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Impacting Nations

OPEYEMI: BEAUTY FOR ASHES

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61: 3 NKJV

Writing Opeyemi’s story gives me bittersweet memories. We were friends from afar before we got close in 2018 when a mutual friend recommended her services. She became my hairstylist and we got really close.

I always knew there was more to her, so when she called me last month and said, “Onome, I want to share my story”, I knew the time had come. Listening to her while she shared her story, gave me a lot of emotional chills. I cried and wondered but at the end of the story, something stood out, and that is the fact that “God is good and His mercies endureth forever”

I want you to read this story and see a woman who was broken but not despaired, struck down but not destroyed. A woman who went through the fire but came out stronger, one who God loves.

Grab your bottle of orange juice and let’s meet Opeyemi Oguntimeyin nee Olagunju.

THE INTERVIEW

Onome: Tell us a little about yourself

Opeyemi: I’m Opeyemi Oguntimeyin nee Olagunju. I’m a businesswoman, I love money, please. I’m married to an amazing man who is a pastor and I am a full-time child of God

Onome: What was growing up like?

Opeyemi: Wasn’t fun, had so many memories but looking back I think everything worked together for good. I started looking up to men early to meet my needs, my parents were not poor; we were comfortable. When a need arose and my parents could not meet up, I had a man I could call that would meet that need.

Onome: If I may ask, when did you start looking up to men to meet your needs?

Opeyemi: I lost my virginity to rape. There was a young guy around my compound, who kept having sex with me at a young age; that was when I was within age 11 and 15. I became wild and started going out with guys when I was 15. Within age 15 and 17, I had slept with about 10 guys and three married men, just to get money. In fact not just for my needs but to also help others.

Onome: (At this point I was crying) I’m so sorry you had to go through that but would you say you were addicted to sex?

Opeyemi: Yes I was, couldn’t go a week without sex. Along the line I got pregnant by one of my older boyfriends, I tried getting rid of the pregnancy but was unable to do that. That was how I had my first son. It was a disgrace on my part then but after giving my life to Christ, it became a blessing to me and my family.

Onome: How did your parents react when they found out you were pregnant?

 Opeyemi: Hmmm…my mum, a mother I can’t trade for anything, accepted me with all her heart, but my wonderful dad, being disappointed in me at first, was so bitter and he angrily told me to move to the man’s house.

Onome: What did you do at this point?

Opeyemi: My mom kept on pleading that he should let me stay. I kept crying because I didn’t know what to do.

Onome: Did people stigmatise, did your friends laugh at you?

Opeyemi: Yes, a lot of them. In fact, I almost cried my eyes out.

Onome: So sorry. Did the father of the baby accept responsibility?

Opeyemi: The father of the baby accepted the responsibility and was providing what he could afford for a particular period, but suddenly he stopped. When I realized, I told him I couldn’t marry him. My sister, that was just the tip of the iceberg oo! There’s a lot more to say.

Onome: (Sigh) We are here for the story. Please take your time (At this point we were both getting emotional).

Opeyemi: I started sleeping with different men and boys after I stopped breastfeeding my son. There were times I slept with two or three men in a day, I masturbated and In fact, I tried lesbianism once. I just couldn’t stop myself. I travelled to different places like Lagos, Abuja, Minna and a lot more to meet with men I had never seen before.

Onome: Did you at any point, abort a pregnancy?

Opeyemi: The first time I aborted, it was painful. I even landed in the hospital but at a point, I got used to it until Christ himself saved me. I had nothing less than 10 abortions, 6 D &Cs and the rest with drugs. I went for nursing training which exposed me to all the drugs I could use instead of going through the stress of D&C. Onome Jesus loves me, that’s all I can say.

Onome: How and when did you get born again?

Opeyemi: I love to answer that question with a smile because that was how I experienced a sudden change in my life. I got born of Christ totally, and finally in the year 2017, with my husband’s help, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It happened through a phone conversation also, all just within a space of three months.

Onome: How did you meet your husband?

Opeyemi:  I have been waiting for this to come. I met my husband at my brother’s wedding. I was to serve his food that day, he appreciated me and my stature. That was how the friendship started, but it was just a lustful friendship. We had to break up our friendship for a while, I guess it’s the Lord’s doing, in order to make the relationship a pure one because we were already lusting after each other, but we didn’t date. We came in contact again in the first month in January of 2017.

Onome:  How did you guys start dating?

Opeyemi: We were just discussing on phone that day and he asked me a strange question, “Can you marry a pastor?” I never wanted to marry a pastor but I told him to let the will of God be done. I was not born again then oo! but I was tired of the promiscuous lifestyle. So my behaviour had reduced to the minimum, you know as a normal worldly person, one boyfriend at a time. So he told me to go and pray about it, which I did but what I did not understand, was how someone would have peace about an issue when you are not saved? Because I had peace to go with him when I prayed about him that was how we started.

 He gave me different books and asked me to read the Bible every day, starting from the new testament and explain what I read in the book, then take pictures and send it to him every day. Until one day, I told him I masturbated and he asked if I have given my life to Christ, I said yes but no more in Christ; so he led me to Christ that day. Onome, 2017 was the year the Lord changed my story.

Onome: After you got born again, did you still have sex?

Opeyemi: Yes I did but with a man. Truth is, addiction is not something you just stop, it’s gradual. I had sex four or five times before my wedding.

Onome: Was it with your husband?

Opeyemi: My husband fulfilled his promise to abstain from sex until we got married but I did not. I had sex anytime I needed something urgently and it was delaying.

Onome: Was your husband aware you did this?

Opeyemi: I confessed to my husband and he forgave me. Each time I messed up I felt bad but I was relieved when I confessed to him and we moved on.

Onome: When would you say you stopped?

Opeyemi: I just knew it was gradual but a few months to my wedding I stopped totally. I honestly think I’m a product of grace. God loves me and He is a merciful father. I saw God’s love through my husband. I kept messing up but he chose to stay with me. We got married 22nd September 2018 and God gave us a son in June 2020. Like I said I’m a product of God’s love.

Onome: Thank you for sharing your story Opeyemi. Hope you don’t mind me interviewing your husband for a follow up of this story?

Opeyemi: He is looking forward to it. He was the one who encouraged me when I got the nudge to share my story.

Onome: Thank you!

CONCLUSION

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2: 4-5.

Opeyemi’s story felt like I was listening to Hosea and Gomer’s story in real life. It’s a story of God’s love! I don’t how far you think you have gone but our father is rich in Mercy and love. He is waiting for you and just like Opeyemi, he will give you beauty for ashes.

Ps: Fam, I would be interviewing Opeyemi’s husband very soon for a follow up of this story. Stay tuned!

RELATED: JEMIMA: GETTING OFF THE SHACKLES OF ADDICTION

You have my love,

Onome

DAVID AND VICTORIA: WHEN GOD WRITES THE LOVE STORY

There is nothing regular about this couple; theirs is a story of love, patience, God’s intervention and grace. It is not just exciting but it is also a beautiful story.

David and Victoria are my friends and their love would make you jealous. The way David watches out for Victoria and the way he protects her, is something I admire. The interesting thing about them is their friendship. Victoria is the shy one while David is quite outspoken. It’s a perfect blend but what amazes me the most, is how they always look out for each other.

Beyond love and affection, is the commitment they share and how passionate they are about purpose. Victoria has been a great helpmeet and I’ve seen how she supports and encourages David when he goes out to minister or when he holds his programme.

Another gist about this couple is that they share the same birthdate and today is their birthday.

Interviewing this couple was a great experience because they were both real and their story is one you will learn from.

It is time to meet this beautiful couple, so grab your bottle of orange juice and get a slice of cake to step down with, while you read how God wrote Victoria and David’s love story.

Onome:  Tell us something about you and what makes you special?

Victoria:  Everything about me is special, Onome and it’s because God is my creator.  He is the most special person on earth, and He created me, thus, I am special.

I am Victoria Adeola Ibitoye (nee Ajayi), I am a child of God and an Accountant by profession, trained at the Federal Polytechnic, Offa. I served in Rivers State. I love reading, dancing, travelling and I also love music.

David: The scriptures from A to Z testify to it about me. I am special because God says so. After all, why will Christ die for a nobody?

I am David Iyanuoluwa Ibitoye. I am saved and I love Jesus more than my breath. I want to die loving Him. I am an alumnus of the great University of Ilorin; the Better By Far University, and the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. Needless to say, I am a pastor. I got born again in the year 2009. I love music, reading, travelling (not on Nigerian roads though), gisting and meditating. I’m a lazy writer but oftentimes I stumble on writing and it comes out fine…I guess.

Onome: Tell us about your waiting season

Victoria: God helped me during my waiting season because I decided from the beginning, not to play around. I wanted my first love to be my husband, and God did just that for me. Not that I didn’t have suitors, some of them looked so much “like it”, but God helped me out.

At a time, I looked at many of my friends getting engaged and I was just there, but the Holy Spirit kept encouraging me to wait and I did just that. Then God showed me, love, by giving me the best man on earth as my husband.

David: Well, when I was single, I was helped by God. I had a breakup as a teenager. I was the one who broke up. I regret that decision because I knew I hurt the lady. So, I decided never to enter into any other relationship unsure. I promised myself before God that my next girlfriend would be my wife, and God helped me.

Onome: How did you meet your husband/wife and how did you know he/she was the one?

Victoria: On the 3rd of August 2014 in church, after the Sunday school class he took, he asked me to please wait behind to see him, for an important discussion after service, which I did. Interestingly, I wasn’t expecting it. I thought he wanted to discuss some “Kingdom assignment” with me (not as if toasting me was not kingdom assignment though), to my amazement, he told me he would like to walk life’s journey with me, and that was it. He did not over-spiritualize the proposal, he didn’t try to impress me or sweep me off my feet with some spiritual talk. He just said, “I love you sister Vic, and I will like you to be my wife.” What impressed me the most was that his words were brief and straight to the point. With a little sprinkle of arrogance which I enjoyed though, he asked if I would like to be disturbed for my answer or if I would just get back to him whenever I was ready. I loved that. I told him I prefer not to be disturbed.

Actually, immediately he came, I had this inner peace in my spirit man, compared to what I had experienced with other suitors. But you know, as a lady, I didn’t want to rush into my response like that, so I told him I would get back to him, and I did on the 1st of October 2014 after being fully convinced by the Holy Spirit.

David: Actually, I have received her since 2010. That year, I was working a menial job and came home hungry one day. I was scrambling for what to eat at home but couldn’t find any. So I went to my mom’s WMU bag (Women Missionary Union, it’s the women arm of the Baptist denomination) for WMU biscuits and the likes and was disappointed again. While searching inside the bag, I saw a picture of a prison evangelism team of my church and saw my fiancée among the prison evangelists.

Then I clearly heard the Holy-Ghost say (so audibly, I had to turn back to check if someone was behind me) “That is your wife” and that was it. Though I ignored for some time because I wasn’t at first pleased with it, God had to teach me how to love His will, and if I have to choose over and over again, I would still choose my Victoria. In 2014 after having been fully convinced by the Lord and just after graduating Unilorin, I went to deliver my manifesto to her after a Sunday service. Three months later she said yes.

Onome: How was it like preparing for your wedding?

Victoria: Hmmm… I would say interesting but ours was a testimony so I would say God did it.

David: God gave us a word in Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son”… That was it. God told us in the order of heaven, the Father makes marriages for His children, so He began to give us specific instructions on what to do. He sent many angels in human form to us. For example, when it was time to get introduced and it was looking impossible, it was one of my Pastors, Reverend Shola Sangoleye, who advised us to just pick a day and trust God. We chose November 30 and God made it work. Then we were left with the wedding date. We found it hard to conclude on a day, then God just told us to pick by faith. We settled eventually for May 30, then coronavirus came. We decided we were not going to shift the day for anything. God granted our hearts’ desires and it worked out just fine. To God be the glory!

Onome: What is the place of God in choosing a partner?

Victoria: God is the author of marriage. Any relationship that will not become a snare must be God’s idea. Even with the partner that God gives you, there are lines to straighten out, not to talk of jumping into it all by yourself…

David: The thing is that no man knows himself fully, not to talk of another person. Even if you court a lady for 20 years, you still don’t get to know an inch of what she is. So, why not take the short-cut; go through her Maker who knows all about her? He calibrated her being so He is the best person to tell you if it is safe to marry some lady or not. Furthermore, God knows your capacity as a person. He gives you the partner that your faith and desire can walk with. No one is perfect, but if you choose without His leading, the probability to choose the one your faith cannot walk with is incalculable. Thus, God is not to be an after-thought after choosing someone, but the One Who directs your heart into what to do. Not all good, godly, born-again ladies are right for one o! so we must not be fooled into gambling with our marital lives.

Onome: so David and Victoria, How did you keep yourselves while dating? How did you abstain from sex, what was your secret?

David: My wife is the best person to answer this

Victoria: (smiles) Honestly, God kept us. We were determined from the onset to keep ourselves. Our father in the Lord, Reverend Paul Debo Adeyemi told us when we just started, that the lady should be at the driver’s side. I sat comfortably at the driver’s side ooo! Our Reverend further advised us that whenever we were alone, we should beware of tempting situations. We were able to achieve this. Whenever I go visiting my single fiance, I would sleepover at someone else’s place instead of his, because we were wise enough not to trust ourselves prodigally. Sex is worth waiting for. Thus, it is unwise to rush into it.

Onome: Hmmm.. Thanks, guys. The last question. What’s your advise to singles who are waiting?

Victoria: I will put it in one sentence and that sums it up; It is good to wait for God’s time because His time is the best.

David:Firstly, relax! Build a relationship with God first. Don’t start emergency prayer life when you’re looking for a partner. The God you cannot hear when you’re deciding which cloth to wear, you can never hear when deciding whom to marry.

John Piper’s daughter once said, “A girl should get so lost in God that a man has to know God to find her.” That ought to be everyone’s maxim. Just get lost in loving God, you will be found by a lover of God.

Onome: It has been a great time with you guys. Thank you for your time, we do appreciate you.

David and Victoria: Onome,  It is an honour, we appreciate the opportunity to share our story!

Onome: Oh, happy birthday guys, God bless and increase you on all sides.

David and Victoria: Onome, we appreciate. Amen. Thank you.

CONCLUSION

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;  do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take”. (Proverbs 3:5-6) NLT

There are days it gets overwhelming, I know being single is not fun when you see everyone around you getting engaged or married but God is not done with you. Let this Love story encourage you in your wait, I’ve known Victoria for more than 15 years and I know her to be so committed and faithful to God’s work and God blessed her with the best.

David had to submit his will and desire to God and God the perfect fit for his purpose and assignment. He had to allow God to teach him how to love this special woman. David has been my friend for more than 10 years and each time we talk about love and marriage, he was never worried because he believed God had his best interest at heart.

You think God is late, He is not. He is busy writing your love story, be patient and trust His timing.

I look forward to sharing your story.

PS: Don’t forget to show our couple some love in the comment section, it’s their birthday let’s wish them well.

You have my love,

Onome.

CONDEMNED TO DIE

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.” (Mathew 28:6) NLT

Life feels so hard, nothing is working and I just want to die.

Those were my words, I said that for so many years. I thought of suicide a lot of times but I never dared to try it, I was thirsty for affection and I desperately needed someone to love me. I cried myself to sleep so many nights and maybe no one loves me after all.

The church was somewhere I found myself because I had no choice, when I heard people share testimonies about God and how he spoke to them, I was jealous because I wanted what they had.

I read the bible every night because momma would ask if I had my quiet time, I enjoyed reading the stories other parts were boring as far as I was concerned. Where was this God who did all these things recorded in the bible? I had a lot of questions but who would answer them.

That was my story that was me. The one who didn’t deserve love and mercy, the one condemned to die. The devil reminded me of my pains but all Christ had to do was show me Calvary where he bled for me. He brought me freedom and grace.

Thank God the story did not end at Calvary, he was taken down to the tomb and on the third day, He resurrected!!!

Condemned to die

I can’t contain my joy that he arose. He went to hell and fought for my freedom, he defeated death so that I won’t die, he defeated sicknesses and diseases that I might live in total health. He took the fall just for me.

It took me years to understand what love meant and when I did my life took a new turn. I could understand those testimonies I was jealous about because when you come in contact with the father of light you radiate his light.

Today, all you have to do is thank God that Jesus has risen!

Your salvation is eternal.

CONCLUSION

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) NLT

I understand what pain means, I know what it means to desperately want approval but the truth is you have been looking for answers in the wrong places. Love has been knocking and all you have to do is open the door.

No one can love you the way Christ loves you. He paid the price for our freedom, he purchased us with His blood and gave us victory.

Let me end this article with the lyrics of my favourite hymn.

The strife is o’er, the battle done by Francis Pott

  1. The strife is o’er, the battle done;

The victory of life is won;

The song of triumph has begun:

Alleluia!

  • The pow’rs of death have done their worst;

But Christ their legions has dispersed;

Let shouts of holy joy outburst:

Alleluia!

  • The three sad days are quickly sped;

He rises glorious from the dead;

All glory to our risen Head:

Alleluia!

  • He closed the yawning gates of hell;

The bars from heav’n’s high portals fell;

Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell:

  1. Alleluia!

Culled from (https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Strife_Is_Oer_the_Battle_Done/)

When you are searching for love, just look at Calvary!

I recently started a podcast called “Naked” it centres on relationships and inspirations. Check it out and let me know what you think, click here to listen to my latest podcast and if you would love to download click here.

Thank you, family!!!!!!

You have my love.

Onome.

OUR ZERO NAIRA WEDDING

I almost forgot I promised God, that if He sponsors our wedding, I would share the testimony. When my husband reminded me last week, I knew the time had come to share our wedding testimony.

It was my birthday and I was meditating with the father asking Him what He would have me do this New Year and he said marriage was the next assignment. I was genuinely surprised because I felt I wasn’t ready and kept asking myself where the money for the wedding ceremony would come from. That same day, my lover proposed and I knew God meant business. After the Euphoria of the proposal, I had to ask my lover how we were going to do the wedding because there was no money anywhere and we had no rich uncles to run to.

It wasn’t just that, my lover had taken a loan from a microfinance bank about four months ago that he was still repaying and it didn’t make any sense that we would choose to get married when he was not done paying the loan but all that mattered to us was that God had given a go ahead and we were ready to obey.

After the date was chosen, we started praying and each time we prayed God kept speaking to us that he was with us. I panicked, I was scared but each time I prayed I felt this peace that passes human understanding.

Three months to the wedding, it wasn’t looking like it; then the Holy Spirit started teaching me about confessions. He told me to write what I wanted for the wedding. He also gave me Philippians 4:19 (MSG) and I went ahead to write my confessions. I started making the confessions morning and night. Each time I made the confessions I felt this new level of confidence. Two months to the wedding, it still wasn’t looking like it. Our invitation cards were not ready and it felt as though the wedding would be postponed.

My faith began to shake but my lover kept encouraging me. Watching him make plans even without the finances boosted my faith; so I took the backseat to see what God would do. I remember having a vigil with my close friends I call sisters and we prayed together. A word of prophecy came out that God would supply all my needs and I should just relax. I started praising God knowing He would come through.

We were preparing to travel home for our counselling session when the Lord told me to sow a seed. I didn’t feel like it because I already had a budget for the money at hand and as at that time, I had not bought anything and the wedding was just in two months. I called my husband and he told me to go ahead with the seed that if we wanted God to sponsor the wedding, then we have to be obedient 100%. I sowed the seed in faith and by January God started coming through.

The finances started coming in and for every monetary gift we received, we paid our tithes and in some cases, we even paid 20%. It felt stupid but since we wanted God to be the sponsor, we had to trust Him completely. Our invitations came out a month to our wedding and honestly we still had a lot to do. Needs kept coming and God kept providing. The wedding day was getting closer and God kept sending men our way to help us. Our parents kept sharing testimonies every day of how God was sending men to help and support them, they would tell us how this person dropped this and how that person donated that. I was just so dumbfounded because indeed God came through.

Two days to the wedding, my mum called me to tell me that we were yet to buy drinks. I was worried but I knew God that started the good work will complete it so I went on to sort some other needs and I completely forgot but God did it again.

My mum was telling me after the wedding how God showed up that He didn’t just provide the drinks, there was even more than enough funds to sort out every other need.

It still felt like a dream. God had gone ahead of us to make all the crooked paths straight. He made the two days glorious and He alone deserves all the glory. I also want to say a big thank you to all our friends who decided to take up the ministry of intercession; we could feel your prayers and a lot of them also made sacrifices. We had friends who gave their all, cancelled all their appointments and travelled from Thursday till Sunday. We love you guys passionately.

We enjoyed the gift of men and God showed Himself faithful indeed.

CONCLUSION

“God is not a man that He should lie, Nor the son of man that He should repent.

Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good and fulfil it?” (Numbers 23:19) Amplified bible

Planning a wedding for us was a step of faith; all we did was obey God. What is that assignment God is asking you to do or is He even telling you to get married but the present circumstances does not look like it?

Our wedding is proof that God never fails. Our resources were not enough but he multiplied our little and gave us abundance. The journey of faith requires obedience and complete trust in God knowing that He will do what He says.

If your wedding is around the corner and you are trusting God please don’t give up and at the same time don’t try to impress anyone. I tried my best not to put my husband under any pressure because I didn’t want him angry and cranky after the wedding.

We planned with what we had and God surpassed our imaginations. I don’t know what you are trusting God for but let our testimony be a proof that there is a God who never fails and with Jesus in your boat, you can smile at the storm. When it feels tough, keep praising and dancing, that weapon confuses the enemy.

God never fails.

If you missed our love story click here to read it.

You have our love!

Onome and Daniel

OUR PRE-WEDDING SHOOT

When Love happens you can’t deny and Let’s just say Love happened to me!

our pre-wedding shoot will definitely have you smiling, the wait is always worth it.

Enjoy our pictures and click here to read our love story


the chara wedding

The interesting part of the shoot is that we had fun!

the chara wedding
The chara wedding
the chara wedding

credits

Photography: @upfrontphotography

Makeup:@arikeglamhouse

White dress: @the7thbrooche

black dress: @bodacouture

suit and shirt: @xclusive_bbacouture