HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT
“On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter. Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!” And Esther replied, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”
The king turned to his attendants and said, “Tell Haman to come quickly to a banquet, as Esther has requested.” So the king and Haman went to Esther’s banquet. And while they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!” (Esther 5:1-6)
Each year the women’s fellowship in our church, we fast daily during the month of January. We identify with Queen Esther in the Bible. We pray for ourselves, our husbands, our marriages, our children, our ministries and the work of our hands. Then we invite our husbands to a banquet called Esther’s banquet. We do not hire anybody. We decorate and cook by ourselves. It is a love feast. The single sisters who are thirty years and above are all dressed with ‘Royal garments’ and serve at the tables. By faith, they will marry soon, so that next year they too will join us and sit at the table. The older couples came forward. The husbands told us about true love and the secret of long lasting, successful and happy marriage. Then we danced… And ate (Jolof rice, banga rice, coconut rice, banga soup, Egussi soup, vegetable salad, fried chicken, fried meat, beans and dodo… ) very tasty food… And we ate the Royal cake … By faith we declare that God is in our side, the victory is ours, the enemy is defeated and the glory goes to God alone! Two doves in love stayed on the roof of our church during this banquet. All the prophetic signs confirm that this will be a very good year for us, the married couples in Father’s House Bible Church! Glory to God!!!
(In the pictures you see my Husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh and I -dressed for the occasion, as Queen Esther and King Xerxes. You see the two doves on the roof of our church, witnessing the sweet marriage love bellow. You also see some of the couples from our church, young and old. The Nigerians are generally shy when it comes to displaying love in public. They are not too ‘romantic’. But, as you can see, the Holy Spirit is changing people here. To God alone be all the glory!)
“How beautiful you are! How lovely, O LOVE, with your delights!” (SS 7:6)
This is so wonderful to me. These days I pray to remember good and useful memories from my sin-to-grace past. At the time when these events happened, I did not see much value in them. But now, from the perspective of mature victory, I see them as pearls of great price picked from the ocean of God’s love. I am talking about things I had experienced as a woman of God, wife, mother and recently, grandmother. Some of these memories were painful. At that time I prayed that I will forget them. But God has healed my heart. Now, because I had removed the sting of the bee and I am enjoying the honey left behind. I am now praying to remember them… How time changes our desires and perspectives…
About 1998-1999, my husband and I were living in Houston, Tx. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit called us to duty. He said that we should leave the children behind and go back under a missionary anointing. We were to start a church called Father’s House, in Warri-Effurun, Nigeria. That was a hard word for both of us. It was especially difficult for me, because it meant leaving our children behind, alone, in a difficult place called America. The hardest was the leave our youngest daughter Jemine who was just 16 at the time. She already got admission and scholarship in the University of Houston and she wanted to stay there. Before going to the US we worked as medical doctors and my husband was also a successful national politician. Both of us, we did not go to Bible School. By faith alone, we obeyed God’s Word and we started this church. We were surprised at the success of the ministry. To God alone be all the glory!
Thank God for the people who invented the phone and the internet. God bless them! Our elder daughter Alina was shuttling between America and Nigeria. But Jemine was there alone. Thank God that she kept in touch all these years. Even up till today, we still talk on the phone about things, daily events, big or small. We pray. We dream. I rebuke. We encourage each other. All these things thru the phone!!!
One serious problem I had in particular was that Jemine was changing into an ‘American girl’. Trying to belong to a foreign system, she started doing like they do. I was worried that what she considered ‘normal’ over there, for me was called ‘backsliding’. For example, the idea of dating a boy, to me it was worldly. Of course, ‘living together’, better called fornication, was not acceptable. Almost nothing she would say to me was right in this area of ‘American romance’. For me, the worst of all was the Valentine day and Halloween day. I used to tell Jemine to run away from boys; to be careful with boys; to remember that she is there alone and boys will deceive her… I spent a lot of money on phone cards telling Jemine to run away from ‘fake love’. Thank God that even when she was angry at me, she could not keep the anger for too long. She will eventually see the wisdom of a mother’s words and come back ‘to her senses’. Her father and I prayed daily for our children. I was personally worried that she will be trapped in a ‘self-pity poisonous circle’ of terrible loneliness. Especially on Valentine Day, she will cry on the phone: “Malia… I am so lonely… Nobody wants to invite me out… Nobody sent me even half a rose… Nobody loves me here… If I will continue like this, I will never marry…. Malia…pray for me…” It is not easy to hear your child cry. I will pray in the Spirit and try to find words of wisdom and love, to help her go on. She will say: “Malia, you have taught me to drive men away. You said I should say No No No to all men who are not serious. Ok! I am very good at that. Now, they have all left me alone. Nobody greets me anymore. When will I marry? I am getting old… When will I say Yes?” Me too I did not know when… She was a born again Christian, a worship leader, well educated, having a good job, beautiful and all… But no husband … GOD!!!!!!… Many times I told her: “Jemine, your dad and I, we are in this with you, together. Your pain is our pain. Your prayer is our prayer. Just trust God!”
Then about 5 years ago her dad and I we went to visit her in the US. We were relaxing in the sitting room when Jemine said that a young man who plays the keyboard in her church wants to ‘take her out’. This was scary for me… ‘Take out????” This ‘outing’ was a first after so many years of staying home alone. It just coincided with our annual visit. I did not know if it was God or the devil… But trust God to perfect the good things He started! My husband and I felt like we are on the threshold of a miracle. I was in the kitchen, cooking Nigerian stew (Jemine’s favorite) when the young man came in. He shyly said: ‘Good evening Sir! Good evening Mam! My name is Matthew. Can I take Jemine out, to see a movie? We shall come back in time…” Tali said: ‘Of course…’ but I saw that he was ‘eyeing’ the young man from head to toe. Tali and Matthew and another Nigerian visitor sat down waiting for Jemine to get ready. They were discussing recent events. I observed that Matthew (a white boy) was behaving like a good ‘Nigerian Yoruba boy’. He was the youngest among the three men there. He did not speak too much. He waited for his ‘turn’. He addressed both Tali and the other man with ‘Sir’. When Tali stood up to take something, he stood up too. He did not insist on his opinions (like the young Americans do). He did not raise his voice. Wow… Turning the stew on the stove, I was thinking: ‘This boy has good ‘home training’. Thank God for his parents…I was impressed… But, can this be Jemine’s prince we have been praying for? Is this the special man who will kill Jemine’s loneliness? She said so many: ‘No No No’ to other men. Can this be the ‘Yes’ man?” Will this young man change her Valentine? This is how the mind of a mother works…. I hope you understand…
They went to a movie and came back that evening. I could not rest. I was waiting for the ‘report’. Jemine knew that I will still be in the kitchen, waiting…. I decided to cook Nigerian beans too. Just to waste the time… When Jemine came she was overwhelmed. She told me that they went to the movies and when another man was talking ‘nonsense’ to her he stood up to protect her. Then they went to eat dinner and he insisted that he will pay for both of them. She was impressed because at that time, he was still a student in the university but she was already working. He said that his mother ‘will kill him’ if she hears that he invited a girl out and waited for the girl to pay the bill (even if she has more money). Jemine said that Matthew opened the door of the car for her to enter. She said that since she has been living in America, no young man has even done that. It was only the old men who do that ‘nice thing’- she said. It has never happened to her. She was totally impressed. The look on her face reminded me of the time when I met her dad, many years ago… Because I experienced true falling in love, I could smell the perfume of it… After so many ‘No No No’, we are finally entering the blessed ‘yes’ hour! God has answered our prayer. Six months later, Matthew and his beautiful family came to Warri and Jemine became his wife. And they live happily ever after… This is a true story! My family’s story!
Jemine may remember this event in a more romantic way. She may have forgotten the beans and stew she ate that night. She may add some sweet details I have forgotten. But one thing is clear! It is a story of true love! Be encouraged! God loves His children and He answers their prayers, more than they will ever imagine! Dear young people, both boys and girls, please take this mother’s advice: there are many No-s in life abut only one Yes! Wait for the yes! The journey may be long and lonely. But trust God to the end! Serve God before you can serve men! You too will one day be grateful for the pain becoming a fruitful testimony. Glory to God!
(In the pictures, Matthew and Jemine Oakes on their Nigerian traditional and church wedding day)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Ps 103:1-4)
This morning a sister In Christ sent this letter. She is about 30, not married yet. She is very hard working and a committed Christian. She was healed by God from a strange sickness. The doctors did many tests but could not find the reason why her feet were always swollen. She tried medicines and diets but nothing worked. Until recently! God healed her! This testimony is given to the glory of God, to the shame of the devil and for the encouragement of many others who wait unto God for their miracle! God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one! They will answer your prayers too! Nothing is impossible for God to do!
“Good morning Malia. Abba Father did and is doing good to me. For some time now (about two years) I ve been having one health challenge that always worries me sick. It is painless though but very uncomfortable. My legs would just start swelling from my toes to my knees and I can’t wear shoes or slippers for long. I went to hospitals I did some tests but nothing was found. I was told to always elevate my legs especially when sleeping but it didn’t help. I took drugs to help me urinate all the fluid they said was being stored under my tissues but that didn’t help. I did water therapy as recommended but no help. After some time it stopped on its own only for it to resurface this year. Since January they became so swollen that it made me ashamed and scared. I felt how can a young girl like me be having swollen legs like this? The devil started reminding me of my elder sister who died in 2002 and had similar issues and many other terrible symptoms before she finally died. The devil told me that I was going through the same thing that I will die. And I believed for some time until I got angry in the spirit and started praying and rebuking the devil and his lies. I cried to Father. I told Him to help me since I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any money to run expensive tests or treat expensive sicknesses. I prayed and cried to Him that night and slept off with peace. I started ignoring the swelling people told me to go and check my kidneys and the devil came again saying ‘ yes the kidneys may be faulty like your sister’s probably was’. I said no. God my Father is on it He will heal me without me wasting money.
One night in a dream I saw a beautiful chimpanzee clouded with the colours of the rainbow smiling at me meanwhile on my bed in reality I was experiencing what medicine calls sleep paralysis I knew it was a spiritual attack. I tried to get up but couldn’t I tried to shout the name of Jesus but couldn’t… then back in the dream the chimpanzee was speaking a language I could understand. It said ‘you are like this (all the colours of the rainbow). You can pray in the spirit to overcome this demonic oppression. Start praying in tongues since you can’t pray physically’. Emediately I started praying in tongues in the dream the heavy weight that was on me that prevented me from moving and opening my mouth left and I woke up. To thanked God! I have been praying since then. The Holy Spirit told me to sweat. Yes. He said: ‘sweat!”. So I started making sure that I sweat. I would put on sweaters and no fan or air conditioner, drink hot tea… To my surprise, it worked. Malia!!! My legs now are perfectly normal! The swelling is gone and for the first time this year I can see and touch my ankle bones. And I didn’t take any drug. God is indeed the GREATEST physician. He knows my body more than me! He knows how it should function since He is the MANUFACTURER! My testimony is to the glory of God! PRAISE THE LORD!!! Your daughter…”