The flames of a bonfire near a Chuch in Nigeria consume the idols formerly worshipped by a young Nigerian man. The Church in Nigeria used to make Olakemi laugh.  Christian religion was simply not enticing to him.  Some said he had a conscience, but perhaps it was the Holy Spirit preparing his heart to receive Jesus’ love through the sharing of God’s Word by a humble pastor. But before that, with his life spiraling downward in immoral living, Olakemi had vowed against only one thing.

A typical rebellious teenager, Olakemi wasn’t concerned about the Church in Nigeria, let alone eternity.  Instead, independence beckoned and a job in another town gave him new boldness. “The only thing I warned myself never to do was stealing,” he recalls. “Otherwise, any detestable act a young man could be involved in was done by me.”

Hanging with the wrong crowd immersed him in drinking and womanizing. “Above all,” he says, “I spent my earnings on charms. My intention was to become either a warrior or a witch doctor.” But, even the “wrong crowd” began to fear Olakemi, as both options carried intimidating power - and carried him further away from the Church in Nigeria.

It was during this point of decision in Olakemi’s life when he met Pastor Joshua, a local Bible League-trained leader in the Church in Nigeria. Joshua presented the warrior-or-witch-doctor-in training with a third option for life: studying the Bible, God’s Word. It made Olakemi laugh. “I considered it to be the biggest joke of the year!” remembers the rebellious teen.

But the Nigerian Church leader did, indeed, begin to study scripture with Olakemi. The turning point occurred when the two men reached Acts 17: the story of Paul and the citizens of Athens. A city full of idols and idol-worshippers, rebellious against God and opposed to the Church - much like Olakemi - they too were unprepared for eternity in the eyes of the one, true Creator. The African teen so previously opposed to Jesus Christ and the Church in Nigeria sensed a stirring in his heart as he personally connected with the power of the Acts 17 story, “I felt the story was directed exactly to my situation.”

This very personal encounter with scripture humbled Olakemi, convincing him for the first time that God’s power is greater than the charms and other gods he had previously pursued. The loving pastor from the Church in Nigeria led Olakemi in a decision for Jesus.  “Joshua prayed for me and taught me that my sins are not too much. I gave my life to Christ and we burned the charms. Many who see me sharing the Word of God now confess the truth that God is really at work here!”

Testimonies like Olakemi’s help us to understand that no one is beyond the Lord’s loving reach. Your partnership with the Bible League sends God’s Word into action to help make the connection through Pastor Joshua and others just like him in the Church in Nigeria.  Please pray with us that the Nigerian Christians will continue to impact lives for Christ in their home country and throughout Africa.
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