontagora to minister at the Crusade organised by the Polytechnic.

God blessed me with new friends who encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. With them cheering me on, I grew in the faith. I am still in close contact with many of them today. It is also a joy to find many of my old friends have come to the knowledge of God’s saving grace. Praise be to God.

The road has not been easy, but then, nobody told me it would be. God raised me up to stand on the mountains. He raised me up to walk through the storms. He has been with me through the valley of the shadow of death. He has been there with me in the fiery furnace of trials and affliction. He never for one moment left me alone, abandon or forsake me.

Through it all, I learnt to trust in God, I learnt to trust in Jesus, and I learnt to depend on His Holy word and on His Holy Spirit. He has been faithful to fulfil His promise made to me in October 1984, that He will comfort me in all my trials and afflictions with the same comfort with which I will comfort others. No event in my life has been in vain. God is using every single one of them to touch lives, to inspire hope and to encourage His children.

Thank You, Lord for making me a living testimony of Your faithfulness and loving kindness.

For all that You've done, I will thank You
For all the You're going to do
For all that You've promised
And all that You are
Is all that has carried me through
Jesus I thank You

Thank You for loving and setting me free
Thank You for giving Your life just for me
How I thank You. Jesus, I thank You
Gracefully thank You. Thank You.
(Hillsong – “Thank You”)

I thank God for my Pastors and Fellowship leaders at Shepherd’s Hill Baptist Church, Lagos; IVCU, Ibadan; Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan; Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship; UCH Christian Fellowship; Christian Corpers Fellowship (Bida, 1986); Christ Chapel, UCH Ibadan; Lighthouse Church International, Tamale Ghana; RCCG Victory Center, Geneva; Maadi Community Church, Cairo; and Tower of Refuge Church International Geneva. And the many men and women of God who have enriched my life over the past 30 years.

My dearest husband and Chief Encourager, I am so grateful to God for the privilege of running the race with you by my side.

Dear friends, if you are yet to know God in the way I have described here, in a deep and personal way, please

Don’t let this moment pass you by
Jesus is waiting with His arms open wide
He is waiting to supply all the needs in your life
Take my advice, don’t let this moment pass you by.
-          Kristle Murden

 It has been a joy knowing and serving You, my dear Lord. I am strong when I am on Your shoulders. Do keep me going strong in my race until You come back for me. I long to hear You say to me; “Well done, thou faithful servant…” on that glorious day when You call me home to be with You in Your glory for eternity. Until then, give me the grace to run this race victoriously to the end, and to fulfil Your calling and purpose for my life.

How did you come to know the Lord and how has been your journey? Share your story and encourage others.


  1. What a beautiful, inspiring testimony...but is it not you my Sister? Not sure how one could ever thank God for your life and testimony. I guess we never could but we should just keep trying. Daily per second per second. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. My dear Sista, if I spend every moment of each day and employ the tongues of a million angels, it will never be enough to give praise and thanks to God. Where would I start from recounting His marvellous acts of wonder in my life. I can only commit to thanks-living for as long as He gives me this breath. Looking forward to endless praise when I get home to heaven! God bless you beyond measures.

  2. Hi Irene, this is Kemi Opata(nee Oke). My surfing the net led me to your ever so inspiring testimony. We were in the IVCU together, after breezing through Shepherhill Baptist Church. How the years have flown by. God is so good

    1. Hi Kemi, nice to reconnect with you again. It has been a long time indeed. Thanks for your visit to the blog. I pray that you continually have an inspiring experience her. I think we can now connect on Facebook now. Grace and blessings to you and your family.


Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and comments. I appreciate you. God bless you.