A few months ago, I got baptized at Trinity Baptist Church, Abuja. One of the requirements for the exercise was that I shared my testimony with my pastor beforehand. This afforded me the opportunity to write out my testimony for the first time. Below is a slightly modified version of the testimony I shared with my pastor and read out to the members of my church who were present at my baptism.
I have always been exposed to Christianity. I grew up in a Christian home with a father who was an elder in The Apostolic Church (TAC), a Pentecostal denomination in Nigeria, and a mother who was a chorister (until her death in 2001). I can vaguely remember our family devotions every morning when my family was complete, before my mother passed away. Christians in Nigeria love to sing, and my family was no exception. We sang really rich theological songs. Songs of praise to God for the gift of salvation. Songs that affirmed the constant presence of the Holy Spirit as believers walk through the fires that often threaten to destroy them here on earth. Songs that expressed longing for our home in heaven.
In 2005, my family began worshiping at another church: Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (popularly known as MFM among her members), a “deliverance ministry” with its International Headquarters in Lagos. My teenage years were spent in MFM. Over time I became an active member of the church. I was singing in the youth choir, playing the keyboard, and leading Bible Studies. I was often part of the sanitation team. I was one of the guys you’d go to when you needed something done. I was a church boy in the true sense of the word. But in the midst of the bustle of activities I had plunged myself into, I never really knew the Lord. I thought I did. But I didn’t.
From 2006, I began to have a series of “conversion” experiences, the first of which took place at a service I attended with one of my “aunties” (a much older woman who was a friend to my family). She had taken me along with her to a Bible Study meeting at her church. That was where I prayed the Sinners’ Prayer for the first time. A year later, at a Friday meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) in my secondary school, I prayed another Sinners’ Prayer. From then on, I gave my life to Christ multiple times, rededicated my life as many times as I gave it, and made many decisions to live a life wholly dedicated to my Savior.
It was really a matter of good works for me–I needed to pray more, study my Bible more and sin less. I rarely ever heard the Gospel preached at my local church. I heard “sermons” on academic success, financial breakthrough, deliverance from generational bondage and ancestral curses, and victory over sickness and diseases countless times. I heard all that there was to hear about deliverance and the victorious Christian life. I heard everything there was to hear. Except the Gospel.
Sometime in 2013, a dear friend and brother in my church discovered a white preacher who he claimed spoke hard truths. He managed to spark my interest in this man and sent some of the preacher’s sermons to my mobile phone. That preacher’s name is Paul Washer. I listened to the popular Shocking Youth Message countless times. I listened to sermon after sermon in the collection I had received from my friend, saying to myself each time I finished listening to one: “I have never heard this. I never knew this. No one ever told me this.”
Brother Paul drove me to tears. He made me realize that there was such a thing as false conversions. I had always believed myself saved. I had always thought of the Sinners’ Prayer as the biblical way of coming to Christ and trusting him for salvation. I was so wrong. And it was during that period–the second half of 2013–that I began to fully and completely trust the Lord as my Savior.
While I cannot point to a single date as my day of conversion, I can say with certainty that it was in 2013–through the ministry of Paul Washer–that the Lord saved me from my sin and began a work of sanctification in my life. The proof of this for me was the change that I saw in my own heart and life. My desires were changed (and are still changing), and I have come to put my trust in Christ for salvation. I no longer look to my own works for salvation. I look to Jesus.
I was baptized on the 10th of August, 2019. It was a day of great joy for me. And being baptized in a Gospel-preaching church by a missionary pastor sent by Paul Washer’s HeartCry Missionary was an amazing gift from God. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.