COUPLE WAITS 296 MONTHS AFTER MARRIAGE BEFORE BABY CAME
Johnkay Ezike and his wife Ngozi are singing a new song. This song hinges on the arrival of a baby in their home after 24 years of marriage. Counting what they must have been through, you would agree that the couple is special in so many ways - they endured what many could not touch with a long pole together for two-dozen years.
The couple from Amichi, Anambra State, held their traditional marriage in April 1986 and started living together until September 1988 when they solemnised the marriage.
Like any young couple, they started expecting the arrival of babies to no avail. According to the couple, every month they expected signs and nothing happened, months stretched into years and years into decades and after two and almost half decades. The waiting hinged on a monthly cycle stretched 296 months before it bore fruits. God blessed them with a baby boy named Samuel. What an apt name for a Christian couple taking a cue from the Bible about Hannah and his son Samuel who came after a long wait. Samuel (Shimu-el (Hebrew) means Elohim (God) answers.
The couple, worshippers at the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Victory District, Iba, Ojo, Lagos, narrated that in the face of their adversity and historic wait, they never lost faith in God. They went to places in search of solution for their problem. 'We visited all manners of herbalists, native doctors, traditionalists and fetish churches and did all that they prescribed. What I couldn't naturally eat or allow in my house was there for us because of the problem. When people suggested where the solution could be found we would go immediately till a time we said it was enough and looked unto God.'
According to Johnkay, 'the problem affected my work. Sometimes I would ask myself who and what was I labouring for? '
The father after 298 months said the experience was traumatic and enough reason to crash any marriage, especially with a barrage of harassments and advices from concerned and unfriendly people and family members.
'It was not an easy road. The pressure was unbearable from in-laws, relations and friends. At a time, we were isolated. There isn't any kind of unsolicited advice we didn't receive. Anywhere we were directed to go for solution, we never hesitated. Some people asked me to divorce my wife and marry another woman because two 'men' cannot live together as husband and wife, some would also ask me to try and get another woman in a family way since I didn't yield to divorce my wife. Others encouraged us to adopt a baby. When we didn't heed that, they isolated us. We went through so many distractions. You will be happy at home and when you go out you would hear all sorts of things that would take away your joy. When we decided to be on our own the problem became less.'
From medical diagnosis, Johnkay had low sperm count, which he was told was curable. The solution to this also took them to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). According to him, the inscription, 'We cure, only God heals', at LUTH strengthened their faith in God. Based on this and after being to places, he said they totally resigned their fate to God.
'All the tests I went through revealed that I had low sperm count, which they said was curable. After the test, we had told God if He could resurrect Christ from the dead, that He has the power to create and recreate and that low sperm count is but a little thing before Him. A time came we didn't have option than to dismiss everyone and warned we should be left alone. What kept us going was the word of God, especially; the portion that says Jusus Christ is the same yesterday, now and forever. We said if it were so and Sarah was remembered after 25 years of barrenness, therefore ours is not up to 25 years and so we would keep waiting and believing.
'December 2008, we attended the Deeper Life end of the year camp on Lagos - Ibadan Expressway. On December 26 while at the camp, my wife told me that she wanted to wait upon the Lord for our situation and I joined her. We prayed holding God by His words. We came back January 2009 and still believing God. My wife's birthday is September and after our traditional marriage in April, we wedded on September. September is a special month in our family. After we came back from the camp, we started praying that God should give us a special gift at her birthday and our marriage anniversary in September. We kept praying. One day in September, my wife had some symptoms and decided to see the doctor. The hospital conducted pregnancy test among others. The pregnancy test proved positive. When she handed over the test to me, I was baffled and didn't know the way to start thanking God. As the days went on she started changing shape in the manner of a pregnant woman.
Going to Deeper Life Church
There was a time the husband was so ill that he went to St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos and after diagnosis, the doctors said there was nothing wrong with him but he said he was dying. 'At midnight, a voice constantly told me that I was going to die.' This he said raised his blood pressure. More so I was dying and yet the doctors said there was nothing wrong with me.' One of the nights he was lying on his sick bed when he said, a hand tapped his left shoulder and a voice told him that he would not see the sun the next day. Within a short time, the same hand tapped his right shoulder and repeated that he was not going to see the light of the next day. This was November 30, 1995. 'When this was happening what came to my mind was this 'born again' thing people usually talk.
When I heard this voice the third time, what came to my mind was: 'Look at you, you don't have money, you don't have a child, you don't have anything and your coming to this world is in vain, why not kneel down and pray to God maybe when you cross over there, He would have mercy on you.'
I knelt down and started praying for about four hours and by the time I woke up around 10am, I saw the rays of sun in my room and I thought that I had died and was with God and I became confused. It was the presence of my wife that made me know that I was not dead. Thereafter I bought a Holy Bible at Breadfruit Street where there was a Christian Book fair. That is the way I gave my life to Christ.'
Baby's name prior to birth
In 1998 we went to our pastor, the General Overseer of Deeper Life Church, Williams Kumuyi, and he prayed for us and thereafter I was in the dream and God gave me a name for the child we will have. The name was Samuel. I didn't tell my wife because I didn't want to remember that name because it was the name of my elder brother who brought me to Lagos in 1981 and was poisoned and died in 1988. After a few weeks, while in the dream, my wife was given the same name for our child and she told me. I also told her of my experience and why I didn't tell her. This strengthened their faith and they started praying for forgiveness for doubting God. It was in 1996 they joined Deeper Life.
Ngozi, the joyous new mother in her narration expressed her gratitude to God for making her a mother after a very long wait.
While they ran from pillar to post in search of conception and solution to their problems: 'Other women that married same time with me or 10 years later had already stopped child bearing and some may have become grandmothers. At a point I cried in regret for ever attempting to marry. To God's glory when I was invited to our church programme, after hearing the message I found peace and the tension was no more there. I fervently prayed God to touch my husband the same way I did. At a time, we never remembered that we had any problem.
After the payers with Pastor Kumuyi 12 years ago and the testimonies and miracles I witnessed, I thought mine will just be the next day, but nothing happened.
About 10 years ago, when women in my situation were praying, in the dream I was handed three children, a male and two females. One of the women we were praying together requested for one and I gave her a baby girl. She later conceived and had a baby girl who is about nine years now. She attended my baby's thanksgiving. I was about to walk out with the two babies in my hands when a woman from nowhere came up and said I can't have the children. I asked why? She said that I would pay for what my parents did to her. According to her she asked my parents to do something for her and they refused and for that I can't have those babies. Even my mother in that dream told me that it was true but the thing had been so long and she didn't regard it in anything and asked is it what this woman is holding on. In the dream the woman was furious and raging and the way I prayed, fire burnt her and when I woke up I knelt down and praised God believing that the battle was over and I didn't know that the battle has just begun.
'In 2002, we visited the hospital for fertility tests again. From the tests conducted on me, I was no more a woman. Everything about female anatomy and physiology was wrong in me. Fibroid was at high level, female hormonal level was very low. Funny enough, before my repentance everything was normal and now that I am a believer, all went wrong and I literally turned a man. Now my husband's sperm count was normal.
'We continued praying and kept seeing the faithfulness of God. After some months, I saw the woman in the dream again. In that dream I was three months pregnant.
She was lying critically ill in a hospital and immediately I went in to the hospital, her daughter who was taking care of her said, Ngozi, you are pregnant and looking good. As soon as her mother heard it she screamed, 'never, it can't happen.' I replied her that I was three months pregnant and she said that it could never happen. It was an argument and as I continued to tell her that I was pregnant and she insisted it can't happen and she faced the wall and refused to see my face. When I woke up I went to my prayer group leader and narrated the dream to him and he prayed for me.
In 2007, I went for fibroid surgery. After that the doctor advised that if we have money we should go for IVF or alternatively adopt a baby, which people had been advising us since 2000. My husband made inquiry on the cost of IVF, the figure he was given was baffling and he was told that it is still a game of luck and that the chances are less than 25 percent. Within me I told God, why should I go for adoption when I know that you have babies in your storehouse? I wept and told God if my serving Him is in vain.
During our prayer vigil service in 2007 to cross over to 2008, Pastor Kumuyi preached a sermon my husband and I agreed was for us. However, 2008 passed and nothing happened. A year after in another cross over night he repeated the same sermon and I told my husband this means the message has not yet ended that we will still wait and we agreed that if 2009 ends and God didn't do anything and by January 2010, we would consider adoption. The tension had been so much for us to adopt and people had said we were too stubborn and we should be left alone that when we get tired and come to our senses we would do the right thing – to adopt.
In January 2009, God revealed to me that He has answered our prayers. We continued and intensified our prayers. Since this problem started, I usually marked my birthday in September with fasting and prayer. But this particular birthday I didn't want to mark it with fasting and prayer, I wanted to do something else, which is work of charity.
The week I expected my monthly period was the week the overseer of the Deeper Christian emberphobia. After the prayer vigil, my period could not come and after some wait I decided to and my spirit told me to go for pregnancy test maybe God has given you an anniversary gift, which you have been asking for. I went for test and the result was positive. I asked the laboratory attendant if he was sure of what he did and he confirmed. When I came back I showed husband the result, he asked if I were joking.
We did another test and the result was the same and doctor confirmed it and within a short time I started noticing physiological changes in me in the manner of a pregnant woman. When laboratory test showed that I was pregnant, we took the test to the same doctor that did the fibroid surgery and suggested that we should go for IVF. He couldn't believe it but we told him that we wanted to repeat the test.
He recommended we undergo scan, which proved the earlier reports true. At the ninth month the baby was delivered on May 1, 2010 at the same hospital. When the baby came, it had serious jaundice almost at the point of death. After treatment to no avail, the only option was blood transfusion and it was my husband's blood that matched his.
People were surprised and never believed to the point some would come to see when I was breast feeding the baby to be sure that we had not arranged to steal a baby, even those that came for the dedication watched and told me to breastfeed the baby. I didn't know what they meant until one of them told me that they were thinking I didn't bear the child and so my breast can't express milk.
God is faithful and everyone that holds unto Him should not be discouraged.