Bidemi Mark-Mordi is a phenomenal woman whose dynamism is to live a life of purpose. She simply believes that there is a template that leads to the path of success for every woman. She is the Managing Director of Verbatim Communications Limited, publisher of Effectual Magazine and a certified John Maxwell coach. With her pastor husband, Mark Mordi, she pastored the Praise Sanctuary parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. She is also the convener of ‘ROTH’, an annual international women conference held in Lagos yearly. In this interview, she talks about the impact made by ROTH over the past 11 years.
You have been holding the ‘ROTH’ conference for 11 years. How did it start?
It was in February 2008 that the Lord instructed me to start an international conference for women and call it ‘ROTH’ which means ‘The Return of the Ezer.’ Ezer is the Hebrew word for helper. God wanted me to bring women together and encourage them to return to God, their first love. At that time, most of the conversation was about women liberation, feminism and oppression from the world of men etc. And the Lord said to me that was not quite the case because I created women in my image and likeness, you have the power and empowerment just like the men, but you have not risen to the place of what I have put inside of you.
The Lord drew analogies between the woman and the Holy Spirit. And that is why we had that tag; ‘The Helper’. God said to me, between the Helper and the helped, who is stronger? Obviously the helper is stronger. So I called you as a helper which means that you have something that the person you would help does not have. Don’t look at yourself as ‘the weaker vessel’
What knowledge has ROTH brought to women after 11 years?
The idea of ROTH is to gather women from far and wide to remind them who they truly are in Christ. To be the woman and personality that God has called us to be. It is not about status symbol or financial success; it is about the effective way you are called. If you are called to be just a wife and a mother to your children, be bold and proud and know that your work is dignifying. ROTH has taught women to do the work that God called them to do. In that obedience, no woman would struggle because God’s idea is powerful, glorifying and weighty; don’t feel slighted when you see other women, who are chief executives of organisations. What makes a woman peacefully successful is when she does what the Creator wants her to do. Let us not measure ourselves by competition and struggle, rather with obedience. A woman becomes a woman when she does what God asks her to do. There is template for every one and that is what ROTH tries to define. If you do yours, generations would rise and call you blessed. We have held this conference for 11 years and have sent the message across that every woman is the same running the race that God called her to run. Once you are at ROTH, there is no special seat and no high tables. The word of GOD is the great identifier. At the point when I started ROTH, I was just a housewife.
My job then was to take my children to school, clean the house, wash and cook while being a wife to my husband. I was not working and was not earning money, so whatever my husband brought home was what I had to spend. When you speak to my children today, you discover that the 10 years at home was not for nothing. That was my template then. When it was time to move and do other things, I moved. Whatever your template is, do it and the world would rise and call you blessed woman.
How has the experience been?
The greatest take away is that the word is real; ‘ROTH’ is a free event where women gather to be blessed by the undiluted word of God. Women plan holidays and process visas to come to Nigeria and attend ROTH. We have people who come in from the United States, Europe and South Africa. The relationship I have received from ROTH is not quantifiable because I am not naturally a social person. My community and family have expanded so much, I cannot describe it. If my mother tells you the stress they went through with me as a teenager, seeing what God is using me to do now is amazing. I am proud that my parents witnessed ROTH even before my father passed on. ROTH has linked me up with women I never knew I would be in contact with, just because life is in seasons.
How and when did you become a publisher?
I told you that for the first 10 years of my marriage, I was a housewife because God wanted me to be so. It was not as if my flesh didn’t cry out for jobs because I am a graduate, but nothing changed. For me then, it was no buying, no selling, whatever my husband brought home was what I had. When I had my second child, someone got me a job with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
I worked for just a year and God told me it is not as if you cannot earn money, but I didn’t call you to work. Go, write and publish Effectual. So Effectual was born out of the conservations and successful solutions we had as a modest women house fellowship that gathered in my living room, when we were living in Festac. We found a word from the bible for every challenge we encountered and were getting blessed. Because of inconsistency of some members, we began to compile all we did within two months on five pages of A4 sheet and stapled the sheets together as a newsletter. It cost N65.00 to produce each copy and we sold at N100.00 per pack. The essence was for women to read, extend to others and be blessed. We were on it until 2008, when God instructed me to expand from a newsletter to a magazine. The first testimony was when I got a call from Port Harcourt and a bishop asked me to publish his own work after he saw ours. ‘I said Yes Sir’. We started from newsletter to magazine; other people saw our works and contacted us. That was how we went into books and publishing. All these came because I didn’t miss my season. I am still a work in progress. I have businesses that I am running at my own capacity now unlike when I was mandated to be at home. Things have expanded to all kinds of other things and employing people and we now run a digital radio station. My years of sitting at home were not in vain.
What have been the good tidings so far?
It is a walk with Jesus. Even when it looks like there are challenges, God knows the button to press and everything will normalise. In our 11th edition, God cleared all the bills we needed to pay and left some change. God told me, the year I ask you to request for money, do that, if I say do not inquire, don’t inquire. God has a way of paying. I have a corporate sponsor that has paid for our ROTH conference hall for six years. Everything I say is obeying the voice of God; my journey is a journey of travelling with Jesus. If you hold on to God, God will hold unto you. I remember when God told me to take all my children to a small school in Abeokuta. I simply did that.
How did you meet your husband?
I didn’t want to marry because of fear of the unknown. But God told me, ‘Bidemi, I need you to marry’ and I asked why. The answer came: “marriage will give you the kind of striking balance to achieve what I want to use you and achieve; and I gave the Lord my condition, that the Lord will pick the person because I did not want to marry a man who would be unfaithful, beat me and would not provide for me. God asked me to fast for days and I did. One day, I walked into the church for a meeting, and there my husband was seated and I didn’t know. We met on August 12, 1996 and got married in July 1997.
We have been married for 21 years. We had our fair share of challenges in our younger years because we came from different backgrounds. My greatest joy is that my husband never made me stop short. Mark Mordi is secure enough to allow me do things and that has given us peace; he is a provider to the core. I would not have chosen him myself but God knows what is good for us.
How was growing up?
I was a fast child. By the time I was nine years, I was in secondary school and I left secondary school at 14. Growing up was normal in the family. I wanted to study Law, but my father looked at me and said, you will not make the cut off mark because you will not read. So he instructed me to study English.
By the time JAMB result was released, my score was higher than Law cut off. Now I know that God was working then. Look at the things I am doing today. My mother made a lot of scarifies for us. As we speak, when my mother wants to buy bathroom slippers, she will buy for me, my husband, my children, my younger ones, their spouses and all their children. We were not rich, but never lacked anything and never knew a hungry day.
What would you say is your philosophy in life?
My philosophy in life is to obey God. It sounds like cliché. People usually say, is it everything you mention God as if that is how God works. Yes, for me, that is how God works. I have a daughter, when she was eight, she couldn’t read, but today she has finished her 4th year in foundation in the United Kingdom with distinction. We did not see any therapist. If I mention the school my children attended in Abeokuta, you will not believe it, but that is where God wanted me to take them to. I have no strategy, not trying to make a name, not impressing anybody, but just to live and obey God. My journey in life is a journey of travelling with Jesus.