Temptation and Victory
After my conversion to Christ, the first thing that happened was all the gifts from the sea, the telescope, the T.V., shirts, photographs I snapped inside the sea laboratories and the photograph of the Queen of the Coast which were displayed in my flat vanished.
On returning to Port Harcourt, I had the urge to testify what the Lord had done for me but was not allowed in the church. My late uncle’s wife, who is also a Christian, took me to one of the pastors, but the question he asked was: “Did he bring the paper?” It was later that I understood that the paper he meant was a ‘membership letter.’ What has membership letter to do with my testifying the power of Christ and what He has done for me- God, translating me from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom I have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of my sins?
I was sad, having known that Satan does not allow young converts to go about testifying, especially those who previously were deeply involved in his activities, and would do everything to stop such testimonies. Again I remembered, the Lord clearly instructed me to “go and testify what I have done for you” and here I was faced with rejection. Perhaps it was not yet time. So I decided to shelve giving my testimony to anyone. I traveled with three traders from Aba to Togo for a business trip. There I bought goods worth N160,000 (One Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naïra). Out of this amount my personal money was N70,000 while the remaining N90,000 was borrowed from traders in Aba. Amongst the things I bought were bundles of laces, assorted drugs (especially antibiotics), injections, thermometers, etc. At the Nigerian border, we were held by the Customs and later were asked to pay some bribe. We refused and the goods were seized including those belonging to my colleagues. A few months later, those belonging to my colleagues were released, except mine. I went back later and was asked to pay N40,000, but on checking the goods I discovered that all the valuable goods, bundles of laces, injections, drugs, etc., were already stolen. I assessed the remaining goods and knew that paying N40,000 to the Customs would only increase the loss, so I decided to forego the remaining goods.
The traders whose money I borrowed started chasing me. Some called the police, others took the laws into their hands and planned to do away with my life. The only solution was to close my Bank accounts and use all the money I had to settle all the debts. By God’s grace, I paid all except N1,000 meant for my landlord in Lagos. I went completely bankrupt and would borrow even 20k for taxi fare.
I went to a few business Christians I knew then, to seek for help to enable me start afresh. None said yes or no, rather I would be asked to come the following day repeatedly until I would be tired or find help. I did not know the Word of God and with all the confusion in my heart, I would read the Bible and would not understand. Still contemplating on what to do, I received an urgent call from my village. I rushed home and found that the little building I was setting up had been pulled down by my uncle who was also present and threatened to kill me. The old nature in me was challenged. I remembered when I was with the secret society, how he dreaded me and would go on his knees before me. But now he knew I was a changed man (how he knew I did not know as I had not traveled home since my conversion) and he now threatened me. I called on the Lord and said: “So you saved me to leave me frustrated and to allow my enemies to rejoice over me!” I wept and decided to go back to the society.
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At least I would be saved from all the confusion and would also teach my uncle a lesson he would never forget all his life. Although I took the decision, I had two prominent fears within me:
I was so confused and I needed help. I was ignorant of the Word of God and never knew what the Word says in respect of the above. Dear reader, you will realize here that I had all these confusions because of lack of follow-up as a young convert. Follow-up for young converts is very important and Christians should take this seriously. If you know you cannot follow-up your converts, please do not go out for witnessing. Jesus Christ emphasized this three times when he asked Peter: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?… Feed my lambs.” Many converts backslide because of lack of proper follow- up. If you love Jesus, take care of His lambs!
The Battle with Satan’s Agents
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During this period the Queen of the Coast’s agents started pursuing me. I suffered greatly in their hands. I had nightmares. On the 1st of May 1985, a month after my conversion, at about 2.00 a.m., others in the house were asleep. I was awakened by these agents. They commanded me to walk out of the house. I obeyed, walked out and they followed behind. It was all happening like a dream but this was in reality. We moved on to the burial ground by St. Paul’s Anglican church, off Aba Road, Port Harcourt.
On reaching there they said: “You must come back. If you refuse we will kill you or make you a destitute.” After this instruction they left. I regained my senses and wondered how I came into the burial ground. I went back to bed and slept. They decided attacking me in the afternoons. At times, while walking along the road they would fight me. Others around would see me fighting with the air or see me running as if being pursued. I alone would be seeing them. This they did for four times and stopped. Then their leader, the Queen of the Coast, took over. The first day she came in a car and parked beside our house. She was well dressed and as usually very beautiful. People around took her to be my girlfriend. Immediately she came in I knew who she was. She came at about 12.00 noon when the whole area was less busy. She sat down and among other things said: “You can go to your church, believe whatever you want to believe, but if only you will not reveal me, I will give you anything you need in this life.” I had not known the Scriptures so I only listened and watched her walk. She pleaded and tried to persuade me to come back to her. I never said yes or no to her. She stood up, walked into her car and drove off.
About two times my uncle’s wife entertained her without knowing who she was and I never told my uncle’s wife who the lady was. During her last visit she changed her approach. This time she gave me a stern warning saying that she had tried during these visits to persuade me to come back to her and that I had been very stubborn, and that this was her last visit. If I still refuse to come back, she would come to me in August and would either kill me, or disfigure me or make me destitute. With this she left.
I was afraid, so one day I went to the church and called out a brother. I told him my problems and my observations on some members of the church, etc. This brother gave me the SCRIPTURE UNION’S (S.U.) office address and told me: “There you will find help.”Incidentally that was the last day I saw this “brother.” I have never seen him anywhere in Port Harcourt up till date. I took the address and the following day, took a taxi to No. 108 Bonny Street, where the office is and met the typist who gave me the quarterly program of activities of the S.U. Rumuomasi Pilgrims Group, being the one nearest to me. She said: “Come on Sunday!” I was there at the Fellowship Centre – St. Michael’s State School, Rumuomasi – at 2.00 p.m., not knowing that the fellowship starts at 3.00 p.m., but I met the prayer band, so I joined them.
After the fellowship that day I knew this was the right place for me. God provided me with a Christian lady, whom I took as a mother, who took interest in explaining the Word of God to me and counseled me as well. The brethren became very interested in me and cared. I saw real love. The Holy Spirit began giving me understanding of the Word and my faith grew. But the Queen of the Coast did not show up as she threatened. Psalm 91, God’s protection, was fulfilled in my life. Isaiah 54:17: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, said the Lord.” This also was fulfilled.
September 1985, I received a message that my name appeared as a distributor with the Silver Brand Cement, Lagos and that I was expected to report at the office on 27/9/85. I left Port Harcourt on 26/9/85 and arrived in Lagos in the night. The following morning 27/9/85, I went into the office only to be told by the Personnel Manager that my allocation had been assigned to someone else. He asked me to repeat the following day 28/9/85 to see the Managing Director. On my way back to my flat, passing through a path, someone came from behind and gripped me and tried to suffocate me i.e. held my nose and mouth together. I struggled for life and while people passed by, none came to my rescue, but the Lord intervened. While I still struggled with the hands I heard her shout and pushed me away saying: “Who is that person behind you?” She repeated a second time and disappeared. From the voice I knew it was a woman but never saw who she was. I was dazed and staggered to my flat.
Here again my landlord was very furious and said: “Why did you run away with the money of my rent?” I pleaded with him and tried to explain that presently I was not working and would pay all his money as soon I had money. With the way he consented I thought this matter was settled. The following day 28/9/85, I went back to the office and met the Managing Director who apologized for having given my allocation to another. While he was still talking a young man walked in and asked me: “Are you not Emmanuel?” I said: “Yes, I am.” He said: “Yes, we have got you at last! Have you finished running? We have visited Port Harcourt several times and found that you were always with your spiritual mother. She had been a stumbling block to us and now that you have come to Lagos we have caught you! You can never go back to Port Harcourt. I am the one that took your allocation.” I challenged him and told him: “You can’t do anything!” The Managing Director was surprised at what was happening in his office. I excused myself and left for the flat.
Few minutes later I heard a knock on my door and NINA entered. She asked me if I was going back to Port Harcourt. I answered yes. She pleaded with me to come back to them and that the jobs I was particularly trained for were still lying unaccomplished: KOTIPARI (in the Yoruba language). I had been trained:
She said, if I accompanied her, what awaited me was double promotion and many blessings. She confessed they were responsible for my goods being seized and stolen, also that they instigated my uncle to destroy my building and to threaten my life. That if I refuse following her, they would do more and make sure that I did not prosper. That they had decided to fight my spiritual mother: “If we get her, we’ve got you” she said. At that, I started preaching to her. She stood up and said: “They are deceiving you,” and left. This took place in the evening of 28/9/85.
Not quite fifteen minutes she left I heard another knock. This time they were four men. They beckoned on me to come out and I saw myself going along with them. We walked up to about 2 poles and one of them asked me: “Do you know us?” I said no. He continued: “We have been hired by your landlord to kill you.” While he was still speaking one among them brought out a gun and another brought out a dagger. I was defenseless and knew that they would kill me, but God in His supernatural manner performed a miracle that surprised both myself and themselves. The man with the gun fired at me but there was no sound. The man with the dagger used it on my back but it never penetrated rather it sounded like using a rod on someone. They were as frightened as I was. The Spirit of God came on me and I started preaching. Three of them ran away, but the fourth man broke down and started weeping and pleaded that I should pray for him. I did not even know what to pray at that time but only said: “Lord, please forgive, forget and pardon him. Amen!” He gave his life to Christ so I took him to a Pentecostal church and explained what happened to the Pastor. I handed him over to the Pastor and left. As I walked into the house the landlord ran out and on his knees started pleading and said: “Please forgive me. I thought you decided to run away to Port Harcourt because of my money (N1,000).” I forgave him and we finally agreed that the money be paid by installments.
That same night, about 2:00 a.m. the Lord woke me up. I did not know why I woke up so I walked to the living room and what I saw was a large tortoise facing me. Immediately I remembered the Bible study we had in Port Harcourt, about the power in the word. I then spoke these words: “Tortoise, since I was born, the home of the tortoise is either the bush or the sea, but for coming into my house while windows and doors are locked you have sinned, and for this you must die.” As soon as I said this it vanished. I went back to the room and slept. A second time again, I woke up and heard some noise in the living room. I went and there standing before me was a horrible looking vulture. I repeated the same words and as soon as I said: “For committing this sin you must die,” it vanished also. During this Lagos trip I saw God’s goodness, greatness and faithfulness.
The following morning 29/9/85, I took a luxurious bus to Port Harcourt. Reaching Ore, the bus ran onto a tree. It got damaged but no one was hurt. The driver pulled it out back to the road and as he drove along, the bus started swerving from one side of the road to another. I remembered NINA’s threats, so I stood up in the bus, preached to the passengers and concluded by saying: “It is because of me that these accidents are happening. But from now on, there shall be no more accidents until we get to Port Harcourt, in Jesus’ name!” And I sat down. In fact, when I sat down, I wondered at what I had said. And so it was. The vehicle moved smoothly to Port Harcourt. No more accidents or breakdowns. The Scripture rightly says: “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake” (Isaiah 54: 15). They (the Queen of the Coast and her agents) tried, but because their gathering was not unto the Lord but against His child, they all stumbled and fell. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of God shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59: 19). I give God all the glory for showing Himself strong on my behalf.