(Interview of Sister Grace Adewumi by Bro. Julius)
Bro. Julius: Honey how were you raised? Were you raised in a church environment?
Sister Grace: I was raised in a christian family with very good discipline. But christianity to us was a church thing. People go to church as a routine on Sundays. After Sunday, everything was just like other people.
Bro. Julius: What are the things people were doing which when you can look back now make you to say they were not really Christians? Give me examples of the common practices that showed that the people were not Christians.
Sister Grace: Like I said before, I was raised in a very disciplined home. That can be deceptive because one has all the morals, which teaches the right and the wrongs, which are very close to how Christians should live. Now that I am a Christian, I can look back and see that there is a difference. As a Christian, there is a peace within. That is one thing I see that was lacking. The people go to church but are still relying on their own efforts (to protect themselves from evils). The fear of ungodly people around the neighborhood, the fear of witches were still nortured, even though we were church-goers.
Bro. Julius: So the fear of evil powers was visible? How visible was it in the community? What things did you see people do which points to this fact?
Sister Grace: It is visible because we saw people being harmed by the so-called witches and witchcraft. In my own family, if some neighbors gave you something to eat, the parents wouldn't let you eat it, because the thing could have been poisoned. There was lack of trust in the community, they didn't trust one another, even though they attended the same church.
Bro. Julius: Were the people really evil or was it just a fear without any evidence?
Sister Grace: It was a realistic fear. They have seen examples that these things actually happened in the community. Bro. Julius: Have the witches ever been exposed and arrested in that community like the stories we heard in this country of America in the 1600's: some witches were arrested and tortured till they confessed in Massachussetts? Did such thing happened in your community?
Sister Grace: I did not physically witness it, but we only heard stories.
Bro. Julius: What other sin was common among the people which made you know that they were just church-goers and not Christians?
Sister Grace: There were drunkards, smokers, cursing and all other stuff was also going on as in every other places.
Bro. Julius: Did you personally participate in any of those things too?
Sister Grace: That is what I called discipline. Because of my upbringing, I did not take part in those habits, but it can be deceptive. Some people can be so religious and not doing those bad things, and it will be hard for them to realize that they are not really Christians since they are not trusting in the Lord Jesus but in their good works. I was like that.
Bro. Julius: I know you attended a moslem high school. Was there any reason why your parents did not compel you to go to a Church-based school, and you went to a Moslem school?
Sister Grace: It was a very tough decision for them to allow me to go there. The reason was, they were informed that the Moslem High school had excellent academic record.
Bro. Julius: So your parents were more concerned about academics than religion?
Sister Grace: Yes.
Bro. Julius: When did you begin to realize that you were a sinner who needed a Savior?
Sister Grace: While I was in High School, and due to my disciplined background, I was aware of the other girls in high school sneaking out of the dormitory, going out partying and such stuff. I couldn't do such things. I knew those schoolmates were wrong in their disobedience. At that time, there was a deep search in my heart. I did not want to sit on the fence, neither doing what the others were doing nor fervent in God as I ought to be as a Christian. I began to look for a church, another congregation to attend.
Bro. Julius: What did you think was wrong with your parent's church at that time?
Sister Grace: Actually there was no "African Church" around my high school, therefore I went for the closest church which was an "Anglican church". We would go as a group from my school to attend this Anglican Church for about two academic years until one day.
Bro. Julius: What happened that day?
Sister Grace: When we arrived at this church, we were told to stay outside and that there were no more seats inside. A couple of us went around to the side of the church building, and looking through the windows we saw that there were empty seats in the front rows. We wondered why the Ushers told us to sit outside when there were still room in the congregation. I believe we entered and tried to sit in those seats, but we were told the seats were reserved. While we stayed around we saw those people for whom the seats were reserved were the rich people. I was disappointed in the church that day. I said to myself, "I don't think God will agree with this. These people were late to church, but because they were rich, they had reserved seats".
Bro. Julius: So you saw a flaw in that church system and you started looking for another church? What did you do next?
Sister Grace: In my heart I desired to see a good church which I could say was doing things the way I believe God wanted it done. I went with some friends to another church. Since I was disappointed in the sitting arrangement of the Anglican church, I visited this spiritual church and we were all made to sit on the mat, both the rich and the poor, and the people wore the same costume. Everybody is equal. I thought that was better. However when I saw ungodliness in their midst and immorality, I knew they were not right also.
Bro. Julius: That all happened in high school. When did you finally met the Lord?
Sister Grace: After leaving the spiritual church I began to attend another pentecostal church for the rest of the high school years. They had revival meetings and they preached salvation. I attended the meetings. They talked about accepting the Lord but no one explained how to accept the Lord. After my high school, I went to stay with my big brother who had recently graduated from the University and he had an apartment. I was there for vacation before proceeding to my own college. My brother was already a born-again Christian. Some of his friends would come over to stay with him for few days. One weekend, one of the friends asked me whether I have accepted the Lord. Since I have heard the terminology several times and desired to know how it is done, I was anxious to find out. When he asked the question I said "No". He asked "why?" I said, "even though I wanted to, I have not found anybody to show me how to accept the Lord". This man brought out his bible and explained to me how the Lord Jesus came, died, shed his blood to redeem us, and it's a free gift. All I have to do is to receive it, accept his offering on the cross for us and ask him to come into my heart and to take control of my life. For the first time, it sort of click. At that point, I could see that all I need is faith to receive what the Lord has already given to me. I knelt down and prayed the sinner's prayer. There was a change I could see immediately after the prayer. There was a peace and a calm and a joy which I felt. Just like I have heard other people testified, even though I had the morality, what the Lord gave me instantly which I felt was that the fear of evil was instantly erased from me. I was set free from the anxiety and the fear in the society of evil doers.
Bro. Julius: Praise the Lord! How have you progressed since then? People sometimes say they backslide. How did you progress in your Christian life without any cause of backsliding? Do you think backsliding is real? What were you doing to progress spiritually?
Sister Grace: After I gave my life to the Lord, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It's like having a relationship. The joy, the peace is unparalleled. People that backslide must be saying they are tired of the Christian life; they wanted something else in the world. But since I have given my life unto the Lord, there is a joy, there is a peace within me. The feeling is that there is nothing in this world that can entice me. Nothing.
Bro. Julius: What can you say is the reason for anybody to say he or she is tired of the Christian life? Could it be that they didn't really get it in the first place, and they thought they got it? Or they really first got it and then lost it? i.e, could it be lost if they didn't do some follow-up things which could make them to keep growing?
Sister Grace: That is true. Accepting the Lord is not all. There must be some followup. After we accept the Lord, we have to progress in the Christian life. People need to grow in the Lord. Environment make some people to backslide. You need to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to spiritual things, and guide us away from troubles. The flesh and the spirit war against each other. When we feed our spirit with the word of God, we'll grow spiritually. The higher we grow, the more we'll be dead to the flesh.
Bro. Julius: What you are saying in effect is that there is need for discipleship. After one is born again, like a new born babe, one needs to be fed with the sincere milk of the word. In your own case, were you in an environment of good bible study which kept you focused on the Lord?
Sister Grace: I consider myself to be very fortunate because when I gave my life to the Lord, I was surrounded by a fellowship of brethren. I could see the love in the people surrounding me. I was not left alone to myself after accepting the Lord. The more I read my bible the more I learnt from the Lord.
Bro. Julius: Did you have access to other Gospel literature which you were reading that could contribute to your steady growth in your faith in Christ? Did you have regular bible study meetings which you attended regularly?
Sister Grace: We had regular Sunday services, night vigils, and sometimes evangelical camp meetings. I also benefited from literatures of notable ministers on faith.
Bro. Julius: Praise the Lord. Thank you for the testimony. O taste and see that the Lord is good.