(NB: This is in continuation of a personal testimony begun last week, prompted by the Facebook page I recently put up. We will pick it up right where I stopped. To read the first part of the article, click here.)
Since my early years, there had been the indication of this Christian writing ministry I have been called to. Not only were my writing and expository gifts noted and commended by my teachers, but the first explicit signal of where I was headed for might have been given during my second year in the university, when I wrote and posted copies of a Christian article on notice boards on campus. Then it got to where I formed the habit of writing messages on lecture room boards, especially at night, to welcome the students in the morning! So consistent and secretive were these night ‘missions’ that my closest friend, who was in a different faculty, was surprised when I eventually revealed myself as the culprit.
I continued my writing and free distribution of articles after graduation, but I still didn’t give up my secular aspirations, even though there were several blocks and last minute ‘fall aparts.’ Some of these were related to a hearing challenge I had come up against early in high school. Actually, I have always believed that this challenge was something providentially allowed to constrain me to heed the call to the ministry. With the way I was progressing academically and in other areas, it would have taken something that drastic to turn me aside. But by His stripes I am healed and I definitely look forward to putting the challenge behind me. Amen. (See Galatians 1:14-16, Philippians 3:4-9, II Corinthians 12:6,7, I Peter 2:24.)
When I couldn’t get an engineering job after graduating, I finally accepted one as a private school administrator. Incidentally, education was something I had also been very passionate about and had big dreams concerning. Actually, at some point in the university I had toyed with the idea and made a move to change from engineering to mathematics, supposing that the latter was more in tune with those dreams I was nurturing. And once again, I came to realize how my working as a school administrator might have also been part of my preparation for the big picture of my life purpose.
It was while I was working as a school administrator that my call to full time ministry – which had persisted as a “still small voice” – was most vividly given. This was through the written Word during my quiet time early one morning about five years ago: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1Timothy 4:13). Having earlier identified my ministry – the teaching of the Word through the written word – I knew I had to devote myself to it. Typical of me, however, I held on and refrained from taking any drastic action. The call could hardly have been louder when I noticed an increasing restlessness and discontentment with my secular work, coupled with a subtle dip in my spiritual life. I eventually decided that it was time to take the step of faith, which I did by voluntarily resigning my appointment.
But it wasn’t as if I had been hugely responsive to the call, and so things didn’t just gel right away. At this time I had published my first book, WE SHALL REIGN: THE PROMISE OF THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM, a compressed version of a portion of THE COMING GLORY. This early publication was partly for reasons of financial expediency, for I had invested so much time, energy and funds in the work and needed to get some returns. The Lord did not only provide the funds for the actual publishing project, but I also got the inspiration to launch the book in a novel way, which He also blessed significantly.
However, right along with the call to the ministry, there had also been the prompting to move from Lagos where I had lived all my life to Ibadan, another city about 100 miles northward. Although I had shared this notion with some, I had not taken any definite step to really respond to it. So it would seem that the Lord actually had two on me at that time – my hesitation to fully dedicate myself to the ministry of the Word and my slowness in yielding to the prompting to relocate to Ibadan. So things not only got to the point where I was using the funds coming to me through the ministry to keep my secular job, but after I eventually gave up the job and still did not move to Ibadan, those provisions through the ministry were also dried up. I was literally being forced out of Lagos. And when I eventually decided to “do something,” I played the Jonah. Instead of heading for ‘Nineveh,’ I boarded a ship to ‘Tarshish.’ Instead of going to Ibadan, where I had sensed a call to, I went very much farther northwards to Jos, where I had a brother. You could say I was still playing safe.
I will say, however, that we are truly “children of the Father,” and no matter how great our weaknesses, if our hearts are right, He suffers long and bears with us. So was it that while I was in Jos, the Lord blessed, He upheld and gave favor. But it was evident that I was not in His perfect will, which was substantiated by more than one narrow-miss road incidents I was involved in. So after seven months up north, and despite the encouragements to stay on, I knew I could no longer remain and decided to return south and head for Ibadan. Providentially, and mercifully, a very close and senior Christian friend had relocated to Ibadan ahead of me, and from the time I arrived in Jos had been asking me when I would come over. And so to Ibadan I eventually turned, into the welcoming hands of this benevolent brother.
It wasn’t until I arrived at Ibadan that I was able to actually take my ministry online, although the Lord had revealed it to me about nine or ten years earlier that the Internet would be my primary medium of ministration. Actually, I had not fully understood the revelation at the time and it was only after I arrived at Ibadan that this and other things the Lord had been showing me over the years began to mesh into a clearer picture. For one, it was as if everywhere I turned to I was seeing and hearing “Facebook,” “Facebook,” “Facebook.” While in Jos I had developed some interest in the medium and tentatively signed up, but after coming to Ibadan I was persistently prompted to further explore it.
It was as I yielded to this lead that my understanding was quickened and I realized that this was indeed something the Lord had shown me in a night vision long before I ever heard about Facebook – in fact, before the invention was made available to the public.
(To be continued.)
In the King’s Service,
David Olagoke Olawoyin.