MY CONVERSION TESTIMONY

My name is Silvia Lia Leigh. I was born in Romania more than sixty five years ago. At that time Romania was a communist country. Religion was forbidden. We were thought in school that God does not exist; that religion is for the poor illiterate people. I believed that! I grew up in a loving family of four. My parents were teachers in the school which I attended with my younger sister; Adica. My father was also the principal of the school. My parents thought us by example to be kind, respectful, humble and hard working. We did not believe in God and we did not attend church.

In 1973 I got admission into the Medical School in Timisoara. In my first year I met my husband Richmond, a Nigerian. We were class mates. We fell in love and against all odds we got married. After graduation, in 1980, we moved to Nigeria. We became very successful as medical practitioners. We started a private hospital in Warri Nigeria called “Lily Clinic”. We were very happy. We had three children. We had money and fame. What else could one possibly want? Nothing! Or so I thought…

In 1986 I had a crisis conversion. I met the Lord Jesus Christ. This was purely the grace of God in action because we did not attend any church. This is how it happened…. Before coming to Nigeria I have not seen a Bible. In January of the same year, I became very depressed. I saw nothing good in all my achievements. I even lost my desire to live. This was very strange because I was always an optimistic person. The mysterious depression started after ‘accidentally’ I read a scripture on a pamphlet: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). I did not know who Jeremiah was. The scripture was not explained. But after I read it once, I just could not forget it. It seems like the words got stamped in my mind. I tried to forget it but I could not. After reading it I started thinking of God. I fought the thought but I failed. It was like He was calling me. I panicked… I have never prayed in my life. Can I start now? A voice said: ‘It is too late for you. Don’t pray!’ Another voice said the opposite: ‘It is never too late to pray. God loves you!’ These voices made me crazy. What voice I am supposed to believe?

Finally, I made my choice. For the very first time in my life, I prayed. It was 14th of March 1986. I said: “God, if You exist, then come down from heaven and change my heart. Make me Your friend! I am tired of doubting You. I am tired of fighting you. But please God, I can’t wait forever for the answer to this prayer. I give You ‘a month’s notice’ to come down from heaven and change my heart. If You come, I promise to be Your friend forever. But if You chose not to come, then let me die in peace. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!” I did not know the meaning of the name ‘Jesus’ but I heard people pray like that so I guessed it was the appropriate end to a prayer. Immediately I knew that something ‘good’ had happened to me. Not certain of what, I felt a sense of destiny coming down enveloping my soul.

On the 12th of April, 28 days after this ‘a month’s notice’ prayer, the Holy Spirit came and filled my hungry heart. Like an invisible blood transfusion, I felt LIFE entering my veins. I was alone in the sitting room when this event happened. It was much later that I knew it was called ‘the baptism of the Holy Spirit’. I became a child of God, never to be the same again. I started reading the Bible like a mad woman. This hunger for the Word for God and for prayer continues without interruptions until now. After some time, my husband became saved also. We sold our private clinic and together, we are now in full time ministry. We are the founders and the senior pastors of Father’s House Bible Church in Warri, Nigeria. To God alone be all the glory!

May this testimony ignite in you the desire to be truly saved or to experience revival! In Jesus’ name, amen!

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh

SLL8

NAGASAKI, JAPAN (2)

Recently, my husband and I (and some brethren from our church) we had an interesting trip to South Korea and Japan. We visited many beautiful places in these countries. Today I shall tell you some of my observations about the city of Nagasaki, Japan. Since I was a child, I heard that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs at the end of the second world war. I was excited to see Nagasaki.

These are some general information about the city itself. Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world. We were amazed at the technology over there. In the same time, it is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. Christianity in Japan is among the nation’s minority religions. Around 1 % of the population claims Christian belief. Nagasaki was and still is ‘the Christian capital of Japan’! Christianity first arrived in Japan in 1549, when the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier landed in the port of Nagasaki. The native Japanese accepted the Christian faith and Nagasaki became one of Asia’s most important Christian centers known as “a little Rome.”

The word Nagasaki in Japanese means ‘covered by a long cape or wrapped in a mantle’. Interestingly, the city is surrounded by hills that helped protect the people during the bombing. They absorbed much of the shock. Because of these hills, the destruction in Nagasaki was less than the bombing in Hiroshima. During the second world war Japan was on the side of Germany. They attacked the US by bombing Pearl Harbor. In retaliation, the American Government dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, to force Japan to surrender. They refused! Then a second bomb landed on Nagasaki. It was on the 9th of August 1945, at 11:02am. Six days later the emperor of Japan declared the unconditional surrender of Japan. These are the historical facts! In Nagasaki, at least 40,000 people were killed instantly and 60,000 others seriously injured. Nobody knows the total number of people who died or were affected. Combined with Hiroshima, more than 250,000 people died from the blasts. In the days and months following the explosion, more people died from their injuries. Since then, the number of birth defects and cancers has increased because of the radiation. Up to this point it is a sad story!

We went to the place called ‘ground zero’ where the bomb landed in 1945. Next to it there is a beautiful quiet garden called “Peace Park”. We saw a big statue they placed in that park. It is like a giant man whose right index points to heaven, meaning that judgment belongs to God alone. The finger is also a warning so that none should use atomic bombs again. The left hand is horizontal like telling men to have peace and to be still. One leg is resting under the body, like we should rest our bodies and souls. The second leg’s position is like getting ready to run, in case there is danger. The foundation where this statue stands is made from burnt stones collected after the bomb. Because of the bomb, it was said that no green plant will grow for the next 70 years. Against the predications, few weeks later, the oleander tree bloomed giving hope to the hopeless. Since then, the oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima.

At the park there is a fountain called ‘the Water of life’. There are many flowers and beautiful works of art. There is a big statue of a mother holding her dead child. On the statue it is written 8-9-11:02 (the day and hour when the bomb fell). The biggest building at ground zero was the city prison. Everything was pulverized. What is left is only the foundation. Next to it there is a monument to the testimony of a man who survived the bomb. He was a prison warden. He was a Christian. He was talking to his boss when suddenly everything and everybody disappeared around him including his boss. He said that he felt a cloud covering him like a blanket. He survived without any injury. This is surely God’s miracle! Praise the Lord! The Catholic Cathedral was damaged but still ‘survived’ from the blast. My husband and I took a picture next to the ruins of this church. Since then they build a new one close by.

I saw that since they rebuilt the city the people decided to add a touch of beauty to everything they do. For example, on some streets, they mixed pink granite with the regular grey one. It looks like a carpet outside. I also saw that the sewage ‘man-holes’ on the streets and the metal grill covers around the trees are beautiful with flowers, each having a unique design. The city is calm and peaceful. Japan is now one of the cleanest and safest places on earth! In a world troubled by many problems, this peace should me supernatural! Praise the Lord!

What are the lessons? A sad story could have ended in eternal sadness! Hurts could have produced bitterness and stagnation. But the people decided to change their story. It takes the grace of God! The truth is that they could fall no lower than that. They humbled themselves, forgave the enemy and started a new life. You can feel the power of forgiveness in Japan, especially in Nagasaki. I have never seen a city that is perfumed with so much grace, forgiveness and peace. This is a reminder that God can change men, cities and countries. It is so good to see how, by the grace of God, good overcomes evil. It is so good to taste hope! And life! I personally needed that! Japan surprised me! Not so much the technology but seeing this peace at the end of suffering! I held that to my heart! This will be my gift from Japan! By faith, I now plant this supernatural hope in the ground of Nigeria where I live and do ministry! For with God, and willing people, all things are possible!

(In the pictures taken at Nagasaki, Japan; me at the fountain called ‘the water of life’; me in front of the pillar of the church that survived the bomb; my husband and I in front of the ruins of the church (in the background you see the newly rebuilt church); walking on a road made from grey and pink granite (just to make it beautiful); two doves at ground zero; the foundation of the prison (that is all that was left from the building); a public toilet at Peace Park (so clean and beautiful looking like a chapel); the main statue at Peace Park; one of many artistic sewage man-hole on the pavement; Oleander flowers, the symbol of Nagasaki)

Me at water of life Nagasaki

Me at the church pilar Nagasaki

Tali and I in front of ruins of church Nagasaki

Grey and pink granite road Nagasaki Japan

doves Nagasaki

Prison ruins Nagasaki

toilet Nagasaki

statue peace park Nagasaki

sewage cover nagasaki .jpg

oleander flower Nagasaki

PRAYER REQUEST FOR GOD’S SUPPLY IN TIME OF NEED

A dear sister in Christ, a faithful worshipper of God, a godly wife and mother needs your prayers! She and her husband are led by the Holy Spirit to start a private business, a shop. They are almost there but not there yet. She sent me a note saying that they have to take away from their last savings. This is a work of faith. Both of them want not just a shop but a testimony too. I told them that God will not put them to shame!
“For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame!” (Rom 10:11)
This is her note to me this morning: “Dear Malia, We are now going to pull the money from our last resort fund… I’m sharing this with you because I see my heart beating like normal. Only GOD could’ve done this work in me. I used to be so fearful of being poor, not having any money, taking our kids on a dangerous ride… but the truth is… a life without trust in Jesus is dangerously comfortable in a lie. The lie is that it is your job that provides for you, or it is you that works hard to provide for you. But now I see that everything I own is from my Father in heaven, and I have great peace in knowing that He is with us. So watch me as I leap into His arms. I am confident that He will catch me. Here we go!”
Dear intercessors, please pray for them, that they will continue to remain faithful to God’s leading; that they will be re-filled with the Holy Spirit; that Jehovah Jireh will supply all that is necessary for them to start their shop. They have vowed to give God all the glory for their success! I use these couple as a point of contact that God will increase the blessings on you, as you pray for them! You too will open a shop and use it as a testimony giving glory to God! In Jesus’ name!

NAGASAKI, JAPAN (1)

Recently, my husband and I (and some brethren from our church) we had an interesting trip to South Korea and Japan. We visited many beautiful places in these countries. Today I shall tell you some of my observations about the city of Nagasaki, Japan. Since I was a child I heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by atomic bombs at the end of the second world war. I was excited to see Nagasaki. These are some general information about the city itself.

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world. We were amazed at the technology over there. In the same time, it is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. Christianity in Japan is among the nation’s minority religions. Around 1 % of the population claims Christian belief or affiliation. Most large Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism are represented in Japan today. Since the mid-1990s, majority of Japanese people are nonreligious. Majority of the churches have less the 30 adults in attendance during services (Clearly, we need to pray for Japan!).

The word Nagasaki in Japanese means ‘covered by a long cape or a wrapped in a mantle’. Interestingly, the city is surrounded by hills that helped protect the people during the bombing. They absorbed much of the shock. Because of that the destruction in Nagasaki was less than the one in Hiroshima. Nagasaki was and still is ‘the Christian capital of Japan’! Christianity first arrived in Japan in 1549, when the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier landed in the port of Nagasaki. The native Japanese accepted the Christian faith and Nagasaki became one of Asia’s most important Christian centers known as “a little Rome.” In 1614, a strict ban on Christianity was issued. Churches were destroyed, and Christians in Japan faced various possibilities. Some suffered exile, forbidden from ever returning. Others were martyred, refusing to renounce their faith despite, in many cases, being severely tortured.

By the 1640s, not a single priest was left in the whole of Japan. Christians in Nagasaki realized that if they, too, were to die as martyrs, the Japanese church would die with them. As persecution raged and the prospect of the Christian faith’s complete eradication from Japan became imminent, these Christians made a decision that was to have dramatic consequences over two centuries later: to continue their faith in secret. The story of the underground church is one of suffering. Throughout the ban on Christianity in Japan, people in Nagasaki were required at an annual ceremony to trample on an image of Christ or the Virgin Mary, known as a fumie, to prove they were not Christian. These ceremonies haunted the imaginations of the secret Christians, who were without priests to absolve them. Every year they would creep home and utter penitential prayers, begging God to forgive them for what was called “this most necessary of sins” (To deny Christ in public but holding to Him in the heart).

Following the opening of Japan in the mid-19th century, a Catholic church was erected in Nagasaki, the first to be built there since before the ban on Christianity. This ban remained strictly in force, and permission for the church was granted on the understanding that it was solely for use by foreigners residing within Nagasaki’s newly established foreign settlement. It was called the Oura Church. Among the secret Christians, there was silent rejoicing. By that point, they had been underground for over two hundred years. On March 17, 1865, a small group of them gathered courage and approached the church. Here they met a French priest named Father Petitjean. Kneeling before him, one whispered: “All of us have the same heart as you.” They then asked the stunned priest “Where is the statue of Saint Mary?” This moving episode became known as the “Discovery of Christians,” and today the same statue of the Virgin Mary that Father Petitjean showed them can still be seen inside the church. In the wake of this event, thousands more of secret Christians from across the Nagasaki region also came forward and confessed their faith. Later, five more churches were built in the city. Nagasaki’s churches and Christian sites are called UNESCO heritage sites. Many Christians come to see them as a form of pilgrimage. The ground they were built upon is red, from the blood shed by many Christians who refused to backslide under persecution and were martyred publicly. Their testimonies speak to us today of a resurrection that had once seemed impossible. They stand as symbols of hope, inviting us to reflect upon the power of the Blood of Jesus and the Spirit of resurrection! They encourage us to hold on to our faith, the patiently endure to the end, no matter the trials of this world! Oh, the amazing grace of God! To God be all the glory!

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death” (Rev 12:11)

(In the picture, my husband and I, in front of the oldest Church in Nagasaki, The Oura Church, built in 1853, a national treasure in Japan. It was designed by Father Petijean. It survived even the bombing in 1945. Many secret Japanese Christians hid and came to this church during the persecution. It is also known as ‘The Church of the 26 Japanese Martyrs’. In the second picture, the interior of Oura Church)

Tali and I in front of Oura Church, Nagasaki Japan

oura church inside

GEORGE MULLER

Many years ago, there was a man who lived in Bristol, England by the name of George Mueller. To give you some insight to what kind of man Mueller was, he was a mentor to the great preacher Charles Spurgeon who would call upon to come and preach in his church.
Mueller is known for many things. He established several orphanages and it’s estimated that he ministered to over 10,000 children during his lifetime. He pastored the same church for 66 years and at age 70 he became a missionary. He finally retired at age 87. He died at 92. He cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was even accused by some rich politicians of raising the poor above their natural station in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000. In addition, he is known as being a man of prayer and faith. It is estimated that Mueller raised millions of dollars (in today’s currency) to support his orphanages, and never directly asked anyone for a dime. He did it all by prayer.
Through all this, Müller never made requests for financial support, nor did he go into debt, even though the five homes cost more than £100,000 to build. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God. Müller was in constant prayer that God touch the hearts of donors to make provisions for the orphans. For example, on one well-documented occasion, thanks was given for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage
He is also known as someone who strived to be in the very center of God’s will. Several years ago, I read a biography about Mueller and I remember it saying that he often read the Bible while on his knees. By the way, he read through the entire Bible over 200 times. Rather than dreaming a dream and then asking God to bless it, Mueller went to God’s Word in order to seek God’s will and then he prayed for the strength to do it. One day he read that God desired to be a father to the fatherless and from that Mueller concluded that it was God’s will for someone to take care of orphaned children and on that principle, he by faith, built his orphanages.
At one time Mueller wrote out several principles for seeking God’s will. His number one Principle was – “Surrender your own will to God’s will! He said: “When I pray for something, I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to that given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is. Then God answers the request speedily!”
George Müller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. We all have needs! May his faith in God inspire all of us! In Jesus’ name! Amen!
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families; He leads out the prisoners with singing” (Ps 68:5,6)

(In the pictures are George Muller’s orphanages)

george-muller-quote2_1

George Muller Orohange

 

THIS WONDERFUL DREAM IS A SECRET OF GRACE

My husband and I (and some brethren from our church) went on ‘a trip of a lifetime’, as they say. We went to South Korea and Japan. These are countries in the far east with different cultures and attitudes to life than what we were used to. These are very beautiful and clean countries. They both suffered a lot in the past from terrible wars. Many people died! But after much pain they decided to rise again ‘from the ashes’ of sufferings. Most of their development is recent. Together as a people, they decided to leave the ugly past behind and to move on! This is a good story for any person, family or country!
(Just a note: I live in Nigeria. I love Nigeria! My husband and I are pastors in Nigeria. I am not saying that these countries are better than Nigeria. They are just different. As I do not compare people, I also do not compare countries. Each place on earth, each tribe, family and people are uniquely created by the same God. The political, religious and cultural systems may be different but people are people everywhere. Some are good and some are bad. That is the truth!)
After a long flight, we arrived in Seoul on a Saturday. The next day we attended the third service at the famous Yoido Full Gospel Church. (Each Sunday they have seven services.) This is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God in Seoul, South Korea. With about 800,000 active members it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in South Korea and one of the biggest in the world. Founded by David Yonggi Cho in 1958, the church is presently led by Young Hoon Lee. The building is large enough to seat 12,000 people, with overflow sent to the nearby buildings, where congregants watch events in the main church on telescreens.
We sat at the special place given to foreigners. The sermon was in Korean. They gave us earphones and we listened to the sermon translated in English. They were more old people in the congregation than young. Of course, this is very different than in Nigeria where I am a pastor. The praise session was good. There was a big choir who sang hymns in Korean. The worshippers sang with all their hearts. The presence of the Holy Spirit was evident. The sermon was also good. It was preached by Pastor Y. H. Lee with boldness and anointing. He has a very good tenor voice. From time to time he stopped the preaching to praise God with songs. I especially loved a chorus about our Salvation in Christ. “For I dream that at last I shall look on His face! Oh, this wonderful dream is a secret of grace!” Well said!
The sermon was inspired from the Book of Jeremiah 29. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer 29:11-13). Pastor Lee encouraged all people to seek God until He is found. He led the congregation in prayers for the peace and the prosperity of their country. We observed that the people in Seoul have quite a high level of anxiety concerning their future. Many are on antidepressants, the pastor said. This stress is mostly because of the threat coming from their neighbor, North Korea. Technically, the two Koreas are still at war. The pastor directed their attention to God who alone can protect them. At the end of the service we went with other ‘first timers’ to be greeted by their protocol staff. It was a good Sunday service!
Each time we travel we miss the church services at home. But we know that it is good to visit other assemblies in other parts of the world. The language, the way of dressing and the style of service may be different, but The Spirit and the Body of Christ is One! Praise the Lord!
May God bless the people of North and South Korea! May they come to know the Lord Jesus Christ! May there be peace and prosperity in that region of the world! May God bless the true brethren in these countries! In Jesus’ name! Amen!
(I took some pictures of the church and of the congregation during the service. One of the brethren took a picture of my husband and I as we listened to the sermon. These are memories we shall treasure for a lifetime)

yoido church seoul s korea 2

Tali and Malia 2

THE EFFECTS OF A WELFARE STATUS

The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. It is part of democratic or capitalistic form of government. The duty of the Government is to protect and provide for its citizens. The Government builds schools, roads, pays police. This help is for the benefit of all and not for private citizens. Child of God, no government will help you dream and sponsor your dream for a better life. That personal dream is given to you by God! It must be fulfilled by you, working hard, and with the help of God! As salvation is personal so the blessings of God are personal. The Government of any nation does not invest in personal dreams. That is the work of God!

The effects of being on welfare:
*Poverty is a cycle. It must be broken. If not, it will continue!
*Being on welfare is a trap. It affects the spirit negatively. The earlier you go back to work, the better!
*There is a connection between welfare dependency and psychological distress. Even being a short time on welfare has a long-time effect upon the recipients. For many years they feel poor, anxious and guilty. They blame themselves for their poverty; they have inferiority complexes, low self-esteem. This feelings affect the women more than the men!
*Being on a welfare status affects the children. The children too have low self-esteem. They are afraid to dream for a better life; they have less desire to go to school; they want to experience sex early; they want to marry early, be pregnant early (even out of wedlock). When the children are small, they do not know the difference. But when they are in middle school, they start comparing themselves with other children from homes where the parents work and have money and time to take the children to school or after school activities. That is when the inferiority complexes start. The parents who work take interests in their children. They help them to dream imaging a better future. They encourage their children by sponsoring their dreams. But in welfare homes, the parents discourage the children to dream because they cannot afford the money to sponsor. Dreams for a better life seem like a luxury they cannot afford.

The children who grow up in homes who depend on welfare are 3 times more likely to end on welfare themselves when they become adults. ‘Welfare attitude’ is addictive. Many of the children from homes depending of welfare end having low paid jobs, troubled by what is called ‘poverty mentality’. Living ‘from hand to mouth’ kills the creative spirit in the children. Even when they have money later, they still feel poor and ugly. May God help us!

My prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we pray for mercy and wisdom from You. We ask for forgiveness for indulging in a poverty mentality, in a beggarly attitude. We ask for forgiveness for allowing doubt to dictate our destiny. We ask for the grace of a new beginning. We destroy the connection with the demonic negative mind sets! May we be free from demonic poverty and occult hopelessness. We break the comfort zone of just surviving. We ask for the blessing of living godly and abundantly! We bless our children. May their lives be better than ours! May their God given dreams come true! We plead the Blood of Jesus upon our lives, marriages and children! We shall not beg for bread! Our children shall not beg for bread to eat! God give us good business and the strength to work hard with our hands! Holy Spirit please come and take control! We vow to give You alone all the glory for the promised miraculous provision and prosperity! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed” (Ps 37:25, 26)