Friday, October 24, 2008

Serve in Warri?

My Desire
Having been posted to Delta State, I wanted to serve in Warri. This was for the following reasons:
1. I had a boyfriend in PH I wanted to keep seeing often, though the relationship was on the rocks.
2. There were some crisis in Delta State and from Warri I could easily get transport home.
3. I had a best friend in Warri who lived in a cool house.
4. There was a prospective single guy there who had indicated interest. Though his middle name was Infidelity, since I did not know better, I could manage fighting with the other girls for him and if I was lucky, it could lead to marriage.
5. There was Shell and other oil companies which meant I could mingle with some of them and eventually get a job after NYSC.

The Posting
I and a few other corpers were sent to Shell Warri for an interview. The plan was post us to secondary schools. I prayed for Warri so bad. I included doctor’s report prior to my interview. To my utmost dismay and disappointment, after the interview, I was posted to a place called Otu – Jeremi, in Ughelli South LGA. Not in the Warri zone for CD (Community Development). I was depressed. The classmate that I had been with from orientation camp till that time got Warri. More depressing.

God does things on an individual basis.

I reluctantly left for Otu – Jeremi, a place that had no GSM network therefore no communication. The place was a village. It was isolated. I was to teach Physics.
Boyfriend had no plans of visiting me in that place. Prospective guy I may not see again. Oil Companies, I cannot get to visit. The future of Marriage + Work seemed bleak.

Because of the remoteness of the location, we were permitted to come for CD only once in a month. I scheduled my classes from Tuesday to Thursday morning. This gave me chance to travel to PH every weekend.

The Gain
1. When I got tired of traveling (if a relationship is not working, it is not working), I decided to stay in my place of service. This quiet time was when I began to read my new bible (first time in history). I also started attending church (irregularly). I began to focus on the people in the community. I began to learn a new language and culture. The corpers and the pastor organized a talk on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for the villagers. The talk was based on a medical and Christian standpoint. I can still see the relief on the old women’s faces as they shared their stories of the effects of FGM.

2. I had stopped worrying about husband and work. In some of my previous visits to PH, my lecturer (Prof) told me about a new Master’s Program in Uniport (called IPS). If I partook in it, they will accommodate me, pay my school fees, and pay me stipend. I laughed. Could such a thing exist in Nigeria? Prof encouraged me to apply for the program (by paying N10K that I did not have). I did the test and passed. I did the interview. All these happened before I resolved to remain in Otu – Jeremi. I still did not believe in the Master’s Program.

Then one day as I was strolling with my fellow corpers in that networkless Otu – Jeremi, playing with my phone, a text came in from my sister saying I had been successful in the IPS interview and I had 1 week to accept the offer. Apparently they had tried to reach me and could not get me so they contacted my sister. I looked at the date sent. 2 days left to accept. I packed my overnight things and was on the next bus to PH. How did God do it that there was MTN service in Otu – Jeremi?

3. IPS started at the later part of my service year. I got permission from my Principal and NYSC officials to go for the training. What kind of favour is this?

IPS gave me excellent training – technically, professionally and exposed some talents I never knew I had. Through IPS, I got my current job, a job that exceeded my expectations of a job. In IPS, I met a man, different from all I’ve met, whom I admired secretly. He was the man that drew me closer to God and made me stop speaking negatively about myself and my life. I didn’t know one day he will be My Husband and King.

When God sets out to do something for you, He can do it just for you. It does not have to follow the normal pattern of things. His blessings are customized.

Looking Back
I later learnt that those in Warri were not allowed to leave Warri for any reason. If I was there, how could I have done the IPS program and eventually get the blessings that came with it? When I did not have Warri, I felt God had shut the door of my future on me. But now I realize:

Sometimes a close door(s) turns us in the direction of the only open door which no man can close

This is one of my many testimonies. If you are facing or ever face a disappointing situation, remember that God can turn a disappointment into a blessing. Trust Him and have faith in Him for His plans for you are only good, not evil, plans to bring you to an expected destination

Do take some time to think of moments when it seemed a door was shut at your face. What do you see now? The Hand of God?

Have a beautiful weekend ahead and remain blessed.

IPS (Institute of Petroleum Studies) is highly recommended for engineering students who want a broad-based training prior to joining the oil industry.

[1] Bible Reference Revelations 3:8
[2] Bible Reference (rephrased by me) Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Where will you be?

Who will remember
Your broke-ness or brokenness
Your toiling and sweat
Or the doors shut at your face?

Who will imagine
Your silent tears in secret
Moments you almost lost hope
Or when your fears grew with each day?

Who will know
Of your seeds sown
Seeds of time, energy and resources
And resilience despite disappointments?

Like a flower about to blossom
And a seed waiting to sprout
In just a little while
Your breakthrough will come:

Where will you be?

Begin to confess and visualize
All that you want for yourself
And back it with My Word
For I am watching over My Word
To perform it.

Do not envy him/her who seems to be there, for you do not know what he/she passed through to get there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That Boy's Smile...

I was on my way back from a wonderful Sunday service in Lagos. Some of the things I admire about the Lagosians, which I gathered from the few services I've attended there are: -

1. They know how to worship.

2. They can dance their energy away in praise.

3. They do not joke with their Sunday dressing.

But despite the refreshing message and the excitement I had displayed in church, there I was on reset mode to life - back to thinking of the things I do not have and wondering if God had heard my prayers. Contrary to what I was just taught in church.

Then I saw this boy. Dark complexioned, handsome boy. A child that took more than an extra glance from me. He had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Yet he was paralyzed from waist down, no legs and was on one of those boards with wheels to propel him. He was playing with some “complete” children who taunted him and mocked him endlessly. He was a beggar too. Yet his smile remained.

I asked myself, “Why should he smile? He has nothing to smile about. He can’t go to school, get a job, marry, copulate and have children!”

All of a sudden I saw my vanity stare me in my face. Was that all I thought about life? Was life so stereotyped? It was as if God was telling me there was more to life than: “Go to school, get a job, marry and have children”. It was as though He was telling me each person had a different purpose in life and all those things I thought were life are not the essence.

I looked at the boy again. He was still smiling despite his situation. This time, I smiled. He had taught me a few lessons in life:

1. Life may not be perfect, but God is.
2. Life will not offer me all I want but God will supply all my needs.
3. Each level of achievement in life will not be fulfilling until I can be content at the level I am.
4. Who am I to limit God?

That smile of the paralyzed boy, I still see it today. It is a constant reminder that if I reflect on my life as it is, there is a reason to smile. And then I realized “God has given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine”. [Psalms 4:7, NLT].

What of you?

And as you reflect on your life, if you find one reason to smile, know that ahead of you are several reasons to smile.

Remain blessed.