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Personal stories from the people of First Euless

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Timothy Dafer

I was born into a pagan family of five, being the fourth among two elder brothers who are now deceased, and two sisters, there was little or no chance of me becoming a Christian, let alone becoming a Christian leader today. Growing up from a family devastated by abject poverty, my family could not afford to feed us twice a day. Sometimes we went without food for several days. My mother would simply boil ordinary water to give to us before we went to bed. I could not foresee any meaningful future in the midst of all of this. I never had any hope that I could go to school like other children of my peer group; and I finally started going when I was around 14, when free education was introduced by the federal government of Nigeria in 1976 and a school was built in my village. My life before I became a Christian was characterized by youthful lust and immorality, drunkenness and the delinquent behavior associated with it, disobedience, telling lies to cover up many wrong deeds and to escape being punished for them, and petty stealing as was common within my peer group. I indulged in these behaviors as a way of escaping the reality and shame associated with the poverty of my parents. But God divinely worked through my non-Christian and poor background, bringing the light of the gospel into my village where I began to have Christian contacts and influences. Through the many painful experiences of poverty in my childhood and later in youthful life, and the painful sting of sin in my life, the Lord began to draw my heart to Him as I began to long for the healing power that comes from Him alone. Each time I heard the gospel preached, it would prick my heart and I would wish to give up my evil ways and be committed to God, but each time I walked away and became even more hardened. Yet the Lord never gave up on me.

In 1982, I experienced God’s forgiveness of sin in my life when I made the personal decision of inviting Jesus Christ into my life when a friend invited me to a Christian program where I heard the gospel preached through the movie “Burning Hell.” As I watched sinners being tormented in the lake of fire in that movie, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sins. I felt burdened like never before the awfulness of sin and God’s wrath against it. I felt that if I would die in my state of unbelief, I would no doubt end up in hell. That conviction became so strong in my heart that I broke into tears all through the movie. I was totally broken in my heart, but unfortunately there was not any spiritual help provided for people who might have made a decision for Christ that night. I went back to my school that night unable to sleep. The following morning, determined not to wish away the reality of what was happening in my heart, I went to the school kitchen where I picked up a live coal of fire and placed at the back of my hand. The intention was to practically experience what hell is like; what it would mean to be thrown into hell fire. Of course, it hurt and I quickly pushed way the coal of fire from the back of my hand. I went back into my room, kneeled at my bed and begged for God’s mercy and forgiveness. I asked Jesus Christ into my life. I experienced His forgiveness and peace in my heart. It was as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. I was born again! What an awesome experience! It was like a great leap from darkness into light.

My life was transformed. My fears were dispelled and the love of God filled my heart. I began to have a passion for God and his word, and I read the Bible every day. Prayer and fellowship became more exciting to me. I enrolled in the discipleship class in my church and I was baptized after a year in 1983. Since then I have been enjoying my walk with God. In 1997, propelled by the desire to know God more and his word, I enrolled at ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) Jos, Nigeria to study for a BA in theology. After graduation in 2000, I continued with my graduate program and received MA in theology in 2002. I have worked as a Christian teacher at the high school level and as adjunct professor at our seminary for eight years. Through those years God worked through me to bless many lives of students and church leaders. In 2003 my wife and I felt the Lord was calling us into full time ministry. So we applied with our church denomination, the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in 2003. I was serving as pastor while my wife worked in the church headquarters for seven years when I left for study in the U.S. in 2008. In these years, we saw God healing many broken hearts and families; bringing many more people to salvation in Christ and the church of God continues to grow both spiritually and numerically to the glory of His name.

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