SALVATION TESTIMONY OF PASTOR AMBROSE ISESELE. BRAINWASHED! FROM GLORY TO GLORY. I entered into university full of zest and excitement, ready to enjoy all that life was going to present to me. I had never had any respect for folks that called themselves Christians. I thought they were an epitome of badly dressed individuals who should have been arrested by the fashion police, deviants from normal and acceptable societal behavior, and since many of them had a history of failing their exams, failures in life. Who wanted to be influenced by such a bunch of no-gooders? Definitely, not a teenager, who was enjoying the air of freedom that a university environment brings. While doing my A-levels, we had been taught in the Christian Religious Knowledge course how to critically examine the bible and its teachings. The conclusion was that the bible was not the infallible word of God that it claimed to be, but a book filled with inconsistencies and contradictions. Getting admission into university to study history helped to strengthen these convictions, A series of lectures on critical thinking, Karl Marx's theory of dialectic materialism, and other forms of philosophical exactitude, and I was well on my way to being a good exponent of critical reasoning. On a hot sunny day in February 1985, I got into an argument with Evangelist Dr. Eddy Owase, who in the company of one of my cousins, Anthony Aireman, was trying to preach to me. After about an hour of animated and heated contentions, in which I employed as much sarcasm, innuendos and barbs as I could, I was thrilled to see that my arguments got him upset😂😂 It was exciting to know that my training in critical reasoning was working. What I didn't realize was that during our discourse, he had thrown a couple of spiritual barbs. In spite of how intellectually deficient I thought his arguments were, I found myself thinking, what if he is right? One week later, I found myself at a BLW fellowship meeting. It was my first time in a Christian meeting. Everyone looked so happy and excited to be in the presence of God. Their joy made me see the emptiness of the course I was pursuing. The preacher came up and preached on a life of victory, peace, divine health and absolute mastery in Christ. I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart to become a Christian. When the altar call was given and the preacher in an emotionally laden voice called for a commitment to Christ, I felt the convictions of the Spirit. As several people made a beeline to the altar, my heart was filled with conflicting thoughts. How can I give up the course I had crafted for myself and become a Christian? How do I explain to my friends? I froze in my seat. I was glad when the altar call was over and relieved when the service ended. I had survived, I thought🤦🏻‍♂ As I made my way out of the venue, Evangelist Owase came up to greet me. He seemed thrilled to see me in the meeting. He wanted to know how the meeting went and if I enjoyed the meeting. I mumbled a few incomprehensible words, eager to get out of the vicinity. To admit I enjoyed the meeting was to concede he won our argument the previous week. I wasn't ready to give up my 'victory', however Pyrrhic it may seem. I was still under the conviction of the Holy Spirit all the way to the hostel. As soon as I entered my room, I knelt down beside my bed and prayed, "Lord if it's your desire for me to be an SU, I will obey. (SU was a derogatory name we used for born-again Christians way back in school). About two weeks later, on matriculation night, a lady who used to be the girlfriend of one of my hostel mates invited me to the fellowship again. I chanced on her with a tray full of sandwiches and requested to take a few. She gently declined and said I could have as many as I wanted at the fellowship meeting. The prospect of having an unlimited supply of sandwiches in one night was too tempting to pass up. What I didn't realize then was that the sandwiches were infected with the Holy Ghost. I went to the meeting and as I bit into the sandwiched, downing them with a bottle of coke, I realized my defenses were crumbling. These Christians had a joy, a peace and a confidence about life that I didn't have. They talked as though their father owned the world. Pastor Chris later came up to preach and by the time he gave the altar call, I raised up my hand without hesitation. I happened to have been the only one who got saved that night because time was far spent. I was told to come to the pastor's room the next day. Looking back now, it seems amazing. Whoever heard of telling a sinner to come back the next day to be saved. The conviction of the Spirit lasted throughout the night. By 10:00 am, I was at the place of appointment. One of the leaders preached Christ to me afresh and I wept my way into the kingdom. (I thought he was a bit mean because as I wailed, he didn't let off preaching. All he did was offer me a hanky (handkerchief) to clean up all the mucus running down my nose and the tears from my eyes). With my worldly pride completely obliterated by the piercing and hammering of the word and my defenses thus debilitated, I was gloriously saved. That was the beginning of what has been a glorious walk with the Lord. It has been a most exciting journey of faith. I have never experienced the blues all these thirty-two years. Never woke up in the morning wondering if I make a mistake. As I zealously attended the fellowship meeting, I found I was experiencing the same peace, joy, and confidence about life and the future that the Christians had. One of the things that troubled me as I ministered to my friends was my inability to convince them as quickly as I wanted. Surely they would believe me, knowing that I once held the same opinions about the faith as they did. That was not the case, as they concluded that I had been brainwashed. However, hard I tried to convince them I wasn't brainwashed, they wouldn't agree. I found it annoying whenever someone claimed I was brainwashed. As I grew in the faith, however, I realized that my old friends were right. I was indeed brainwashed. When I went to the fellowship, I heard Pastor Chris saying, "Fail? Never! We don't fail, we don't lose. I am a victor on every count. The path of the just is as the shining light that shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day". And I was brainwashed into a life of victory and mastery. "Sick? Never! We don't fall sick. If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also vitalize your mortal bodies". And I was brainwashed into divine health. "Broke? Never! I cannot be broke. My God supplies." And I was brainwashed into a life of abundance and supply.

I had to conclude that if being brainwashed meant you had your needs met, and you lived sickness free; if it meant you faced the future with zest and courage and you were a victor on every count; if it meant you were a master and faced life with the spirit of dominion; if it meant you were now righteous and could pray and have answers to your prayers, then being brainwashed with the word is a mighty good thing to happen to anybody. As I look back at the last thirty-two years and the transformations and progressions it has thrown up in its wake, the conclusion of the story is that it has indeed been a journey from glory to glory.



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