Babatunde had gotten involved with the occult and other dark practices while in the University. This is the concluding part of his salvation story which we shared last week Monday. It is my hope that this tremendously blesses you and stirs up His fire in you, ultimately causing you to seek to experience and live out the fullness of His Love.
Usually, one would expect the journey to redemption to be a clear-cut, straightforward journey. Not in my case. The devil still found a way to harness my ignorance of divine things against me.
After two years of being in the frat, I became frustrated, hated how my life was going and saw that it desperately needed a change. Since my plans to marry a prayerful lady who’d pray me into getting saved did not seem to be working out as planned, I switched to a second option. I wanted to be saved by what we call a ‘Woli’ – a prophet – the type who dressed in long white gowns and often went barefoot.
A Prophet no different from the occult
I imagined that they’d pray with me until I got out of the cult and became saved. This plan seemed to be playing out when Biodun, a late friend of mine, brought me to Tayo, his Woli.
I expected this to be a straightjacket process, but Tayo, it seemed, had other ideas.
I was disturbed by some of the things Tayo made me do. Here was a man I needed to help me get saved from the life I lived, making me do some of the same things I did as a cultist. Under Tayo’s instructions, I practiced rituals. Ever heard of Irapada? It’s a type of traditional ritual. Tayo made me practice Irapada! I was worried.
Having grown up in the Christian religion, I knew a bit of scripture and wondered how this practice had any bearing on it. I kept wondering how these things related to getting saved.
Sometimes, these things get quite confusing. You meet someone for the first time, he tells you about yourself, clearly revealing your problems, thereby building trust with you. It’s easy to accept whatever he tells you about how your life needs to be rebought.
Such was my experience with Tayo.
Here was his logic; the frat is a collective cause, so, even when you don’t kill, if someone else does it on your behalf, you have a part in the guilt of it. The direct killer may receive the greater punishment but a part of it awaits you. According to him, this was why I needed Irapada – to be redeemed.
We got the necessary items and carried out the rituals and Tayo told me I needed to return from time to time to get other rituals done. I seemed to be going mad. I brought my family members to the prophet under his instruction; first my elder sister, then younger brother. My mum refused to go with me when I wanted to take her along – she even warned me to be careful with such men.
I noticed the prophet kept seeking opportunities to get money from me. He did things that stirred up questions from deep within but in the end, I often looked away. He made me go to Akpon cemetery to get the sand from its ground, so he could make me a soap of invincibility which would cause anyone, who ‘called my name’ for evil to lose their life and join the inhabitants of the cemetery.
On another occasion, he asked me to go catch a frog (which I did), pour gin into its mouth and drink from it. While I did this, I could again hear him prophesy doom for anyone who sought evil to befall me. Bi opolo yen se gan pa nibe lo ma gan, I could hear him say. This is translated, such a one will be as stuck as the frog in your hand.
But these things aren’t in the Bible, where do you find these things? I kept wondering.
As if all the above wasn’t enough this Woli would take codeine, mixed with soft drinks, to ‘sharpen his sight’ enough to see visions, and receive prophecies.
The things this Woli required of me were quite like things a witch doctor would ask me to do. Gradually it became clear to me that these people (the witch doctors, this Woli), although with different facets, shared one source. They are tributaries of the same stream.
I spent near 300,000 Naira on this prophet. Some days he’d tell me of how his wife and children had nothing to eat and I’d have to leave him with some money to cater for that.
But of the things the prophet asked of me, nothing hurt me more than having me roll in a wet pool of mud until it dried up. Yes, I was desperate for freedom from the things I’d gotten into as a cult member but this was too much of a stretch.
God told someone else my story
Before all this, when I initially got tired of my life as a cultist, I’d approached a Christian friend – David Adesegun – and revealed myself as a member of a cult. He prayed with me, soon after which, I began to withdraw from the frat. The members of the frat noticed. Why wouldn’t they? I was an active member who was suddenly withdrawing. And they reacted to this development.
I got queried. Whenever I missed meetings, I became the topic of discussion. Things continued this way – I withdrew from frat meetings and spent more time with the prophet – until I met a guy called Kunle Akintola. It was then I realized that all the while I was seeking redemption through Tayo the Woli, God, in His mercies, was telling someone else my story.
So, I took to sharing my challenge with Kunle – my association with the cult and engagements with the prophet. And whenever I did, Kunle would listen attentively, say nothing, then ask that we meet again. I never understood why he did this. But he kept at it. Soon, he started prayers with the members of his fellowship on my behalf, telling them of how greatly God intended using me.
Now, prophet Tayo had given me something – a candle, wrapped with a crucifix. I was meant to keep this in my pocket anywhere I went. And I did so. According to him, this was meant to protect me from any form of trouble.
I showed this to Kunle, who then revealed how the prophet had all along been engaging me in black magic. Although I’d been suspecting this, I still questioned Kunle’s assertion. He was patient in reacting to this and took time to explain it all to me. For the first time, I came to realize what I’d been involved with.
The prophet showed no concerns over the reckless way I lived; he never spoke about my weed consumption, alcoholism, sexual frivolities. Yet he never ceased to request money in exchange for my protection.
However, the more I associated with Kunle, the better I wanted to be. I still smoked weed, still watched porn, but even while I did that I was hoping to be better. I kept hoping that someway Jesus would find and help me out.
I Met Jesus On My Birthday.
Then I met Jesus on my birthday. I organized a party to celebrate with friends. I had provided for lots of alcoholic drinks, baked a cake. This cake was baked by my late aunt – may her soul rest in peace. “Eternal Life” – these were the words she had written on the cake.
A friend, Mayowa, saw this cake and wondered. She saw a sharp contrast between the words on the cake and the life I lived. “Do you have any idea what the words on this cake mean?” she asked.
I didn’t. I just knew my aunt baked it under my mum’s request. So, we celebrated my birthday and had fun while I waited for Kunle – whom I had invited – to show up. Kunle did show up and when he did, he left me with a few words which I now know were from the Bible.
The Power of Words – The Attentiveness of the Spirit
He’d said, “When you were a child, you talked like a child spoke as a child, but now as an adult, you must put away childish things.” He spoke also of the words of Jesus to the apostle Peter. Jesus had said to him, “when you were young, you went where you would, did the things you would, but as you grow older, another will lead you by the hand to places you never intended.” Kunle said these things, exhorted me, ate from my cake, prayed for me, then left.
For the first time, I experienced what Jesus meant when He said, “the words that I speak are Spirit and life.”
The atmosphere around me changed. Kunle’s words ignited something in me. They touched a place I doubt anyone else had ever touched. I did not fully understand them but couldn’t shake off what they made me feel.
Suddenly, handing myself over to God just felt like the right thing to do. But I already had friends over and I couldn’t disappoint them by asking them to leave. So, what was my reaction? I prayed. I said, “God, just this night, please, if you can let me do all I want this one night, I’d hand myself over to You to do as You please.”
I had no idea the serious pact I had just made or how much of an active listener the Holy Spirit was, is. So, I returned, partied with my friends, had as much fun as we could, ended on a high, then I slept.
Before my birthday, Kunle had given me a series of sermons on Faith. These were taught by a father, a man commonly known as Rev. K.
The night of my birthday, God woke me up at 2 am. Remember I’d said, “just this one night then You can do as You please.” I woke up and listened to one of the sermons Kunle gave me. It was titled Faith Life and it brought my breakthrough.
I listened to this sermon for two hours, prayed for another two hours. My goodness! It was like something descended on me that morning. I had no idea how intentional the Holy Spirit could be.
“Eternal life. Eternal life. What is eternal life? I want eternal life. What is this Life?” I cried. I kept going on and on. I wanted this life. This was my beckoning for two weeks. “He who has the Son has Life. (1 John 5:12)” It drove me crazy for two weeks.
The minister spoke of Faith as a technology against the world’s culture. “Jesus!” I cried, “what is this?! I have wasted my life!”
I Underwent Drastic Change in Two Weeks
My change was drastic. The amount of change I underwent in two weeks still baffled me. Some of my friends told me of how, in two weeks, I got what they laboured to get in three years.
My parents could not believe what was happening to me – my dad especially thought it was a joke. Meetings became my club party. My appetites, taste buds suddenly changed. I had no more desire for my former way of life. What used to be sweet to me became bitter.
Soon I was invited to a meeting, like a retreat, called Anamnesis. It’s a meeting convened by Rev. K himself. It was during this meeting the body of believers stretched forth the hand of fellowship to me which established me as a member of the family. It felt all too natural, like I was made for it. Without anyone telling me, I felt like I was made to reach out to others and bring them into what I had found in Christ.
I experienced such a drastic change in lifestyle and attitude that influenced even my position in my family. At some point, no serious decision could be made in the family in my absence. They would always wait for me to be around before decisions could be finalized.
It was too obvious I had changed. Everybody could see it. It wasn’t something that could be faked. You either experienced it or you didn’t. And I experienced it. It was too real.
My friends changed. I could no longer hang out with the members of the frat, I just couldn’t. It was difficult for the fellowship of believers to accept me at first. But Kunle helped in this regard. God seemed to have used Him in preparing a people ahead of time for me. At first, many doubted my salvation. They still watched to be sure.
But God helped me break through this. I was bold enough to tell them of how maligned they were in their disposition towards me. How do you want to increase? How do you want people to come into the fold if this is how you react towards them? These were questions I asked of them. Then they repented, returned and apologized.
That’s how the church should be. People should be able to come in and fellowship and feel at home. If we are not set up this way on every level, sinners would receive Jesus and then become lonely, and it’ll become very easy for them to return to the first brotherhood they had, having no immediate one to fill it up.
The form of influence I had as a cult member came with me into the Christian fold. Soon I found myself wielding same influence. I was somewhat of a street inclined person so I was very concerned about how the Christian life could influence society, how a believer affected the lives of those around him.
Soon, the Bible opened to me. Even I was surprised by the rate at which I could understand the Bible when I read it.
I wasn’t alone in this transformation. Soon, I heard of other friends who lived wayward lives giving their lives to Christ.
Kunle stood in the gap for me. Several times I felt the temptation to do some of the things I did in the past like watch porn and the likes. But Kunle and his team prayed for me and I received help through their prayers until I became established.
God who is our ever-present Help in time of need came through for me at my lowest, at a point when I even considered committing suicide.
The Frat’s Reaction
After my salvation, the frat reacted. They invited me for meetings on several occasions, even gave me an offer; something I’d sought all along – to become the Axe head. This was a challenging period for me and God helped me through it. After one of the invitations I got from them, I heard God tell me clearly, “if you go, that’ll be the end of you. They will bury you.” I didn’t go and they called to express how they felt.
Some days I was persecuted, but God saw me through. It’d be a lot more to go into details… the reaction of members of my former frat and that of rival cult members, and how God often saw me through. I was the weirdest person in Church.
Sometimes, some friends would find me in church and shout “Aye, how far now? Wetin you dey do for Church?” “Aye” was a term the frat members called themselves by.
I was saved, saved from attacks, saved from death. God just always found a way to help me.
Here I am, standing still because Jesus made a way for me to come to Him.
Jesus is real. Too real. I would be most foolish after all I experienced to say He isn’t. He is as close as the mention of His name. Seek Him and You’ll find Him if you really seek Him from your heart.
Have you been blessed by this story? Do you want Jesus in your life this very moment?
Then pray this prayer
I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21). I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord of my life.
Your word says in Romans 10:9-10: “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. I am now reborn! I am a Christian—a child of Almighty God! I am saved! Praise the Lord!
Have you just received Jesus into your life? Do visit our counseling and prayers page to leave us a message, and we’ll keep in touch. And if you need counseling and prayers regarding any need in your walk with God, you can do the same and we’ll keep in touch. God bless you.
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