This week, my husband and I, are celebrating 45 years of very happy and successful marriage. There are many things to say about this wonderful blessed journey. I thank God, from my heart, for giving me Pastor Richmond Sisanoritse Leigh to be my husband. We have three adult children and seven grandchildren. We also have many spiritual children. To God be all the glory!
When we got married I was an atheist and he was a backslider. I came to Nigeria in 1980. It is here that the miracle of salvation and reconciliation happened to both of us. By the grace of God, we both became children of God. We worked as medical doctors in Nigeria for about 20 years. In March 2000 we started Father’s House Bible Church in Warri-Effurun Nigeria (Yes, This month we celebrate 19 years since Father’s House was ‘born’! Hallelujah!). We are now pastors, in full time ministry. Again I say: To God be all the glory!
I want to share a word with you. As many of you know, my husband is Itsekiri by tribe. One of the strangest things I have learned from him is that there is no particular word for ‘love’ in his native language. He remembers that as a little child, his family members did not say ‘I love you’ to each other in Itsekiri. This is because the word ‘love’ does not exist. The family love was expressed thru good deeds and friendship towards one another. I have an Itsekiri Bible and I looked for the word ‘love’. In particular I wanted to see how they translated John 3:16. The word (or the concept of) ‘love’ in Itsekiri is translated as this: “ka fe ofo”. Literarily it means: “ like the way you speak”. It seems to me that for the Itsekiris love is connected with nice speech. This is my interpretation: If you speak well, you are lovable. If you do not speak well, you are not lovable. For me this is strange for in my native language (Romanian) there are at least two words that mean pure love.
Let me say this: all languages, tongues, traditions and cultures, are not enough to describe the Agape love of God!!! When I became a born again Christian I have discovered the greatest love of all! It is the Love of God for us, lost, hopeless and helpless sinners. It is the Love of Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross for me and you. Anybody who knows God loves God and others. Anybody who does not know the Living God is not able to truly love anyone, not even self. The Bible says that to be like Jesus, we must love not only with loving words but with sacrificial kind of actions done for His sake.
Each day I press on to learn to be more and more grateful! It is a lesson! It takes a life time (better said an eternity) to master the spiritual art of thanksgiving! I thank God for saving my soul, for helping me to know the true love of God! I thank God that my husband loves God with all his heart. I also thank God that my husband loves me with the love of God which is ‘shed abroad’ in his soul. He loves me not because of my nice words (if I can find them) but for the sake of Christ, our Lord! I thank God for our marriage, for our children and grandchildren! I thank God that our marriage is born again and it has become an inspiration to many! Only God can do all these things! Only God is worthy to receive all the glory!
Today I woke up with a new desire to intercede for the Itsekiri people, especially for those who do not speak English, for those who cannot imagine what love is! They need the revelation of agape love that only the Holy Spirit can give. I use them as a point of contact to reach all the other tribes who have a similar spiritual need. “Father in heaven, have mercy! Reveal Yourself to them! Revel to them Your love! Change their minds and hearts! May Your glory cover the Itsekiris as the waters cover the sea! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!”
Finally, I close with the Word of God: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16)
(In the picture, My husband and I, dressed in Nigerian fashion)