"Any cloth may cover our sores, but the finest silk will not cover our sins." –Henry Smith
My name is OLATUNJI Owolabi Temitayo. I was born on the 22nd of November 1984 in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. My father hails from Ibadan in Oyo state, a city famous for its ancient warriors.
My primary education started with St Peter’s Catholic School, Apapa in Lagos and then at the Methodist High School, Lagos Island. Due to divorce and re-union at various times between my parents, I had to pass through four primary schools within a period of six years! But the beautiful Star of Bethlehem always led me.
Eventually, I landed in my Grandma’s care. I lived with her in a remote but the coolest village life of Omu-Ijebu, a village (nay, a town) in Odogbolu Local Govt Area in Ogun State. The town is famous for her craft in mat-woven. Indeed, I often wove mat as a pastime. However, the major occupation was farming, but I was brought in from Lagos!
I attended the town’s Ajose Comprehensive High School and again the beautiful Star of Bethlehem led me. This time, I didn’t need to change high school at any time. I lived with my precious Grandma for all my six years of secondary education.
I loved that village life! I love its tranquility and serenity. The population was not much and vices common in Lagos were very rare except the sin of immorality in the form of fornication. The girls, however, dressed modestly. I went into a relationship with one of the girls at one time, but I was divinely restrained from committing that great blunder.
My Grandma, being a Muslim, literally forced me to go to Arabic school. Within a period of a year, I and a fellow finished their Quran and I was very skilful writing in Arabic. All throughout the town, they often called me Alfa (a term use to connote a young man who is versed in Islam).
Two years before my secondary school came to a close, I stole a book from the vicarage of United African Church located beside our house; I and the vicar’s children and the sexton were always friends. I sneaked in as usual to a room littered with books and a dead Organ. There I picked a book written by an American Evangelists and upon reading it, it began to change my world-view. He told me about Jesus in a way I never knew and I started picking interest in Christ. I can’t remember the title of the book. (I suspected my Mum took the book for I couldn’t find it after some time. Obviously, she had observed the book was occupying my attention, and knowing it’s contents, had hid it from me. She was with us at that time). I would read the Quran and then the Bible especially Psalms. Soon, some of our Muslim neighbours started calling me "two-in-one”, meaning I was trying to practise Islam and Christianity at the same time.
I came back to Lagos in 2001 and immediately slipped into sin. I abandoned both Islam and Christianity altogether. On January 2002, there was a bomb blast in Lagos at the Military cantonment and a former soldier along with his family and a cousin (a Minister) moved into a new building near where we lived. There was also one godly man of God living close. God used these two to hedged me in and before long I started attending the Apostolic Faith Church in Ikorodu, Lagos. Then I switched to the Redeemed Christian Church of God. But none of these churches or those two Ministers could change me to a true Christian.
One day, I started seeing the world as a vacuum. I saw the pursuit of life as completely empty. More importantly, I saw the power of sin laying stronghold on virtually everybody. I saw lack of perfect peace in the hearts of so many. But those two Ministers and the churches I attended had taught me that when I become born-again, Christ will give me power to go and sin no more and that I will have peace and joy in my heart. I knew those two Ministers so closely and their life was an exception to humanity lying under the power of sin.
One night, I could not sleep over-night and it was as if I and demons fought all night. I saw sin as exceedingly powerful and unable to escape its yoke. Early in the morning, I quickly rose up to escape from those “demons” and went to have my bath.
But bath I could not have. My mind was fixed on the power of sin. While under conviction, and thinking it was the devil that was tormenting me, I had prayed for Satan some times hoping that if he got saved, he will live me alone. But I was the one that needed to be saved.
That morning, August 22nd 2002, I was almost kneeling down, naked in the bathroom. I could not see any way of escape from sin. I saw myself as an entity without purpose and power towards any good thing. I saw sin as the greatest tragedy of life making we humans to look like brute beasts which are meant to be taken and destroyed. A way of escape from all these, I was not sure. But I just lifted my two eyes upward and offered a short prayer, “Jesus, please deliver me”. That was it! I did not feel exhilarated instantly but the tears that have been streaming from my eyes since I entered the bathroom stopped. I had my bath and that was the beginning of a new dawn in my existence.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – II Cor 5:17
Indeed, I became a completely new creature. Old things were gone and all things became new. I would spend all day reading my Bible and praying facing the wall. I would devour Christian books and magazines. I attended Church with great commitment. The house of those two Ministers mentioned above became a delight to me. I would sit at their feet eager to hear about Jesus and how to keep saved.
"Behold, what manner of love is this, that Christ should be arraigned and we adorned, that the curse should be laid on His head and the crown set on ours." -Thomas Watson
I came into contact with Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and a host of the Puritan and Reformed fathers somewhere around 2003. And since then, there writings have been my staple. I share a very common and core beliefs with those ancient worthies. I hold the Bible to be true, perfect, divinely-inspired and immutable. I believe in the doctrines of grace from its conception to perfection.
Eventually, I gained admission in 2005 to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, here in Nigeria. There I have the flexibility, away from the prying and restricting eyes of my relatives, to practise Christianity without limitations. The environment in the school is very soothing; no fear of practising true Christianity either in or outside of the lecture rooms. Many of the students and Lecturers have some measure of true religion. The school is adjudged to be the most beautiful in the country. It has a very fine and aesthetic landscape and the serenity and orderliness of a village life. I love the library and a place called “Sports Complex”; there students gathered almost throughout the day to pray individually and collectively but the place ought to be referred to as “Prayer Complex”!
As at writing this piece (November 27th 2010), I am sitting for my final exam in the University. The course is a five year course. It’s been a very good journey with little tendency to slip at some intervals!
My earnest desire is to uplift the Saviour in every way I can and to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind.
“Hear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies, whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love Thee, and clasp Thy hand with all my affections, and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end.”
This is just a very short summary of His wondrous doings to my soul. He’s been sweet to me all the way. I see more of Him each time I gaze at Calvary and I trust that as a gentle Shepherd, He will cause me to lie and feed in the cool green pastures of His love.
"I think it is possible on earth to build a young, new Jerusalem, a little, new heaven of this surpassing love [of Christ]. God, either send me more of this love, or take me quickly over the water, where I may be filled with His love."
Blessed Jesu, Thee will I love in endless days!