“I kept saying to myself that God said that he would bless me with twins. It was not easy. It took 17 years; it is not something you could just throw in the cooler.”
Pastor (Mrs) Ruth Iwunze is the wife of the General Overseer of LoveBase Assembly, Festac Town in Lagos. For 17 years, she passed through the pain of the biblical Hannah. But the abundant grace of God and unbreakable faith in Him eventually brought about a turnaround when God blessed her with a set of twins, after she had two miscarriages. A tsunami of joy flows through her heart each time she plays with them and they climb all over her. In the same way, her heart leaps in praise to God for beautifying her in His time. It is therefore understandable that she is marking her 50th birthday with seven hours of praise and worship with the attendance of delegations from 10 other churches invited to the event. In this interview, she talks about her Christian journey since giving her life to Christ at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Camp Ground in 1994. Aside being a pastor, she is a business woman, who also works through her NGO, Tabitha Foundation, to alleviate the sufferings of widows.
Can you tell us about your journey into becoming a spirit filled Christian?
I gave my life to Christ the f soon after I graduated from the university but it didn’t really affect me until I came to Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). I went to the camp and the Holy Ghost service was going on. Pastor Adeboye, Daddy GO, was ministering. Then he made an altar call and I went out crying and weeping unto God. That was in March 1994.
How has it been as a pastor?
It’s been wonderful. I kept saying to myself that God said that he would bless me with twins. It was not easy. It took 17 years; it is not something you could just throw in the cooler. As a minister of God, as the wife of the General Overseer, you would see people come to the church, give their life to Christ and you see them getting married under your ministry, you see them get pregnant and you see them do child dedication and you are still asking, ‘God when will you listen to me?’ You know it’s tough. At times I cried but I knew that crying could not solve the problem. I held unto God because. He is ever faithful. When I was going through my procedure, God said ‘I have gone ahead of them, just praise me.’ I cannot forget this. That was why I named my daughter, Praise. Since then, I have never stopped praising God because it is only Him that can do what no man can do. If I tell you what I went through…oh my God.
What have you learnt about life?
I have learnt that you should never give up, have faith. A lot of people would distract you but just face God, He is ever faithful. These days I look at myself and ask, Am I really a mother of children?” Today, my children jump all over me, running up and down, it can be awesome. Children give you joy. Having children changes your lifestyle and everything else. At times, I don’t feel like going out; if I enter their room I keep looking at them and I forget about going out that day. Nothing matters to me anymore. I just focus my life on God, my husband and my children. On the day of the dedication, I said God it can always be God. That is where the enemy fights the Christian. You find out that when children come into a home, there’s joy, there is peace and there is laughter. Looking back I don’t even know how I coped without children for 17 years, it could only have been God.
It’s your 50th birthday, how do you feel?
When I turned 50, I asked, what do I do? I went through different procedures and God still kept me alive. I had two miscarriages. I don’t know how I survived the first one. I couldn’t sleep, it was really bad. I thought I was going insane but God kept me. I felt that it would not be complete without thanking God for the life of Mummy Adeboye. She’s my mum, she’s my mentor. She’s a good woman. She was with me all through the ordeal. The same thing with Bishop Peace Okonkwo. These women have been there for me.
I needed to have another mother because my mum died in 2003 and being the only child, I felt very comfortable with the motherly role of these women of God that the Lord has bestowed on my life. After losing the first pregnancy, I was devastated. It was like a bond the child you carried in the womb for almost four months and that was the first pregnancy after 17 years. I remember that Daddy GO told me that one just came to clean up the womb.
For turning 50, I told God, what I can render to Him and the only thing I can give Him is praise. So I decided to have seven hours of praise to thank God for what He has done for me and to appreciate him. I invited about 10 churches to come and join me to praise God, for what he has done for me. It’s just about thanksgiving and praise.
What would you say about the state of the nation?
I know that God is here and He would take absolute control of that. God will deliver us from all the machinations of the wicked and it’s only him that can bring about change. If women are allowed to
participate in politics and given a change in the decision making process of the country a lot of things would change. And I know that very soon it will come to pass. Christians just sit in their homes and talk about politics but they won’t move.
We should all go out. We are living in penury in Nigeria whereas we have so much in the country. Look at all the money the government is recovering.
That is why after church service you see people lining up for school fess, house rent, money for food and its like that every time. Sometimes, you give them money for transportation too. I know come 2019, God will definitely do something because Christians are praying.
I learnt that you do business too, could you talk about that?
I import furniture and housewares; I’m also a manager in Forever Living Products, which is a multi-level marketing company. The firms are called Top Season Investments and Top Season Household and Furnishing. I went into business because I wasn’t fulfilled just being a pastor’s wife. I wanted to be a blessing to the society; I wanted to be a blessing to the church and a blessing to my generation. As a pastor’s wife I want a situation I would also come out to contribute money if there’s a call to do so. I asked God to bless me so that I could bless others too. I didn’t just want to do business; God told me to go into tent-making. I asked what is tent-making and I got the response that Abraham was into tent making. What it means is that you do God’s work and also do business and that was how I started. I started with absolutely nothing and God honoured his word.
With the clampdown on importation, what do you plan to do now?
I actually want to start making furniture locally.; the exchange rate is fluctuating and you have to sell.
How do you spend your day?
I go to the gym. I play with my kids for some hours before going to my business. When it’s a day for midweek service I go to church.
I like to dress well. There is a special designer that makes tops me. There is a saying that you are who you are; the way you dress is the way you will be addressed. I am not one of the people that believes that a Christian should not dress well and be elegant. I love good dressing.
Have you got any regrets in life?
None whatsoever. The bible says in all things we should give thanks. In the midst of everything I’m very grateful to God Almighty. I would have loved to have my children before now. But God makes all things beautiful in His own time.
With the ban on importation how do you cope as a businesswoman?
I have to look inwards by manufacturing locally. The Customs duty is very high and the exchange rate is affecting business tremendously. If dollar can be stable that would go a long way to assist more businesses in the country and create more opportunities.