It was my first year in the university. This was an entirely new world for several of us freshmen in the crowded 500 seater Lecture Theatre accommodating well over 1500 students at the crossroads of their lives.
I was one of those teeming youngsters in the valley of decision. Little did I know that my one year in the midst of this multitude would revolutionise my existence forever.
Leading up to this point in my life, I had been for several years engaged in activities that would make it completely unlikely that this man would ever be born again. The last time I was in a church service as a member was close to ten years before that time.
Having once been in the youth choir and very involved in the church, I was compelled by my dad to join him in practicing the Grail Message. For the next few years of my life, I was saddled with the burden of reading through the three volume book, "In the Light of the Truth" upon which I would be inducted into the cadre of "Grail Cross Bearers".
I raced through the first volume, experiencing the deceptive sensation of higher intellectual and moral standards which its teachings give. The second volume took a lot more time and then Volume Three was an impossibility.
Something in my spirit held me back from completing it all through my secondary school days. I hoped once through with my certificate examinations, I'd give it attention, but God had other plans.
All these years, my mother was openly interceding relentlessly for my salvation. Back to the Freshman Lecture Theatre.
I made it my duty to put up an argument with everyone who dared preach Jesus in the LT. I felt responsible to prove to them that they were deluded, and often, I achieved my aim.
Then came the publicity for a Total Experience program with the man of God Pastor Chris Oyakhilome at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin. So loud was the publicity for this meeting that it could not be ignored.
I was offended by the exuberant displays by my colleagues who I now believed to be in some kind of cult. Quietly though, I was fascinated by their passion and attracted to the excitement they exhibited.
Little did I know that I'd actually attend the meeting. Soon, I found myself watching Pastor Chris on television.
From being a critic, I soon began to listen to this interesting preacher. In a little while, I actually found that I could relate with much of what he had to say.
When the two-day Total Experience finally came in August 2000, it still didn't cross my mind to be there. All my secondary school mates who were now members of Believers' LoveWorld made several efforts to convince me to attend.
After the first meeting on Thursday 18th August, the excitement was rapturous. Everybody was talking about the miracles and testimonies throughout Friday.
As we rounded up lectures that Friday evening, a few friends out of curiosity decided to attend, just to see what was happening. Because they too had always been critical I felt comfortable joining them.
Five of us got into a taxi and headed out. On the way, we discussed excitedly about what we had heard about meetings with Pastor Chris in anticipation of what was ahead.
The cab had to stop several miles away from the venue and we joined a large crowd of people headed for the stadium gates. As we got closer, anxiety turned to fears as some of my companions shared stories of how when demons were cast out of people in such meetings, they went into others.
I really wasn't paying attention to their talk anymore because by now, I could hear the shouts of those inside the stadium as live testimonies of people healed in previous crusades were being taken. The first gate we reached had been closed, indicating that the arena was almost filled to capacity.
we rushed to gate 2 and then 3 and finally got in at the fifth gate or so. As I walked up the aisle, I was lost to the world around me.
Even my companions seemed to fade away so much so that I can hardly remember everyone who was present that day. Something about the atmosphere in this place made me know that I was alone with Diety.
Of course I wasn't knowledgeable enough to identify it as the presence of God, but the air in here was completely different from that outside. Getting to my seat, I was already enthralled by the beauty of the stage and swept away by the choir who by this time were ministering in worship.
I honestly cannot recall at what point Pastor came up stage, but i just know that all through that night, my heart was burning. My search was over; I had come home.
I'd never forget how pastor illustrated the trinity and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I had no idea about these things but I believed him; i felt I could trust this man.
When finally Pastor made the call for salvation, I needed no convincing. The Holy Spirit had prepared me for this moment and I couldn't think of anything else but to respond.
As I stood up to move towards the stage, I remember my wide-eyed friends asking if I was really going (they knew me; I was antagonistic of these things). I hoped one or more of them would join me but none did.
I took the long walk from my seat to the stage area and was gloriously led to Christ. I returned and located my seat, but I was a different person.
I knew something had happened. All other aspects of the meeting are clouded in my memory now, but i always remember a question Pastor put to us and promised to answer at the next crusade.
He asked, "At what point during pregnancy does the foetus become a human; when does the human spirit go in?" I never got the answer to this question and I'm hoping that this would be an opportunity to have it answered. When I got home that night, I met my mother waiting up in eager anticipation to know what had been my experience.
She had seen her prayers producing results as she began to observe how attentively I had watched Pastor Chris' TV Programs in recent times, and oh what joy she felt when I announced to her, "I am now born again". From this point, life took on a new meaning, many people through their individual contribution to my growing walk with God helped to encourage me in the faith till now.
I cannot take the time to expound on my development in the WOrd and in the ministry but suffice it to say that I am forever indebted to our Man of God, Pastor Chris for yielding to the call of God upon his life and making himself a vessel through whom the Lord could inspire and influence many. This is the first in a multi-part series.
Watch out for: How I received the Holy Spirit; Christian Culturing, Christian Resources (Ministry Materials), My Exposure to the Bible, Growing through the Cell System, Ministry Service and lots more in future parts. .