Apostle Samuel Ben and his wife, Mercy of Winning Ways Christian centre, were joined in Holy Matrimony on May 13th 2001. For 18 years, they waited for a child. Their prayer was answered recently when they got a baby boy named Prince Utibe (Wonders).
The couple were in TNN office and spoke with EDITH CHUKU on their experiences in the last 18 years.
18 years of childlessness, how did it feel?
(Breaths down) It wasn’t funny at all, it’s not an experience I should wish my enemy. Definitely, it’s not, not even your worse enemy because even people that are not supposed to talk to you, they will talk to you. Some directly, some indirectly. You hear people say something like, children in the compound where we resided before we packed into our own property you hear baby for sale, who will buy, baby for sale, you know it was up to that extent. I’ve lived in a compound where a fellow woman like me called me a barren woman. It was that bad. It wasn’t a funny experience at all.
Outside the God factor and medical checkups, were there times you felt like dropping the Bible to find out what the problem was through a spiritual means?
No, never. I never thought of dropping my Bible, I know my God is faithful.
For the whole of 18 years?
Yes, I know he is more than faithful; he was faithful to Abraham and Sarah so I knew that one day I will have a testimony.
I’m sure there were times your husband reminded you that you were barren?
Not really. Though we are human, we felt the absence of not having a baby, it wasn’t an easy experience at all but we are really grateful to God.
How did it feel, 18 years, no biological child to call you daddy?
Well, it was not easy but you know for me it was not really a big challenge but it was for people around me, my family, friends, pastor friends and all that. If you are sensitive enough when you are in the midst of your fellow pastors, when somebody is despising you for something, you will know. So I see that every time.
Did you ever react for once to such circumstances?
Well, I over looked but in the house we feel it. We are human, sleeping on the same bed for 18 years and nobody in-between, it was a big challenge.
Didn’t your family insist you take another wife?
They offered a wife several times.
The wife interjected-
And he never told me that he has been offered a wife? (Both laughs)
Didn’t the man in you, as an only son, wish to consider the option of a second wife?
Never. I said no. This one keep bringing suggestion, do this and that; I was offered plan B. ‘If plan A was not working, why can’t you try plan B?’ I said no. At times I will be invited to the village and I will say no, I won’t come because I know if I go, the main issue is that one. So at times I decide not to go, even during Christmas. I just send something but won’t go myself. That was how challenging it was.
The Wife Enters
We have children in our home that are not our biological children, they are children of our relatives. We send then to school from nursery, primary, secondary. Most people didn’t know they were not our biological children. One particular family, the day I told her that I have given birth after 18 years, she said what, you mean those children you bring to my shop to take things, the other one said, you mean those children you bring to get drugs for, they are not your children? I said yes.
But did you ever spank a child and the mother reminded you of being barren?
What major thing did doctors say to you repeatedly during that time?
Well, we went to various hospitals, clinics. They will carry out several tests and say no problem. The highest, they will discover one thing in me and administer drugs and that’s all.
Yes, nothing, they kept saying we were okay.
When the doctor told you, you were pregnant, how did you feel?
(Laughs) I didn’t do anything, the way you are sitting now was the way he sat, I was just looking at him, he was like ‘madam, did you hear?’ I said yes, I heard you.
But you didn’t believe it?
I only received information. I wanted to monitor and see how it goes, I bought pregnancy test stick and confirmed that I was really pregnant.
To the husband
When she gave you the news, how did you receive it?
(laughs) When the news first came, I was like is it real? Okay, if it is real, let me start watching. At a time, her body started changing, something in me started leaping that this thing is real.
It became obvious and people started hm hm hm hm hm hm, you have changed, in church environment humhumhumhum. So, we thank God.
I am sure you will travel this Christmas?
(Laughs) When I told my father that my wife had put to bed, he said what? Because during the process of the pregnancy, I didn’t tell anybody. I refused to tell them but my elder sister and some of my people that were around, they knew because they saw the pregnancy. They’ve even sent the news to them but they were waiting to hear from me. A man of God once said that everybody is a suspect until God blesses you. The world we are living in is too deep. Somebody can be eating from you and yet the person is dealing with you. It was when the baby finally arrived… In fact it was in the hospital I called those I needed to call, some were asking where did she deliver? I said hospital, they said what is the name of the hospital? (laughs) they wanted to be sure.
How did it feel being pregnant for the first time?
(laughs) It was okay, something you’ve not experienced before. It was like ‘so, I’m carrying another human inside of me’. It was as if the baby should come forth immediately, nine months was like another 18 years, like desiring for something for ages and someone calls to say I am bringing this thing to you, you will be itching to get it. So that is how it was. It was like nine months is a lengthy time. You won’t remember the 18 years back.
What encouragement would you like to give to women out there who are passing through something similar, close or worse than what you went through?
Wife: Sure, there are homes already broken, shattered because of this, but all I want to tell them is that God never fails. I can boldly tell anybody that God never fails because if he did it for us, he can do it for any other person, it doesn’t matter the years.
Husband: I even had a friend, a pastor friend, his own is that he even has a son but he was not happy, he was troubled, his home was almost destroyed, but God ministered to him. There are a lot of people, most especially pastors. A woman comes to you, you minister and pray for her and she conceives and your own wife has not. Let me quickly share this encounter. I was just at Eneka first market junction one day, a woman embarrassed me. I just dropped from a car, a woman came, ‘pastor take, take, take’, with a baby. I was shocked, This keke boys gathered, she began to shout, saying pastor you know me. I was like ‘what did I really do to this woman’, because I can’t really recognize the face. She said ‘last year, you were in our church, you called me, you prayed for me, this is the baby.’ I now understood. I said okay, this is the angle she was coming from. I now laid hands on the baby and prayed for the baby. I said ‘do you need more’? She said yes, I said receive it and I walked away. When I boarded a taxi, I was praying. Severally, like that. When you are in the shoe, you will really understand.
Wife: You can’t imagine pastoring a church while you are dedicating other people’s children.
Husband: Almost in two, three months, dedications are coming.
Wife: And people are saying ‘this pastor wife which day you go dedicate your own?’
Husband: You see in this 18 years, there are all manner of things we did. We have cried, we have complained, we have prayed, we have fasted and we have spent money. So, I will advise anybody, as long as it’s the issue of child bearing, God has not given up on anybody because being fruitful is the idea of God and not man. He created them male and female and He blessed them, He said to them be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it. So it is the concept of God, not man. If I am privileged to talk to any couple, so many are shocked, how can someone stay for 18 years, is it possible? So, any couple that says it is not possible the devil has just ministered to them because with God all things, not few things, all things are possible including this.
Are there people you would want to appreciate that in one way or the other encouraged you to keep faith?
Wife: Yes, our mentor, Rev. Chris Oarhe of Hilltop International Christian Center, then Rev. Paul A.C, Dede. We were wedded by Rev. Paul A.C Dede. So, he knows how long we stayed and followed us up. He will always say that God will do it. We want to also appreciate their wives.
Husband: Actually the miracle began through a prophecy that was made by my mentor, Rev. Chris Oarhe when he came to our church for the first time in November 2017 in our Winning Life conference as the key guest and he was also the one that dedicated the baby.