Adebimpe Ejechi: I married my husband in defiance of my parents’ wish but…
By Gbenga Osinaike
Adebimpe Ejechi, Senior Pastor of Foursquare Great Britain, West London Branch, does not mince words when in conversation. She is blunt and plain. Those who don’t understand her may not find this palatable. But closer assessment shows a woman who has no bile and who parades an unusual courage of saying it the way it is. She shares with Church Times her conversion story and her ministry
My parents are from Ijebu Igbo. I was born in Katsina went to school in Ibadan and then traveled outside the country in 1961. My parents desire was for me to do nursing. But I did not find the course interesting. I was in nursing for just 10 months but I changed my career later because I did not like the practical side of nursing.
I did not feel comfortable seeing so much blood and that discouraged me from the nursing profession though I was excelling in that field. Eventually I had to quit the profession to train as a secretary which is what I had always loved to do. I studied that for another three years and qualified as a chattered Secretary and did secure a job with the UCH of London before coming back to Nigeria. I got employed in Mobil Oil in Nigeria, moved from there to another oil company before I retired from paid employment to join my husband in his business
My father was a nominal Christian. My mother was a C$S member. They were quite religious. I knew God from that perspective. I could pray and it was a ritual to read the Bible in our house. I knew God had ordained something in me that would manifest with time. I wasn’t a novice in the things of God. But it was just that I did not know God from the born again perspective. I was a religious person. The missing link for me was that I did not have a relationship with God. I dabbled into a lot of things that I did not realize were wrong until I invited Jesus into my life.
I married a man I loved so much. Though He has gone to be with the Lord now, we were really in love. He came from Kwale in Delta State. I married him in disobedience to my parents. My father especially did not like the idea of marrying somebody from that part of the country because of the stereotype he had about people from the east. He used to call them kobokobo people. I did not know he was serious about his dislike for them until he refused to attend our wedding. I did not care what would happen. We went ahead and married without my parent’s consent. I refused bluntly to apologise to my parents for all that I said in the course of their refusal. At my wedding, my parents were absent. I only had a few of my friends, my husband and his brother. In fact my husband’s family did not support the wedding too. But we married all the same because we were in love.
Risk of marrying without parental consent
We did not see it as a risk. We were in love and we thought nothing could stop us. Until I gave my life to Christ I did not realize the magnitude of my defiance. If I were to counsel today, I will advise all intending couples to get the support and approval of their parents before going ahead with their wedding. I did what I did out of ignorance. What I think saved me was that my parents were not into occultic practices and fetish things. If they were diabolical they probably have frustrated the marriage. The Bible admonishes that children should obey their parents. If one’s parents do not agree to one’s wedding, the intending couples should prayerfully seek the face of God and trust Him to turn their hearts in favour of the relationship. I believe no matter how stubborn parents are, intending couples should for no reason marry in defiance of their parents. God owns the heart of a king. They should wait on God in prayers.
My life before Christ
We were quite comfortable and had everything going for us. I started City Rentals. It was so popular in Nigeria in those days. I loved gold and I remember having so much gold that whenever I sold some of my gold I could use it to buy property. When I gave my life to Christ and my husband gave his life later, we had to drop some of our businesses because we felt that we could not serve God along with some business practices. I opted out of rental business because I found out that as a child of God I could not continue to distribute alcohol in parties and engage in partying all my life.
My salvation experience
I could not stand those who called themselves SU in those days. We had some of them in our companies but I used to tell them to keep their faith to themselves. I used to warn them seriously. But somehow I had this niece of mine who was a Christian and she would always come to spend the holidays in my house. She was quite prayerful and you could see that she was a Christian. When she was about to marry I played a leading role. I ensured that she bought expensive materials and made sure she dressed well for her wedding, In fact I took her outside the country to buy her wedding materials because I did not want her to appear like SU during her wedding. She was reluctant but I forced her.
Her SU friends came to the engagement ceremony. I remember after the engagement they were busy praying in one of the rooms. I went to the room and warned them to stop praying, I wondered if they were the ones who killed Jesus. I stopped them and ordered them not to disturb the peace of the house. My niece was just looking, she could not talk and she kept trying to be apologetic.
On the wedding day proper, I had prepared myself and my friends for the wedding. We were championing the whole thing, I was at the reception hall and all I heard was praise the Lord and all kinds of religious “jargons” I felt they were wasting time and I determined to walk to the microphone and stop them from wasting time. Meanwhile I had come to the venue with a truck load of alcoholic drinks and all sorts of drinks. I had told them they could not stop the drinking of beer at the wedding.
But I did not know God had a different agenda for me that day. As I was about to go and order that they stop wasting our time with their born again “nonsense”, I heard a voice say to me to leave the circle of my friends where I was sitting and to move to another angle of the hall. I could not resist the voice because it came twice in succession. I did not wait to hear it the third time before I obeyed. The voice later told me that I was going to join the people I was condemning.
The voice told me to go and announce on the podium that I loved what they were doing and that I was also part of them. I could not resist, I had to obey. I moved away from my seat and went straight to the podium to collect the microphone from the MC. People thought I was going to disrupt the event. I took the microphone and didn’t know how to say praise the Lord. I got there and said, “praise the Jesus” about three times and announced to the whole audience that God was with them and they were children of God. I said to them, “today I’m part of you.”
I went on to order that no alcohol should be served at the wedding. They were all wondering but excited. They clapped because many of them were SU. I was the one that brought truck load of alcohol but I ordered that it should not be served. I warned that “if I see a bottle of alcohol I will throw it out”
The change in me was instant. My husband was just alarmed at what happened and waited patiently until we got home and I explained to him the encounter I had. Later at home the voice I heard at the wedding told me to go and meet the newly wedded and ask them to pray for me. I obeyed. The couples led me in the sinner’s prayers and I surrendered my life to Christ.
After my conversion I could not do some of the businesses I used to do again especially the rental business and some of the businesses that involved giving kick-backs. At a point my husband threatened me with divorce because she could not understand why I could not do what was bringing money to the family. But I kept praying for him.
My husband also became born again
One thing that came to my husband as a surprise was the way I stopped taking beer. I used to drink more than my husband. I was very alcoholic but the day I gave my life to Christ, alcohol to me became poison. Nobody told me alcohol was not good. I just stopped. My husband would buy beer after my conversion and plead with me to take a bottle but I resisted the temptation. It did not even appeal to me again. My husband did everything to discourage me from the way of the Lord. When I prepared for church that is when he would ask me to wait and watch him eat. I obeyed him and would always pray for him. I did not know she was impressed with what the Lord had done in my life.
One Sunday he said to me that he would join me in church the following Sunday. Before then a brother used to come and do a session of Bible study in our house. There was a particular time he came and read the scripture where Jesus said, “What shall it profit a ma if he gains the whole world and lose his soul” that scripture kept ringing in my husband’s ear. When he told me he was going to join me in Church I was happy and went to church. But as God would have it, he came to church that same Sunday.
I was in the service and just saw my husband walk up to where I was sitting in the church. I said to him, but you said you will come next Sunday, his reply was amazing. He said, what is wrong if I come now” He sat and listened to the message that day. It was the Foursquare church in Oshodi. We had a population of about 200 people in service that day. My husband was the only person who surrendered his life to Christ after the message. Tears were streaming down his cheeks that Sunday. That was how he joined me in the faith. He died in his late 60s after a brief illness in the UK. He was head of protocol of Foursquare Church in Nigeria before he went to be with the Lord.
Me and Mathew Ashimolowo
I was part of the Foursquare Church in the UK when Mathew Ashimolowo was the pastor of the branch of the church. I was in the church for five years until he left to start KICC. But after serving the Lord for a number of years in KICC the Lord asked me to leave. I’m now a Senior pastor of the West London branch of Foursquare Great Britain.
Mathew Ashimolowo is a great teacher of God’s word. He was my mentor. Anything I am today in Christ I owe it to God and I owe it to Pastor Ashimolowo. If you go to his church for five years and you don’t experience growth, then you must examine yourself.
My counseling ministry
By God’s grace I’m a biblical counselor. I have counseled a number of people over the years and this has brought a lot of fulfillment to me. There was the case of a white lady who was about committing suicide but the Lord used me through the spoken word to make her change her mind. She said something just told her to come to church after she had contemplated suicide and there God reached her. Today the Lord has renewed her life completely. This happened in 2008.
From my experience, many people come for counseling on marital issues. But I also found out that people lack courage to obey the word of God. There are people who know that God is a healer and that God can do all things, but when it comes to believing Him for a miracle in their lives their hearts will fail them. I normally encourage such people and convince them through the word.