Sunday, November 5, 2023 4:17 pm
The Pastor of a modest-sized church in Lagos, Nigeria, makes an announcement, “I invite Madam Nduka, also known as Mama Bomboy, to come forward and share her testimony.” Madam Nduka, who is seated at the rear of the church, stands up, waves her hands, and begins to dance her way toward the spacious chancel. As she moves, she starts to sing, “What can I say, unto the Lord, all I have to say, is thank you Lord”, and the entire congregation joins in both singing and dancing.
While Madam Nduka continues to sing, the Pastor pauses the band and choir, saying, “Hallelujah, church. Madam Nduka, please limit your testimony to two minutes. Thank you.”
“Thank you, daddy. Hmmmnnnnn. Where do I start from? Thank you, Lord, for all you continue to do in my family. My husband cannot be here today, but he sent his greetings. Thank you, our daddy-in-the Lord for your support always and thank you to our mummy for your prayers. To my prayer warrior group, God bless you. I want to sing and dance more but our daddy said I should keep it shot. I will try. Hallelujah!” “Hallelujah”, the congregants respond.
“For the last ten years, many of you had asked about my three children, Bimbola, Haruna and Bomboy. Each time you asked, my response was ‘all is well’. I have come to testify before the church that God has indeed been faithful. He who did it for Joseph has done it for my family. He will do it for you too. Amen”. “Amen”, the congregants chorus in agreement.
“The enemies tried everything to make us fail but God shamed them. With the prayers of our daddy and mummy in the Lord, we overcame. It all started when everyone in our estate was sending their children to the UK, US and Canada. I discussed with my husband that we should send our daughter, Bimbola and our sons Haruna and Bomboy to our cousins in the UK, US and Canada respectively. My husband said they were too young. I was not happy with him for saying that. Bimbola was already 14. Haruna was 10 and Bomboy was 6. I persuaded my husband that it was better to send them abroad young. With that, they would imbibe the cultures and languages of their new countries. Then my husband said we did not have the finance. How could he say that? We had houses we could sell to sponsor them.
He then said he was concerned about sending our children to our cousins, that he had not seen for more than ten years. He said he did not know them and did not want our children abused. That hurt me. How could he say that about our family members? What happened to his faith?. He then asked if we were not depriving Nigeria of hard currency and helping to develop other nations. I reminded him that our leaders were doing the same. He became emotional and started saying he was not sure if we were making the right decision separating our children from us and from one another. I told him he should not be a clog in the wheel of the success of the children and should not allow the devil to use him against his own children with all these negative statements. May the devil never use you.” “Amen” the church responds.
“I fasted for 14 days for God to touch his heart. And he did. His heart was touched, and he agreed. We sold some houses and started working on obtaining study visas for them. Another round of fasting for me started. I thank my friend, mama Gloria who fasted with me. May your light never dim.” “Amen”, responds mama Gloria who is sitting close to the front row.
She turns to the Pastor and apologizes, “I am sorry daddy. Just two more minutes”. Returning to facing the congregation, she continues “We got the visas and we set for the US, UK and Canada. We took Bimbola to the UK, Haruna to the US and Bomboy to Canada.” “Lucky children” shouts one young man in the choir, generating laughter from some members of the church.
“I forgot to mention that before we left Nigeria, and despite my husband’s objections, I told the children to learn the white man’s language, accent, and culture. I told them to forget about Nigeria and everything about it. I wanted them to become new beings. My husband wanted to counsel them never to forget their roots including their culture, language, and family in Nigeria. He even bought some books written by Nigerian authors, about the history and culture of Nigeria. I did not allow him to do the counseling or give them the books. Church, I am happy to report that they followed my instructions. May your children follow your instructions and may your spouse never go against you when making important decisions”. “Amen” the church answers in return.
Sensing that the Pastor is about to stop her, she apologizes again, “I am sorry daddy. Just one more minute”. “My husband said we should visit them regularly, but I kicked against that idea. We need to allow them to bond with our cousins whom they refer to as daddies and mummies. They are very close to them. They too, have taken care of them as their own. We try to speak with the children, but they prefer that we talk once a month. You know these foreign children. They don’t like long discussions. So, our discussions last for about 5 minutes each time. My husband complains about this all the time but for me, it is ok. They are learning independence. We have a family Whatsapp group but they hardly comment on it. They said they are too busy studying and I understand that. We don’t want to distract them. May you never be distracted from your goals”. “Amen”, the congregation responds with some jumping to show appreciation for the prayers.
“In the last 10 years, we had visited them individually three times, each time for a week. We are very busy working in Nigeria to pay for their education. My husband thinks we should visit often or that they should visit Nigeria. I refused. They must not be distracted. What are they coming to do here in Nigeria? My husband is not seeing what I am seeing. Bimbola became a UK citizen two years ago. Haruna became a US citizen last year while our boy, Bomboy, became a Canadian citizen last week. I told my husband I must come to church to testify to the works of God. We came from a village to Lagos and today, we have three children who are citizens of three first world countries, who speak with perfect foreign accent and live the culture of the best countries in the world. My husband does not see all these positives. He complains that our children don’t relate with each other and that we have lost our children to other countries and additionally, that our root in Nigeria is uprooted. He complains that his children are not interested in any of the legacies his forefathers and himself had built over the years. He complains that his children cannot communicate with our parents who don’t speak English. He complains that he is a stranger to his children. He complains that his children don’t appreciate the financial and emotional sacrifice we are making for sending them overseas. He complains that we will grow old alone without our children or their children around us. He complains about everything. I told him how could we be alone when we can travel to help the children raise their children when the time comes?. He responded that he would not do that with me and reminded me that Bimbola had said she was not interested in marriage and having children; that Haruna had once said he would not want any interference with his family when he gets married and that only Bomboy was open to the idea for now. My husband is too negative and sometimes, he acts like an enemy in the house. May you not marry your enemy or a complainant”. “Amen”, the church responds again.
“Once again, I thank you for your prayers church. Please continue to pray for us and as you pray, please use my children as your point of prayer that our God that did it for my children, will do yours too. Amen”
The shout of “Amen” could be heard reverberating throughout the walls of the church building as madam Nduka heads to her seat singing “Amen, amen, blessings and glory, wisdom thanksgiving, and honor, power and might, be unto our Lord, forever and ever, amen…..”
_Johnson Babalola, a Canada based lawyer, leadership consultant and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all: https://www.facebook.com/jbdlaw /@jbdlaw/www.johnsonbabalola.com_
*Johnson Babalola’s novel, “Rejected” will be released in December 2023 on Amazon, FriesenPress and other platforms.*