My name is Oluwatoyin Abidemi Abiona. I am from Abeokuta Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria. Currently, I live in Ifo, Ogun State, and I am called to preach the gospel. Therefore, I am thankful for the Bible and ministry training at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about online Bible courses, Click Here).
I was born into a Christian family. In our home, attending Sunday school is a must. Every Sunday evening, our dad called us to recite the memory verse we learned in the morning and briefly explain the text read. Your inability to do this may earn you some stroke of the cane from our dad, a strict disciplinarian. I wouldn’t say I liked being caned, so I was always the first person to get to my Sunday school class. This explains why, at age twelve, I could recite most Bible passages correctly. I was also familiar with the story of Jesus Christ.
My Ministry Call
In my teenage year, I developed a passion for Jesus Christ. I wanted to know Him more. This led me to read the Bible from cover to cover several times. I also was fond of reading every Christian book that came my way. In addition, I love to sing praises to God. So, I joined the choir and rose to become the choirmaster in my local church. Then, on May 1, 1989, I was lying on my bed when I had a vision in which I saw Jesus Christ. He told me that he had work for me to do and asked if I would do it. Of course, I answered in the affirmative. Then Jesus told me, “Go and preach the gospel to the world, heal the sick, and plant churches in my Name. I send you as a prophet to the world.”
My Gospel Band Ministry
However, as much as I had a passion for Jesus Christ and the church, I never thought I would be a pastor. I am naturally a shy person. Yet, I am more comfortable singing before an audience than addressing them. Hence, instead of starting a church, I formed a gospel band. The band was doing well. I was training the youth who would later become the vocal leaders or choirmasters in their various churches.
One day after rehearsal, my band members had left me behind in our rehearsal studio. Suddenly, I heard the Lord speaking to my heart, “Well done, my servant. You are training people to lead songs and choir in my church, but that is not what I called you to do. I called you to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and plant churches in my Name. I sent you as a prophet to the world.” Then, I said, “Lord, how can I be a pastor? Naturally, I am a shy person, and I don’t know how I will face speaking your Word to them. Why don’t you allow me to continue to sing?” He said, “I gave you the gift to sing to help you in your ministry.” Then I said with a tone of finality, “But, Lord, I don’t want to become a pastor.”
After this, I didn’t hear from Him again. So I thought that settled the case. But alas! That was the beginning of my travail. Within a few months, I mysteriously lost my lucrative job as an assistant maintenance officer in a multi-national company and everything I had ever worked for. My wife moved out of our house and took our daughter with her. She never returned until before her demise in 2017. I was ejected from my rented apartment. From the year 1996 – the year 2000, I lived in hell on earth. I had no house to live in and no job at hand. Friends and family deserted me. I wished to die, but I don’t know what stopped me from committing suicide.
Saved by God’s Grace
Then, in the first quarter of the year 2000, I came across a former colleague who was a born-again Christian. He was surprised to see me in such a pitiful position. After hearing my story, he told me that my problems would be over if I gave my life to Jesus and answered his call. He took me to his pastor, who led me to Jesus. The day I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior and told Him that I would truly serve Him, I began to experience peace in my mind. I was and am truly born again. I was discipled for 18months under the pastor who led me to Jesus.
Answering God’s Call
Now I know that I can not run away from the work of the Master. In the year 2010, the Holy Spirit directed me to join a gospel church. For three years, I served Jesus wholeheartedly in almost every department in that church. Then, in 2013, the Lord put it in my mind to go out and start the ministry he called me to. This time, I was ready to do the work even though I wasted over twenty years before.
Finally, I started the church on August 23, 2015, at Ifo, a rural town in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria. Being a person passionate about acquiring more knowledge, I knew I needed ministry training. Training would qualify me to answer my ministry calling and that I would not teach heresy. So I proposed going to Bible School but couldn’t bear the expense, considering that I am still struggling as a pioneer pastor.
Bible and Ministry Training at CLI
With the Holy Spirit’s help, I began to check on the internet for free Bible and ministry training. Thank God I came across Christian Leaders Institute. Going through the Getting Started class proved that I really need this Bible and ministry training more than anything. Already I have learned many new topics, which ordinarily I would not know if I was not at CLI. I want to thank President Henry Reyenga and the CLI staff for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. God bless CLI, CLC, and CLA!