When I told people that I had been redeployed back to Lagos for the completion of my National Youth Service year, I could literally feel some of them subtly jugding me. Like I had just deliberately changed God’s will for my life or something.
But how can you even judge – when you have no idea how it went down from the very beginning?
So today, I’m going to be sharing the story with you – everything from why I think I got sent to Bauchi, the significant lessons God wanted to teach me and the miracle of my redeployment.
(If you are here and you are currently serving, especially in a place where you don’t want, please read this story. If you are not, read it still. There are lessons here for you to learn.)
Before I received my call up letter on Thursday, the 18th of June, 2017, all my expectations for my posting had been on Lagos.
People don’t understand when I tell them why I wanted Lagos. Most think it’s because ‘oh, it’s Lagos and everyone wants to serve here.’ Some others think it’s because I already started working and the salary was just too tempting to leave.
But I knew why I wanted Lagos and they were serious and genuine reasons, which I’m not going to share here. I shared these reasons with a few people including my mum and we all together to make sure that my posting worked.
On my part, I did my registration as early as I could, picked Lagos while it was still available and sent my call-up number to everyone I knew was in a position to help me ‘work’ it.
Two nights before the call up letter was released, one of those people called my mum and told her that Lagos was filled up. He wanted to know if it was okay to put me in Ogun state instead and my mum said okay.
When she told me, I literally screamed at her. I shouted and asked her why she would say it’s okay when she knows just how badly I wanted Lagos. Didn’t she know? Why would she say it’s okay? My mum tried to explain to me that Lagos and Ogun were practically the same thing and I could still do everything I wanted to do but I wasn’t gonna have any of that. I shouted on her so much that my mum almost started crying. I can’t forget how she looked up to heaven and said in Yoruba “God, please let me not be at fault. Whatever happens, please let them not post this girl to Ogun.” She then called the man back on my request and told him to stop working it for me.
I thought since there were other people helping me, there was no need for him to do that anymore. I didn’t want any conflict. It was either Lagos or no place else.
Two days later, my posting letter came out and despite all my ‘it’s either Lagos or no service resolve’ guess where I got?
Bauchi. Not even Ogun. Bauchi.
When I saw this, my heart sunk. Deep. But I wasn’t surprised. A part of me knew it was going to happen, from that night when I had shouted on my mum. I knew. In my room that night, I had told God to forgive me but I knew I wasn’t going to get Lagos.
You see, it wasn’t like God wanted to punish me. I learnt later that He only wanted to teach me a lesson.
That night when I shouted on my mum, I did three things:
– I was indirectly putting my self in a box and saying that all the plans God had for me this year were in Lagos only.
– I disrespected my mum.
– I put all my trust completely in mere men. I was very confident that because of their positions, my posting would work out.
So, lesson 1: Never put your trust in man. Man can fail. Put your trust solely in God. He can never fail.Never put your trust in man. Man can fail. Put your trust solely in God. He can never fail. Click To Tweet
For those three things, I wasn’t surprised when I got posted somewhere else, but Bauchi? It was the last on my list. Wasn’t even expecting it at all.
Bauchi is in the far North East, close to Borno. It’s 22 hours away from home. How was I going to do everything I wanted to do in Lagos? Why Bauchi?
I remember feeling so sad that day. At first, I had tried to put up a calm facade but while I was in the keke, on my way to work, I had God say “Seun..” and it was then all my walls crumbled. I didn’t say anything out loud, but I remember thinking “God, please don’t. I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
I wasn’t angry with God. I was just heartbroken. It got worse when everyone else started calling or texting to find out where I was posted. No one, except my friend Ife Dosunmu, had anything encouraging to say. If anything, I was even the one encouraging others to accept where they had been posted in good faith.
4 days later, I took my extremely long road trip to Bauchi. Since I already shared that experience, I’m not doing that here.
• Bauchi: a land of giants or honey:
Immediately our bus entered Bauchi, the first thing that hit me was the heat. Gosh, guys, Bauchi was dry. It felt like it hadn’t rained in years.
A few days upon arrival, I got catarrh, not from cold but from the dust. Everyone I met (who wasn’t a northerner) complained bitterely about how early the sun rises and how deeply it scorched.
The few times rain fell, it also fell extremely. It poured so much, we weren’t sure which of the weather we preferred.
Considering the fact that I didn’t want to be there, it wasn’t hard for me to find so much to complain about – the weather, the food, the rigour of our camp’s training, everything. Everywhere I stood, someone beside me was complaining about something. We all just wanted to go back home.
Until a couple of days to leaving camp. At this point, I had started to talk to God again and one day, I was reminded of the 12 spies sent to canaanland. You know that story yeah? Yeah. 10 of those spies came back and said the land was filled with giants and it was impossible to claim it. Only 2 came back and said the land flowed with milk and honey and it was only those two that made it in.
Immediately God’s Spirit reminded me of that story, I began to change my perspective. I suddenly realized that every single thing I had been complaining about were the giants and because I was too wrapped up in the fact that I didn’t want to be in Bauchi, that was all I saw.
But how come in a land filled with giants, Joshua and Caleb saw honey? I began to ask God to help me see the honey that flowed in Bauchi, to help me connect with those he had purposed I connect with and to help me make an impact in the life of someone, even if my stay was just for three weeks or the entire year. It wasn’t until then that I really started to enjoy my stay.
So lesson 2: When you have God’s Spirit within you and you constantly engage that spirit, He guides even your thoughts and helps you see things that you ordinarily would not see.
For the few days that I had left to leaving camp, I decided to consciously build an habit of thanking God, even though I wasn’t sure my redeployment was going to work out. I believe the ongoing hallelujah challenge might have inspired that decision too. I began to live the moments, to meet new people, eat new food, learn a new skill, a new language and even dance round a fire. Some of those experiences were really unforgettable for me, which brings me to lesson 3.
Lesson 3: There really are things to enjoy in the moment. There really is honey in a land filled with giants. You just have to bring yourself to see it.
• Redeployement: God’s will or not?
By now, you guys already know I had intentions to redeploy right?
Now, to redeploy, there were three grounds. The first was a medical report that says you have a certain disease that requires you being at so and so place to be treated. The second was a marriage certificate and the third was insecurity.
Before I left for camp, I had had a couple of people tell me to cook up a fake medical report but I wasn’t going to do it. I couldn’t. One, I couldn’t claim something I didn’t have and two, if I had lied, I knew God wouldn’t be pleased. I didn’t want that (even though I wasn’t talking to Him at the time).
So, medical report? Out. Marriage certificate? Out, out, out. Insecurity? Well, I could do that. Only downside is, there was no guarantee I would get posted back to where I want. I took the redeployment form but ended up not filling it.
Now, with no form and no ‘direct’ link to anyone who could help me work it back, I started to give up on any hope of being redeployed. Only this time, I wasn’t so heartbroken about it. Remember I had been praying about whether or not God wanted me in Bauchi for the entire year and that if it was his will I stay, He should help me see the honey that flows there.
While I was waiting for clarity on that issue, whenever anyone (especially those who had chosen to stay back) asked if I was going to redeploy and I said yes, they would look at me like I was doing a bad thing. Like God deliberately brought me to Bauchi and I wanted to change that. I learnt during this time that ‘our relationship with God is personal and His will for your life might not be His will for mine.’
Still I wasn’t so sure but no matter how much I prayed, I just didn’t feel any peace about staying in Bauchi. My mum also became paranoid all of a sudden and my friend, Ope Harun who I thought was going to stay back in Gombe (close to Bauchi) also told me she was redeploying.
I was afraid God’s will might turn out I remain in Bauchi. If it was, I would stay but until God tells me that’s it. I refused to accept it as God’s Will, simply because everyone was telling me it was. I accepted that God knew I was going to be posted to Bauchi initially. Why because, I know God knows every single detail of my life, even before I lived out a single minute but what I didn’t know was if He wanted me to stay the entire year.
It didn’t come as a word, all I knew was that this time, my trust wasn’t in any man, it was in God. This time, I wasn’t clogged in ‘oh, I have to go back to Lagos by fire by force.’ I knew that God was right there with me and that no matter where ever I find myself, I am blessed. I knew because God told me He had gone ahead of me and had prepared a way. He didn’t tell me whether or not my redeployment would work out. That was what He said and I held on to that statement like my life depended on it. Still holding on to it.
Fast forward to last day in camp and we were asked to line up to collect our posting letter. I joined the queue and watched as the others were handed their letters. When it got to my turn, the man searched for my letter and couldn’t find it. He looked at me and asked if I filed for relocation. Of course, I said yes and he told me to go check a certain board.
At this point, my heart was beating so fast. I got there, searched for my name and found it. I had been relocated back to Lagos, on the directive of the NYSC director-general.
Gosh, my heart nearly exploded. I had one person to thank for this – God. Only God, before I went on to thank those through which He had done it.
I had learnt the lesson(s) God wanted me to learn. I had learnt not to trust in any man but in God alone. I had learnt that when God wants all His glory, He doesn’t want to share. I had learnt that God is good, good father. He never means to break our hearts.
If anyone asks me now if it was God’s will I redeployed, the answer to that would be a yes. God did it, Just like that.
Plus, I didn’t even tell you guys about how He sustained me through camp on an amount that was barely sustainable. Anyway, that would be another time.
I hope you read this story through and you learnt anything from it. If you did, kindly share it with me in the comments. Also, do you have a recent testimony? Share that with me too and stream A corpers in the house, how was your camp experience? Y’all should share.
Till later guys,