Posts Tagged ‘TB Joshua Biography’

Many people have been sending requests to know about the early life of God’s servant, Prophet T.B. Joshua. Here is a touching biographical account of the prophet, in his own words, as published in one of The SCOAN’s magazines, ‘Faith Cometh’…

In our spiritual walk with the Lord, we have good times and hard times. When the going is good, we say we are in good times. When the going is tough, we say we are experiencing hard times. Remember, life itself is a mission. While we are on the go, we need to stop between steps, to re-focus on the Word and the Will of God. While we are on the go, I mean, while we are on the mission, we need to sometimes stop at intervals to assess our progress and prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead. Certain challenges on our way usually make us stop awhile – I mean, for a moment. When you stop awhile, you are not down. What are these challenges? They could come in the form of sickness, failure, setback, imprisonment, poverty. For instance, if I receive a sack letter from my very lucrative job, there is a natural tendency for me to cry and lament, if I do not view the situation from the maturity that comes from faith. It takes faith to realise that the situation is a mere stopping interval – a short break between two events.

I do not need to go very far to cite or give an example of what I am saying because my experience in life is enough to illustrate this philosophy or principle of life. As we said earlier, many things could cause one to stop between steps. I could still remember vividly when I sat for and passed the entrance examination into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.

I was invited for the interview and I had to board the train from Lagos to Kaduna. Behold, on our journey the train developed some serious faults that kept us in the bush in Jebba for six horrible days with little or no provision. Remember, I was going for an interview that was billed to hold the following day. I was on the railway line in Jebba while the interview was going on in Kaduna and there was nothing I could do to help the situation as I lacked the means to arrange for an alternative way of transporting myself to the venue of the interview, so I missed the whole thing.

TB Joshua

TB Joshua Biography

This was how the ambition to enlist into the military was aborted by what was obviously an act of fate. Who knows what would have happened if I had successfully attended that interview. I actually felt very bitter I had missed another chance of making it in life.

With a very heavy heart I went to the village to complain to my mother of how so many opportunities had slipped by. Little would I have reasoned that it was one of those stops between steps in my spiritual walk with God until my mother did her best to calm me down, saying: “My son, do not mind the seeming appearance of things as of today. If I am ever confident of any child, you are that child. Do not be afraid of what the future holds for you, because I know if anyone is destined to fail, you are not the one. So, be patient and you would see what God would do in your life. I am so sure of your future breakthrough, considering the strength of the predictions and prophecies about you even before you were born. I cannot forget so easily what I experienced when I was pregnant with you, and I know God cannot lie. My son, whatever you may be going through today, just take it as a temporary setback, meant to prepare you for the challenges ahead. Don’t forget your name is “Temitope” and, by the grace of God, the whole world shall have the cause to thank God for your sake.”

After this encounter with my mother, I began to look at whatever came my way with a more mature mind whose focus was on God alone. I mean, the maturity that comes from faith in the finished works of our Lord Jesus Christ. My case was already settled in Heaven. Here I am today in your midst; I can boast of what God is doing for us. Hallelujah! You are all witnesses.

In my spiritual walk with God I have experienced both good and hard times. Who knows what would have happened if those temporary stops did not come at intervals. Consider how my education suffered epileptic fits; today I am in school, the next day I am out. Remember, when God is executing His plan in our lives, He also designs and arranges events which continue to unfold until His purpose is revealed. The ups and downs in my education were part of the events that revealed the purpose of God in my life. Remember, the man who is poor is not the man that has no money, but one without a dream. They are suffering that have no dream. They are poor that have no dream.

Before I knew it, I had gone around six different colleges in less than one year. I enrolled for the examinations of JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) four times and on each occasion it was either I forgot my acknowledgement card and other necessary documents or there was an accident on the way to the exam venues. People who saw what was happening to me simply attributed my predicament to either sin or non-seriousness on my part. But those with the maturity that comes from faith, like my mother, saw it as mere stopping intervals or natural stops in my spiritual walk with God.

In James 4:7, we are told to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. If we examine carefully our attitudes toward certain situations, we would see how much we willingly submit ourselves to the devil each time we view things with the maturity that comes from the experience rather than of faith. The maturity that comes from experience is based on what is seen, what is heard and what circumstances look like. When your maturity is derived from circumstantial factors other than faith, your level of maturity would continue to fluctuate rather than being stable. This is why I am enabled to maintain a balance and stable approach to the challenges that come my way every day. I am not moved by what people say or do concerning my relationship with God. I submit myself to His direct will which is good and perfect with no evil in it. Sometimes, God uses foolish things to strengthen our desire for Him.

In Luke 22:32, Jesus said to Peter, “I pray that your faith would not fail”. This means, all men make mistakes but people of God get back up. Certainly we would fall, but with Jesus supporting our position, we would soon get back up.

Life is truly a learning experience! What are the fundamental lessons you have learned from this biographical account of Prophet T.B. Joshua?

Please share them with God’s people in the comments section below:

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In another explosive and exciting interview with This Day Newspapers, TB Joshua chronicles the trials and troubles that characterised his journey through life, and shared the principles of faith that helped him to maintain his stand to become what he is today…

There can not be a better way to start than to ask; who’s T.B Joshua?
Well, there’s nothing spectacular about Prophet T.B Joshua. He is just like every other human being. But if there is any difference, it is the grace of God; the righteousness of God. It is a product of the grace of God. So, I am a product of the grace of God.

"I have tasted what it takes to be humiliated and poor and also what it takes to be honoured and have more than enough." - TB Joshua

I have tasted what it takes to be humiliated and poor and also what it takes to be honoured and have more than enough - TB Joshua

So, how did your ministry start?
The Church started just like other ministries. And if there is any difference, it is the way and manner God executes His plans in our lives. And of course, you know the way and manner God executes His plans in our lives differs. Sometimes, God can use foolish things. Our God is awesome. So, in a nutshell, that is just it.

As a person, how was growing up like?
In summary, let me say, I have tasted what it takes to be poor; humiliated, embarrassed and all what not. And of course, I have tasted what it takes to be honoured. So, I think it is that grace that gives me the strength to face all conditions today. It is the grace of God. I have tasted what it takes to be humiliated and poor and also what it takes to be honoured and have more than enough. And that is the grace to face all conditions.

Can one then say it is that tough background that gave you the grace to truly believe and face God?
I think it is just the will of God because for anyone to march for God, you must first march with Him. For me, I have marched with Him and this is the time I am marching for Him. To march with God is the time to sacrifice and to march for Him is the time of grace and blessing.

When did you get the calling and what was the sign like?
It was about 23 years ago when it all happened. For instance, many will say they encountered God through a man of God to do this and all that, but in my case and I know many must have had the same experience that I had, it was a personal encounter. It was not that one man of God came to me to say this and that. It was a personal encounter. And if you look at my birth, it is a story people like to read and listen to also. Concerning my calling, I was in a trance for three consecutive days, then I saw a hand that pointed a Bible to my heart and the Bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to have immersed with the Bible immediately. Then, the awareness came and I saw the Apostles and Prophets of old with someone whose head I could not see because he was tall to the heaven and suspended in the air. I believe it was our Lord Jesus Christ sitting in their midst. I also saw myself in their midst. After a while, I saw a hand of the same tall man, I could not behold his face which was glittering with an unimaginable light; tall to the heavens and still suspended in the air. But other Apostles, I could see their faces, particularly Apostles Peter and Paul, Prophets Moses, Elijah and others. Their names were boldly written on their chests.

So, I heard a voice saying “I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the Heavenly Father”. At the same time, the same hand of the tall man gave me a small cross and a big Bible, bigger than the one that entered my heart with a promise that as I keep pressing in his time and Name, I would be given a bigger cross but if I failed, the opposite would occur. I also heard a voice of the same tall man but I could not see his head, saying “I am the Lord your God who was and who is- Jesus Christ, giving orders to the Apostles and Prophets.” The same voice said to me “I would show you the wonderful ways; I would reveal myself through you, in teaching, preaching, miracles and signs and wonders for the salvation of souls. Since then, I have been receiving in my vision every year and according to my faithfulness to God, bigger cross that means to me, more responsibilities. The Bible that entered my heart symbolise spirit and life (the Holy Spirit). God’s Word is Spirit and life. He does nothing without His Word. The book of Romans 8:16 says “God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirit to declare that we are children of God.”

If you were not doing God’s work, what would you have been doing?
The question you just asked me is purely divine because I don’t know. Listen, we are created in God’s image and what matters to God is not our physical or mental disposition, but to be one with Him in terms of love, kindness and so on. It is the goodness of our cause that interests God and not our physical or mental disposition. Really, not that our physical and mental dispositions do not have roles to play, just that the goodness of our cause interests Him more than that. And since we are created for the glory of God, no one can say what he or she would like to be. We are created for His glory and we must live for His glory. Our lives are in God’s hands. We have no control. We can’t control Him by using the Bible or cross as a good luck charm without a thorough reformation of heart and life. So, I think that question is for Baba God.

Before that encounter with God some 23 years ago, who were you?
When we talk of encounter, there are different stages of encounter. The one we are talking about is the deeper encounter. You know, there are deep, deeper, and deepest; that is the three stages in the life of a Christian. So, every Christian must go through the stages. It is about our responsibility to God; how we obey His rule. We have many Bishops who are just deep in the Lord and we have many Christians, just ordinary Christians without any title whatsoever either as a pastor or Bishop who are deeper in the Lord. We have many pastors who are deep and their members are deeper.

But before I got the calling, I was a member of the Anglican Church and participated actively in many Church activities. On three different occasions, I was appointed the chairman of children’s Harvest/thanksgiving ceremony. During my primary school days at St. Stephen Anglican primary school, Agbaluku, Ondo State. I was the leader of Student Christian Fellowship. I taught my colleagues the scriptures without formal Bible training. In my dream, I was always taught the scriptures, and that gave me an edge over the other student colleagues, even above my teacher. I was the smallest in the class and I led the prayer during school devotions. My teacher, Mrs. Margaret Tolani Adejumo and my colleagues usually called me small pastor. So, it is God himself who performs the divine anointing on all who have the wonderful privilege of becoming His children.

TB Joshua - I lived An Isolated And Rejected Life. Man's Rejection Provokes God's Direction.

TB Joshua - I lived An Isolated And Rejected Life. Man's Rejection Provokes God's Direction.

The essence of the question is to know if you have lived a kind of life that negates outright, the life of a Christian before you were called to serve. So, who were you before you became a man of God?
That’s a nice question. When you look at my life, you’ll see that there was no opportunity to live a funny life. I don’t know my father. It was very, very difficult. In fact, there was no opportunity to live a funny life because all through, it was rejection and isolation and it really helped me. It was not by power of mine, so, we should not make jest of those who lived funny lives because the book of Galatians 6, says, if one is caught out of sin, you that caught him should take him gently; restore him gently so that you also will not be tempted. For instance, you saw someone smoking and you began to make jest of him; saying, ‘Ha, you are a smoker.’ Be careful because you also may be tempted. For anyone to live right, it is not by his power or by his might, it is the grace of God because without God, no one can live right. The Bible says ye should be careful because the first may be the last and the last may be the first.

It’s Christmas. Let’s talk about its essence. What does Christmas connote?
Well, I would not want to say anything that will run contrary to the theology, but I’ll put it in a way that a scholar of the scriptures will understand. Christmas is the period of opportunity for everyone to show true remorse for our unworthy past. I don’t want to say anything that will elicit controversy but it is an opportunity to show true remorse, and not an occasion to show off. Simply put, God has a Son and he planted Him in the earth to produce a family. Today, millions are born again through this seed. And if that is it, how then do we celebrate Christmas? How do we register our appreciation to him? That’s the question. If God has a Son and planted Him in the earth to produce a family, and today, millions are born again through this seed how do we show appreciation? We show appreciation to him by giving every good thing God has given us: our love, our time, our strength, our faith, our loyalty and our money. You see, there is what we call humility; total humility and submission to his will. That’s our offering and when you want to give Him, you should remember the quality ones – because for instance, in Nigeria today, we are good givers, but we do give when it is convenient. That is Nigerians for you. But as true Christians, do not give only when it is convenient for you. You should give even when it causes some pains. Even when you are not happy, people can rush to you and say please help me, I have not eaten today and you say leave, go, I am not happy, why should you ask me for money? But even when it causes pains to do, please do because God has only one son and He planted that son in the earth. You can imagine that. So, when you give when it is not convenient, your offering will be a sacrificial giving. So, as we go out to celebrate Christmas, we should remember the weak, the poor and the lonely in the society. It is praise-worthy to give, not only to our power but also beyond our power. If this is our aim and objective of giving, even if we gave out a little, that offering will be acceptable to God. That’s Christmas for you. Some may say where is it written in the Bible, but the truth is that it is an occasion for us to truly show remorse our unworthy past. What this means is that a time of giving is a time to show true remorse, not the time to show off.

Christmas - an opportunity to show true remorse for our unworthy pasts...

Christmas - an opportunity to show true remorse for our unworthy pasts...

But don’t you think your analysis of the significance of Christmas would have been apt for Easter?
Sometimes, I wonder if we don’t read our Bible. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and 40 night and you have also been doing the same. But the same Jesus Christ walked on the sea, why can’t you walk on the sea? But Jesus was led by the Spirit to do so. He was not led because someone was doing it; he was not copying people. If you begin to look through the Bible, all the events that happened were not repeated. Look at it; He walked on the sea, He turned water to wine. But who else repeated this? Also, in the Bible, Peter said to the people at the beautiful gate, “Silver or gold I have not, in the name of Jesus…” – but no other man of God has done that. This is because they received from heaven. They came to change the world, but today, we are copying. And when we keep copying, we cannot change our world. We’ll continue to live the same world. We are sent to this world to make a difference, but we cannot make a difference because we no longer hear from God. When you read the Bible, you are reading the Holy Spirit and not history books. When you read history books you are reading about events, but the Bible is not an event. So, when you are reading the Holy Spirit, you are supposed to be carried along by it. So, the whole thing has become conventional; this is the song we sing going out of Church and this is the song we sing coming in. Everything is in the paper. The person who will preach next Sunday has been given the message to preach about and he will read and read as if he is going to the classroom. But that is not supposed to be. The normal thing is that he should receive from heaven and with that, there is no manipulation. So, these are the things that happen that visions are no longer clear. People will now begin to wonder if it was God or satan talking. For instance, if they hear ‘Come’, they will be wondering if it is the voice of God or satan because they cannot recognise the voice again. And because the visions are no longer clear, they begin to blaspheme and say all sorts of things. They will now rely on what they read in the newspapers. But whatever you read in the newspaper, as a Christian, you are supposed to examine it in the light of God’s work and that’s the only way we can get the true picture. Feeling is not faith, faith is not feeling. Feelings are influenced by what we hear, what we see and what others tell us.

So, what does it take to be Christ-like?
They are virtues.

And what are the virtues?
The opposite of the lives we live today.

Again, many of the pastors in the country do not fancy your style of ministering and by extension, do not see you as one of them as you are not a member of the (Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria) PFN. What really is the problem?
Let me tell you something; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Every minister of God has his habit and this habit is a gift from God. It is all about our habit. If my habit is different from yours, it does not mean you are not from God. And what do I mean by habit? If you built your Church on a platform and I built my own on the rock, that does not mean the one on the rock or platform is not of God. If you, like Daniel, each time he wanted to pray, he was always on his knees. He would not stand up. And he would never limit God to certain answers. Daniel, even when he was facing trouble and the decree was published that he should not call any other God except their gods, he went to the altar and said God thank you. But that was not an occasion to say thank you because there was nothing to be thankful about. And when he gets to his upper room, he would open his window to Jerusalem. That was his habit. Why Jerusalem? Today, if he does that, they would call it occultic. All these are habits that make us different. God does not actually want us to be repeating ourselves, but we are repeating ourselves today. You are Pastor John and I am Pastor Moses. If you started the job before Moses, and God now sends Moses too, I should not begin to look at the way you drive your ministry so that I can do the same. No, you did not send me. We received that call from the same source but He will send us differently. God can say you go and do the foundation and he would tell the other person to go and roof the house and another to go and clear the bush. That is the job. He would not ask two people to do the same thing because it will not make any difference in the work. But the problem we are facing today is all about habit. And when you look at your bible, the disciples of Christ met once and prayed. The same thing happened in Psalms. So, everybody has his or her habit. Even the people we see put on white garment; the fact that they put on white garment does not mean they are not serving God. The question is that are they following the standard; the Bible? Is the Bible the standard of what they are doing, that is all I need to know not the garment they put on.

But how do you feel when they say ungodly things about you?
The question now is that do those things affect the work that I am doing? You see, when you are going in a direction, whatever can stop your mission should affect you. But anything that cannot stop your mission should be seen as one of those things. The Bible says if your mission is from God, there is a strong desire to make it happen. It is the compulsion, the driving force you cannot resist, even if the whole world is against you. You see, if God wants to use you to do a different thing, you receive uncommon attack. I know God is using me in the ministry today and I am not here to boast. So, if you are to do a different thing, you receive uncommon challenge except you are not ready for something new. Let me just take you to that book of John 7. You’ll see that if anyone would come after Jesus, there will be division amongst his people. Some will say, he’s a good man. How do you recognise a true man of God? You recognise them when there is division amongst his people.

What’s the challenge of running this Church like?
What challenge again when I am not the general overseer? Jesus is the general overseer.

But who signs the Cheques?
You see, those things like money and material things are what ungodly people too can have, even more. So, we should not begin to make brouhaha on it. If you see some dubious people who are thickly rich, if they want to build a cathedral, they will build better than what we have built. But the Bible says the temple we are talking about is in the heart. It is not that physical structure we see. We just have to get our people a place to worship but this is the temple of God (pointing to the heart). That I have the cathedral and what have you is not it. When you talk of crowd, allow Michael Jackson to come to Nigeria and see whether anybody can pull a crowd like him. He does not need much of an advert and under two days, you’ll be surprised at the crowd. So, what are we talking about crowd again? But how many are being saved is what we should talk about. Many can be there but at the end of the day, it might be two or one that are being saved. So, what are we pulling them together for? You have branches everywhere and every corner, but how many are being saved for God’s sake? That is it.

Can you let us into your family? How come nobody knows anything about your wife and children? Is the prophet married with children?
I don’t need to start telling you how kind and nice my wife is. But I know it takes a good wife to stay with the most persecuted pastor. This is because if she is not good, she will not be able to stand it. So, I don’t need to start describing her. You can help me with your descriptive power. In Yorubaland, they say, won kin ka omo fun olomo, (meaning you don’t count children for their parents). So, do I start counting my children now? But really, I have thousands of children as a man of God. You’ll be surprised that I love children that are not my biological kids more. I have my own kids but I don’t want to bring them into this interview. But one of my daughters is on Emmanuel TV. You see, I believe in the way I was brought up. Every Christian should know what it is to be humiliated and poor because if you don’t and you are now in a position… even in our spiritual walk with God, there is good time and hard time. When you don’t know what it takes to be poor and you are in a position, when the hard time comes, you are likely to say let Jesus be cursed. And we should keep the profession of our faith which is when the going is good, Jesus is the Lord, when the going is tough, Jesus is the Lord. My wife is currently under going training and by next year, you’ll begin to see her on the screen. And my daughter (Serah) too. We thank God but it is a question of as you lay your bed, so shall you lie on it.

Let’s talk about the speculations that you and pastor Oyakhilome derived your power from the same source.
No, it is not the issue of power. There was no controversy over the issue of power. God is power himself. So, how can somebody own God.

So, what is your relationship with him?
If there is anything at all amongst the pastors, it is all about faith. There is what you call necessary faith and faith. There is what you call some measure of trust in Christ Jesus and absolute trust in Christ Jesus. That’s all. The Bible says some measure of trust will enable you do some and the Bible says everything is perfect for him through Christ Jesus. This is absolute. So, when you are doing some and some are doing nothing, yet, others are doing absolute, there is bound to be controversy. You know, the world is demanding and when there is demand, there is bound to be controversy. Emi ni mo ju e lo, iwo lo ju iyen lo. There is no enmity in what is going on.

SOURCE: This Day, Nigeria

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Nigeria’s leading newspaper, The Sun, published a detailed account of TB Joshua’s journey through life, in his own words…

Prophet T. B. (Temitope Balogun) Joshua needs no introduction. Everybody has his or her reason for liking or hating the controversial founder of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, a Christian religion with a growing fanatical following. T.B. Joshua, the religious leader whom many evangelical church leaders would not want to be associated with, because they believe he should not be in the fold of real born again Christians.

Pastor TB Joshua - Unravelling The Mystery...

Pastor TB Joshua - Unravelling The Mystery...

Of recent, Prophet Joshua has been the butt of renunciations and denunciations by some leading men of God in Nigeria, who questioned his authority and his authenticity as a man of God. Without any doubt, Joshua is an enigma wrapped in controversy. And it was our desire to unwrap this enigma that took us to The Synagogue, tucked away around the Ejigbo and Egbe axis of Lagos.

There we found a huge, unique Cathedral, the type that has not been seen anywhere in the world. Even the legendary King Solomon would marvel at this Temple of God, built by Nigerians, “under the inspiration of God” as we were told.

On our journey of discovery, our family members and even our colleagues were worried about our going to interview T.B. Joshua. So much was their worry that they had to fast and support us with prayers and spiritual “casting and binding.” To them, it was like entering a spiritual lion’s den. But we were not deterred. After all, journalism is all about adventure. It is about venturing into the unknown and to report it.

There to welcome us at The Synagogue on Wednesday last week was a Briton, who serves as the church’s public relations officer. There were so many white faces everywhere, giving backing to the claim that it is an international church. The young man took us on an excursion inside the church that looked like a huge Roman amphitheatre with pews, carpets, altar and audio-visual facilities that combine to give a colourful and mystical ambience to the church. We visited the church’s Emmanuel TV studio, which broadcasts religious programmes around the world. There were all kinds of studio – for recording and making CDs, audio studios and photo studios. In every studio you saw workers behind computers busy editing films or whatever.

After the tour, we were made to watch a short documentary featuring the newly elected President of Ghana paying tribute to God and to T.B. Joshua for helping him to win the election in Ghana. For 30 minutes or more, we watched the Ghanaian President, Prof. Attah-Mills, worshipping at The Synagogue and even going to the altar to share his testimony about how God used T.B. Joshua to make him win the election in Ghana. He told the congregation about how accurately Joshua prophesied that there would be a tie in the Ghanaian election that would drag into January, but eventually he would win. And he won.

Around Joshua’s living room were pictures of Presidents, heads of state, who either met the prophet or came to worship in The Synagogue. There is the picture of General Andre Kolingba, former President of the Central African Republic (who visited in 2003), Frederick Chiluba, former President of Zambia (who visited in 2001), Prof Pascal Lissouba, former President of Democratic Republic of Congo (who visited in 2006), and Sir Orville Turnquest, former Governor General of The Bahamas whom Joshua visited in 2001. Then there is Omar Bongo, the President of Gabon who visited The Synagogue in 2008.

After an hour of the preliminaries, T.B. Joshua sauntered in to welcome us. He was dressed casually in a T-shirt and shorts. He looked amiable. As we started the interview, he grabbed the tape recorder from us and spoke into it directly as we fired our questions at him. It was his own way of ensuring clarity in recording. Our approach was to get something biographical or autobiographical. This is Prophet T.B. Joshua’s memoirs, in his own words, with a little editing here and there. T.B. Joshua, as you have never heard or read anywhere.

Successful people don’t just drift to the top. It takes focus, personal discipline and perseverance to reach the top. As we know, there is what we call man’s natural gift and the supernatural gift of God. This church is the outcome of the supernatural gift of God. Man’s natural gift is a gift one can begin to boast of, telling you how it all happened. The work of breakthrough is not our work. It is our faith. The work of breakthrough is God’s work. All what you are seeing now is God’s work. If it is to be man’s natural gift, then one can begin to say this is how I achieved it; this is how I came about it. Up till now, I look at The Synagogue edifice and ask myself: how did it happen? God just wanted someone to do all these things and He sent me to do it. It is not my work, but the work of God. So let no man boast. All boasting is excluded. The Bible says, there is no room for man boasting of his own ability or power. So glory be to God.

‘My Father’
Every success story started from somewhere. I was brought up from a Christian home. My father’s name is Kolawole Balogun. He was a Christian. He was a farmer who was also the secretary to St. Steven’s church in our village. When the white people came to our village, he served as a translator. He was translating English into Yoruba. He was an educated man. He lived with the white people as well as serving as church secretary. I cannot say much about my father because he died when I was a small boy. I know that he loved me a lot. I was his pet. I was the one who suffered most from the effect of his death. Being the last born, anywhere he is going, he would take me along. He would carry me to the church. As a little boy, I would be running inside the church. I would jump from the choir to the catechist’s table.

Some people used to rumour that my father was a Muslim. I don’t know where they got that from. My father was a Christian and I am a Christian. When I was very small, I could recall him taking me to church regularly. As a kid attending primary school, my dad would make me to stay after school with a Catholic priest whose house was at the back of the church. I did all the normal things kids do, like running around and playing football.

When my father died, my mum’s brother who became the father figure to me was a Muslim. That does not make me a Muslim. I was brought up in a Christian home. And right from childhood, I was passionate about the Bible. Right from primary school, I was well versed in Bible knowledge. It was my favourite subject and I excelled in it. As a primary six kid, I read the New Testament twice. In my secondary school days, I finished reading the Bible on the average of two months.

Prophet TB Joshua - One Life For Christ Is All I Have, One Life For Christ Is So Dear

Prophet TB Joshua - One Life For Christ Is All I Have, One Life For Christ Is So Dear

Every two months, I would have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It was the only subject that I believed so much in. It was as if Bible was the only subject that interested me in primary and secondary schools. In exams, I scored 99 percent consistently whereas I performed woefully in other subjects. My excelling in Bible knowledge affected the other subjects where I performed poorly. At school, I was the leader of the Scripture Union.

Even though I was second in primary school, I didn’t find it easy getting admitted into secondary school. As luck would have it, I got late admission into Muslim College. In that Muslim College, we were restricted from carrying the Bible openly. To read the Bible, we would have to hide under the mango tree or backyard and the Muslim community would begin to chase us. We were all 20 in number then. Like the early Christians, we would read the Bible in secrecy because they never allowed us to do it openly. I was the leader of the Christian team in the school, at Ansar-Ud-deen Grammar School, Ikare. And because of the pressure, I couldn’t finish a year in that school. It was obvious I couldn’t fit into this dominantly Muslim setting. So I left the school. I left because my life was in danger. I could sense that since I was doing this thing secretly, one day something could happen to me. To avoid that I had to leave. From Ikare, I came to Lagos.

‘I spent 15 months in my mother’s womb’
Back to my early beginnings, I was the last born of the family. When I was born a lot of strange things happened. Seven days after I was born, I was told that I was put on a mat and a big stone nearly crushed me but miraculously I escaped. How did it happen? White people used to come to do borehole in our village. And in our village, it’s all stone under. When they are drilling, they would be hitting stone and stones would be flying out dangerously. Before any drilling, they would publicly announce that everybody must stay at home to avoid the danger of being hit by a flying stone. The stone used to fly because of the nature of the machine they use. It was on the seventh day when they wanted to name me that they put me on the mat and a big stone flew from where they were drilling, pierced the roof where people were celebrating and landed where I was placed. But it missed me, narrowly. The stone is still being kept till now. Nobody has ever heard this story from me.

The other mysterious story about me is that a normal pregnancy is nine months. But I spent more than that in my mother’s womb. My mother was taken to Egbe, which had the best hospital in those days. Egbe is in Kogi State. It was probably the best hospital in the whole of Nigeria then. My mother was carried there for operation. After nine months, she started labouring. She ended up spending three months in the hospital. My grandmother had money and my mum is the only child. At the level of the village, granny was a very rich woman. So she could afford the hospital bills for that lengthy period of time. Each time the doctor wanted to operate my mummy, the doctor would say: “I am not comfortable with carrying out this operation.”

My mother told me this story. She remembers that in that Egbe, some Christians used to come to the hospital to preach to the sick. She said she was just lying down on the bed and a pastor just walked in and said she should not be operated. He said to my mum: “God is busy preparing this child. So, please, they should not operate you. Go back home. If you attempt the operation, the opposite would happen.”

My mum called the doctor and the doctor met the pastor who repeated the message to the doctor. My mum left the hospital after three months back home again to continue the labour. She laboured and laboured. Instead of nine months, she spent 15 months labouring. But one night, they delivered me without operation. So this made the villagers and the whole community to say they must celebrate my birth. And they now gathered on the seventh day to name me and celebrate. It was that seventh day they were doing the drilling and the big stone flew like a missile, heading to my direction, but miraculously missed me. Where the stone passed is still there. Where they laid me on the floor is still there. Because I said they should not touch it. The stone that fell is still with them.

The story began to go round the village about this mysterious child that was born after 15 months, a child they carried to Egbe Hospital and they could not do operation, they came back home, they delivered him safely. Now after delivering him, this stone fell and a mysterious hand carried this baby from the mat. Nobody saw me being carried. They only saw me in another direction, crying: Choo, choo, choo.

The stone was supposed to fall on me, but a mysterious force moved me into safety within the same room. It was a narrow miss. The cloth and everything burnt into ashes. And my mummy fainted. And she was carried to hospital. My mummy was in the hospital for good two days. The ram and everything were all there. The rice, they could not eat it. Because everybody was rushing to the hospital to revive my mum. Nobody did any ceremony again. But eventually I got named. I was named Temitope Olutope Oluwasheun Oluwarotimi Opeyemi; I have plenty names. On the day I was named, I was given 30 names. But I just chose Tope out of the plenty names. My mother one day called me and said: “Your names are almost 30 and they are written down.” And I just chose Temitope. I just picked Temitope.

My mummy woke up after two days in the hospital. My mum’s name is Adesiji Kolawole Balogun. Her father’s name is Kolawole. My mummy is late, my father is late. My father died first when I was a kid and my mother was left with the responsibility of training me and sending me to school. But she was handicapped financially. She told me: “You this boy, I cannot finance your education. You would have to wait until your brothers finish their university education. They would be the one to sponsor your education.”

Mum was the secretary to the union of daily savings collector – what it is called in Yoruba: ‘Aya ni lowo fowo pa mo.’ I remember her going out to collect daily savings from her clients. She used those things to train her children. Now that she was no longer into that business, and was hoping my brother, who was attending secondary school in Gbongan would be the one to send me to college. That was the only hope that I had to go to school.

Based on the hostility and the religious intolerance at Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, I decided to leave Ikare for Lagos. I met some people who used to carry cassava from the village to places like Ibadan and Lagos. I approached them and explained my predicament to them. They would spend four days on the road transporting the cassava to Lagos on the trailer. The trailer would be loaded with stuff like cassava and cocoa while the owners would sleep on top. I decided to join them. I did not tell my parent I was going to Lagos. I stayed inside the vehicle for four days before getting to Ibadan. From Ibadan we landed in Mile 12 in Lagos. They dropped me there and told me: “This is where we can carry you.”

For five days, I was in Mile 12. It was during the rainy season. The job I was doing was washing the feet of people coming out of the muddy market. I would wash feet and be paid little money with which I fed. I was washing feet until one day I heard two women conversing in my native dialect. I interrupted their conversation and asked if they were from Arigidi, my hometown, and they said yes. I told them I was in Lagos to trace my sister whose whereabouts I don’t know. Luckily, I was able to trace my sister to Egbe area of Lagos. After 10 days, I traced her and started to live with her. That is how I started my life. Today, I have an NGO for motor park boys, because I have also been one myself.

I realized my sister had her own family and I should not be burden to her. I do not like inconveniencing people. If I visit your house and you give me a bottle of soft drinks, I would make sure I put something in the envelope, because I believe we make a living by what we give and we make a life by what we receive. This is what I believe in. In life, you don’t just have to collect and collect. It destroys one’s life. You have to give and give. Because the Bible says, you must see giving as an assignment from God.

‘I carried shit to make a living’
I left my sister to live with a friend. From there, I got a job as a poultry farm attendant. The poultry is still there now. Not long ago, I traced the poultry to somewhere in Ikotun. The job they gave me is to carry shit. Fowl shit. And fowl shit smell is more terrible than human faeces. I was doing this job with many Ghanaians. There were so many Ghanaians in Nigeria then. I was the only Nigerian in that poultry farm. And I never let people know I was a Nigerian. I declared myself a Ghanaian too, because nobody would believe a Nigerian would do that kind of job. I did the job for three days and my body odour changed. When I’m moving about, people would perceive odour and flies would be hovering around me because I was smelling very badly. There was no amount of soap I would bath that would remove this odour from my body. As you are working in the poultry farm, the fowl shit would be dropping on your head. I did this for one good year.

At the same time, I enrolled in an evening school. New State High School is the name of the school. I attended many schools in Lagos. I would attend one school for two months, only to be sent away because of school fees. I attended New State High School, Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, Isolo, and another school called Metropolitan. Because I was very good in athletics, I was given what looked like scholarship. I won gold, silver and bronze in athletics. But I needed to work to support myself at school. That was why I took the poultry job. I was using it to pay my school fees. In those days, evening schools were like full, normal schools. You could easily attend evening school to do your WAEC and GCE. We even received better lessons in the evening than in the day school in those days. I was sending myself to school and at the same time teaching children Bible studies.

My athletics took me to Baptist Academy. When I was running they picked me. Under one year, I attended 15 schools here in Lagos. And I did not finish one year. I don’t remember the year, because I cannot keep records. But it’s all in the documentary on my life. I was born 1963. At least, I remember that one.

‘I confronted a mad man at school’
My first attempt at discovering God’s spirit in me was when a mad man came to my school. In those days, I used to be called Small Pastor. One morning a madman came to our school with a cutlass and everybody was running helter-skelter. The teachers all fled and the classroom was empty. I came and saw this mad person. The spirit of God spoke to my heart, not to my ear. I hear the voice of God in my heart and not in my ears. I heard the voice of God telling me: “Go there and collect the cutlass. Just tell the madman to bring the cutlass.” When I was moving towards the madman, everybody was concerned for my safety. They were saying something like: ‘This is boy, he wants to die.’ I just went to the madman and commanded him: “Give me this cutlass, in the name of Jesus.” The madman gave me the cutlass. I collected it and gave it to a teacher. It was from there they started calling me Small Pastor.

From there, they would call me in the assembly and ask me to pray for them. Every time I would pray for them. If they want to play football, I would pray for them. They began to come to me individually for prayers. It was pray for me, pray for me, pray for me all the way. They asked me how I was able to overcome the madman and I told them I was surprised myself to see what happened.

You see, God Almighty is awesome. He can use any medium to express Himself. He can use sand, water, stone, rod, he can use anything. When Moses was asking God, what should he do, God asked him: “What is in your hand?” He said rod. Then God said: “Use it to divide the sea.” Or are you talking about Paul and Silas in the prison yard? They were there and they never said: Hey, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus. They just sang praises to God. The used the medium of sound. Or are you talking of Joshua. He said to his people to just shout Alleluia and the walls of Jericho fell. God uses any medium to express Himself.

The ministry started from St. Stevens Primary School where I collected the cutlass from the madman and where I started leading the Scriptures Union, teaching the Bible and everything. This is where the awareness of God’s presence in me started. It continued. Everything big starts little. If everything big starts big, it calls for concern.

I was in Bahamas with the President of Bahamas, very close to Florida when my mother died. This is the picture. I was with him when they called me. Synagogue had already come into being. I was with him when they said my mother was a bit down, that they brought her from the village. They said my mother wanted to see me and have a word with me. Before I came back home, my mummy was gone. My mummy was late. It was too late for me. That was how I missed my mum.

She was a wonderful mother. The only little problem I had with my mum is that she wanted to see everybody succeed in life. I used to tell my mum: success is a two-sided affair. I have a role to play, God has His own role. It is not all up to God and certainly it’s all not up to me. Success is a kind of partnership between man and God. I cannot define failure, because I don’t believe in failure. There is no failure in my book. All I see is success, directed by the spirit of God. But as human beings, we cannot be perfect. Perfection eludes every human being. God is perfection.

The Sun, Nigeria
All Voices
Modern Ghana
Odili Net

As the Pastor himself says,

“Successful people don’t drift to the top. It takes focussed action, personal discipline and a lot of energy everyday to make things happen.”

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