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Nothing to Struggle with God, He Rearrange Lives for the Next Level – Pastor (Mrs.) Ambe Femi Asiwaju

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Nothing to Struggle with God, He Rearrange Lives for the Next Level – Pastor (Mrs.) Ambe Femi Asiwaju 

Pastor (Mrs.) Josephine Ambe Femi Asiwaju was recently pronounced and formally ordained Senior Pastor of Word of Light Evangelical Christian Assembly, Ojodu Berger, Lagos. One year after the passing away of her beloved husband and the founding pastor, Pastor Babafemi Asiwaju. She was formally confirmed and ordained by Apostle General Ansalem Madubuko during the church 2024 anniversary and annual convention held at the Church headquarters with the theme; Exchange.

A down to earth vessel, sought after conference speaker and Bible teacher. She was the Director of Planning and Strategies for Lagos State Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) women wing and the host of annual Productive Woman Summit in Lagos since 2010 to empower, encourage and expose women to take up life challenges. Her passion is to see women rise up out of gender limitations. In this interview with Gracious Akintayo, Pastor Ambe Femi Asiwaju paid glowing tribute to her late husband and spoke extensively on her marriage, ministry, widowhood, passion for God, service to humanity and future of her new church. Excerpt:

Congratulations ma on your next level and new beginning

Thank you. 

You’ve been a leader in the ministry and a pastor’s wife. Now transiting into a church pastor, how would you describe the journey?  

As I speak, God is enlarging my voice and He is more than enough in all things. Though I’ve been in the ministry, but I gave my life to Christ in 1984 and in 1987, God told me, He’s going to make me to bring laughter to homes, be a blessing to people and a comforter to others through the ministry of help. I still have it in my diary where I wrote it and other things God has laid in my heart. As a matter of fact, this is just the beginning.

Pastor (Mrs.) Josephine Ambe Femi Asiwaju with late husband, Pastor Olufemi Asiwaju, the Founding Pastor, Word of Light Evangelical Christian Assembly, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.

Since I gave my life to Christ as a youth, I have been in the leadership. I’ll be elected to lead at every fellowship I attend. But I never thought or plan to be a pastor and it has not crossed my mind to be a church pastor. I knew, I have a call of God, but never imagined I’ll be a church pastor. That’s why when you walk with God; you don’t see the end of it. He opens your eyes to each phase, and as each phase finishes, He brings you up to another phase. The Word of God says our light get brighter and brighter. That is how the vision also gets brighter and brighter, as we mature in faith, God begins to open your eyes to greater and bigger vision. He might want you to occupy a big place, but He knows, in you is not yet built the strength to occupy it. So He gives you part time as He prepares you. For me, this is not a whole of surprise, but I’ve never envisaged it. I just felt I was going to continue doing my usual ministry thing and just being a pastor, not pastoring a church. It never crossed my mind and I’ve not desired it, not to talk of dreaming it. So, I see it as God’s way of arranging life.

In the place of prayer, God told me, this was His plan and purpose all this while. But I won’t see it and the time for this has come. It means, He has prepared me for this. All that I have been going through in life was for this and God is saying, come to this next level; it’s a very big space and huge. For God to have picked me I see it as a great privilege, it’s an honor and not something I deserved, not because of my righteousness or because I’ve not sin. But His mercy reached out to me and only mercy that can make me be where I am today and only His grace can make me go through what I’ve gone through and still stand, smiling. Now I know why God allowed those things to happen, so it’s not a surprise and it’s also a surprise. It’s not a surprise because I know I was called into the ministry, but surprise because I didn’t know I was going to be called in this place and in this capacity.

Pastor (Mrs.) Femi Asiwaju welcoming the ministry of Apostle General Ansalem Madubuko to WOLECA anniversary

At our last anniversary when the set man was alive, he publicly made a statement in the presence of some pastors and said, henceforth, Word of Light is taking a new phase and the further or the shorter or the closure or the lifting of Word of Light Evangelical Church is dependent on this woman. I was short of words that he said amongst pastors and thought it was his usual way of joking. Even while saying it, it wasn’t because he was going to leave, it was God speaking through him.

It was after he left I realized, this was what this man was saying. So, I’m not surprised, because he had been telling me I’m called into this. But surprised, I have to be pastor of a church. And like Moses did to Joshua, Apostle Ansalem Madubuko had conferred on me the grace and anointing to confirm my calling me into the apostolic ministry. And in the place of prayer, I was asking God to usher me into the apostolic ministry. I want a five-fold ministry and the manifestation with proof. I am not talking of the apostle by name or title, but about the grace for the five-fold apostolic ministry and when Apostle Madubuko came to minister at our anniversary, he made the pronunciation and declaration of my apostolic ministry to confirm God answers my prayer. It was great and amazing to experience how God works out what He wants to do.

How God works, sometimes as hard and painful as it is, the reality that I have to step on the shoe of the set man, that somebody have to go for one to be raised. When he was alive, one of the things he did was, he always pushed me, showcased me and tell people who I am and what this woman is capable of doing. That’s what he made of me; he never pulls me down, always lift me up. Now, it’s like riding on his wings, on what he placed on me and I’m not starting on a new ground. I am standing on a new platform, on an existing protocol of what God has done in the life of Rev. Femi Asiwaju, if not, I will not be here today.

Pastor (Mrs.) Ambe Femi Asiwaju, the Snr. Pastor, WOLECA, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.

I have been anointed and called. But I have never had this platform; Asiwaju had to leave for me to be here. I know what God told me when I wanted to marry him, initially, I was praying and planning to marry a man who people will see and say, she’s a covetous woman. I didn’t want to marry a pastor; I wanted a man who is a God-fearing, a Christian who has it all, I mean enough resources to support my ministry (smiles). That was my prayer to God. But, when he came into my life, I told God this man does not have that particular aspect I want in a man. Yes, he is a man of God, but I don’t want a pastor, I want somebody who will support my ministry with enough resources, because I know the ministry You have called me into is big and required resources. So I need a man who has enough resources and God told me, I am your platform and resources. 

Can you confirm that he’s probably been praying for someone like you?

Late Pastor Babafemi Asiwaju, the Founding Pastor, Word of Light Evangelical Christian Assembly, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.

 

Yes, I guess so. God knew the sincerity of our heart and probably he might have been praying for someone that would speak what he meant and understand the meaning. 

Because when I first came to this church, not as his wife, I was on official assignment from PFN to come and visit the church. When I came in, God started speaking to me, change this man’s clothes, change his shoes, can’t you see the kind of clothes he was putting on? I looked at the suit he was wearing, looked at the shoe and I said to myself, God, why is this man dressed like that? Of course, he was a widower and I wasn’t thinking of marrying him. But, I started hearing God telling me, change his clothes. Then I shot my mind off that scenario and said to myself, focus on the official assignment of why you’re in the church, not on assessment of the pastor. Again, my eyes went round the church and I heard a voice saying to me, that chair there, I said you should change it, the chair doesn’t look good on the altar and the rug should be changed.

God was telling me to change things in a church I wasn’t a member but only came on official assignment. When I eventually came into his life, this man left the wheel for me that am sure he prayed that prayer. He left the wheel of the church for me for almost two years and I was totally in charge of running the church. The only thing he does is to go and preach. That’s all he does, preaching on Wednesday and Sundays.

The Apostle General formally anoint and confirm, Pastor (Mrs.) Femi Asiwaju as the Senior Pastor of Word of Light Evangelical Christian Assembly (WOLECA), Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.

When people come for counseling he will direct them to go and see mummy or if there is something to be talk about, he will say go and tell mummy. I was literally like he was looking for somebody to help him. Somebody that can sustain his vision, keeps the work going for him and no sooner that I came, it was like a relief for him. He just made me take over.

Sometimes when they invite him to come and minister, he’ll say I wish they know you and you they invite. My husband will be given a message topic and he will bring the topic to me to write the message for him and when he goes out to preach, he will say I’m reading what my wife gave me. That was the kind of man I married. He was praying for help in every capacity and I thank God I was there to give him the help he needed. Because I perceive the dream of every man that has a vision is to have somebody that continues the vision.

The Apostolic impartation

I was having issues to if I should actually continue,  because I wasn’t thinking of being a church pastor. But to be sure, I asked God for three things and within 24 hours all the things I asked were coming in sequence with proof that He wants me to continue and I have nowhere to run. I said, God, I’m here.

How would you describe God in your life? 

A prophet in the bible said, God deceived me and I was deceived. You can’t know God and His ways. He is a perfect planner. Nothing takes Him by surprise and as bad as situations could be, God is still in it. He planned this, that this church will not stop and He has to bring a woman He has prepared for that. I was prepared for this before I ever married him. So it wasn’t an accident and His ways, you can’t know it all. When God wants to do something, He will do it the way He wants. He does not follow process and protocol that you have to go to be this, you have to be that and that is how I see God doing with me. God was doing like, do what you want, until He cycled me around to be in the middle of where He wants me to be. There’s nothing to struggle with God.

Group photograph of some invited guest and ministers at the WOLECA anniversary

I have never in my slightest imagination, God has this plan and that’s why you can’t say, I know how God is going to do it. Today, I’m a church pastor and I didn’t plan it. But God planned it. I didn’t dream about it, lobby for it or struggle for it. That is why you can’t predict God, His ways are unknown, He’s unsearchable. The way He does His things, you can’t understand it. The way He ends up to bring it, you cannot dictate it. What He wants to do, He will do. It might not sound good to you, because I don’t know why I have to lose men for me to get here. But God is in it all.

When I’m crying, I just say, God, I’m sorry for crying, because you were in it. So to describe God is funny, because there is no way you can describe Him. You can’t describe His plan and can’t know His plan. But for how far He has brought me, I am saying, God, have your way. That’s it!  

What is your advice to ladies preparing for marriage in case of things like this and to those who thought they have lost it (single mothers)? How can they get their way back? 

I always tell every single lady, you can have your agenda, but leave God to handle it. You have your plan, you have the kind of man you want, but tell God, give me Your kind of man. It’s not that I don’t want a man, I want a man who is a Christian, not a pastor, but a Christian, who is fervent. And God said, this is the man I want to give you. He didn’t have the resources I was looking for and the big church I was thinking of. But God says that I’m giving you a small church, I’m taking you to Nineveh, not Tarsus. Tarsus is a big place, but I’ll take you to where you’ll be lifted, where you will not struggle and where you will find relevance. For every single woman waiting and saying, I want to have a man who has it all, you won’t have it all, because every human has its part in Him. But try to seek the one that loves God and loves you, and he is in the plan of God. This is the plan of God for me and I can tell you, as much as this man is dead, I have no regret.

First official pastoral duty with leaders and elders of the church

Those who were coming before him are still alive and I have not sat one day to think, if I had married any of those one. I am very grateful to God that I married Femi, and I spent a few days, (irrespective of how short we have lived together, we lived a wonderful time together and it is not how short, but how well). I know the story of this man from his birth, yet some women don’t know the quarter of their husband’s story whom they have been married for 20 years. That’s to tell you how we have lived. So for every single woman, there is still hope for you.

Most of the time, we close our chapters when God has not closed our chapters. If I had closed my chapter after my first marriage, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this one. I have enjoyed quality five years with Femi and it was as if I enjoyed 50 years.

I have been married twice and I lost my husbands. That’s my trademark and I will say it anywhere without shame, I lost the first and the second. When I lost the first, I thought life was finished because I thought nobody can love me the way he loved me. When Femi came, he never gave me the space to look back and regret ever missing the first one. I saw a brother giving the other brother a baton to continue running. It’s like somebody stopped here and give the other the baton. When the first man finished, he handed the baton to Femi and Femi ran it very well. Let’s not close our chapters when God has not closed our chapters. No matter what, even if you are 60, don’t think God cannot give you sweetness again. You can find goodness.

Pastor Mrs.) Femi Asiwaju with a guest couple

From your experience, how do you see the exchange of transition and succession?

The transition from being just a pastor to being a church pastor is scary. I wasn’t even his church member, just from my own church as a minister and married to him as being a pastor’s wife. So, from just being a pastor, I was running my own ministry and was in charge of the ministry. I married a pastor and had to sit under a pastor, it wasn’t easy. I had to wait for him even when I knew what to do. But my case was different, when I came, he gave me a lead way and as much as he gave me a go-ahead, I knew that I have a head. But he firmly never let me feel or felt  that I was beneath to him as a pastor. In our flyers, its co-pastors or host pastors. He said he is not beneath me, it is always host pastors. The only thing I don’t plan for him is his message. It was like he was already preparing as I entered his life. 

If you start saying transition, the only transition I will talk about is the transition of having a pastor or somebody standing with you and now you being alone, being in charge. That time, no matter how, he was in charge, we were not. He was thinking we were together, but I knew I was not in charge. I always go to him to ask as long as he gives direction. And if there is any decision I need to take, I go back to him. Inasmuch as he would tell me, do what is right, I would still go back to him and say, daddy, this is what we should do, this is what I thought and he’d said, okay, go ahead. But he ends up with the decision. Now, this is where the transition is, that I don’t have to go back to somebody. It is not an easy task.

WOLECA Choir was in their best ministration

That was what scared me and was afraid of, can I run it? Can I do it and do I have the power or the anointing to do it? With other questions begging for an answer, I was scared. So that fear of being in charge was there, I am okay doing things under somebody, but not being in charge. God told me, relax as My daughter. Don’t go as a pastor; go as My daughter. And that’s why I’m going as His daughter. After I come down from the pulpit, the story of me and the church is no more the same.  Because I want to be a mother before being any other thing, I want to be a sister before being a pastor and I want to relate in a way that the people will see me, not see my office. But when I’m on the pulpit, I am pastor. So the transition was not an easy transition. But I see God.