She is the first among 17 children in a polygamous family. Her father had placed so much hope on her that as soon as she finished her tertiary education, she would be able to take care of her younger ones and help with their education.
But that dream suffered a hitch. Rather than take up that responsibility, Temidayo Meshach-Peter received a call to go into missions. Her father who was baba ijo of an orthodox Church was furious. He would not want to hear anything of such.
“My father was taken aback. He said to me, God did not call you when you were in primary school, he did not call you when you were in secondary school, now that you have graduated and should be a blessing to the rest of your younger ones, you said God called you,” recalled Temidayo who celebrated her 61st birthday on Monday, October 23.
Journey to missions
Her journey into missions began when she was about to complete her NYSC programme at the old Bendel State. He had listened to a mission talk by Bro Bayo Famonure and she felt a strong urge to go into missions. But it took another 7 years for her to heed the call. “I struggled with God for 7 years before I finally said, yes Lord,” she said.
Saying yes however came at a cost. Temidayo who studied marketing said she was already doing business when she decided to respond to the prompting of the holy spirit. But then she did not know how to go about the work. But her exuberance and determination were unparalleled.
First mission trip
Despite the lack of support from her parents and family members, she embarked on a journey to Nasarawa State, which turned out to be her first missionary trip. She had met a brother in her church in Lagos who ran away from his town back in Nasarawa because of threats from witches in the community.
The young man’s father had been accused of killing somebody in the village. The witches in turn threatened that his son would be killed in return. That prompted him to run to safety in Lagos. It was while in Lagos that he became a Christian.
Fear would not allow him to go back home. But then, when Temidayo met him in church, he encouraged him to go back to the village and share the gospel with his people since he now has Christ.
Rather than allow the young man to go alone, she accompanied him to the village. That trip however turned out to be a blessing to the villagers. As soon as they entered the village after a 5-kilometer trek from the point where the last bus dropped them, many of the villagers rallied around the young man. They were excited to see him because many thought he had died.
Temidayo recalled, “A large crowd came to welcome us. I seized the opportunity to share the gospel with them that night. A catholic lay reader was among those who listened to us. He ensured that more people joined us. Many lives were saved. ”
The villagers were accommodating and quite receptive to the gospel. But Temidayo did not stay for too long in Nasarawa. She left the young man behind and came back to Lagos to wait on the Lord for the next line of action.
Back to Lagos
While in Lagos she stayed with her uncle somewhere in Lawanson when another opportunity for missions presented itself. This time, a Muslim lady had given her life to Christ in the Church where she was worshiping. But the family of the lady chased her out of the house. They felt she had disgraced them by accepting Jesus.
Initially, they thought they could stop her, and did everything to make her recant. But all their efforts did not yield. When they could not stop her from being Christian they drove her out of the house.
When Temidayo heard her story, she saw a mission opportunity. She took the lady in and they became friends. She later got to know the lady came from a predominantly Muslim community back in Kwara State.
The zeal in her came alive again. “I made up my mind to go to her village and meet with her people. That was what led me to Ojoku in Kwara State to start a mission endeavour that has lasted to this day,” she said.
The Kwara exploit
While in Kwara, God used her to bring a sort of awakening to the Muslim community. God used her to stop some odd practices among the people. She was also able to start a school that is still running to date. But her early days in the predominantly Muslim community were tough. The people saw Christians as enemies.
“One of the villagers told me because the lady that brought me to the town had become a Christian, she had become their enemy. He then advised that I should be praying for her. They were quite hostile. Getting accommodation was a bit tough.” she recalled.
Temidayo however navigated the challenges. “A prince of the land was the one who helped us to get accommodation. He gave us a place that many were afraid to live in. The owner of the house had abandoned the house for some mysterious reasons. But we got the place and started a fellowship in the house.”
“When they saw that I had turned the place into a fellowship ground, some Muslim clerics went to complain that it was not right for a Christian to be singing in the house of a Muslim. But when they got to know that it was this prince that gave us the place they could not push further.”
Today, Temidayo has an established mission agency in Kwara while she also does missions in Lagos.
Married to an evangelist who hails from Anambra, she notes that the journey in the last 30 years doing missions has been full of trials and triumphs. “I have seen God manifest in ways that made me dumbfounded. He has proved himself severally that there is no cause to doubt His involvement in the work.”
One of the major challenges she faced on the field was starting the Kwara school. “There were a lot of battles over the school. We had bought land but there was no money to build. But God told me to meet somebody in Lagos. He gave me the name of the person.
“But I was wondering if the person would be in church. But while in church on a Sunday and was talking with someone the person came to me and asked if I had any issue on the mission field that needed immediate attention. To cut a long story short, the person gave us some money and the money was just enough to lay the foundation for the school.”
Apart from starting both primary and secondary schools, her presence in the village has transformed the inhabitants. “Before they used to boast that none of them in the village would ever be a Christian. But that is no longer so as many have since embraced Christ.”
In Lagos, Temidayo and her husband who is also an itinerant evangelist do mission work among street people. They do prayer walk and use the opportunity to speak with people they meet on the street about Christ. They also do fellowship among those who live on the street. When she clocked 60 in 2022, she celebrated her birthday with one of the street people who shared the same birthday with her.
She submits, “It has been a fulfilling time for me reaching out to souls in strange places. God has proved himself over the years. I suffered rejection at some point from family members because they could not understand God’s call on my life. But today, God has glorified Himself. Today many of my family members have embraced Jesus.”
Global Mandate Conference
Temidayo Peter-Meshach was at the 2023 Global Mandate Conference where she shared her experience with Church Times. She described the conference as a refreshing time before the Lord. “it is one conference I look forward to every year. It is usually time for us to retreat so we can re-fire. May the Lord bless Rev Toyin Kehinde and all those who make the conference a reality every year. We are already looking ahead to the next conference in 2024.”