God’s Mighty Deliverance
March 09, 2020
In personal, professional, and even life-threatening situations, Mary has proved God's faithfulness!
rom an early age, I had a longing for satisfaction within. My parents introduced my sister and me to a number of Christian denominations, and from that time God gave me a hunger to serve Him. However, we went from one church to another, never staying at one of them for long because the church leaders did not lead good lives. Though we still did not know what Christianity really was, we somehow understood that there must be more to it than what we saw in those churches.
Our family lived in Delta State, Nigeria, and in the 1980s my sister and I were attending grade school. One of my teachers was a Christian, and something about him seemed different from the other instructors. In fact, he seemed different than all the people I knew. One day when I saw him, a quiet Voice spoke within my heart, “That is the man,” and I felt I should find out what church he attended. At the time, I did not recognize that Voice as the Spirit of God leading me. I told my sister about it, but initially neither of us wanted to go talk to the teacher because we worried that he would be the same as the other Christians we had met. My sister was two years younger than me, and she feared that he was too strict and would be upset with us.
However, we finally went. When we asked him what church he attended, his response was, “Who sent you?” He thought we were trying to set him up for trouble! Looking back, I believe he must have been going through some persecution at the school because of his faith. He kept questioning us, and my sister became afraid. Standing there, I said a tiny prayer, “God, You know no one sent us,” and immediately my teacher’s attitude changed. He gave us a tract with the location of an Apostolic Faith Church and we made plans to go there.
The moment I stepped into the church, I heard the same quiet Voice again, “This is where you are to worship.”
The moment I stepped into the church, I heard the same quiet Voice again, “This is where you are to worship.” I do not remember who preached or what was said; I only remember the Voice that spoke to me. My sister and I began attending the church from then on. Before long she had received the Christian experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For some reason, I did not feel compelled to seek those experiences. I was content with just going to church.
When my sister was eighteen years old, one day as she was on her way out of town, she was struck by a car. It was a terrible accident that caused a severe brain injury. She ended up in the intensive care unit at one of the big teaching hospitals in Nigeria, and I went there to stay with her. I loved her so much and was desperate for God to heal her. I took all the tracts and other church literature that we had to the hospital, and some of the church members also visited her. The teacher who had first told us about the Apostolic Faith came regularly to pray for her as well, but she remained in a critical state.
On one of the teacher’s visits, he looked at me and told me that my sister’s condition was better than mine because I was not saved. That really struck me because the injury had left her with almost no ability to function.
On one of the teacher’s visits, he looked at me and told me that my sister’s condition was better than mine because I was not saved. That really struck me because the injury had left her with almost no ability to function. Before leaving, he also opened his Bible and read to me from it. Afterward, I wanted to find the verses he had read, but at that time I still did not know much about the Bible. I had seen that he was reading from somewhere toward the back of the Book, and I prayed to God to please help me find those verses. God answered my prayer. When I opened the Bible, I found where he had read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). For the first time, I read the Bible and understood it, and that made me so happy. There in the hospital by my sister’s bedside, I prayed a simple prayer based on that verse, confessing my sin and asking God to be merciful to me. He made a change in me that was a turning point in my life. My sister passed away shortly after, which was very sad for me, but I came to understand that she had everything she needed from God, and He was ready to take her to Heaven.
The difference in my life after salvation was noticeable. My mother had tried to make me a good person through harsh discipline, but salvation accomplished the change that her punishments could not. I became a blessing instead of a problem to my mother, and it was completely because of what Jesus had done in my heart.
Later on God sanctified me, and then I sought for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which became a struggle for me. At church, I would always pray somewhere off by myself because I did not like the loud praying that took place at the altars. One Sunday, God gave me a deep hunger for the baptism and the courage to go pray at the altar, but I still went to a corner at the altar where I hoped no one would see or hear me. When a friend noticed me and came to help me pray, I became distracted by her being there. Yet because I had such a hunger to receive the Holy Ghost, I decided to simply focus on my own prayer. That day, God poured out the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and it was powerful. I went home and prayed to God, “What You did in the church, do it again,” and He did! That was a day I will never forget. For over a week I had such joy in my heart that nothing could upset me. I was so happy, and now I love spending time at the altars.
Every year, our branch church held a New Year’s service where we would spend the entire day in prayer. One year, I spent that day seeking the Lord about who would be my life partner. About three months after that service, a young man showed an interest in me, but I was not sure this was God’s will. Prior to that, I had been in communication with Sister Ruth Ashwell at the world headquarters office about marriage, and she often encouraged me, “Take your time and pray.” That is what I continued to do for about eight months, until finally God confirmed to me that it was His will. Sanjo and I were soon married, and later God gave us two beautiful children.
Protection on the job
God has delivered our family in many situations, and healed us so many times that I could not name them all. I worked at a bank for over ten years, and during that time God’s protecting hand was always with me. Once, the federal investigation agency of Nigeria came to our office and arrested all of the staff. However, just before they arrived, the Spirit of God had urged me, “Leave where you are and go somewhere else.” Before I knew it, people were arrested and spending the night in jail, but God had spared me. Another time when police were doing an investigation, my boss said he would not let me testify because he knew I would tell the truth! God used something as simple as that to shield me. He always made a way for me.
One terrifying night, armed robbers broke into our home yelling, “Where’s the Madame of this house?”
In my late twenties, I left my job at the bank and started my own business. My new job involved traveling to Europe and transporting goods to Nigeria. One terrifying night, armed robbers broke into our home yelling, “Where’s the Madame of this house?” That day, I was supposed to have brought home almost $5,000 USD. However, I had given that money to somebody else, so there was nothing for the robbers. My younger brother was in the house and he and my husband helped me to hide under a bed in one of the rooms, but I could hear the burglars terrorizing my family, demanding to know where I was. They shot holes in our bedroom walls; how we escaped those bullets was only by God’s divine mercies. They told my son, who was only about three years old, to say goodbye to his dad because they were going to kill him, and he told his dad goodbye. I heard one of the men say, “Let’s finish the man,” and in agony I cried out, “Jesus!” from under the bed, but my brother was in the room with me and insisted I stay quiet so I would not be found.
The intruders eventually did find me and ordered me to give them the money. My mind went blank; I just looked at them and did nothing. My husband had offered them our cars, but they wanted the money. They told me, “You love money more than your life.” Then they forced me outside to search the cars. I do not know how we escaped harm, but somehow God preserved us and eventually the raiders left.
That incident became a serious trial of my faith, because up to that point, since the day God had saved me, I had always experienced His mercy and protection in every part of my life. He was my trust and my confidence. Yet, I knew the thieves had not entered without God’s knowledge. I began to question why God had allowed that incident to happen, and fear and doubt started to set in. It affected me so much that I could not sleep at night. I was worried intruders would come again, and I would stay awake until the time the robbers had left—about 4:00 a.m. I had not experienced fear like that since before I was saved.
Finally I understood that whatever situation we may go through, God will always be with His children.
I needed God to speak to me and restore peace in my heart, and in His mercy, God did just that. He walked me back through every detail of the day the robbers had come, and showed me how He had protected us. He reminded me how they had taken my husband and said, “Let’s finish him off,” yet they did not hurt him. They shot their weapons, yet not one person was harmed. When they found me in my hiding spot and then led me out to the car alone, they could have beaten me up, but they did not even touch me. In fact, God reminded me that before the invasion, He woke me up and urged me to dress properly and to pray. Also, that $5,000 USD could have been stolen, but by God’s grace it was not in the house. God had protected us through the whole ordeal. When the Lord brought all of this to my mind, I realized that yes, He was always with me. My questions and doubts disappeared, and I could thank God for being with us. Finally I understood that whatever situation we may go through, God will always be with His children.
In 2009, we moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I had never thought of living in the Western world, but God made it happen. He has also helped us start an Apostolic Faith group in that city, and at the end of this summer we will have a celebration of the ten-year anniversary since we began fellowshipping here.
God has done so much for me that I cannot tell it all. Today, I’m happy for all the circumstances He has taken me through. There have been mountains and there have been valleys, but through it all He has been with me. God has given me peace that passes all understanding, a love to be in His presence all the time, and the hope of Heaven someday. My sister is already there, and I pray all of my family will make it there too.
God’s Mighty Deliverance