My life, so far, reveals God’s righteous right hand at work, not-withstanding my unrighteousness. I never really got to see and understand the fact that our ever-living God simply watched and waited for me to present myself for service before He began unfolding Himself to me in various ways. I can only accord to Jesus Christ honor and glory for His loving-kindness and mercies towards me while in sin. Now, I realize all this and praise Him for that.
I was raised well in a Christian home, my parents being members of the N.K.S.T Church, which is the Church of Christ in the Sudan among the Tiv. I hail from Kwande local government area of Benue state in Central Nigeria where Tiv language is widely spoken. I could read and write in Tiv and English language as well as read the Bible in Tiv right from my primary school, much thanks to my parents.
It was at F.G.C. Ogbomoso in Western Nigeria at age 12 during my secondary education that I had a different orientation of Christianity. Here I came face to face with Pentecostalism. I was deeply involved with the tongues-speaking movement. My little knowledge of the Holy Scriptures with regards to speaking in tongues, as taught by my Orthodox Church, was quite different from that of the Pentecostals (fellowship group) in school, such as 1 Corinthians 14 and other texts. I had my reservations with their answers, knowing full well that they were incorrect, but I had no way to counter them.
With the completion of my secondary education, I returned home more confused, because I could observe even more errors with my Orthodox Church practices, not to mention the tongues practice session in school. This had terribly affected my relationship with God, so much so that during my university days in Jos, I drifted further away from God and almost stopped attending church. Parties and all forms of social vices became part of my life; drinking, smoking, you name it and I did it! I simply drifted in and out of churches and found myself attending Eckankar [a cult believing that the soul is multidimensional and shares all the aspects of God—the that part of God that you are] meetings in school. One sure fact is that I always experienced an empty feeling with a desire to know what was missing and how to find it.
With my graduation from the university in 1996 and one-year national service in Benin City in mid-western Nigeria, God decided to start revealing Himself and His truth to me in the most marvelous way ever imagined. However, I must state here categorically that my road to becoming a member of God’s remnant church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, started way back in 1985.
I was home on holidays visiting with my parents who moved to our country home in the village. One Sunday morning, my mother, as usual, asked me to prepare for church. My response was, “Saturday is the right worship day, according to the Bible, and not Sunday.” She laughed and retorted that young men always come out of school with strange thoughts and behaviors. One may wonder how that statement came from one who had not heard of the Sabbath truth, neither did he know that the Seventh-day Adventist church was in existence. This is simply due to the fact that I so much loved history and always read historical accounts of the children of Israel in the Holy Scriptures and I also enjoyed reading world affairs in Time and Newsweek magazines. This is where I got the idea of Saturday being the right day of worship according to the Scriptures, and I was able to confirm from the magazines that in the present day land of Israel, the Jews still keep Saturday as the Sabbath of the Lord.
My question then was, If Christians believe the Bible, why do we refuse to rightly obey Bible doctrines since the seventh day was the fourth amongst the Ten Commandments, which are read every Sunday at worship in churches? This was a question that required an answer, but could not be found at that time.
My service year in Benin did not change much. I still drifted in and out of churches, but they never made any impact in my life! I attended several denominations but still felt empty. The irony was that any church I found myself in, I would come out with something that never demanded my presence therein again, due to their beliefs and doctrines. A friend finally took me to Krishna consciousness. My desire to seek for the unknown led me to read their Bhagavad Ghita and other books of the movement. I began practicing the Yoga, chanting the mantra and attending meetings with the spiritual head in Nigeria. The feeling of dissatisfaction increased in me and I confronted the leader with my questions challenging the reincarnation doctrine. I quoted Hebrews where the Bible says, “It is appointed unto man to die once, but after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
He made efforts to defend the belief, but I was not convinced. After the meeting, I never went there again, returning all the books. Shortly thereafter, I was again invited to the meeting with the Mormons. I received copies of Joseph Smith’s testimony and the Book of Mormon. More confusion came with more unanswered questions.
With the completion of my service year in 1998, I stayed back in Benin with a close friend who was still in service. A discussion ensued between us one day and the subject of the Sabbath came in focus. He pointed out my constant emphasis on Sabbath being Saturday and thereafter offered me a book, which can help explain more on the subject. He pulled out from his bag a booklet entitled Mysterious Answers to Prayers. This book was simply exceptional and wonderful; immediate answers to some questions started unfolding; and my troubled conscience began experiencing peace. This was God-sent. I went over the book twice with my Bible, cross-checking to confirm all the texts that were quoted and was convinced and relieved that I had found the truth at last after years of wandering in spiritual darkness. I simply told my friend that this little book had changed my life.
I left Benin for Lagos in October 1998 to stay with a friend. Within the next four months of business I drifted into a life of criminality, cheating, fornication, and alcoholism because the funds were coming in but also going out the same way they came in. I tried to obtain a Master’s Degree but without success. The cities of Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Abuja, Jos Ilorin, etc., were our business points.
I give thanks to God that I escaped arrests. On one of our business trips a careful thought brought my mind home and my parental care and Christian upbringing came into focus. I left Lagos against my friend’s wish on February 26, 1999, for Makurdi with a decision never to return to such a life again. My return to Makurdi opened my eyes to see truth. My joblessness gave me the opportunity to remain indoors where I again stumbled across the booklet Mysterious Answers to Prayers. Another Bible study session ensued. I was challenged by a friend, whom I had high regard in respect to Bible knowledge while attempting to explain the Sabbath message. He referred me to Hebrews 4 and that the Sabbath simply meant rest and all the apostles kept Sunday and not Saturday. To straighten this out, I resorted to searching the Scriptures for confirmation, reading through the New Testament pocket Bible twice. The revelation was just wonderful, seeing from the Bible that the Sabbath is the seventh day and it will never be changed. Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer, kept it, as did all of the apostles and the early Christian church. I became convinced, but never knew what church or group of believers to join in Makurdi. I simply stopped attending church on Sundays.
It was while riding in a commuter bus within Makurdi one day that I sighted the sign of the Seventh-day Adventist church. I thought that must be the same church I had read about in the booklet. The second Saturday of November 1999 saw me experiencing my first Sabbath worship. The experience cannot be penned down; talk of the joy of fellowshiping in truth and righteousness with special Sabbath blessings! I felt at home at last. Bible studies continued in earnest and soon answers to my questions cleared out all the troubles I had previously with regard to the Sabbath and other doctrines. Today I owe my sincere gratitude to the God of heaven who has been patient with me and for bringing me into the knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus. It is my earnest and sincere prayer that all earnest seekers for truth find that which sets us at liberty from spiritual blindness and brings us into newness of life by the infinite power of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.
Daniel Terence is founder and director of Daily Manna Ministries, Makurdi, Nigeria.
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