“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecc 4:9, 10).
“Pay everyone what you owe him… respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due” (Rom 13:7)
I recently wrote my testimony as a wife and a mother, living in Nigeria for the past 40 years. Somebody commented: “Malia, thanks for the admonition through your testimonies. Apart from the Holy Spirit leadership, I perceive you being transparent, flexible to adjust to any situation and truthful”. Others told me that it is a miracle how I adapted so well to the Nigerian culture and still retaining my identity as a ‘Naija wife’ (meaning an Oyinbo or foreigner wife). I thought about it… I often learn from people’s comments. If the comments are positive, I give glory to God. This is because if people see something good in me, it is not a natural gift. It is Christ in me, the hope of glory, the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why I cannot take any credit for any qualities you admire in me. God takes all the glory! If the comments are ‘negative’, I do not just delete them, or insult them. I always pray about things people say about me that I do not like. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit says that I should ignore them. Other times He tells me to pray for that ‘negative’ person, that he has a problem with misdirected anger. In other cases, I gain wisdom by correcting my behavior or at least my attitude. I’ve learned to use everything around me. I do not waste spiritual or natural resources. I have learned that from the Holy Spirit! Little is much when God is in it! I have often found diamonds in the trash can. My hands may become dirty, and my nose filled with some bad odor. But this is a small price to pay for redeeming a pearl of great value found in a most unexpected place.
Lastly, I want to add that marriage is a teamwork. I am sure you know that! Next to God, my husband (Pastor Richmond Leigh) must take the credit for my testimony as a happy wife living in Nigeria. The Holy Spirit has empowered my husband to be a true leader and teacher to me. He is the one who thought me 99% of what I know about the Nigerian culture and how to respond to it. He is also my pastor and my spiritual leader. When I came to Nigeria in 1980, I could not speak English. My husband speaks Romanian fluently. He helped me to learn English and ‘broken English’. He is always challenging me to improve my language. He is the one who advised me to write books and letters on Facebook. I am shy by nature. My husband encourages me to stand in public (in the church) and preach to Word with confidence! We talk about the Bible and how best to apply the lessons so that many will benefit from them. We try to practice what we preach. My husband has never manipulated me, and he has never forced me to bow to the Nigerian culture (or any culture). He patiently explained to me again and again, what is expected of me, not just as his wife, but as a ‘our wife’ living in Nigeria. He gave me the guidelines and then, he trusted me to apply them as I think best. He is the most wonderful teacher as many other people in our church can testify. He trusted me to behave well within the boundaries of Nigerian culture. He also trusted me to retain my originality and creativity; in other words, to still be myself. For that, I will be eternally grateful to him, as my husband, the father of our children, as my pastor and my teacher. This story is a work in process. I made many mistakes. Sometimes I will be tired of ‘Naija ohala’. So many times, my husband will encourage me to keep going, saying that ‘I am trying’ and I can do better next time. You see, my testimony is in fact, OUR TESTIIMONY! I use our testimony as a pint of contact to pray for the happiness and success of your marriages! I also pray that the singles marry well, led by the Holy Spirit. As you can see, a true marriage is ‘made in heaven and enjoyed on earth’.
This morning, I give honor to my husband, because this honor is due to him! Please pray for him and ‘greet him for me’ when you talk to him! Glory to God! Thank you! God bless you all!
(In the picture, my husband and I as newly weds, In Romania, about 1975 and as we are now (2020). To God be all the glory!)