For the first time, I've decided to share a story only a few know; my family, let's just say I've finally been able to make peace with it and ready to move on and grab what's in front of me. Today I share this very trying time of my life and can only hope you learn a thing or two from it.
In 2015, I wanted a better life for myself, I was tired of struggling, I needed to make a move and all radar was pointed towards South Africa, I had a couple friends who were into internet scam at the time and my mind was made up to explore that world and get rich or die trying. It was a very frustrating moment in my life, I had been perambulating for too long and finally had to arrive at my promised land, at least that's what I thought till I found myself locked behind bars, facing a possible deportation in a place called Lindela in South Africa. It's a refugee camp where people from different nationalities are dumped and treated like animals and I wouldn't wish my enemy a minute there.
It all started on the 19th of April, 2015 when I got into that flight to Johannesburg to seek a better life, I needed to, I was tired of my mom paying my bills and girls choosing the next guy over me because I wasn't where I needed to be financially and so, I was determined, foolish and dumb I must add, I literally forgot there's a God of man who makes our way right and if only we choose to live according to His will and allow Him to help us actualize our dreams, I wouldn’t have to tell this story but somehow, I’ve always had to learn the hard way.
I took my eyes off my Maker and pursued a life which only would lead to regrets and destruction eventually, but at the time, nothing really mattered, all that made sense to me was to leave NIGERIA because I bought a lie that was sold to me and I believe has also been sold to a million out there reading this right now; that if you ever want to make it in life, you have to travel abroad.
Well, abroad I was and the weather was beautiful, I got in just about summer and I've never felt such a romancing atmosphere and I would wrap myself up in that duvet and sleep like a baby. Everything seemed right, God has finally answered my prayers I thought but now I've come to understand that it's not everything that seems like a blessing is from God, many times the devil tries to mislead us by opening doors that only leads to frustration in the end.
It all started beautifully, had a couple glasses of wine on the plane and got to meet some amazing women as we flew those heights, we had pretty outstanding conversations and got to exchange numbers. The life was beautiful, my friend was doing pretty well for himself and so he gave me the best life out there but little did I know the devil was only preparing his tactics on his attack and ignorantly, I fell for it.
I had a burning desire to fix my papers and wouldn't have to keep hiding from the cops all the time like most immigrants do and so I packed up a nap-sack and headed on to Pretoria to visit the Home Affairs for an extension. I actually had to pay about R2000 to be shortlisted for an appearance for Thursday that week but couldn’t get it done eventually, so I was rescheduled for the next Thursday and so I thought instead of having to go all the way back to Johannesburg and having to come back, why not stay over at my friend's, after all, I hadn't seen him since he left NIGERIA in 2005 and what an opportunity it was to catch up on old times, so I went over to his place and decided to spend the weekend there till my next appointment and that's when the creepy faceless one took his chance on me.
It was on a Saturday, I remember vividly well watching a football match being played by Manchester United and Liverpool FC when my friend initiated the idea to hit the club which I out-rightly kicked against but after so much pressure, I eventually gave in and got dressed up and we hit the clubs. It was my first experience in a South African club so I got carried away and got soaked up in some alcohol and can even remember lighting up a couple sticks (Cigarette) after staying away from both for many years since I got saved.
The night just wasn't glorifying my Maker and the more I drifted away from doing the right thing, the easier it was to invite the devil in to have his way. You know, it's true what they say about God being faithful even in our unfaithfulness because the club got ‘bursted’ by cops and the immigration just minutes after we stepped out. I wanted to go home, my friend wouldn't just live life on a minimum, he wanted it all, all at ones and so he took me to the next club which was also ‘bursted’ about an hour of getting there and faithfully enough, God saved me again and I wasn't seen.
They practically shot the club down and asked each person for his/her passport but I wasn't checked and they left and the party began again, but deep down, I knew I had failed God and the night was over for me even before it ended, I just wanted to go home and get on my knees but it's also true what they say about the devil using those closest to us to accomplish his evil plots and my friend didn't have a problem playing his advocate that night.
Eventually, we got into the car when the coast was clear and I actually thought we were headed home, only to my greatest surprise, we were yet in another club, this time, they had organized a girl to go home with me when we were done and like most men, that stroke a good cord in me and I forgot God for a while and just wanted to see the night through and maybe tomorrow, I can settle things with Him and so I played along. By the way, at this time, we had already encountered and escaped yet another roadblock on our way and that was the third time God saved me that night.
Well, guess my luck had run out for the night and just about 10 minutes of getting to the club, it was ‘bursted’ and this time, I had it bad and was arrested and that was the beginning of my prison experience. We were treated like slaves and asked to sit on the floor in that cold, dead in the middle of the night when we eventually got to the place where our biometrics were down. Then, in the morning, we were moved to the police station where I was going to spend the next one week of my life before we were transferred to Lindela where we started the journey proper.
Amazing right? Hmmm! And just before I proceed, may I bring to your knowledge that I had only overstayed for a week due to the Xenophobia attacks and had my information already at the Home Affairs office requesting for an extension which only meant that the worst that should have happened was to be fined, my visa was still very valid, just the date given at the port of entry had elapsed but I spent the next two months locked up with criminals who have just finished their sentence in maximum prisons around the country and you can begin to imagine what my experiences were.
I even hired the services of a lawyer and paid him R6000 to plead my case but all to no avail and that's when I knew it was God who actually took me there and not the devil as I had initially thought, this had to be my prison experience like Joseph, I said and the minute I accepted that and was ready to listen to what God was saying, I felt a peace like never before come over me and that's when the revelation started.
God sent a young pastor to me in Lindela and we went through the scriptures together day and night and He (God) started using me to lead the early morning worship and night vigil sessions and then He made a promise to me and today I'm living that promise; King Solomon's Mine.
Initially, when we got there, it was hell feeding as we had to line up in batches to visit the dining hall under the ragging summer cold but the moment I reconnected myself back to God and accepted my prison experience, He provided all I needed and I stopped going to the dinning and visited the supermarket to meet my needs instead, and the security guards would call me ‘Bossman’ when they came to chase everyone out to eat and have the cells locked with me in it, leaving the TV on, breaking the protocol for me.
Apparently, even in my prison, God met my needs so who are you out there complaining about God not meeting your needs? It's either you haven't accepted your prison experience and positioned yourself for the lessons or you haven't made that move that would lead you to it, God loves a move of faith. Quite unfortunately or maybe fortunately, I had to go all the way to South Africa, left my comfort zone to really encounter God and have myself prepared for my palace experience. There's something called divine positioning and until you're well positioned, you can't really experience God the way you should.
Many of us are in the wrong places at the right time or in the right places at the wrong time. In whatever of these two situations you find yourself, you need to cry out to God to reposition you. Don't be afraid of the prison experience and the truth is that you don't have to be locked up in a cell like I was to have your prison experience, the circumstances of life we find ourselves might be that prison experience that leads you to your palace and until you find peace with it and allow God work you through it, you would only continue to perambulate through life like the Israelites did for 40years and I want you to see me today as your ‘Moses’ who God has sent to you to lead you to your promised land. Learn from my story and take the best out of it but make sure you leave the drinking and smoking part out because I took strokes for that and I still have the scars to show for it.
As I conclude, I want us to know that God always has our best interest at heart. Initially, when I was arrested and going through all that drama, I was angry with God when I should have been angry with myself and thankful to Him because He was actually saving me from the devil. It was when I got home I got a full grip on his plans. My life was meant to be ended in South Africa. If I had gone on to get myself involved in the Internet scam, I would have been messed up in the act and had to pay with my life one way or the other, but God took me and hid me in that prison. Many at times does God save us from ourselves and calamities heading to befall us, but we would rather complain and wonder why He's so unfair to us. Seek wisdom, go closer to Him more than you've ever been and let Him prepare a table for you in the midst of your enemies like He did for me. Thank you for reading and God bless!
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