TWO LUNG SURGERIES, A LUNG TRANSPLANT AND DOUBLE LEG AMPUTATION LATER

TWO LUNG SURGERIES, A LUNG TRANSPLANT AND DOUBLE LEG AMPUTATION LATER
An Interview With The Fabulous Dr. Irene Olumese, Founder of The Feet of Grace Foundation

About me…
My name is Dr. Irene Olumese, wife of Dr. Peter Olumese and mother of Peter and David. I am a Christian, I believe in God, I love Him passionately, and it is nothing compared to the way He loves me! I worked with United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) for 15 years in three countries; Nigeria, Ghana, and Egypt. I love to read and sing – I call myself a one-woman bathroom choir.

My story…
I got married in 1992 and was expecting a baby and in January 1993, but I lost my baby at 32 weeks. This stillbirth was traumatic, but the word of God comforted me. 2 weeks later, I got appointed into UNICEF, and then I went for training with officers in Kaduna, Nigeria; it was Easter 1993. At the training, I started coughing. I remember vividly that we were in the training hall on Good Friday, and this cough just went on and on. I came back to Lagos and treated it, but it just wouldn’t go.

After a couple of months of using one antibiotic after the other without any improvement, my doctors wanted a full work up, and the X-ray showed a shadow in my chest. My doctors began to investigate further and realized that I needed to have surgery. In June 1993, I had a cardiothoracic surgery to remove a cyst the size of my fist, the doctors said. So when that came out, we felt that was the end of the cough. No, the cough didn’t stop, it continued, and it got worse. I had my first son in 1994; then I saw there were other symptoms that were coming up. I was having allergies of unknown origin; my eyelids just dropped, my pupils fully diluted and the doctors said this looked like a myasthenic syndrome – a degenerative disease of the neuromuscular junction and it causes a weakling of the muscles. My facial muscles were weak; my eyes were drooping and all that. However, no matter what the doctors said, as soon as we stepped out of the doctor’s office, my husband would ask “who’s report do you believe?” and I would answer “I believe in the report of the Lord’. We just used the scripture to counter everything said. In the course of these events, I had my second child in 1997 while I was working to finish my doctorate.

By 1998, I was working as a full-time officer in UNICEF, I was nursing a child, and working on Ph.D. which I finished that year. One day in October, I had a complete relapse again. While washing my baby, my hands just went flaccid; and my baby just dropped into the bowl of water, my chest became heavy. This was already five years of non – stop coughing. It was the kind of coughing where you cough so hard that your bladder threatens to open up. The cough was so bad that I ended up in the intensive care unit that month. That was when the doctors concluded that the diagnosis was bronchiectasis. This is a disease in which the walls of the airways become damaged resulting in accumulation of secretions in the lungs and recurrent chest infection. When they told me I said no, I wasn’t ready to accept that.

I went to the US for a second opinion, but the doctors there also confirmed exactly what my doctors in Nigeria said and even added more. This is because the respiratory disease is now combined with the myasthenia, a degenerative disease,was progressively debilitating. They said within 5 – 10 years I would be wheelchair-bound because the disease just leaves every muscle so weak that the individual is not able to do things by themselves. I refused to accept that prognosis. So I started the medications, and the medication was pretty expensive. While worrying and complaining, a dear sister of mine said to me, ‘why don’t you thank God that you have a job that can pay for the drugs and medical insurance?’. So that was how we were able to manage the problem. Shortly after I returned to Nigeria, I had to move from Ibadan to Lagos to work while still dealing with the problem.

In 2002, I got posted to Tamale, Ghana but had to be in Accra once a month. Hence, I did a lot of traveling back and forth; it was pretty hectic and stressful. The weather was also not kind to me, but I was able to manage it for two years until one day when both of my lungs collapsed suddenly while in Tamale. The medical facilities available could not manage the problem. My office called Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso but they also did not have the required medical facilities for this purpose. They could not fly me down to Accra because of my compromised respiratory condition. I was taken down from Tamale to Accra in an ambulance without an air conditioner, without oxygen and it was such a long journey. We only stopped to refuel in Kumasi, and at this point, I asked myself ‘will I make it to Accra?’

We eventually got to Accra where I spent six weeks at the 37 Military Hospital. They tried to drain my chest, but the situation wasn’t improving. I was in and out of the high dependency ward. At that point in time, my office decided that I should be evacuated as an international staff; they were not ready to take further risk. The point of evacuation was to South Africa because I’m an African, but because my husband worked in Switzerland, he insisted that I should be evacuated to Switzerland. In June 2003 exactly ten years after the first cardiothoracic surgery, I had to have another cardiothoracic surgery to clean out my lungs after all that had happened. At that point, I had to make a decision about my work; I decided to go on a special leave without pay.

I settled my children down in Switzerland because they had been with me in Ghana. Later in November 2003, I returned to Ghana to pack my things without finishing my contract. The next few years were really tough years. Financially it was difficult because I had taken a loan to buy a house with my husband, secured by our two jobs and all of a sudden, we only had one source of income that had to pay for my huge medical bills, children’s international school fees, house and the loan. I did everything I could; I sold Mary Kay makeup, I sold pots and did whatever was possible for me to do but I could not get a professional job. The money did not even come near what we needed, but at least I had a sense of making some contribution.

In 2006, God provoked a recommendation on my behalf, and I was able to go back to work again. This time in Cairo, Egypt. I stayed there for three weekends and came home on the 4th weekend every month. During that period, Cairo was very hot and dusty; it was not good for the respiratory system (all this while I was still coughing and medicating). It got quite severe one day while I was traveling from Cairo to Geneva, and I had a relapse on the plane. I just couldn’t breathe. I came out of the plane and had to be taken in an ambulance to get to the Airport Clinic. Later I went to my doctors for a check-up. At that point, my doctors told me that my lung functional capacity is depressed, and therefore, I needed to have supplemental oxygen. It meant that I needed to have oxygen supplied by an external source, in my house, at work and wherever I was. They felt that it was not right for me to go back to work in Cairo. The project I was working on in Cairo was already challenged by so many problems, and I felt that I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of it. So I asked if I could be allowed just to go and finish that particular project and then come back. They insisted that I must ensure that there was an oxygen cylinder in my office, an oxygen concentrator at home and one that I can spray on in between the house and the office before they allowed me to return to Cairo to finish the project.

I trusted God for favor, and our family friends in Cairo just took it upon themselves to make sure everything was in place. We finished that project at the end of December to the glory of God, and I returned to Switzerland. I got back to Switzerland January 2008 and went from a ‘26-hour’ day agenda to a snow-white agenda. I had nothing else that I could do with myself except to medicate and nebulize to keep my lungs clear of infection and to cough and cough all day long. Just taking care of my health was a full-time job, and because we didn’t want to bring somebody else in to care for me. It was just my husband, sons and me for the next couple of years.

By 2010, the situation had become so bad that at this point the doctors said there were no more medical options and that I needed to be on the ventilator in my own home. They said that in the night because the lungs will become so weak, I may forget to breathe while sleeping, so I had a ventilator at home to breathe for me at night. I lost weight – from 83kg to about 50kg thereabout. The doctors told me the only option I had left was to have a lung transplant. Of course, lung transplant meant somebody was going to have to die for me to live, and I struggled with that. I didn’t know how to pray for somebody to die so I could live. I went before the Lord and said, ‘this is too much.’ His word comforted me, but I asked for one request, ‘Lord whoever this person is going to be, let him/her know You and have a relationship with You, so that I can see him/her in heaven.”

After three years of waiting, I got a call on a Saturday that they had found a suitable donor and I went in for the surgery. I didn’t wake up until five weeks later. Apparently, after the surgery, I developed post-surgical complications, and my system started shutting down, so they had to induce a medical coma. When I woke up from the coma, I was very confused; I had a lot of frightening experiences while I was in a coma. I couldn’t vocalize because I had a tube in my throat attached to a machine that was breathing for me. I didn’t know they were not hearing me. I got so angry because they were not answering my questions.

The doctors came to me, and my husband told me “You had very good lungs, they have stayed. Your body didn’t reject them.” But, because of the complications I had during the surgery, there was poor blood circulation to my hands and legs. This meant the death of the tissues had occurred and they would need to amputate both my legs and my hands. At that point, I had had enough. I just said ‘Lord, just take me home.’ I was not going to be a burden to my family, without hands and legs. What was the point of lungs anyway?

In those two weeks, a friend of ours gave us a word that ‘God will give me the feet of grace that will take me to places my natural feet cannot take me, places beyond my imagination.’ Two weeks after I came out of the coma, I was back in the theatre again, and at the end of May, my two legs were amputated below the knee. To the glory of God, I recovered the use of my hands, life came back to it, and I began to learn to write again. For three months, I was still going to clinics to have the dead tissues, evacuated from the wounds.

I asked God what next? I survived a lung transplant. I am an amputee, what was I going to do next? He impressed on my heart that I am to inspire hope and by taking my story everywhere He would open the door to me. I knew my assignment was clear. And since He had told me long ago that He had called me be an Inspirational Speaker, I knew years later; this was where it was going to be.

The other part was to enrich lives. I wondered what I was supposed to do to enrich lives? While I was going through my rehabilitation, I began to wonder how amputees in poor communities managed. Because to date, we had spent $35,000.00 on mine. I began to make investigations on who supports amputees in the poor communities in Nigeria where I had influence. By the end of that year, I knew I had to have something to do with this.

My life now…
We set up a foundation called “The Feet of Grace Foundation,” and this is the third year of its operation. We do an Annual Charity Walk, every April – commemorating my second chance at life and in memory of my unknown benefactor. By the end of 2017, we have provided support to 20 amputees in the form of prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, scholarship and seed funds to women to restart their businesses.

I also started learning how to bead while I was in the hospital as I recovered the use of my hands. I just wanted to able to contribute something no matter how little to the family income considering how much my medical expenses had depleted our finances. My husband never complained, but I just didn’t feel happy not being a contributing partner. My book also got finished in the process, it is the story of my life, and it is called, “Grace in the Storms” ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/9785279073/ref=mp_s_a_1_2_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1521740297&sr=8-2&keywords=Grace+In+the+storms also available in Challenge Bookshops in Ghana). It was written to do exactly what I do; to inspire hope and encourage people who are going through life challenges. I speak at women conferences and churches as well.

My advice to women…
Never give up on hope. You see if you give up on hope, it’s a death sentence. Don’t let the enemy have the last laugh. God has to have the last laugh. Jump on adversity like a springboard, and it will take you to the next level. Thank you.

_______________________________________
Interview by: Ama Duncan, Corporate Trainer and Founder of The Fabulous Woman Network
Source: The Fabulous Woman Network Facebook page

YARNS OF INSPIRATION

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The Black Panther after Christ

The most recent Hollywood bomb is the movie, the Black Panther. There were a few well known faces like Forrest Whittaker and Angela Bassett. And Lupita Nyong’o who seems to have become a rising sensation.

And then there is Shuri … played by Letitia Wright.

I’d never heard of before though she has been on screen for a while now, after her role in the Black Panther, she is now referred to as a breakout star. Everybody knows Shuri now.

According to her, she almost missed out on the role after hitting a crisis in her life, dumping acting and going on a search for God.

“I needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it. So I came off from it and I went on a journey to discover my relationship with God, and I became a Christian. It really just gave me so much love and light within myself. I felt secure, like I didn’t need validation from anyone else, or from getting a part. My happiness wasn’t dependent on that, it was dependent on my relationship with God.”

At the very depths of her depression, the British actress ended up coming to Christ after attending a London actors’ Bible study. In her passionate pursuit of her newfound faith wanting to put God first, she turned down an acting role that would have given her the opportunity to work along some major actors.

“I remember God was like, to me, ‘Give up the job,’ I can give you more than that; I just need you right now. Give up the job.”

Then, after laying down her own ambition and looking to the Lord, she was offered this gigantic role in Black Panther. She is now a major star of her own right and if the buzz is true, Shuri will show up again and again in more Marvel Comic movies. Comic readers already know Shuri became the Black Panther at some point after T’Chala so we might see Letitia again if Marvel Comics decides to pursue the thought.

Letitia also explained how many of those in the entertainment are coming to know Jesus, and that the Christian community in Hollywood is an extremely supportive one.

“There’s a reason there are so many Christians in the limelight. A lot of young people who are in the creative industry are finding an avenue toward God now,” she said. “We’re all in the same path, we’re all in the same thing. But we all support each other, and love each other, and keep each other grounded, and keep each other positive.”

Now an international sensation and with a glittering career ahead of her, Wright just wants to be used as a “vessel” for the Lord. “Where I go, where He takes me, that’s where I need to spread the love of God,” she said in an interview. “Because people’s souls are dying. My soul was dying, and He saved me. So I can’t keep this to myself I fell in love with Jesus and I’m still in love. Amen.”

She’s also quoted to have said,
“I’m not perfect. As a Christian, you’re not perfect, you know, but you’re walking everyday and trying to stay connected. I’m really grateful. I’m centered in who I am.”

Letitia wants to be an inspiration to young girls. I think she’s already a hero to a lot of people.

People think by becoming a Christian, you are losing something. The story of Letitia Wright is just one of the many that prove that faith in Christ and success and fame are not mutually exclusive.

One Jesus and two kids

Remember that 2014 movie based on a true life story of a boy who died, went to heaven and was restored to life at the age of 4? It was titled Heaven is for Real.

In that movie, an effort was made by his parents to identify the face of Jesus from several pictures and paintings.

The little boy had tried to describe the Jesus he saw but it was when he saw the painting of Jesus by another child that he affirmed what Jesus looked like while he was in heaven. The painting was titled “The Prince of Peace”.

The amazing experience of Colton Burpo is corroborated by the equally amazing experience and artistic talent of Akiane Kramarik. At age 13 Akiane was already very successful financially and as an artist.

She is a lot older now and recently released a video of her journey to paint the impossible. You should watch it:

If you haven’t seen the movie Heaven is for Real, please search it out gather your family and watch it.

Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country

A Touching True-Life Heart Warming Missionary Story:

A long but excellent read.

David and Svea Flood

In 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son David, from Sweden to the heart of Africa—to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the remote village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his village for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood — a tiny woman missionary only four feet, eight inches tall, decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, after many weeks of loving and witnessing to him, he trusted Christ as his Savior.

But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.

Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth (1923), the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina (A-ee-nah).

The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. After seventeen desperate days of prayer and struggle, she died.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. His heart full of bitterness, he dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife and took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he said, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With two year old David, he headed for the coast, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.

Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious illness (some believe they were poisoned by a local chief who hated the missionaries) and died within days of each other. The nine month old baby Aina was given to an American missionary couple named Berg, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three.

The Bergs loved little Aggie but were afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them since they had at that time, been unable to legally adopt her. So they decided to stay in the United States and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible college in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young preacher named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day around 1963, a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting in the heart of Africa was a grave with a white cross and on the cross was her mother’s name, SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and drove straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she asked.

The instructor translated the story:

It tells about missionaries who went to N’dolera in the heart of the Belgian Congo in 1921… the birth of a white baby girl… the death of the young missionary mother… the one little African boy who had been led to Christ… and how, after the all whites had left, the little African boy grew up and persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.

The article told how that gradually the now grown up boy won all his students to Christ… the children led their parents to Christ… even the chief had become a Christian. Today (1963) there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village.

Because of the willingness of David and Svea Flood to answer God’s call to Africa, because they endured so much but were still faithful to witness and lead one little boy to trust Jesus, God had saved six hundred people. And the little boy, as a grown man, became head of the Pentacostal Church and leader of 110,000 Christians in Zaire (formerly the Belgian Congo).

At the time Svea Flood died, it appeared, to human reason, that God had led the young couple to Africa, only to desert them in their time of deepest need. It would be forty years before God’s amazing grace and His real plan for the village of N’dolera would be known.

For Rev. Dewey and Aggie Hurst’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie met her biological father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie could not be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.

“Papa?” she said tentatively.

He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”

“It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped.

“God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted.

“Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one.

You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you both won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today (about 1964) there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you and Momma were faithful to the call of God on your life.”

“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.” The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.

Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America—and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going up afterward to ask him if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood. “I am their daughter.” The man began to weep. “Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English.

“It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” 

He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who so many years before, when she was less than a month old, had been hired by her father to carry her down the mountain in a soft bark hammock. 

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s grave, marked with a white cross, for herself. She knelt in the soil of Africa, the place of her birth, to pray and give thanks. 

Later that day, in the church service, the pastor read from John 12:24:

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

He then followed with Psalm 126:5: “They who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country [Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].)

I came across this story and thought to share it with you because it made a great impact on me.

Exiting the Exit … Hallelujah!

After the Halleluyah Challenge, we all Held Hands to Pray! We had finished The 3months Probation and needed Some good news. Out of 25 from different nations we were just 5 Nigerians. At the end of the day 7 would be selected and employed. Each time our Files were reviewed and our nationalities reflected Nigerians, I could see the look on their faces! Yes Nigerians have been so fraudulent over here, It has made life uneasy for other Easy going and Sincere Minds to Excel. Nevertheless I strongly believed Olowogbogboro was involved. So we reached the Office that faithful Thursday! This was the last day of work so therefore any decision would be taken that day! So we walked in and were served letters. Each letter carried “Retained” or “EXIT”. Four of Us saw retained, but 1. He was asked to exit! The joy ceased. The merriment died! But He put up a smile! And said Just like that God will Do it. We followed Him down to the elevator. On reaching we met a man inside so we joined, because of thoughts we didn’t press the level we were going, so we followed the man! The man admired our suits and asked what we were doing there. We told Him and even told Him about our ordeals. He smiled and asked us to follow Him. We reluctantly did. Maybe at most, A consolation Drink! On reaching He placed a call at the reception and asked for a man to come up!

The man came up and took us back to his office! The first question He asked was, How do you know that man? We all echoed We met Him at the Elevator! He replied This can only be the Mighty Hand of a Supreme Being! We all unknowingly responded Olowogboboro😅! What did you say? He asked! Nothing sir we replied! The man you met at the Elevator is the Owner of this Company. He visits Twice a Year! Today was His second and probably Visit. Anyway, You all have been Granted Residency Directly. No need for references, He has given Himself as one! Please go down and return the Exit letter to the man who served you! We look forward to working with you soon. Am not sure we heard the other part. We wanted going back to return our colleagues EXIT letter.

When we entered, He stood up! Oh how I love such moments. I was the spokesman. I graciously Smiled saying, Am sorry Sir,  It seems my colleagues Letter needs some Readjustment! Also the required references for the job is been suitably furnished. I buttoned my suit as I ended my words with a widened smile. He replied saying He’s Sorry for the inconveniences caused. Not a problem we all echoed ! My colleague was served another letter and we went to celebrate the God that Answers!

You see i may not know what you’re going through. But don’t give up! If you’ve prayed about it don’t give up! If you’ve praised, Don’t Give up! Just like that God will Do it for you. When all hope seems to be gone, The God of pleasant Surprises will surprise you.

I just hope this Write up encourages you!

#Olowogbogboro!

I came across this story and thought to share it with you because it blessed me.

#testimoniesofjesus 

TESTIMONY TIME: RAIN DROPS OF HARVEST.

I have another testimony to share, guys. This one happened just yesterday evening.

I finished a meeting at work at 6:30pm, and I was to head to church where service was scheduled to close at 7pm. I got to town at 7:15pm or so. Service had surely closed but I had promised a brother in distress over a matter that I would see him at church no matter how late I got back so, just to keep my promise, I decided to still go.

I took a bike and guess what, this Muslim bike man could not keep quiet. His gist was that he loves Christians because of our commitment to truth and integrity. He told of his interactions with Christians from all over Nigeria… particularly when he spent about 6 years in a Corpers’ lodge (or camp, not sure…my understanding of the Hausa language is still a work in progress) and how they treated him despite knowing that he was a Muslim.
He rattled on and on then I asked him why he doesn’t move over to Christianity? He chuckled and said that was a good and big question. Of course he tried to sell the “we are all one, Jesus is mentioned in the Quaran” line but I couldn’t follow his Hausa well enough.
At the end of our ride, he asked me to bless him so he too can have plenty money like me. I said “amen” and then told him in the little Hausa I could manage “Yesu na kiranka, kajinshi. Yesu na sonka”. Meaning “Jesus has called you and you have heard him. Jesus loves you” I smiled and we parted ways.

I hereby celebrate those unknown Christians whose Christian walk gave me this opportunity tonight to tell someone Jesus loves him.

“Paul plants, Apollo waters”

MY TESTIMONY: GOD IS ABLE

GOD IS ABLE

 

In the morning of Saturday 4th of January, 2014, I woke up feeling nauseous and eventually vomited twice, consisting only of sputum since I had not taken breakfast. My wife offered me tea and while I was in the bedroom getting set, I was suddenly hit with a sharp piercing pain in the middle of my chest all the way to my back between the two scapulae (shoulder blades). I bent over, eventually knelt beside our bed, sweating profusely that cold morning, in excruciating pain. I thought it was ulcer, because I had that in the past, but the location of the pain suggested otherwise.

 

All I could say was, “Jesus, what is this? What should I do?” He said to me, “Call your wife and get to Federal Medical Center Accident and Emergency Room” and I did that. She gathered our boys into the car and rushed them to our pastor neighbour’s house, briefly explained the situation and left for the hospital.

 

Based on the history of peptic ulcer disease and some reflux I had, the diagnosis was Gastroesophageal reflux disease (a condition where the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the oesophagus and cause pain) and I was managed for that along with painkillers. All the while, I was vomiting.  My pastors came and prayed with me and anointed me with oil.

 

I was later moved to the amenity ward and the problem continued till the next morning when I was seen by a physician who, on examination, picked up a third heart sound (i.e. an abnormal heart rhythm) and ordered for a chest x-ray, which showed enlargement of the heart, and ECG, which showed marked ST elevation on all anterior leads indicating extensive myocardial infarction (i.e. abnormal heart beating pattern due to damage of the heart muscle caused by obstruction of blood supply to the heart by a major blood vessel. Simply put, a massive heart attack of the very worst type).

 

That afternoon, a severe pain started suddenly in my abdomen. It was so painful that I was screaming terribly loud. At this point, thoughts of dying and leaving behind my wife and two boys crossed my mind several times and on each occasion I would aim the scream at the devil and yell out “No!”

 

My wife came to me, leaned over me and said, “We’ll get through this. The devil came late because the victory started on Friday when God made sure you got back home instead of on Saturday as was usual for you.” And I agreed.

 

The consultant physician came back to see me and saw the ECG and commented that it was incredible for someone with my physique would have Myocardial Infarction (heart attack with damage to the heart muscle) so extensively. He prescribed Morphine and sent me to the ICU. I also had abdominal ultrasound scan and x-ray which both turned out normal.

 

That night, my wife put the song “God is Able” led by Reuben Morgan of Hillsong Australia on repeat on her phone and left it on my bed.

 

The next day, Monday, a consultant cardiologist performed an echocardiography and found evidence of extensive anterolateral myocardial infarction(i.e. extensive damage to the front part of the heart). He counseled that the extent of damage would require angioplasty (repair or reconstruction of blood vessels) or possibly a major heart surgery although an angiography (a study of the blood vessels that supply heart) would be needed to see the exact heart structures that had been damaged. Contact was made with a center in Lagos that had both the required personnel and equipment.

 

My pastors from various locations called in prayers, prayers were going on in church and at other groups in other churches. Some friends sent communion elements from the one they had at church that evening which I took till the next morning. And we made arrangements to have our tithes paid in our absence.

 

I had a very high temperature that Monday and an antimalarial was commenced.

 

Tuesday was dominated by travel arrangements and goodbyes from friends who probably entertained the possibility of never seeing me again. I couldn’t blame them; they’d never even as much as heard of me being ill let alone seeing me so pitiable.

 

We went to Kano by road and completed the trip to Lagos by air. We arrived Lagos at about 10:30pm and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. I was assessed again with all the x-rays, ECG, and finally with another echocardiography by a second consultant cardiologist at about 1:00am Wednesday morning and all the tests and examinations came to the same conclusion as before – extensive anterior myocardial infarction requiring angioplasty or major heart surgery after angiography to ascertain the extent of damage. This was scheduled for later that morning. And so I slept off.

 

A few hours later, I was awakened to be prepped for the procedure and surgery. We got to the theater table and the angiography was performed and to our amazement, there was no heart damage to be found and the place where the plaque had formed which caused the obstruction was identified but it had ulcerated (broken up) so much that no stent (a small pipe inserted into a blood vessel to keep it open) was required in anyway. There was obviously no need for surgery and I was cleaned up, returned to my room and placed on some drugs for preventive purposes. I was discharged the next day.

 

God showed up at the eleventh hour and resolved my situation in a way that only He can and I live evermore to praise His name. I am grateful for all the prayers of all the saints; I felt it because my faith, nor my wife’s, did not fail.

 

Indeed, our God is able.