(Testimony of Bro. Julius Adewumi) Part 2.
I will like to narrate how I felt the whip of the wicked which made me sought for more of God. My parents told me the earlier history of my life which I have pondered upon as I grew up. My mom said, when she was freshly pregnant of me about 3 months pregnant, a pentecostal group, popularly known as the Aladuras (meaning, the Praying ones) came to our home town to conduct a street evangelism. These pentecostal groups in the south-western Nigeria have a trademark of wearing white robes and they do prophezy, leaning towards divination till today. My parents were moslems but for curiosity sake, my mom said she joined the crowd of on-lookers for a while to listen to what this street preachers had to say. One of the prophets, or the lead-prophet among these street preachers at one point called out my mom and prophezied to her that she was carrying a baby boy in her womb right then who will be a servant of God, and who will be able to totally rely on God. My mom said she wondered in her heart how the man knew she was pregnant because it was too early in the pregnancy for anyone to know. Because of this prophecy my mom gave me two special names, to remind herself and me of the prophecy. (The names Oluwa-to-baduro means "God is enough to stand by", and Oluwa-to-farati means "God is enough to lean on".)
On the day of delivery when I was born, I was told one of these pentecostal ministers, uninvited, suddenly showed up at the maternity center, and came straight to my mommy's bed and prophezied again over me and prayed for me. The other women in the maternity ward, hearing this minister, also requested that the minister should pray for their children which he did before he left. My parents, being moslems, were flattered by all these pentecostal ministers utterances, but they kept the sayings in their hearts and occasionally would mention it to the family as we grew up.
However this did not just go on without a price paid. The enemy struck, knowing what God had in mind which my parents really did not know anything about. About the time when every child should begin to walk, I was told the devil attacked me with an affliction they did not understand. They tried every medical help to no avail, and it seemed I was going to be deformed permanently either with "hunchback" or paralysis. I could not walk. Finally certain neighbors who were idol-worshippers counseled my mom that they had seen the disease before, and that I was born with a need to be linked to a god (an idol), and that only if my parents brought me to worship that idol would I be delivered from deformity. Though my parents were moslems and their religion condemned the worship of idols, they thought in order to save my life they had to do something, and they agreed to present me to that god once a year during the idol's festival, which my mom did for a while during my grade school days.
The devil always try to put people in bondage under himself. That was why those idolaters insisted that my parents should present me before the idol at least once a year, with offering. However I believe the people simply knew the cure for the disease and because they wanted payment for their service continually for years after, they had to attribute the healing to an idol which their patient must continue to worship even after they were healed
I was able to walk when I was almost three years old and completely healed by the mercies of God. However my moslem parents had been deceived to believe it was the idol which delivered me. They never worshipped the idol, but they thought I should, because they accepted the deception that each person came to the world with different gods, and that each must worship those specific gods -- which was the traditional African religious beliefs interjected into their moslem faith. That was how many people always mix their tradition into any new religion which they accept. For example the Jews tried to mix judaism into Christianity by trying to compel the believers to be circumcised, and Rome mixed the traditions of their sun god into Christmas, and Santa Claus came from another culture, etc.
My mommy passed away the year I started junior high school. Since I was the smallest of her three children, the relatives summoned all financial resources to send me away into a boarding high school to give some relief. So I was enrolled in Saint Anthony's boys high school in Esure, Ijebu Imushin, in Ogun State, Nigeria, a distance of about 50 miles from home. I had always been one of the top 5 students in previous schools, and in no time, I was able to establish my academic excellence also in this high school. It was in this high school where I was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic.
In my final year in high school, I experienced another major attack from the devil which caused me to seek more protection from God than merely following religion. My daddy had a concubine who had been accused of witchcraft but no evidence to support the accusation. The satanic attack came through her as I would narrate later. This woman never visited me in the boarding school until the final year. Suddenly one afternoon in the second trimester I had a visitor, the woman. I was flattered, not knowing she came on her own mission for the devil. She said she was informed my final graduation examination was soon and she had to visit me before the examination. But because she was a trader who regularly traveled from Northern Nigeria to the South, she came to gather information whether I would have one more vacation and return home before the examination, to which I gave an affirmative answer. She was glad, and she said because of me she would try to be home during my vacation. She was saying all of this as if she was sorry she had not been spending time to take care of me since my mommy passed away, and she wanted to make it up to me. Whereas she had other plans. She actually came to school to serve me poisoned meat, but she knew she would not be able to control the destination of the meat, lest I gave the meat to some of my friends and I be missed, she prefered that I be served the poison at home. That was why she was noticeably glad to hear that I would come home one more time before the final examination. The plan of the devil was that I should not be allowed to participate in the final examination somehow.
In all those evils, the almighty God was in the background, jumping in to deliver me at the proper time, though I did not know him yet.
When the vacation came around, the woman was at home waiting for me. Due to the fact that I had lost my mother and I was the only son of my mom still home with the other women, in a polygamous moslem family, all the women in the house took turns to prepare my meal as often as they remembered. But this particular woman was seeking opportunity to serve me a meal, and could not because she always asked me just after someone else had already given me a meal. She became furious and approached my big sister, who was living with her husband nearby, to complain, and she insisted that I must come to her for my next meal. We thought she was being nice, therefore we agreed, and at the next meal, I went straight to honor her by asking for the meal she promised. She went straight to her room and brought out fried meat. She asked me to pick 2 pieces. I did, and she was amazed and voluntarily gave me one more from the bunch. About an hour later she was asking me whether I ate the meat or I threw them away, and that she would be very sad if she found out I threw her gift away. One notable thing was that this woman never had children and everyone tried to be nice to her so she would not feel the childlessness, and I was not about to let that happen to her either. When she learnt I ate the meat, she was glad. However by the morning light, I fell sick and had to be hospitalized for a week. After the meat, my belly could not hold any other meal without vomiting it out, and I was getting lean by the minute. Naturally the questioning was about what I ate the previous day. It became apparent that my big sister was about to make an open accusation of this woman. She had to back off, as help was sought from all angles, and she was also not allowed to visit me in the hospital. While in the hospital, the last week of the vacation, I was nightly on my knees praying that the Lord Jesus would deliver me, since at this time I was catholic.
My big sister also remembered that when I was younger my mom usually took me to another town during the yearly idolatrous festival. Due to the intensity of my sickness, she travelled quickly to those idol woshippers to check. Because since my mommy passed away, and even some years before that, we had abandon the idol worshippers. When she was there, those idol worshippers used their divination and pointed to the same woman who was my daddy's concubine that she was the cause of my sickness, and they requested that whenever I left the hospital, my sister should bring me over to the idols again.
God raised up Prayers
During this time, I had some cousins in the city of Lagos who, though were moslems, had began to attend a certain pentecostal church, the type which prophezied about my birth. When one of my cousins heard that I was hospitalized, not knowing how serious the sickness, he had a dream in the night and said he saw me amputated. When he woke up, he feared the sickness must be serious. Therefore he requested prayer for me in their church. Every night during my hospitalization, prayer was going up to heaven for me.
I can testify to the fact that God answers prayers. Each night, my prayer to the Lord was that, "Lord, I attended church on Sunday Morning, when the sickness started, even though I vomitted the breakfast, and was hospitalized on Monday morning; I prayed that I must attend church the next Sunday morning." Though the sickness escalated from Tuesday to Wednesday and Thursday, by Friday help came from above and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday.
Paid the final visit to the idol
My big sister convinced me to respect her promise to bring me to those idol worshippers if only to thank them for whatever they did to help, I went with her though we were both and the only catholic in our family. After they performed all their rites and rituals, they asked me to kneel before the idol, and I was saying in my heart, "Lord , you know I don't believe these things, I was only respecting these seniors". Then I made a surprise request, I asked them to let me see the face of the idol, because this particular idol was always covered with white cloth. I said I wanted to see what is under the white cloth. Humorously, they were saying, "what for?" I replied, "I want to know this idol; if it saved me, will it not be nice to really know it?" Laughingly therefore, they said, "just briefly though". They uncovered the white cloth and I saw mere pot of watery liquid. They jokingly asked me to embrace it as they cover it back. Like an enquiring teenager I was, I shook my head secretly, and said to myself, "this is a mere pot with some liquid inside it! This is no god!" Then I made a promise to the Lord Jesus that day, that "Lord, I will never visit this place again while I am alive." The pot, called idol, did not save me; those people might have knowledge of herbal medicine which they prescibed to men. But they created those idols to keep strings attached to their patients. Even western doctors have taken up similar practice to keep their patients coming back. They wouldn't call it idol, but they will tell people to come for yearly check-up or quarterly check-up, not without payment. It's the same bondage!
Paid Visit to the Pentecostals
I went back to my high school and with the Lord's help I finished the academic year and made the best grade ever made in the school in the West African Examination Council papers, which was the high school graduation examination in that generation.
I went to pay a visit to the pentecostal church where I was told prayer went up to heaven for me during my hospitalisation to thank the pastor. The man prayed for me and when he finished praying he said to me, "young man, take my advice. Wherever you go, look out a good pentecostal church and join them, or at least let them regularly pray over you, because from what I see (in his spirit), you are in a war zone." I know that already, I just came out of one battle! However, I said in my heart, "Another one of those, my church is better than your church kind of people; they always want you to leave your church and join theirs." While the thought was in my heart, the man added, you don't have to join this church; there are many pentecostal churches (Aladura churches) everywhere. You are better off to visit them regularly and let them pray over you. The forces against you are many and they might get you. But prayer will always deliver you." I thanked the man and left. However, I had began my search for more of God from there on.
Daddy tried to help
I got a job in Ibadan, and had to work as a clerical assistant in an accounting office.
When I brought my first paycheck to my daddy, he told me to go spend it. However he said I should be decked with some spiritual protection in the juju (or voodoo) way, and with some of those money he took me to his friend who had recently became a juju doctor. He gave a portion to bathe with and a lotion to cream the body, both for protection and for favour. I brought those things to my new apartment in Ibadan. They were all fake. While using those potions, I was again attacked by the devil in another serious sickness.
I followed my big sister to attend another pentecostal church in town when a friend introduced her to this praying church. She also was seeking a child when she had no pregnancy after over 3 years of marriage; she was getting concerned.
Juju was cast into the river
While in these pentecostal churches it was understood that I couldnot mix the charms and voodoo portions with church prayers. I must forsake one for the other. I thought about it and remembered all the prophecies about me. Therefore I made up my mind to follow Jesus and to forsake voodoo portions. I gathered all the portions and lotions my daddy gave me and went to a stream nearby in an evening time. I stood by this stream and told the Lord that I have decided to follow Jesus to any length, and I am casting my life into his care. If the witches win and kill me, at least I know I will go to heaven. But I know he can deliver me, therefore I trust him to deliver me from henceforth. And I threw all the voodoo prtions into the stream, and went back to my apartment singing a church song.
Sin not yet dealt with
Now, that was just the beginning of my search for Jesus, even though I thought I have found him in the Pentecostal church I had began to attend. But I was not saved from my sins. Salvation is by grace of God and faith which brings salvation is a free gift from the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Love of God has to be shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
All these while, I was socially like everyone else, drinking alcohol when occasion calls for it, cursing, and swearing, worldly like everybody else, and into other sins common to teenagers, boy-friend girl-friend habit, partying, and reveling, and yet becoming more religious. Like the Lord said, except for the grace of God, "no man can come unto Jesus except the Father calls him". Actually I thought I had come to Jesus. But "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
You can now realize what I meant when I said previously that I felt the whip of the wicked, which made me seek the God of Salvation and deliverance. Salvation from sin is first and foremost in the heart of God to give to mankind which was the root cause of all the afflictions in the world. But while seeking the God who can deliver, He also offered me salvation from sin. However I did not come to this realization until I was in college. When he found me and saved me, all things become new. Fear went away, and faith replaced fear.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."