Martell on a trip to Israel in 2016.

Suddenly Obedient

April 01, 2016

A simple Sunday school message reached her heart and changed her life.

By Martell Olaleye

Back in the year 1968, I had the wonderful privilege of attending Sunday school in the Apostolic Faith Church. I was just nine years old at the time and had been invited by my cousin, the late Reverend Robert Omaretseye.

My parents were nominal Christians, and my cousin came to our home often to see my dad, who was his uncle. There were ten children in our family and it was stressful raising all of us because we were very poor. Each time my cousin came to our home, my mum would report our misbehavior to him. I am thankful that he encouraged my parents to allow us to come to Sunday school. He said that if we attended, our lives would be completely transformed by God. They consented, and from then on my siblings and I walked half a kilometer to the small Sunday school room at the church in Sapele, Delta State, Nigeria.

My first impression of Sunday school was that there was a lot of singing. We were taught Bible lessons by my cousin Robert, who was the founder of the Sapele branch of the Apostolic Faith Church. He told us that there was Heaven to gain if we were saved, but hellfire awaited those who were not saved. He showed us pictures of a saved soul with a smiling face, an open Bible, and the Spirit of God inside the heart. He also showed us a picture of a sinner with a heart that was very dark and full of sin. At the time of prayer, he taught us how to pray for salvation.

My siblings and I attended Sunday school for several years. In July, 1970, I told God in my childlike way that I didn’t want to go to hellfire; I wanted to go to Heaven. He washed my sins away, and I knew that I was saved. Oh, what joy and peace filled my heart! When I got home that day, I was completely different. In a moment of time I had become an obedient girl. I did my household chores without complaining. The change was so real that my mum saw the transformation in my behavior.

Later, the Lord sanctified me and I received the precious baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire. I loved to testify to others that Jesus had saved my soul, and to work for the Lord in my local church. I became a member of the Association of Visiting Secretaries—a group of young people from our church who visited primary and secondary schools to share the message of salvation. In 1978, I was made a Sunday school teacher. I was water baptized during the camp meeting of 1980 in Anthony Village, Lagos.

God has been so good to me since I gave my heart to Him. After my college education, my parents said they could not afford to send me to further education, so they decided to give me away in marriage. A young man from Holland came to see my parents because his family in Sapele had agreed with my parents for us to marry. I was summoned to the family home to meet him and to set in motion the arrangements for the engagement ceremony. By God’s grace, I took my stand and told the young man that I was not ready to marry him—that I wanted to further my education, and besides, I would not marry anyone outside the family of God. This act got me in trouble. My father sent me out of the house for more than two weeks because of my refusal to marry that man from abroad.

In 1980, God permitted me to receive a scholarship to study French in the College of Education. He also provided financially for my university education, and in time, I obtained a degree in French language education. In 1986 God gave me a wonderful Christian husband and blessed us with two children: a son and a daughter.

After ten years of marriage, I became a young widow at the age of forty, but thanks be to God, He saw me through that time and cared for me and my little children. In times of problems and difficulties, when there was no one to help, Jesus stood by us and carried us through. In 2006, God blessed me with my present husband.

How I praise God for the wonderful blessings I have enjoyed since I gave my heart to Jesus! God has healed me on several occasions. He has always provided for my needs, and has been such a dear and close Companion to me. Today, my heart’s desire is to be ready for His soon coming. Pray for my strength in the Lord.

About the author

Martell Olaleye and her husband, Reverend James Olaleye, serve the Lord together in the Apostolic Faith Church in Lagos, Nigeria, where he serves as Director of Welfare Services and Administration at the West and Central Africa Headquarters.