ENCOUNTER: My Conversion Story by Emmanuel Asogwa
In this post, a young Anglican priest shares the story of the divine encounter he had that brought fulfilment to his search for God. His testimony, lucidly written, brings encouragement to everyone who cannot seem to have a deep and consistent relationship with God despite their earnest efforts. If you’re sincerely seeking God, do not despair. Your day will come as it did for this young servant of God.
A bouquet of thanks to Pastor Emmanuel Asogwa for finding the time to contribute this guest post and for doing it with frankness and passion.
Encounter: My Conversion Story
By Emmanuel Asogwa
It’s one thing for one to be born into a Christian home and it’s another thing to have a personal connection with God’s Presence. The former is helpful but the latter is more important. It is so vital for one to be personally rooted and built up in his relationship and journey with God.
I can still remember vividly how active I was as a child in religious activities; morally sound and knowledgeable in scriptural interpretations. Many parents commended my parents for taking out time to invest in my godly upbringing. I remember how my late father would fix compulsory fasting and prayer for the family’s spiritual well-being and growth – he was doing well as a Christian father. My mother also would not stop teaching us the need to live godly lives; she would scold and flog us when necessary to ensure that we live right.
Consequently, I was “growing” in the eyes of men but deep down in my heart, I knew that I did not have a personal testimony of who God is. Many unanswered questions and thoughts filled my heart day after day even as I grew from one level to another: Who is God? Does He really stay in heaven as I was taught? What differentiates Him from other gods? If He spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and likes of them in the Bible, why is He not speaking to me? I needed help!
My faith kept on deteriorating until I was left with no enthusiasm towards kingdom business. Most of the moral training I received from my parents were thrown into a dunghill as soon as I left them. “Since God would not reveal Himself to me, I will not be needing it anymore,” I told myself continually to justify my worldly decisions and actions.
While all of these were going on, a part of me still wanted to know if God still exists as in the days of the patriarchs of faith.
As part of this quest, I would listen to sermons, receive tracts, honour invitations to meetings and conferences but there was no reality of Christ’s kind of life in me. Actually, I was not proud that I had no meaningful relationship with God in spite of all the efforts of my parents and spiritual leaders. This encouraged me to give more room for change, though not knowing if it was ever going to come.
I answered many altar calls from July 2011, affirmed my faith in Christ through Scripture Union Fellowship but I was still caged in religion.
Interestingly, an invitation I honoured to the Young Anglican Crusaders’ Group Set-apart Programme which took place on January 28, 2017 at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Ozara in Nsukka Diocese, brought answers to my numerous questions and confusion about the existence of God in my generation. In fact, I can boldly say that the meeting was organised for me.
Although I was not expecting anything different from what I had experienced before, the meeting was the occasion for heaven to attend to a perishing soul. Alas, it was a holistic conversion and impartation of fire at the same time. The right hand of fellowship was stretched out towards me and I felt God’s raw presence for the first time in my life.
In deep tears, I was convicted of my sins and weaknesses. Appetite for unending questions died, love for immorality died, worldly decisions and actions were lost to kingdom business.
This event happened in my second year at University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). My hunger for God grew stronger and better through students’ fellowships, my friends were reshuffled with time and my goals swallowed in the will of my Saviour.
Unapologetically, I posit at this point that no man can serve God faithfully and consistently without a divine encounter. The spirit could be willing while the flesh is weak. The flesh is capable of caging a man that his spirit is yet to meet the higher Spirit. When the spirit of a man collides with God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit), energy is released for spiritual enablement to live Christ’s kind of life (Zoe).
Until this energy is released into a man, he may live without discovering his actual purpose on earth. The Holy Spirit is the activator of Christian life.
As John 4:24 tells us, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (KJV). Spirit has to meet spirit, that’s an ENCOUNTER! From that point, the spirit in a man is enabled against the demands of the flesh and he can then commune with God beyond human strength, develop spiritual stature and achieve one-on-one relationship with Him (koinonia) beyond religious doctrine.
Notably, many people out there, young ones inclusive, love God seriously but lack the energy to serve Him faithfully and consistently. A lot of questions and confusion about divinity goes through their minds day by day. Some are religiously sound but spiritually weak. God is a Spirit and must be served in the spirit by the help of the Spirit. This makes ENCOUNTER an imperative for Christian living.
For Paul, it was on his way to Damascus; for Moses, it was at the burning bush; for the woman of Samaria, it was at the well; for the disciples, it was at Pentecost; and for me, it was at a youths’ set apart programme.
When I tell people “I pastor a church now in Anglican Church,” they ask, “How did it happen? I didn’t see this coming.” Yes, ENCOUNTER happened, the former me you know has been swallowed up in an encounter that opened my eyes to where I should be and what I should be doing for kingdom sake.
In conclusion, I pray for as many that need to be divinely encountered and captured irreversibly so that their life’s purpose will be discovered and pursued before it is too late in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Kindly share your impressions about Pastor Emmanuel’s testimony in the comments below and tell us your own conversion story, if you may.
God bless you!
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