Growing up, I always had enthusiasm for the things of God. I used to be quite active during our morning devotions and I enjoyed praying whenever I was given the opportunity to. I also liked using some funny metaphors when I spoke so as to sound “spiritual”. In the midst of all of this, I also had lots of self-esteem issues which made me extremely reserved.
I attended a particular secondary school from Junior Secondary School (JSS) 2 through Senior Secondary School (SSS) 1 which had happened miraculously. I had been required to write an entrance examination to gain admission into that secondary school, and when the results had come out, I didn’t meet the cut-off mark. I remember running off to a secluded place to cry to seek help from God. I didn’t know Him then but I knew there was one big daddy up there who heard prayers.
Luckily for me, He intervened and I got admitted. So, I decided that since it was God who brought me in, I would follow Him. I didn’t know how but I felt I owed Him something. It was a Catholic school so I was very devoted to praying my rosary and before the crucifix of Christ inside the chapel. My self-esteem issues made me quite reserved which resulted in me being regarded by my peers as being gay.
I had to leave the school in SSS 1 and when I got to the new school, I was made the Senior Prefect because the principal thought I was outstanding in conduct.
There I found people who were willing to roll with me if I was going to be in their circle. I decided to join them because I needed acceptance. We began doing all sorts of wrong things together up until SSS3 when I got suspended for a week some weeks before my final exams. I finished from that school and went on to the university where things got worse.
My University Experience
Early in the University, I discovered that some young men were interested in me. They were cultists. I was at a point where I wanted a life beyond the ordinary. I didn’t want a normal university life. I wanted to have “swag”. I wanted people to see me and desire to be like me, so I joined a cult. I learnt a lot of cult theory and what they called OT (orientation) for new intakes.
The head of the cult group even considered me as one member with a lot of prospects. Hence, I kept going deeper into the practice. I wanted to take people’s girlfriends; I started doing drugs, smoking weed, you know, igbo; I took skunk, codeine, rophynol etc. And I was failing at school too; I failed well. In fact, I did not have a result in my first semester in school.
I knew through all this that God was reaching out to me…
But you see, somewhere deep down in my heart, I always knew that God was reaching out to me. I always knew. But what I did not know was how to respond. And I did not really care. Sometimes I attended church programmes during which I would just pray for the sake of it. In fact, the person that even taught me how to smoke weed was a member of the campus fellowship I attended. He was one of the most if not the most talented instrumentalist and singer. I too was in the fellowship choir but this did not stop me from going deeper into cultism.
After my initiation, I was required to pay a certain amount of money (initiation fee) which I didn’t have. So I tried to deceive my parents into giving me the money, stating that my department was organizing an excursion. Unfortunately, they didn’t buy the idea. I had to resort to stealing because the threats of those people were getting intense by the day.
On a particular day, I stole a phone and a digital camera which I intended to sell. The owners later went to a ‘juju’ priest to find out who the culprit was and that was how they knew it was me.
They called me that night, locked me up in their room and kept asking about their items. I kept denying and denying until they began to beat me. They were about five to six well-built men. One even carried a big plank to beat me then I started shouting. My co-cult members were in the vicinity, and quickly came around, and when they found out I was being beaten, they tried breaking down the door. But just before they did, the Chief Security Officer came and took me to the security post.
While these happened, someone had called my parents and told them everything I had been doing in school. They came the next morning to withdraw me. But before they did, I was looking for a gun to kill at least one of those guys who beat me up but I couldn’t get any. I was even smoking in the room the morning my parents came and take me home.
I was withdrawn from the school in 2013 as a result of all this, without having gone past 100 level.
This was a blessing in disguise as it marked the beginning of my journey to meet Jesus.
Read the second part of Elvis’ story here: Part 2
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