Pastor Fisayo Bamigbayan is the wife of Pastor Samson Bamigbayan, the General Overseer of New Testament Assembly which has branches all over Nigeria. In this interview with ESTHER BAKARE, she speaks about the ministry, roles of pastors’ wives and sundry issues
Can we meet you ma?
My name is Pastor Fisayo Bamigbayan from Ogbomosho in Oyo State. I studied Mathematics Education at the University of Ilorin in Kwara State. I am from a Pastor’s home, my dad was a Reverend in the Methodist Church. I did my National Youth Service in Dutse, Jigawa State, in 1995/96.
Did you ever know that you would become a G.O’s wife?
I had the premonition of marrying a Pastor, but when I was younger, I was planning not to marry one because of the sacrifice attached to it, especially their children, having witnessed that as a Reverend’s child. However, during my university days, I started having the feelings of being a minister or marrying a minister of God because of the way God was speaking to me then.
So how did you meet your husband?
My elder sister was attending his church and during my university days, whenever we were on break, I do go to stay with her and attend her church.
Then, I just saw him as my sister’s pastor. But one day, I came to the church and he was ministering. I just had this inner conviction that he is my husband but I took it casually as one of those things.
While I was preparing to go for my Youth Service, my sister told me that it was another phase of my life, that I would need to go and see her pastor for prayer and counseling. It was after the prayer session that he proposed to me. That was the first time I would have close contact with him, all the while, I had only seen him on the pulpit.
What was the first point of attraction between the two of you?
I think it was his humility and being a free and jovial person. He’s so free with people and so lively. He proposed to me in 1995 and we got married in 1998.
What were you doing at that time?
I was teaching then at a secondary school in Festac called Success Model College.
When did he establish the ministry and what is the vision of New Testament Assembly?
He started the ministry in 1990, but he was into a school called The School of Prayer and Deliverance. He is called to be a teacher of the Word. New Testament Assembly has the vision of reaching the world with the message of Christ.
What was the particular programme that brought the church into limelight? It was a monthly programme titled, Prayer that Changes Destiny. Before that time, we used to have a programme called Jesus Deliverance Hour every Wednesday, which later gave birth to the monthly programme.
How was it at the beginning?
When I joined the ministry, it was just coming up. We had to sow everything we had, we sowed our all into the ministry. It was a trying time. It is peculiar to upcoming ministries. We had to trust in God for everything, membership was under 100. We had just one branch at Alagomeji-Yaba, but now we have branches all over Nigeria and in the coastal regions.
What were the challenges you faced at the beginning of your marriage?
Like I said that when we started the ministry, we had to trust God for everything. We got married into that situation and things were so tight. We were staying at Abule- Egba and the church was at Alagomeji, Yaba, quite a distance. It was a bit difficult. Another thing is that as a wife, I have to manage the home while my husband goes to manage the ministry. Luckily for us, we had our first child a year after our wedding. The responsibility increased and we had to hold unto God more and more. He gives us what we need per time. He raises help per our need.
What is a particular experience you had that you could call trial of your faith?
My first child, a girl, was a fast growing child. She started walking at seven months but getting to one and a half years, we came back from service one day and she started complaining about her legs and she was unable to walk for three months. Those three months were like 30 years to me. The problem was so much that I was going to Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital almost every day.
That was when I learnt how to drive by force because my husband was too busy with the work of the ministry. I was attached to a medical consultant who carried out all the tests on my daughter but nothing was discovered and the girl was in excruciating pain and could not walk. A statement from one of the members of the church awakened me.
The woman said to me that if my girl should grow up in that form, she would blame me, that I claimed to have done all the necessary medical tests, yet nothing was discovered that couldn’t I pray?
I called my husband when he came back from church that we needed to pray and we went into prayer and fasting for three days. On the third day, it fell on my appointment with the consultant and when I got there, he said to me, ‘Madam you are here again, nothing is wrong with your child’s leg. I have carried out all the necessary tests, including an X-Ray of the legs’. He just gave me a drug called eritomycin. When I got home, I lifted the drug to God and prayed over it. I applied it on her and that very day, she started walking. So I knew it was not the drug but God, and indeed it was a trial of our faith in God.
What other lesson did you learn from that experience?
You know what surprised me most was when my girl got to secondary school, she was the school’s best athlete. She won so many awards for her school in relay race, marathon and others. It was then it dawned on me that Devil wanted to take those legs, having seen her as a future star runner. It also taught me that every marriage has its own challenge and trying period and whatever has a manufacturing date surely has its expiry date as well.
What challenges do you face and price you pay as Mummy G.O?
As a pastor’s wife, it entails your own personal life and your ministry. Many a times, people see you as an obstruction to them getting close to the pastor. So if you don’t ask God for wisdom, you may misbehave. The Church is like a spiritual family and if your husband is the pastor, you are the mummy in that place, no matter your age. It takes the leading of God, wisdom, humility to be able to carry your members along so that they can fulfill God’s purpose for their lives, as their mummy, you share their problems and challenges, you are also part of their success. You must be around them from the beginning of their problems till the expiry date.
What does it take to be an effective pastor’s wife?
Being an effective pastor’s wife is quite demanding. It also depends on the area you are working in the ministry. I am part of the women, children ministry and marriage counseling unit.
You know women, being who we are as the most difficult specie to coordinate. It takes the wisdom of God. I have discovered that there is nobody you cannot love, depending on how you handle such. You know women being who we are, some would feel they are older than me or we are age mates. It takes humility to make them your friends. Like the older ones, I give them respect, I am more concerned about their welfare, not how they relate with me. I believe in the school of thought that says treat people the way you are and not the way they are.
Some sisters are difficult to relate with, each time you extend a hand of fellowship to them, they resist but I will still show them love. Sometimes, I still have to go back to God and pray about them and God will now create a scene that will bring us close and make us cordial in our relationship.
What is your view on pastors’ wives doing some jobs to support their husband’s ministry?
It depends on what God is leading one to do. If you are convinced that you can work with your husband in the ministry and God will feed you, if you are convinced that you have to work to supplement the effort of your husband. As for me, I am into the education aspect of the ministry. We have two schools -College of Prayer and Deliverance – which runs a seven months course and Christian Leadership Training Institute for six months. I am in charge of the two schools.
What is your take on family members taking over the church after the demise of the founder?
Ministry is not a family affair. I believe it is of God but I am not saying a family member cannot come into it, it all depends on the leading of the Holy Spirit. If God is leading the founder to pick someone from his family, one would have seen that aura or the gift in such a family member. It will be wrong for the founder to bring family members in without God’s leading. It won’t take time before the ministry collapses.
What has kept your marriage going so far?
The key factor of the success of our marriage has been God. We don’t take each other for granted. Transparency has been our way of doing things. We lay it bare at all times. Marriage is not a bed of roses, it’s full of ups and downs. It takes the two to make it work.
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