Nigerians Need Reorientation – Pastor (Mrs.) Yemisi Duggan
Pastor (Mrs.) Oluyemisi Duggan is the pastor, Glory Christian Ministries (GCM) CBN Estate, Satellite town is a woman of many parts. A retired senior bank manager and a product of Haggai Institute of Leadership. The church recently celebrated her 29 years anniversary and in this interview with Gracious Akintayo, the 70 years old well traveled wife, mother, grandmother and counselor, bared her mind on some life lingering situation, proffering useful solutions. Excerpt;
How would you describe the ministry journey over the years?
It’s been God all the way these 29 years. In the valley, on the mountain and when we don’t even know what to do, but god has been there and that’s about it. I can only compare it with Joseph, who throughout his life journey, God was with him. God had been with us and that’s sincerely speaking. It’s that everything has been rosy or bread and butter, but God has been with us as a church and He has brought me and the church His blessings that perhaps, if we did not go through such experiences, we would not have known. We truly appreciate God for being extremely faithful, even when we are not faithful, He is faithful.
How do you see commitment and dedication to the service of God in today’s Christianity?
By my personal experience, to serve God, you have to go out of your way. Because, you don’t serve God, just because you are a Christian. You serve God personally because you love Him and if He gives you the understanding of what He wants you to do and you know that He is faithful God, what He says He would do, He would do, and then you will not give much attention to the obstacles. Honestly, it is God all the way. That’s where the commitment comes from. It is either we are committed to God to fulfill His purposes or just to make people see us committed because it is the in thing, it doesn’t last. But when we truly know Him personally, we will serve Him personally and He will give us the grace to love Him and to work with Him. Then every day, the commitment is like in phases, a cedar that receives its source and it will continue growing. Personally, I love God and I just love God, I don’t know how else to say it, but I love God and I know God loves me a lot. Everything I do is because I love God, not just because I am a Christian or for any award or fear of missing it or because I want to make it. Not at all, but purely, I do all I do, because I love God personally and passionately, that is all about me. I sincerely thank God for other people God has used to encourage me in the journey of faith, the one He has used to chastise me, sharpen me and I am standing because, first and foremost, His love in my heart, nothing else. The love for God has seen me through everything.
What is your opinion on leadership and mentorship among Christians?
Today, most people don’t really want to be mentored. It is the people that have the spirit of God dwell inside of them, who can see and have an idea of where God is taking them to that stands to be mentored. You will know a person the spirit of God is working in, that’s when it is easy to mentor. I was mentored by my parents in the Lord, Dr. and Pastor (Mrs.) I. S James. Though, I didn’t understand perfectly well where God was leading me. But, because I love Him, when He says, go, I go, and when He says, stay there, I stay there. I submissively moved and worked closely with them, carried out their instructions, listened to details, understudied them and really learned from them. And doing all these is not to please them or was I expecting any returns. But, because I love God, that’s the way He led me to be mentored. Unfortunately, a lot of things are done academically when we are in the spiritual realm. I believe that everyone that God calls, if we truly listen to the Holy Spirit, He will always give us direction. It is not easy, because flesh will always be there. Just have a little clue and idea of what God is telling you. Imagine, God telling me to leave your job and the next thing he wants me to be doing is to be going to my pastor’s house every day. You leave your job and go to Pastor James and his wife’s house every day?! Nobody could understand it, even I, I’m sure, and he also didn’t understand it at that time. But that’s what I was doing everyday for years. I thank God for the power today, I thank God for the love and their love towards me too. Because, how on earth can you just be coming to wake up a family every morning when actually you are not on their payroll or signed a contract with them, it’s funny and ridiculous. But the truth is, that’s how God mentored me. Then, nobody could understand, even my own family, they couldn’t fathom it; they just left alone. Some people in my neighborhood at Ajao Estate then were wondering. So, in the area of mentoring, that’s how God mentored me and I really give Him the glory for the grace of how He mentored me. That experience is my strength today. Honestly, at that time, I didn’t understand, when God told me to go to their place, I didn’t understand. But, I love God and whatever He asked me to do, I do for Him.
What advice do you have for young and upcoming ministers?
If God calls you, He already has given you a father and mentor. You would know when you have the spirit of God after you become born again. Because, no one can be born again without the spirit of the Lord, but when He draw you to God, if you stay where He wants you to be or should be, He will let you know who will be your mentor or who shouldn’t be, who you should listen to or not and what you should do. Years ago, while I was working before I was born again, I didn’t know scripture, but I dreamt of quoting a scripture, “I beseech now brethren, by the mercy of God…..”. It was after I became born again that I searched for it in the bible, then I realized God was telling me what to do about my body and my mind. It was the Holy Spirit that told me, you ought to go to church. If we truly walk with Him and attend to Him, He would let you know where He wants you to be, even if there are challenges, He would let you know and if you’re to leave there, you will know. There are a lot of fleshy things that will want to uproot you, but if you walk with the Holy Spirit, He will let you know. Even at the very depth of your own worst situation, you will know. He’s a loving father, He does not want to hate you, He does not want to destroy you but at the same time, He’s pleading with us. If you listen to Him and make up your mind to obey Him all things will work out for your good.
What do you think is lacking in the present day generation of youth?
I feel there’s a gap between this present generation and the old generation. The old generation should make an effort to move closer to the present generation. Because, the new generation can’t see, but the old can see (there’s no amount of new cloth that a child will have that will supersede the number of rags the older one has). But, because of the mental state and the mindset of the new generation, the old generation should not just close their eyes against them, they should move closer. It is going to be easier for us older generation to learn more about the technology and when we begin to show interest in what they are doing, in the process of getting close to them and saying they’re teaching us what they know better than us, we too will have the opportunity to teach them what we know better than them. At the same time, at this present age, the respect of every individual regardless of how, should always be there. As Christians, if we need to teach them respect, we too need to move closer to them, be friends with them; it is not by forcing them or just by the pulpit, but by relationship. That way, the good of our own, we can pass to them and we will see that the enemy will not take opportunity, and their own good too is technology, we too can catch up to receive from them and the church of Jesus Christ will be blessed.
What is your reaction on the present state of Nigeria?
An adage says, a crooked person that has a k-leg carrying a load and you are telling him that the load is crooked, why don’t you look from the ground. That is the case with Nigeria, even if you are going to do anything, it’s from the grassroots. We are always looking at just the leaders. In the schools, in the colleges we have to start changing the mindset of our children, teach them valued character. Like what China is doing now and how they are training their own children from kindergarten valued character, building their mindset. And for our economy, the day Nigerians are satisfied with Nigeria’s things we will see changes. When our priority is no more made abroad or imported, we will see changes. When we are satisfied with our own adire that is made in Abeokuta and become proud of things that are made here, that will be the end of our situation as a nation and until that attitude of flying there and flying here is stopped. In the long run, these are things that are destroying us and there’s no reason they cannot fly here. We have so much in this country, and so blessed that, if we focus on what we have and harness them, the world will come to us and want what Nigeria has. But, we are too concerned about importation. We have what other countries don’t have in terms of human and intellectual capacity, strong and energetic people, good weather and natural resources. Let us just pray, God will help us do away with corruption and indiscipline in our system. That’s why it has to start from the grass root. There are some little, little things we have to do for ourselves in the area of discipline, but we will leave them decaying waiting for the government to come and do them. Personally, I don’t have much to do for Nigeria, except to pray every day, because this is my Jerusalem. Every day, I pray for this nation and the leadership, for them to see and understand. Our leaders travel out there, but don’t learn. The problem of Nigeria, only God can solve it. It’s not the doing of a particular man, because as that man is planning to build, others are there planning to destroy. Unless God intervenes, but from the onset as the children are growing up and are being taught another mindset concerning Nigeria, that’s what they will grow up with. Also, we need to start curbing our excesses and extravagant lifestyle to moderation of minimizing the cost of living. Honestly, Nigerians need reorientation and we need to orientate the mindset of our children to work hard and earn money responsibly and honourably, rather than working to steal money and corruptly enrich themselves.