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I was born in Eastern Nigeria, but now live in Georgia, USA. I am a full-time sculptor, and find that my passion is in sculpting monumental pieces which portray the nobility of the human spirit. I am married and have three children. I find the most joy in the simple things of life, such as in music, nature, family, friends, art, and in sharing that joy with others.
It is a series of miraculous events that brought me in contact with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While in my country of birth, Nigeria, I fervently asked God in prayer many times to help me fulfill my dream of coming to the United States. Unfortunately, my parents were of very little means, and my father passed away when I was only 12 years of age, leaving my school-teacher mother to fend for me and my two brothers. Furthermore, everyone I knew had that same dream, making it extremely difficult for anyone to receive a visa. We used to say "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one to get a visa to go to America." Then I grew to be 6'9", and because of my height, I was introduced to basketball. Although discouraged by others because of my late start I started playing at the age of 17, I persisted with confidence because I saw basketball as an avenue in coming to America. Against all these obstacles, I realized that it would take a miracle to achieve my ambitions. I thought in terms of miracles then because my mother taught us to pray, and from my meager efforts at praying I had received a testimony that God answered prayers. Knowing this and realizing that I could not rely on any sort of earthly resource, I looked to God only. My prayers and efforts, at first, did not seem to produce any desired results. But then, it occurred to me that to be more sure of God's help, I needed to realign my mindset to be more in line with God's purposes. I felt that the way to do this was to sincerely desire and pray to be led to a place where I would not only play basketball but also learn and grow in the knowledge of Him. This pleased me very much, and believing that this sincere desire for spiritual growth would please God too, my faith that He would answer my prayers grew stronger. A little while later, seemingly out of nowhere, I received a letter from Brigham Young University in Hawaii BYU expressing their interest in recruiting me to play basketball, and I felt that this letter was a direct answer to my prayers. It was later, about a year after I arrived in Hawaii, that I learned that it was a friend of a friend who had contacted the basketball coach at BYU on my behalf. Eventually, I received the necessary forms from BYU to get a visa from the American Embassy. The forms, however, arrived late and were expired, but to show my faith, I felt that I needed to prepare as if I was sure to get a visa anyway. I began making all the necessary preparations, which even included buying a plane ticket to Hawaii. Then, I went to the embassy with the expired documents. To my dismay, I was rejected, and also my passport was stamped with a date. This dated stamp prevents anyone from returning to the embassy for six months once they have been rejected. Yet I still had an unusually peaceful feeling leaving the embassy that day I thought I would be devastated, but I wasn't. The confidence I still had from praying baffled my friends who thought I was crazy to still believe that I would be able to get a visa with my stamped passport and expired documents. A few days later, I decided to go to the only other U.S. Embassy located about 400 miles from my home. Being inspired by the story of Lot in the Old Testament of how God blinded the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, I began to pray that the officials at this distant embassy would not see the stamp on my passport, or notice the expired dates on my documents. Looking back, the next few days were extremely difficult, but in the end I learned that it is a very difficult road that leads to the realization of some of our most cherished desires. My prayers were answered that day on January 17, 1989, and I miraculously received my visa to travel to America. To this day the significance of what God did for me continues to increase, and I find myself, whenever my faith waivers, going back to that experience to draw strength and reassurance that there is a God who answers the heartfelt prayers of His children. Against this background, and coupled with the shining examples of the close friends I made in those first few months in Hawaii, who were members of the church, it was easier for me to take seriously the challenge that the missionaries of the Church issued to me to study the Book of Mormon, and then ask God if its message was from Him or not. I did, and got my answer, and made the decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On a side note, I would not have been able to purchase the plane ticket to Hawaii if not for my younger, hard-working brother, Onyebuchi. Unfortunately, he passed away 11 months after my arrival in Hawaii, and it was very difficult for me to deal with his death, but God knows all and allows things to happen for a special purpose in Him.
I have had many opportunities to serve in the church. Although I have fallen short in many instances, I have always tried to do my best because I have a strong conviction that it is not man that I serve, but God Himself. My spiritual philosophy is that my faith must be exemplified and given form in everything I do, especially in my relationships with others. I also know that one of the most important ways I can live my faith is through my life's work. I have been blessed with a talent in art, and I strongly believe that in and through this talent will my spiritual convictions also be expressed.