HOW A NOTORIOUS CULTIST RECEIVED CHRIST AND WAS SAVED
This story of conversion is made public with the aim of helping many people who are still in bondage and slavery of cultism to realize that there is still hope for them to change their ways. The only hope I am referring to is to sincerely accept Christ as Lord and Savior, knowing that people are doomed for eternal destruction without the saving grace of Jesus Christ – Rom. 8:1-2; Jn. 1:12-13.
As you share my moment of divine encounter with the Savior with a willing heart, I pray that the Lord will divinely bring you to that encounter just the way He did for me.
THE STORY OF OKOI
My name is Okoi, a young man at my late thirties hailed from Ekori in Cross River State, Nigeria. I was born and raised in a Christian home by my Christian parents which is why I can’t blame my prodigality on my parents. I attest to their effort to raise me in a godly way and to give me a good life as their first child in a family of six children. I came up as a promising and aspiring young man with the passion to become responsible and great. This passion of mine came to bear as embodied in my resilience to studies and excellent performance through my primary, secondary and early stage of my University education. Given my flare for architecture, I opted to study architecture at Cross River University of Technology 2004/2005 academic session. I was committed to my studies and performed well up to second year but my ordeal started in my third year when I was deceived by friends to join cultism with the fake promises of making my stay in school easy and enjoyable; they promised me financial and job leverage immediately after my studies. In fact, I was promised the ‘easy way of life,’ and little did I know that I was setting my feet on the path of doom and regret – Matt. 7:13-14.
This singular decision was my undoing, my whole life and dreams were marred, and my University Education was truncated. I was so engrossed into cult activities in my third year so much that I paid no attention to my studies again and the worst of it was that I was still deceiving and collecting so much money from my parents as if I was still a student, but only to enable me pay my cult membership dues and finance cult activities. Consequently, my academic performance dropped so badly that I was withdrawn from school after been placed on several probation without the knowledge of my parents. I gave in to smoking, drugs, humiliation of students to forcefully get money and other valuables from them, intimidation of lecturers for grades, cult execution missions, abuse and assault of young girls, initiation of other students and lot more. Few years later when my parents realized that I was withdrawn from school long ago, my dad whom I have made financially broke could not contain the shock, he died of heartbreak because all his effort on me ended in futility.
After the death of my dad, I hopelessly returned to my home town because my cover of self-delusion was blown-off. There in the village we were used by politicians as political thugs, empowered with deadly weapons for rigging of elections and intimidation of political opponents. My ordeal degenerated to the point that I started raising hopeless children as an irresponsible father and my health was terribly affected just like the Bible says “there is no peace for the wicked” – [Isa. 48:22; 57:21], I had no peace. My life was at the width-end, graduating from bad to worst. I looked and before me was my destruction but I was not able to help myself, instead I despised my mum’s warnings and that of concerned persons.
MY TURNING POINT
I bless God for that faithful Sunday morning (10/05/2020) I woke up with a strong push to attend service after a long time I left Church. It was indeed the hand of God upon me. This day marked a drastic turning point in my life. I obeyed my instinct and went to Church, though I attended the service late, I met the message which was prepared by Evangelist Obeten, S. U. on the topic: “OBEY GOD”. As I listened to the word of God, it was as if the preacher was talking to me directly. My heart melted in godly sorrows and tears started rolling out of my eyes uncontrollably. I was convicted of my terrible sins and atrocities, and felt a deep need for the help of the Saviour Jesus Christ. At the end of the preaching, the preacher made an altar call for those who want to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. I came out willingly and was prayed for, I also opted to see the preacher for a private discussion after the worship service. The preacher attended to me and I confessed my past life to him. He spent time to counsel me with the scriptures and thereafter took me through the five primary steps to salvation:
- Hearing the word of God – Rom. 10:13-14; Acts 2:37
- Believing the word of God – Rom. 10:9-10,14; Eph. 2:8-9
- Repentance – Acts 2:38
- Confession and forsaking of sins/confessing Christ as your personal Lord and Savior – Rom. 10:9-10
- Baptism – Act2:38; Jn. 3:1-6
Haven gone through these simple steps; I had an understanding of what it means to be baptized. When the preacher asked me what my decision is, I told him I have decided to surrender completely to the Lordship of Jesus by being baptized. The preacher arranged for my baptism and I was baptized fully into the body of Christ. From that day, my life changed from bad to good as the Bible says in 2Corinthians 5:17 “that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”. By God’s grace, I am presently going through the new convert class of the Church where I am learning what is required of my new life in Christ. The Church is also giving me a very strong spiritual support system through consistent visitation, encouragement and prayer.
My final word to my readers and many out there who may be enslaved by the deadly snare of cultism and other related crimes or sins is that just as Jesus Christ saved me who was a chief sinner from the destructive web of cultism, He can do same to you if you surrender to Him following the simple steps to salvation highlighted above. Christ has not condemned you, so don’t condemn yourself, instead take a step of faith, believe and accept Jesus Christ He will help you, like did for me. I am convinced that God kept you alive to share in my divine and miraculous encounter of salvation so that you too will be saved or avoid making my kind of horrible mistakes. God bless you with grace to make that right decision that will transform your whole life for good today.
In Christian love,
Pastor Sunday Obeten, Nigeria, Africa.