Welcome back to The Fire Place. Over the last two weeks we have gleaned from the stories of the journey of growth of seasoned ministers of God in our generation. Tonight’s episode is the fourth and the final saga! You are about to read through a detailed story of the growth experience of an unusual Daughter of Zion. Your life is about to change once again! Get ready for the Fire Experience
From about the age of 9-10, I had been fascinated with the idea of God. I loved being in and around Church. Even when everything wasn’t going well, Church was my safe place. I was in the Choir for the whole of my Secondary school years. I was always singing and learning new songs that talk about God. I just loved Church but I guess I didn’t realize that loving Church and the activities wasn’t the same as loving God. One beautiful thing about God is; He wants you to come either ways. Come, even if the reason you’re coming is because of the music or Power. Just come! In the journey to coming, He will prone you and before you know it, your motive changes, you are thinking differently, your mindset is different. The journey is as important as the destination. It is in the journey that there is that turn around, so no matter what your motive is, you actually have to still come. God is not looking down on you, He is not talking down on you and He is not writing you off. That was what my story was like. I’m the only girl in my family so, in Church, I had a lot of female friends and they were all in the Choir. That was one of the reasons I stayed back in the Choir. Sometimes, I was just tired of everything but because that was where my friends were, I was comfortable being in Church. That was how my journey into God started. I was there for a few years till I finished Secondary school. Infact, when I was in Secondary school, I never missed any mid week service in my home Church and I wasn’t tired.
No matter what your motive is, you actually have to still come. God is not looking down on you, He is not talking down on you and He is not writing you off!
And then I got to school (The University). School, I can say is one of the greatest instruments that God used in my journey with Him. A lot of people usually say they went to school and lost their way with God but that wasn’t my story. I found the God I had been looking for all those years. In my first year in school, I was privileged to attend a village Evangelism, which was one of the greatest turning points. I wasn’t serious with fellowship in my first semester in school. I didn’t have any friend there. Some of them were my classmates so I only went to fellowship on the days I felt like. I had even joined a Church Choir. In the beginning of my Second semester, something happened. I just went to Service and they announced a Village outreach. They had been announcing it before but I didn’t take it seriously but that day, The President then ministered to my soul and after the meeting, I was convicted and I just went home and told my mum. I was expecting her not to allow me but to my surprise, she gave me the go ahead. It was in that Village Outreach that a lot of things changed for me. I saw people that were zealous for God, I saw people doing things for God, I saw Zeal, I saw Power. Infact, for my whole stay in school, I kept going for the same Village Outreach every year and the first year I went had the longest prayer room hours for intercession for healing (They prayed for about 6-7hours). From then on, I took fellowship quite seriously because I now made new friends in the Village outreach; some were even my classmates. I met most of my life long friends in the same outreach. In the journey into God, He actually supplied me with people with Zeal for Him.
After that experience, I was already sold out. I wanted to see what this people saw and what was keeping them running. I wanted to see why they’re not distracted in one of the most notorious Universities in Nigeria. By the end of my first year in school, my walk with God shifted. Coming to my second year, I encountered a man of God, Apostle Joshua Selman. His first message I listened to was “Re-igniting a passion for The Holy Ghost” I remember I was lying on the floor that day and was playing music. The message just started playing and I was wondering how it even got to my phone because I had never heard the man of God before. I was about to change it but there was this compelling force that pushed me to listen to it. That message really changed my life and walk with God, it drew me, it made me want to know about God, it made me want to journey and fellowship with the Holy Ghost. I got baptised in The Holy Ghost in my first year but I wasn’t really speaking in tongues even though I was in the prayer unit but the message I listened to spurred me. I became very serious with my Prayer Unit meetings, I began to grow in God, I began to manifest the gifts of the Spirit. That didn’t mean I was manifesting all the fruit of the Spirit but I was already growing. The Hunger to know more made me start looking for messages of Apostle Joshua Selman and that was where my growth process took another turn.
From that point on, it was just a balance between listening to his messages and I was also introduced to other men of God that their messages and lifestyle have turned my life around. They are all gifts and I’ve learnt that at some point in this journey. So, I was just growing, the hunger was increasing for the whole of my second year. In my third year, I became an exco in fellowship and it was a two-edged sword for me. There was the part where it gave me a platform to grow, there was also the part where I was dying in my personal work with God; the sincerity was not really there because I had to look a certain way because people were looking up to me and that sincerity is what your walk with God actually really needs. God wants you to come as you are. He doesn’t want you to come because people are coming or look a certain way. Just come as you are and God is going to meet you where you are and take you to where He is.
God wants you to come as you are. He doesn’t want you to come because people are coming or look a certain way.
That year, I was learning what it meant to actually serve in the house of God, I was learning other skills but at the same time, it also affected me emotionally. What people don’t really acknowledge is that we have to be emotionally okay to serve God, work in His House, love Him and respond to Him properly. It’s not just about speaking in tongues. You won’t be able to speak in that tongues well or pray well or prophesy well if you’re emotionally down. That whole year( my third year), I was growing but it wasn’t a complete process. I was broken in some areas, I had to face things like Pride, a lot of people didn’t even like me, I had to face the fact that it’s normal for people not to like you. This time, it was even looking like it was a spiritual attack because a whole lot of people had issues with me and would be like; “Why is she the one?” “Why is she everywhere?” They had issues with my personality and it affected my walk with God; it spurred me to run to Him the more. When people were avoiding me and saying a lot of things, I just had God. Sometimes, I would just go to Chapel and cry and talk to God and He was using that pain to draw me. And in the secret place, He was comforting me, grooming me, I started to enjoy His presence even more, I started to look away from what anybody was saying.
We have to be emotionally okay to serve God, work in His House, love Him and respond to Him properly.
In my fourth year, I was an exco again but this time, I had to man a unit (Choir Unit) and by the time I became an exco, they didn’t like me. Infact, I remember being called to the stage at the time I was chosen and as I was walking to the stage, I was shaking. When I got, I started crying to God because I didn’t want to face people I knew didn’t like me but the Lord had His own plans. For about three days, I was just crying and God wanted me to know that he wanted to do something and groom me. A day after the handover, I got the theme for the year’s worship night. I was only used to singing normally, I never had an idea on how to man the choir unit, I didn’t know how to play any instrument so I felt like I wasn’t qualified but God wanted to show something, not just to me but even to the people. That year, I met another gift to the body of Christ, Pastor Lawrence Oyor.
It was one day my friend just walked up to me and was like “Folake, I want you to hear something” He put the ear piece in my ear and I was just hearing “My daddy, My daddy, Your baby is singing….” That got me interested and I learnt from there that sounds are not just sounds. They communicate so many things and this songs were communicating to my soul, they were like an healing balm. After encountering this man of God, a lot of dimensions were unlocked in my life, things happened and that was another sphere of growth and he(the man of God) exposed me back to that place of sincerity. It’s just you and God. It’s not what anybody else says. He is a vulnerable man. He loves God and exposes that vulnerability. The experience with the man of God opened my worship expression in that I now learnt vulnerability, sincerity in the presence of God. You’re not just vulnerable in the secret place but even when you’re on stage, you’re not attracted by the crowd. The power that we saw was pure. We saw the move of God, we saw mighty things happen, we saw lives change, we had encounters and this spurred my walk with God again.
I now learnt vulnerability, sincerity in the presence of God. You’re not just vulnerable in the secret place but even when you’re on stage, you’re not attracted by the crowd.
Events and Meetings that I can trace to my growth in God:
I attended Young and Yielded in 2018, that was in my final year. In my final year, even though I was serving as an exco, I had to squeeze in time to attend some vital meetings. I attended Atmosphere of Miracles where Apostle Joshua Selman was around in Lagos. I attended one meeting in Anthony; the first time I saw Evangelist Lawrence Oyor. It was a very small meeting. I started to value small meetings where distractions are not plenty.
I’m very grateful to finish that year because serving God is a privilege but at the same time, if it is not properly managed, serving can destroy you. If you’re not serving the right way, it can throw you off balance. We have seen many people that started out serving; they were honest but probably because of lack of wisdom, lack of proper management and so many things, they just went off the radar. There is actually a need for us to know that it’s God we are serving even as we serve people. We should not fall into that category where we are in the real sense serving people, serving their opinions, serving their lives. Sometimes, you will do things that God asks you to do and the people will not like it. You have to train your emotions to know that they’re reacting that way because their flesh does not like it; this is what the Lord asks me to do and I will do it. Serving as a way of breaking you totally to the point that you don’t even want to near anything that has to do with God if you’re not emotionally strong.
We should not fall into that category where we are in the real sense serving people, serving their opinions, serving their lives.
I can say that serving was a platform that made me grow; Those excos retreats, I experienced a lot of boom. In that final year, it was a tougher year. I remember when I had to do fasting back to back. In the retreats, we fasted three days dry, after that we still had to continue. For some reasons, my body system did not like how it broke the fast and I had to continue the fast after we had finished fasting; not that I was really fasting but I couldn’t eat, so I was just taking fluids and was still praying. After that time, we had a Village evangelism which was another turning point in my walk with God. Then, I saw tangible manifestations of the presence and hand of God in a strange land. I saw God’s hand moving and literally, that experience showed me that there’s nothing sincerity cannot give you. There is nothing stopping you from unlocking the presence of God if you keep yielding because it was after hours of labour that we saw the hand of God. That’s another important lesson I’ve learnt; There is no move of God without labour. Men of God must keep interceding, praying, pressing into an expression of God. Things don’t just happen like that; People actually bring God down. I saw those experiences and it told me that there is more in God. If we keep seeking, there is so much more we can see and experience.
There is nothing stopping you from unlocking the presence of God if you keep yielding. There is no move of God without labour!
Also, we had one Worship Night in school. For the Worship Night, the Lord gave an instruction that we were supposed to have a Throne Room(3days retreat; another fasting). We were supposed to tarry in God’s presence for about 30 hours and seek a Throne Room experience the weekend before the worship night. So, we gathered together. We had hours of different teachings, prayer sessions, labouring in prayers, not just for the meeting but also for a personal experience so that even when you’re coming and you’re worshipping, you’re worshipping from a place of encounter and experience with God. There was another tangible outpour of the Spirit of God in that meeting. We saw different expressions of worship, people getting sounds from the Throne room that catapulted them in their journey with God. After that retreat, the Worship Night was blissful and full of encounters.
Those different experiences contributed to grooming my walk with God. At this time, my hunger had already grown, I was more interested in doing the long prayers, the retreats. At this point, I had come to understand that I was ready to actually pay the sacrifice. Let me sleep off on the prayer ground; when I wake up, I’ll continue praying. That was the idea. It was not that I was boasting in my flesh or I trusted my flesh not to fall asleep but the idea is; “Let’s go even if it’s 12 years we want to spend praying” I knew that there is a reward. It was like God had shown us a picture of what we could really be, the amount of things we’re able to control if only we can press. That was more like what it was with the different expressions we were seeing. I was ready. I told God “I am not doing this because I am the strongest person but I am ready to just come and die in that place” and that was the hunger that I left school with. I left school way better than I entered, I left more charged up, I left school loving God, knowing God. I can’t say the journey was all smooth. At this point, I can’t say I just totally loved God like that. The love was still not totally pure but at least, we knew that even if it’s for power, these people will keep coming and as they keep coming, I’ll keep working on them.
So, after I finished school, I had to wait a few months to go and serve (NYSC) and a retreat came up, which was another major turning point in my life, another step to growth. The retreat came up in Ibadan with Pastor Lawrence. The retreat was for 21 days and I spent about 19 days. In that retreat, I saw dimensions of God, I saw things in a greater level, it was another measure and another 1 million entirely, my eyes were open to see more possibilities and I was going to that retreat based on; “God, I’m going to serve this year. I want your will to be done” I had always had this idea that I want to serve in wherever God wants me to serve. I wanted God to send me somewhere and let it be an experience. That had always been my yearning. I wanted to be a part of NCCF and serve God. I was praying at the same time that God would guide me in this journey, there would be safe journey, protection and provision. We prayed into the year, prayed into this current decade that we’re living and there was tangible presence. I came back with stronger convictions, I started having bodily experiences of the power of God and of the light of God. Encounters were becoming a normal frequent thing. So, sometime in February after I got back from the retreat in January, I slept one afternoon and I had a dream. In that dream, I was in one Village looking house and they said it was NCCF. We were having an NCCF service in that dream and I remember that I was in NCCF, Rivers State. Whenever I remember this, it tells me a lot. I picked out my jotter and I wrote what I saw down word for word.
Fast forward to a few months after in June, I started registration for NYSC and by the time my call up letter would come, I was posted to Rivers State. That was another turning point.
My NYSC was filled with experiences with God. It was a year of isolation. This time around, he didn’t give me the general NCCF experience people used to have because I was posted to a Village. The Zonal NCCF didn’t even have a family house, so we all stayed in different apartments but we used to come regularly for weekly meetings so I was alone for most of the time. For the first two months, I had not even sorted out my PPA so I was always indoor and I didn’t even have a phone so I couldn’t say I was distracting myself with social media. I had just a small phone. I was intentional. I said; “Even if I’m not going to this place with social media or a big phone and all, I cannot let myself be removed from my atmosphere. I’m going there and I’ll create my own atmosphere and that was what it was. I was always sleeping with sounds on, listening to songs, I loaded that small phone with powerful messages and powerful sounds. At the end of my second month there I was able to get a phone to go back online. And at the time I wasn’t online, it was like God made people forget me because people rarely called, people rarely texted, there was no distraction. So, at that point, the lesson I learnt was; It is you and God. Not that people don’t love you or support you. No, they do, but God is the foundation. That was another major part of the experience; being alone. So, after a few months, we were still doing fellowships, we had rural rugged. I was the Mama in NCCF so I was always in the Kitchen. I had experiences of God surrounding me in the same place after a few months with beautiful people that encouraged me. These are the experiences that helped my walk with God.
God bless you!
Folakemi Yewande Fajingbesi is a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. She is passionate about making a positive influence in the media sphere through creative storytelling.
As an exceptional content creator, she is a great writer, blogger, podcaster, an OAP, a voice over artiste and also hosts a YouTube channel for movie reviews.
Known as a lady with many skills, her creative expressions also cut across fashion as she is a skilled fashion designer, fashion illustrator and a skin & hair care enthusiast.
She is an excellent leader, an avid reader, a minstrel and worship leader.