Early in the morning that day, Saturday, June 22, 2019, Ify and I had arrived at the Redemption Camp for my first message. That morning, it was on ‘Developing a family culture’. The invitation was from Gospel Power Assembly. I told them how the civil war brought Ify and me close, though we were unbelievers, it was free from immoral relationship. In January 1971, at the University of Nigeria, she visited me, and when I made sexual advances to her, she left in anger. She was a Scripture Union member and I knew some of their choruses, I did not know that they were serious.
In April 1972, I was born-again and in July 1973, God made it clear to me that she would be my wife. I told Him to tell her but He refused. I did not make the proposal until after a year and six months. As if to pay me with my coins, it took her a year and three months before she gave her acceptance. Being God’s children and also Scripture Union members, we ruled out premarital sex. When our wedding day was close, we improved on that by deciding not to consummate our marriage that night, so that we would spend quality time on our knees, appreciating God for His manifold blessings on us.
We made our home, ‘The Church in my house’. That means that anything that is not acceptable in the Local Assembly, must not be acceptable in our home. Our Morning devotion, till now, is at 5am and the evening one used to be at 9pm. When our children were maturing in age, we allowed individuals members to be having their personal devotions in the evening. The Family devotion, till now, is compulsory, including our visitors, and each person must attend with his or her Bible. We use the Scripture Union Reading Notes. When the children were growing up, we were having family Bible studies and at one time, we went to a camp for family retreat with fasting. We shared the programme equally, except choruses, in which the children took the upper hand. Our Sunday evenings were devoted to worship and review of what each person gained during the worship service that day.
Our family fasting used to be on Wednesdays, starting from 12 midnight to 6pm of the next day. Our third child joined us at the age of five while our last born started at the age of four. We stopped when our Church started fasting on Mondays but my wife continued. Today, as adults, our children have continued, like us, to fast in their different homes. We do not use any vulgar language in our home and since our body is the temple of God, we do not also use it anywhere we go, even when we are abused or provoked. Fighting was strange to our children and between my wife and me. We developed a culture that our children could not ignore nor react negatively in anything we told or asked them to do. My father-in-law nearly collapsed during the civil war, when a man told his son what to do and the boy told him that he would not do it. It never happened in our home!
Till today, we use every opportunity at our disposal to minister God’s Word. It means that anybody that comes to our house, whether on a visit or not, must hear the Gospel message. It is interesting that most of the things we planted in our children are bearing fruits in their lives today. It was God’s grace that made Amara to accept to read Law because she felt that Lawyers tell lies. Thank that she came out on tops from Law School. Our children host vigils by rotation, without inviting us. They hold also family meetings. We never discussed negative issues about people before them, be it Church members or not. That was to avoid biasing their tender minds about people. We have noticed negative reactions towards us from some children, whose parents might have painted us in lurid colours before them.
We insisted that all our children must go to school and obtain at least a university degree. To accomplish that, we showed much interest in their academics. I taught them Mathematics. There was no gender discrimination in our family, and thus, no responsibility was reserved for any gender. We did not have a preferential child, each child was unique to us. We celebrated birthdays, including our maids. During the morning devotion, we prayed for the celebrant and would sing, ‘Happy Birthday to you’. In the evening, we gathered again, serving minerals, and sometimes, with suya. The celebrant would sit on the ‘hot seat’. If I was the one, the children would mimic the way I sing and dance!
We would sing then our Family songs from the head, singing all the stanzas ‘To God be the glory’; ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’. Everybody would comment on the peculiar character of the celebrant, good and bad. We would then pray, commending the person into God’s hand. The way we were celebrating birthdays attracted people to our homes, making it a home of holidays. Some children would book in advance by leaving some of their clothes behind. In one case, a Pastor asked me what we were giving his daughter that made her to insist on returning back to me, when he compelled her to return. “Acceptance,” I told him. We treated everybody the same way we were treating our children, including flogging. A lady, I asked at the Airport a few years ago, who she was, reminded me amiably of my cane on her!
We raised our children to be one and thus, caring for one another. “If a piece of meat is sweet in your mouth,” we taught them, “it is sweet also in the mouth of your sibling”. We taught them that as nobody loans money to himself or to herself, they will not loan money to their sibling, no matter the amount. “Give because you are one,” we taught them. We are seeing the fruit of it in their lives. KC, our second son, was invited to minister in our Church Headquarters a few years ago. He told us what he had always said, that children do not do what parents tell them, but what they see their parents do. Ify and I are one by God’s grace and so are they.
When they were growing up, I never bought anything on the road while driving. At home, however, I would send somebody to the shop to buy those things I would have bought on the road. Ify would then share it. The idea was to teach them not to be making spontaneous purchases and to be sharing things with the household members. Today, if Chiemeka, my first daughter, and her family are not at home, it does not require any prophecy to know where they are: likely in the house of Amara, our last born. There, her husband is likely to be carrying Chiemeka’s first set of twins!
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]