“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV.

Ever since I was born, I’ve had to live through hardships. But I know that God is sovereign, and has been with me through them all. I was born on March 28, 1994 as the oldest of three. At birth, I suffered an injury (Erb’s Palsy) to my right arm, caused by shoulder dystocia. As a result, my right arm is weaker than my left and is unable to supinate as well. My parents were very religious and even met in a church. As a result, I grew up going to church and Sunday school, almost every week, and memorizing Scriptures. 

Yet, even at a very young age, I had a burning desire for God. One of my earliest church memories was me praying as my parents were being prophesied over. In 2006, my mom had become really sick and had to have her gallbladder removed. After the surgery, she felt very “empty, like only a shell of herself was left”. A long time friend of hers of 12 years, who she worked with in the same hospital, asked if her husband, who just became a Pastor, could come and pray for her. She agreed, and after prayer, recovered and received the sense of fullness that had been lost. From then on my family began to attend this new church, and God began to move in my family. Around the same time, I was in middle school, and struggled greatly socially. I was bullied pretty badly, and only had 3 friends my entire tenure at middle school. Having endured that, it gave me a heart of compassion towards people because it enabled me to identify with people’s suffering. 

In 2008, my Pastor at the time, heard God calling him to continue the ministry in Houston, TX. At the same time, he warned my dad that God had moved into the family, and that if he didn’t align himself with God, God would remove him. Later that year, my parents would separate, and subsequently we moved with the ministry to Houston. It was around this time, sin and worldly pleasures began to seep into my heart. Rather than being open with my sins, I began to hide and operate under this facade that I was a “good kid”, loving right as long as everyone else thought I was.

As I started high school, in a new state with a fresh start, I started coming out of my shell and into my own! But tragedy would soon hit my household. After my parents split, my dad moved back to his home in Nigeria. In 2010, my family received a phone call that my dad had died. He was shot by robbers that came to his house. Even though I had not seen my dad in 2 years, it was still pretty hard on me. He was always there when I was growing up and I didn’t get to go to his funeral. This only made me want to draw closer to God. My pastor became my spiritual father, mentor, and discipler. I learned to pray, read God’s Word, and grow spiritually! I graduated from Foster High school and Houston Community College. Soon after, the ministry moved to West Texas (Midland/Odessa). There, I went to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). I started college majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but after my grades dropped in Calculus II and Physics II, I was advised by my Mom (a nurse for over 2 decades) and Pastor to change majors to Nursing.

In 2017, my church sent a mission team to India. My mom had been feeling unusually ill leading up to the mission trip, but decided it was still best to go. I later heard she became very sick and couldn’t get out of the bed at one point. After much prayer, she received her strength back and the team returned home with good news and many testimonies! Soon after, my mom would fall sick again, because of a strange growth on the side of her left thigh. After some direction from my pastor, I went with her to a clinic. At the clinic, they told her this growth might be cancerous and that she needed to go to a hospital. She would soon go to the hospital and she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma (skin cancer). I did everything in my power to help her. Helping her eat, cooking, cleaning, moving around the house. I would drive her to and from her chemotherapy treatments. Because of the cancer, she had pneumonia as well, and struggled to breathe. So I would take her for thoracentesis (draining fluid from the lung) treatments too. Eventually, they let her come home. I found myself going to school, working, then coming home and praying with her. At a point, she said I was doing 75% of the caregiving, and my younger brother and sister combined only 25%. In the middle of May, on a Saturday, after my uncles had come to see my mom, my pastor, his wife (her close friend), and another dear pastor came to pray for my mom during late hours, around 1 am. After the prayer, my mom felt better and even had some strength in her voice back. She felt good enough in fact, she told them she’d see them in church later that morning. Because of the pain it was hard for her to sleep. Around 2 am, while helping my mom get more comfortable, so she could sleep, she got a text from one of her co-workers, wishing her happy mother’s day. With everything going on, how fast things were moving, and how emotionally distraught I was, I hadn’t even realized what day it was! After telling her about the text, I promptly wished her a happy mother’s day! To which she replied “Thank you son”. That would be the last thing I’d ever hear from my mom… She passed away right in front of me, moments later. 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3‭-‬4 NIV

Two weeks later, I would be accepted into the nursing program. Although this was a great accomplishment, my heart was still in the wrong place. I felt as though, “why would the Lord take my mom?” and I was just very lukewarm spiritually because of this mindset. In June of 2018, my family and the ministry would move back to Silver Spring Maryland, and at this point I was doing a lot of pleasing and not genuinely serving the Lord. Soon I started driving for Uber, and worked other jobs, but would leave them and drive for Uber full-time. In October 2019, I met a rider that would change my life forever, a disciple of Christ from the Washington DC International Christian Church named Stephen “Noodles” Raman! I didn’t know he was a disciple, nor did he present church to me at first. Instead, he invited me to the Sports League he was a part of to play my favorite sport, basketball! I hesitated, and Noodles, as he is commonly referred to as, went on to say it was $50 upfront and then $150 later. Just as I was about to decline, he mentioned more incentives, and I begrudgingly accepted. From then on I would keep participating in the UUSL (now known Ultimate Universal Sports League), and I just saw the love of the Lord there! During this time, I was in a very worldly relationship, that took me into deep, fleshly sin and it was exposed at my church, I was told I wasn’t going to heaven if I continued to live like that. And soon after, I was thrown out of the church because of my sin. They would later on let me back to the church, but many, if not all, of my relationships were completely fractured at this point. My attendance was merely a formality out of obligation to my siblings. I didn’t care anymore about serving God or the spiritually destitute state I was in. During this time, even my worldly friends, who knew how “serious” I was about God, said, “Dude you’ve changed. You used to be like light among us. You’ve gotten worse, and we can’t even hangout with you anymore. You need to go back to serving God.” I was cut deep to my heart, and realized just how far I’d fallen away from my faith-driven, passionate, genuine ways of serving the Lord in the past. One friend in particular asked me to perhaps try a different church. To which I declined.  I wasn’t going to leave the church I had grown up in for over a decade. But the thought remained in my heart. A couple days later, I broke up with my worldly girlfriend.

Weeks later, after one of the league games, Noodles invited me to the DC ICC’s Christmas Special that Sunday. Right at that moment, I was reminded of what my friend had said, and knew this was the new beginning God was giving me. I went in with no expectations, and was completely BLOWN AWAY. After my experience that Sunday, I went to every single meeting of the body from then on. I started to study the Bible with Noodles, Larry, Olajide, Shane, Dale, and other faithful brothers in the church! It became obvious to me that this is where God had called me to be. I had finally found the accountability I needed to remain faithful to God, and the conviction to genuinely live for Christ. 

I was baptized on January 19, 2020, and I’m not looking back! 

[But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 NIV] 

God has already begun to amaze me and bring restoration to every aspect of my life, even the ones I had given up on. I urge anyone reading this to study the Bible with us, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and allow God to use you to fulfill your purpose here on Earth, just like He’s doing with me. Amen!