Joshua Obgo is a SOON reader from Nigeria. In his village, any boy of 17 years old must be initiated into the worship of the god of the River Oturkpo. Joshua was 17 when he did his final exams at secondary school. His father asked him to go to the village for the initiation ceremony as soon as his exams were finished. For Joshua this was a big problem – he worships the Creator God and loves Jesus Christ as his friend. He knew that he could not worship any other god. He wanted to learn more about Jesus, so he read the Bible and studied the SOON Bible Course. He went to the village because his father told him to do so. Joshua tells us what happened:
Dressed in goat skin
When I arrived there, the first person I saw was the witchdoctor (the one who would do the initiation ceremony). He said he was expecting me. I told him in my own language, "It is not me you have been expecting because I have no business with you."
This must have made the witchdoctor angry because he spoke an incantation. I must have then fainted for a long time. The next morning I woke to find I had slept on the altar where the god of the Oturkpo River is worshipped. I was dressed in a goat skin and was lying on top of a lion skin. I sat up and my grandfather came to me. When he saw me, he fainted too. I could do nothing to help him. My grandfather never said anything because he was afraid of the witchdoctor. The whole village was afraid of him.
My egg broke
I was one of a group of seven waiting to be initiated. I could only ask Jesus Christ to help me. They brought an egg that each of us had to stand on. This was part of the ceremony. I felt someone inside me asking, "What are you doing here? Can't you stand up and go away, this place is too dirty?"
I was the last boy and also the thinnest in the group. The others were all heavier than me. One by one they stood on top of the egg – it did not break. Then it was my turn. I stood on the egg, just as all the rest had done, but for me the egg broke. The witchdoctor was very angry – it was as though he became mad. At that moment God's power came into me. The witchdoctor was shouting but I answered him with words from the Bible. I went to the altar, took my clothes, threw the skin off and went home. Every villager, even my grandfather, was afraid of me. No-one had ever spoken to the witchdoctor like that.
Taken at night
At midnight I saw six big men come to take me from my bed down to the river. I tried to escape but they were too powerful for me. I heard the witchdoctor shout, "Bring him here."
I stood on the sand by the river. Suddenly there was an earthquake. Everywhere shook. The witchdoctor and all the powerful men fell down. The altar broke into pieces. Then everything became normal again and I heard the witchdoctor, who thought I was dead, shout, "Take this one away before he kills me – this is the sort of person I don't like dealing with."
The big men were afraid to touch me but I told them to take me home. They did and I slept peacefully all night. The next morning, news of what happened went around the village. All the boys – those who were going to be initiated – turned away from the witchdoctor's religion and trusted Jesus Christ. It was difficult for me to say 'no' to the witchdoctor, but God showed that he is powerful and will help us when we ask him."