“Ruth answered, “Please don’t tell me to leave you and return home! I will go where you go, I will live where you live; your people will be my people, your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16)
My testimony: I live in Nigeria since 1980. I came here with my beloved husband, as a young wife and mother of our two little children. Before I came to Nigeria, I did not believe in God, and I did not see a Bible with my eyes. Also, I could not speak English. The engine of my life was my love for my husband. I could have followed him to the end of the world. We both worked as medical doctors. It was in Warri, in1986, that I had a crisis conversion and became born again. My life changed radically. I give God all the glory!
Most of the traditional customs here are very different than in my birth country, Romania. Long ago I made a choice: It is my duty to learn the traditions of people here. This is so that I may not ignorantly offend the very people I try to help spiritually. That will not be helpful to my testimony as a Christian and as a pastor. By the grace of God, I chose to show proper respect to the Nigerian people and all others I encounter daily! This is my duty before God!
Because I live here for so many years, I understand the way the Nigerian people think and behave. I study them because I love them, and so that I understand them. Like Ruth said, they are now ‘my people’ and their God, is now ‘my God’. They have thought me so much! For example, in Romania, the people are generally timid, shy, especially the women. I was like that for many years. It is in Nigeria that I have learned to be bold and courageous (not rude). This is a great achievement for me, for it has reduced my anxiety when talking to people.
Many people have helped me along the way, but my husband in particular. He has been my teacher, my mentor to help me understand the way Nigerian people think and behave. Over the years, he has patiently corrected me when I make mistakes. He has explained to me how to talk, dress and behave in a way that I will be accepted by the Nigerian people. It has not been always easy ‘to die’ to my Romanian way of life and adopt a new style. But the gain is so much that I stand in awe at what God has done in my life. My dear husband went to heaven suddenly in July, 2020. The lessons he thought me about Nigeria have made my life easier in his absence. My love for God, for my husband and for the Nigerian people have been the main reasons why I decided to continue to live here. I am a full time pastor in Warri/ Effurun, Nigeria. I say it with pride and gratitude. It is indeed my privilege to work here, where God has sent me. God bless Nigeria! Finally, once again, I honor my husband and my pastor, Dr. Richmond Leigh! God bless you Sir!
My desire: May I learn to live a humble holy fruitful faithful life, pleasing to God! Like sister Ruth, may I find favor with God and with the people! May people forget my face but only see and hear Christ in me! May nothing in my life hinder the progress of the Gospel! May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in Your eyes, my Lord and my Redeemer! Jesus is Lord!
(In the picture, my husband and I, during a vacation in 2015)