My name is Pastor James Osayande George. I am from Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. The story of my salvation journey is a quite interesting one built upon the foundation of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.
I was born into a family of five, just me, and my four sisters. I had an awesome childhood for the first six years of my life with my siblings and my dad (it was a broken home and I didn’t even know my mother in person nor live with her) until my father died and our world seemingly collapsed. It went from great to rough and although we attended an Orthodox Church, we didn’t know Jesus Christ personally. My dad had taught us to pray the regular prayer rituals and attend church meetings but we had no personal submission to the faith and so lived the way we liked.
Life was rough and so we all became. Father was dead and mum hardly stopped by, and so we kids looked out for ourselves and we tried everything we could to stay safe and protected. Well, at the age of thirteen while still in junior secondary school, I had my first real encounter with God. Before this, I had this inner hole I yearned to have filled up and so I tried everything I could to fill it but nothing. I had a fear of doing wrong especially before the public and so I stayed away from such but it still secret obsessions or lies or the hole in my heart.
So I kept following others to church hoping one day I’d find Him. Having been in the children’s choir and being devoted to church only made me committed and church conscious but not God-conscious. I was morally sound by spiritually I was not yet there. I had answered so many altar calls that I lost count. I had tasted paper cigarette to real ones, and also dry gin before age 10. By age 12, I already knew what it meant to be drunk, to approach a woman, and had also polluted my mind with all forms of sexual and immoral materials.
But that encounter with God that faithful day struck a change in me. I had started thinking a lot about my life and had decided to just take my faith walk seriously, at least try to live what I heard week in week out. So I spent more time meditating and praying. Then, one morning, I was in the room alone with my Bible and just praying and studying when I sensed that “Someone” had stepped into the room. I couldn’t see anyone but the room grew cold and all the air on my body stood erect, yet there was no breeze moving the curtain nor was I afraid. Deep within me, I sensed a powerful calm as I’ve never sensed before. Right there and then I heard voices of scriptures I had never read before and wrote them down. When j put them together, they were like sentences being put together to communicate with me. That experience marked the beginning of my Christian journey till now.
This soon became my sanctuary daily. When I get back from school, I’d eat and freshen up and the next thing I’m off to the room and it’d look like the Lord was there waiting for me. It was from these encounters I learned to hear God and it was from here I saw what God would have me do the rest of my life: preach the gospel and through teaching, bring people bound by sin and doctrines into a personal experiential relationship with Jesus Christ.
A few years later, while in the university, I was called by God into the mission. I left school almost immediately to the Muslim north of Nigeria where I served in a local Bible-based Pentecostal church (the church I was groomed as a young Christian years before) as the resident Pastor for a period of five years. Those five years deepened my root in Christ as I learned to trust God for everything I needed, from supplies to grace and wisdom in ministering to the people. Also, I began to sharpen my writing and teaching abilities while I served and worked in a secondary school as principal-admin, school fellowship coordinator, and class teacher. It wasn’t easy but I was happy and fulfilled. One prayer I prayed was that as I was offering the sacrifice of myself, my family would be saved too, and in a few years, God answered me. My mom found Christ and came home, and my siblings all grew up in the faith and settled as leaders in their local churches.
Serving in the harsh conditions of the Muslim north of Nigeria taught me endurance, faith, and clarity in service of the Kingdom of God and the pursuit of His desire for me personally. I have since worked with youth and ministry leaders through diverse local programs and sessions until God asked me to move to the southern part of Nigeria for the work He has called me to do more specifically. Now I focus on my teaching ministry through my writings and online ministry: The Fireplace Bible Study Campaign (a daily Bible study accountability and discussion group on WhatsApp that focuses on helping people commit to doing personal Bible study, taking notes, and discussing their insights with others as they cover specific books of the Bible together), This Chariot Blog (my dedicated blog and general online publications via audio, videos on YouTube and WhatsApp devotional broadcasts). These are some of the arms of God’s Mighty Men Network, a non-denominational network dedicated to teaching Jesus Christ as the light of the world and engaging in online or offline activities that will bind men to God resulting in their healing, restoration, and deliverance in salvation. It is still a developing work seeing I just recently began moving in the direction.
But God has been faithful, sending partners and helpers and also guiding me per course of action. I am also on the verge of releasing my first book in electronic format (E-book). The title is Your Journey with God. It’s a book that gathers together 10 years of my experiences with God and men in my journey through life and also what I have learned are some of the most important elements to be pursued and lived within life. It should be available on Amazon by June 2020.
It’s been an amazing journey so far and I do believe in what lies ahead if the Lord tarries.