Sarah

 

‘I have told my story many times before. Whenever I told it, I would cry.’

I was born in Ogun State, Nigeria out of an affair.

I entered the world because my mother pursued my father, a very wealthy but already married man, for financial gain. As the years passed and she realised he had no interest in commitment, she took it out on me. I was unwanted and abandoned, passed around different homes for the whole of my childhood. It impacted me deeply - physically, spiritually, academically. It affected everything about me. Nobody had any expectations of me. Nobody wanted me. Nobody loved me.

My mother married another man and had a new family with new children. They didn’t want anything to do with me, and my father’s family certainly didn’t. Everyone saw me as a useless child. I was left behind in school and couldn’t pass any of my exams. My step sisters were all younger than me but studying higher grades and heading for promising futures.

I was totally helpless, but God was waiting for me.

When you are 15 years old and you still wet the bed, there’s a problem. Everyone was complaining about me. They would drive me out of their houses screaming, “She wets our bed!”. They all wanted to get rid of me. In Nigeria, if you are the kind of child no one cares about, you are not expected to grow up well. You are expected to grow up as a petty thief or as a prostitute. You definitely wouldn’t be expected to be a Christian. I had no hope and I knew I needed help. This was the first time I asked God to help me.

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She wasn't a Christian, but she did allow me to go to church and sing in the choir. For the first time in my life I fitted in. I loved the environment and began to get more involved.

It was also around this time that a European lady began to write me letters. She was a Christian; I think they were a family of missionaries. I sent her my picture and she sent me my first Bible. I didn’t understand a lot of it but I used to read it from Genesis to Revelation, just as a story. I was going to church regularly and reading the Bible from cover to cover, but I still wasn’t a Christian. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.

After school I drifted away from Church and I got involved with boyfriends. It wasn't good. I got seriously involved with one guy and we got engaged. We spent a year preparing to get married and fixed a date, then out of nowhere he said “No, I don’t want you anymore” and he left. I felt totally alone. My siblings were all grown up and married with kids, but I wasn't married, I didn't have any kids and I didn't even have an education. 

That was the point in my life when I really cried out to God. I had nothing, I had no one and I desperately needed Him. I committed my life to Christ. He answered my prayers, picked me up and started to carry me. My life began to change.

I had a relative who was a Christian, an auntie who was always kind to me when no one else was. Out of nowhere, she offered to pay for my fees to go and study abroad. I couldn’t believe it; it was like a dream!

So, I left Nigeria.

When I first arrived in England, things weren’t good. I failed all my courses in the first year and began to get into debt. The doubts in my head were so loud and I was saying to myself ‘You are not supposed to be educated! Who are you to come to England?!’. Even though it had been the source of so much misery, I wanted to go back to Africa. I made up my mind and packed my bags.

I went to church that evening ready to leave England as a failure.

God stepped in again.

One of the people there that night stood up during the service and said ‘Someone here has packed their bags, ready to go back to Africa. Things are difficult for you, but I believe God is telling you that He has a lot in store for you here’. I knew it was for me. The Holy Spirit was telling me ‘No, you’re not going anywhere’.

From then on things were so different. Something came into me. What had held me back before was gone and I was free. I started to excel in my courses and get top marks in my exams. I passed everything that was put in front of me and graduated with a Master’s in International Business. Out of all my family on my father’s side and my mother’s side, I am the only one with a master’s degree.

In 2010 I went back to Africa. As soon as I got back my dad introduced me to his whole family as his daughter. Whenever he had seen me before, he didn’t want anything to do with me. So it was such a shock to have all of these people wanting to come and see me. My dad was from a very rich family and we were well known in my town. Nobody believed what had happened and they wanted to come and see for themselves. Everyone said ‘Oh look at this girl, you’ve done really well’. I felt really good, I felt really happy. This useless girl had come home totally transformed. I knew it was all God. I felt so fulfilled. I was introduced to a man by a friend and he seemed really nice. We talked and talked and eventually got engaged.

I had no idea that I was going into something worse, something that was going to destroy my life. Completely.

We got married and things quickly became very bad. Marriage is meant to be something that builds you up, but marriage really destroyed me. I realised he didn't love me and it was a scam. He’d only married me so I would bring him to England.

We soon started having immigration problems. When he got the first letter he was furious because he thought I had reported him to the immigration office. I found out he was planning to run away from me and had taken out a loan to build a house in Africa. He treated me really badly and I lost two pregnancies. I became pregnant a third time, with my daughter, but I was bleeding. I was so scared. Emotionally and psychologically I was utterly broken.

I cried but there was no one to cry to. The only thing I could do was pray. I was always praying. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night to pray.

Through it all, God was there.

He became so afraid that immigration were coming after him that left the house and ran. I was left with my new born daughter and the fear that I was going to be deported back to Africa. Now that my marriage had failed I knew there would be nothing for me back there.

I stopped being afraid and just stood and spoke to God. I knew He could sort everything out. I knew that through everything God had never left me. He’d always been faithful. In the times when I thought I was finished, He came up from nowhere.

I found out about a church near where I lived and built up the courage to go one Sunday. That morning I was in serious distress. The first person I saw was an older lady who gave me a big hug and I immediately just started crying and crying. I felt like I was about to die spiritually. I thought there was no hope.

I just needed God to come for me, and He did.

After the service, they asked if anyone wanted to be prayed for and I grabbed the opportunity. They hugged me and prayed with me. Afterwards, I didn't want to leave the church. From the minute I walked in I knew I was meant to be there. I felt this love and peace around me.

Since that Sunday morning I have found a new family. I now have brothers and sisters who care about me. It’s amazing. God has used them to help me so, so much. I don’t know how to express it. I thank God for every day that I am alive.

I have started to regain everything I lost. I have started to find my identity in Christ again. Once again, God has come for me.

I can’t believe it myself, trust me. It is all God. It has been God all the way. I didn't turn out to be any of those things I should have been. He has carried me, transformed me and used me for His glory even when I was in the depths of despair.

My story isn't finished.

When I tell my story to the immigration solicitor, I don’t cry anymore. Although my future is uncertain, I am filled with hope. Please pray for me and my daughter, I know that only God can keep us here. Only God can save us, nothing else. Only God.