gc Called, held, and kept cby Godh
(Isaiah 42:6)

A testimony of Chika Lawson Chuku (M.D)

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When God calls you into relationship with Himself, He will not only hold you, He will also keep you safe and secured in His hands so that nothing in all the world can snatch you out of His hands.

I was born in a family where Church going was a Traditions, and even where Uncles were full time pastors or ministers of the gospel. So, from my childhood I followed that long time tradition even considered myself a Christiancfor I attended both primary and secondary or high School which had Christian curriculumn and enforced strict Christian discipline. In my high School, I lived in the boarding house or hostel located on the campus where morning and evening devotions with Bible reading, singing hymns and prayers were made compulsory for all students. I even began to sing with our church Choir from the age of 12; and knew the difference between being born- again and a mere nominal Christianity, but I was stubborn, rebellious and resisted God. I got a job after high School and found comfort in wild leaving, committing different kinds of sin, often ignoring the advice of my parents, yet still regarding myself a Christian.

I left Nigeria for a university Education in India in 1982, and after a successful first year, I felt I was invincible and convinced myself that I had always been a good student. But pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (proverbs 16:18). I neglected my studies and plunged myself into soccer, a long time passion. I played for the University and also represented the University at gAll India University Gamesh. I also played for Soccer clubs outside the Campus and within one year won many awards including gSports Man of the Yearh award I was very happy when my photograph appeared on the end of year almanac. I had many fans who urged me to get into studentsf politics because of my popularity and I did. Being a second year Science Student, my practical laboratory work was suffering because any time we camped out for several weeks in preparation for a major tournament or traveled out to play the tournament in question, I missed my practical laboratory classes, and often came back borrowing gpractical note bookh from my friends to copy the different gExperimentsh that I never studied or did. And then the final examinations camecfirst, the eChemistry practical Examinationf in which the apparatus for different Experiments were set up in the laboratory and each Experiment indicated on a folded piece of paper. Then we (students) were called in and were asked to pick and perform the different Experiments indicated in the respective folded piece of paper. But unfortunately, I picked up the Experiment which was studied while I was away playing soccer c representing the University. I did badly in that practical Examination and failed my second year Examinations in the University. And this was the turning point in my life. My pride was hurt because all along I had thought that I was a good student and had boasted before my friends that whether or not I studied I was going to pass my examinations. But I was wrong; and instead of accepting responsibility for my failure, I instead blamed it on the University for their Lack of support and special privilege to sportfs men and women. Then I decided to transfer to another University to repeat the subjects .And before I went there, I made three resolutions: that I will never play soccer again; that I will never participate in studentsf politics again or do anything that would make me popular; and lastly that I will never go to the Church again because God did not help me pass my examinations.

My father on hearing of my failure was very disappointed and angry. Because he had on numerous occasions warned me to stop playing soccer, stressing that education will benefit me the rest of my life while professional career in soccer if successful will end at about 35 years of age. Then he demonstrated his anger by sending me money with cheque without a letter. And before this time I already had a cheque in the bank which had not been cashed so that I had limited amount of cash as I was going into the new University in the new city. And even that amount was also stolen in the train and I had nothing on my arrival.
A Nigerian student in that city accommodated me as I waited to cash the two cheques. Usually it took 45 days to cash a Cheque but this time the first cheque was going almost 90 days. While in that confusion and emotional stress, I decided to break my resolution to go back again to Church. And I did that because my room mate was always out on Sunday as he got involved with a cult, namely gTheosophical societyhcone of these New Age groups. And since I did not like to be involved with any cult, I felt that going to the Church, singing the hymns(since I loved singing traditional Christian Hymns) will help me overcome some emotional stress instead of staying at home very lonely. But that was the turning point in my life. After the Church, the Pastor Rev. Kuruvilla Chandhi-one of the finest preachers I have ever listened to came to talk with me, and without a doubt, he knew that I was seeking for something inside.Then he introduced me to an Indian missionary who invited me to the weekly bible studies and fellowship which I refused to go. But he gave me his home address and told me to call on him if I needed help in anyway. And because of this warm reception, I was encouraged to go back to the Church to worship again still seeking for inner peace in the midst of the worst crisis in my life at the time. I was young, studying in a foreign land, I was without money because my two cheques were still not cashed in the bank, and as at that time, I had no one to run to as I found myself in difficulty without my parent for the first time. But God is so gracious gcHe whose eye is on the Sparrowhc was watching over me.God was indeed watching over me.

This missionary couple began to pray for me and also invited me to their home. Then one day I decided to visit their home because I needed help from them to look for an apartment for rent. They welcomed me warmly and before I left, they wanted me to read John chapter 15 and to explain the passage, but I could not explain the passage properly and instead, I began to argue. Any way, a verse struck me strongly as I was leaving their home that night. gIf you remain in me and my words remain in you, you can ask whatever you wish, and it will be given youh (John 15:7) And as I went home I began to ask myself so many questionscwhy do I have many problems? Why is my life miserable and empty? what is the meaning and purpose of life?, Maybe if I trust in Jesus and remain in Him, He will solve my every problem and meet my every need. As I thought about this passage, something was happening to my life gradually.

Then, this same couple invited me to a week-end Christian retreat and camping being held about 15 minutes on foot from where I was living. I was very reluctant to go for the meeting partly because I had not the money for the registration, but somehow, I decided to go for the meeting from home every morning for three days. And at the last day of the meeting, people were giving testimony of how they benefited spiritually from the meeting; others about what the Lord is doing in their lives on day to day bases. One said of how he fasted and prayed over some problems and how the Lord heard his prayers. Then I thought if I also fast and pray, He will also hear my prayers. Many others gave different testimonies, and when it came to my turn, people were expecting me to confess Christ, but I simply said that I enjoyed the retreat.

TESTING GOD
And about one week after the retreat, just about 8:00PM I began to suffer a terrible abdominal pain. And I had no cash or money to go to the drug store to buy the medications or even to consult any Clinic, and even if I had, it was late already for most Clinics were already closed. Then not knowing what to do, I remembered that people shared testimony of how God answered their prayers. So I felt that if I also pray, maybe He will answer my prayers and heal me. And I did not want to do this in the presence of my room mate because he was already laughing at me and mocking that gceven if every body becomes a Christian, you can never become one because of your life styleh. Therefore, I took water in a glass cup went out of the room, leaned on the gate and prayed. As I stretched forth my right hand I said gGod if you heal me tonight I will know that you exist and I will believe in you, and if you do not heal me, then I will know that you do not existhcI prayed like this because I did not really know how to pray; and why I took water in a glass cup to pray, I did not know because I could have simply prayed, and God could have still heard my prayers, because the God of the Bible is a prayer answering God.

Anyway, as I drank the water, my stomach became cool, and the pain stopped instantly. I was very surprised and somehow felt that the pain would return after few minutes and for this reason, I refused to tell my friend as I did not want him to laugh at me again if the pain returned, so I sat quiet and waited for several minutes and the pain never returned then I told my friend. He too was very surprised. God thus proved that He exists. He also proved His faithfulness in answering prayers. He knows our sufferings, He knows our pains, and our sufferings and He will never leave or forsake those who will put their trust in Him. Yet after this wonderful demonstration of His power in my life, I did not still receive Him. I was afraid I was going to lose something by becoming a Christian, hence I broke my promise.


MEETING JESUS CHRIST FACE TO FACE

By this time, I have become regular in Church attendance, so the Pastor invited me to join the Choir being organized for a gChristmas Concerth. Members from different Churches came together to form the Choir, hence it is named gEcumenical Choirh. And because I loved singing, I was therefore very happy to join the Choir. The Choir rehearsal was held in the evening once a week and I was provided with a Music file which I carried home after every rehearsal.

One Night as I was returning home from the rehearsal with my music file, I saw two human heads that emerged into two separate human beings. Then I immediately identified the first one as the Satan. And the second one as the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the Satan approached me and asked, gAre you a Christian? And my answer wasc gYesh.
Because I felt that I was born in Christian family, was regularly attending Church; and at the present was a member of the Choir. But When Christ approached me, His eyes were penetrating inside my inner being, as though searching for every secret and evil thought, and I felt completely naked before Him; I was afraid and felt guilty for not accepting Him as my Lord and savior, at this time I was already crying, so when He asked, gAre you really a Christian? I replied truthfully, that I was not a Christian. Then the Satan came again to deceive me, he toned down his voice and said, gYou were born in a Christian family, you go to Church every Sunday, you must be a Christian, Isnft it? Then again I was confused and I answered, gYes, I am a Christian.h But Jesus Christ came again for the second time, and I was afraid and denied that I was not a Christian. This incidence happened three times, and on the third time, Jesus was very angry at my behavior, and he said to me, why are you so wavering and stubborn? Why have you refused to accept me? He placed His hand on my neck, bent it as if He wanted to give me a hard knock on the head, then told I Him I was being deceived by Satan from accepting Him, I pleaded for His forgiveness, and promised to accept him hence forth, Then He forgave me and then took the Satan and tied him with a chain round a a big tree beside the small path in that gMahanagar housing Schemeh in Lucknow City India.
Then He came to me and asked, gDo you know me? and I said gyes, you are Jesus Christ, the son of God and the Bible said that we must worship God through youh. Then He said where is it in the Bible? and I did not know where to find it because I had not really read the Bible even though I was always attending Church. Then I ran into the house to look for my Bible and began to look for the passage, and when I could not find it I came out to ask him help me look for it. But He was gone. Then I opened my eyes and realized that it was a dream. I dashed out of my bed, searched for my Bible and found it very dusty, I continued to cry as I knelt down to read and pray to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. And this was in November 1984 about 3:00AM.
But one of the things that surprised me most was that my sleeping dress was wet with tears when I woke up from the dream. Then I thought this was not just a mere dream , it was real, because I had never before found tears on my body after I woke up from sleep after experiencing a night mire in which I cried.

This experience is unique but not more special than any onefs own experience. God can choose to use any means to bring one to Himself, For many have come to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savoir by going to Church and by just hearing the Pastor preach, others by reading a gChristian tract, some others by discussion with a witnessing Christian, yet others by listening to a Christian or Television programme . Every one of these means and experiences is unique and they all point to God as the all loving, gracious, forgiving, merciful and compassionate God, and bringing Glory to Him.
A VESSEL BEING CLEASED TO BE USED

With the joy and the excitement of experiencing the LOVE of God and knowing that all my sins have been paid for by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the CROSS, I plunged myself into His service so that others may experience His Love too. I was made the Secretary of the student group in Lucknow city of cUNION OF EVANGELICAL STUDENTSf OF INDIA ? a nationwide Evangelical movement whose main task is to bring the gospel to all the Universities campuses and colleges in India.
I also started a Bible Study in my apartment with none Christian classmates in attendance.( This apartment became available in a Christian community exactly the time my cheques were cashed in the bank, and there was money to pay for it. God is so good).

That year God also blessed me in my college by giving me the highest score in the faculty of Science gThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdomh
And in the final year just reading my books and serving God, I finished with a good grade from the University.


MY JOURNEY TO THE PHILIPPINES.

Before I went to the Philippines to pursue my medical career, I visited Nigeria for about 2 weeks and my parents were very surprised at my new life in Jesus Christ. Having realized that my Parents were deeply religious the same as other members of my family, but lacked the born-again experience, I began to pray for them. I started morning devotion every morning 5:00 AM involving every member and in which I Preached. And when I left for India then Philippines. The morning devotion was continued by my father and soon most members of my family became born-again Christians including my father.

I arrived to the Philippines in the month of May 1987 to start my studies. This was very exciting for me in the beginning. But just after my first year final examination, I began to have eye problem, my vision was diminishing and I thought that I needed an eye glass. So I consulted some eye specialists and optometrists; and each one of them prescribed an eye glass for me; so that I had three or four eye glasses that did not improve my vision.

My vision got so bad that I could not see any picture on the television screen. Then I consulted one of our professors in the medical school both husband and wife (Drs. Evidente) were E.E.N.T(Eye, Ear, Nose ,and Throat) Specialist, and the wife is also a pathologists. They were the ones who discovered that my problem was due to the inflammation of the Optic nerve. The Optic nerve carry visual impulses to bring about clear vision, but when it is diseased or inflamed, visual impulses can not flow or be conducted smoothly along the nerve, and vision will be diminished; and if not treated in time, it can lead to blindness. The name of the disease is called RETROBULBAR NEURITIS.

MIRACULOUS HEALING THAT SURPRISED EVEN THE DOCTORS.

The doctors (the husband and wife) began treatment immediately with gSteroidh regarded by every Doctor as a miracle drug because of the efficacy. By this time I could not read any alphabet at all. I was almost blind because I could hardly identify somebodyfs face unless he is within a short distance from me. After about one month treatment with Steroid along with other medications, there was no improvement. The Doctors were worried that they could not continue with steroid for a long time because it has a serious side effect. In one of those consultations, they told me with difficulty that they would stop the treatment because there was nothing else they could do since they had given me the best treatment, then I cried sorrowfully and pleaded with him to give me one more week. As he looked away from me, he began to wipe his eyes and then I realized that he was also crying. Then they decided to give me only one more week of treatment, and after that if there is no improvement, they will stop treatment and consider me as partially blind.

I had been crying ever since I had the eye disease ; but I cried more this time when I was told the news that I did not want to hear. I was desperate, hopeless and lost every sense of Living. I pictured myself as a young man in the medical School with a bright future in front of him. All my life, my dream was to be a medical doctor, and it was the wishes of my parents too; and I had worked hard for it too to get to this point. How I could lose my dream and my career because of that one disease was difficult for me to understand. I felt that it was better for God to take my life than to keep me living. I had Christians in different part of the world praying for me. My Christian friends in India were also fasting and praying for me. In one of our prayer meetings I told the group that I had resigned to my condition, and even if God is not going to heal me that I will still preach the gospel. They told me to have faith and not to pray like that. I cried day and night on my bed and my pillows soaked with tears just desperate for healing.

JESUS SEES OUR EVERY TEAR AND HEARS OUR CRIES.
As I was nearing the end of the one week without any improvement from the medications, I was desperate and terribly afraid. But just about two days before consulting the doctors for their verdict, I saw a man who gave me an eye glass in my dream and ask me to put it on, and I wore it and could see with it. I woke up immediately, I went down to the front of our apartment to check if I could see anything from a distance clearly but there seemed not to be any improvement.
But on the day of consultation, I could read what I could not read before. My eyes have improved to the amazement of the Doctors. They were so overjoyed for me and encouraged to continue the medication with a smaller dosage. And the Lord healed me completely. Then they gave me an eye glass with which I could see clearly. Glory be to God.



COMING TO JAPAN

My second year in the medical school had started, and because of my eye problem, I had missed nearly half of the first semester. Coupled with this, the Nigerian economy had also depreciated so badly that the Government stopped foreign Exchange remittance. So that all Nigerian students abroad could no longer receive money from their parents in Nigeria except through black market which was very expensive. Because of this many of us studying in the Philippines decided to come to Japan to work to sponsor our Education. I also came to Japan and used that period to recover fully before continuing with my second year in the medical School.

On my arrival to Japan in the month of September 1988, I began to look for a church to worship. I went to Nihongo Church in Kawaguchi, and the Pastor of the Church told me of Tokyo Baptist Church in Shibuya. Fortunately, two Nigerians in the same guest house had been there once; so they brought me to the place.
On my second Sunday, I was going to the Shibuya Station after worship service, as I walked faster and passed one lady, following the Short-cut, I soon lost my way. But somehow managed to retrace my way back to the Station. Just in front of the station, I saw this lady again. We greeted each other, and I told her if I knew that she was going to the station, I should have followed her and would not have lost my way. As she saw the gospel tracts in my hand which I had collected from the Church for distribution to None Christians, she immediately asked me , gdo you know Him?h I answered gyes, I know Himh ; then I shared my testimony of how I came to know Jesus Christ. She told me it was wonderful; then I returned the question to her, gcand do you know Him?h. And she equally shared her testimony, and it was wonderful. We stood several hours in front of the station talking and sharing our individual experiences in the Lord. Then she took me to a restaurant and treated me for a lunch, and from that day we became friends. That beautiful and wonderful lady, a dedicated servant of God, who loved Jesus Christ so much is Toshie Sasada san. Sister Sasada is now a retired missionary after serving with the Navigators for many years. I spent about two and half months, and went back to the Philippines.

I visited Japan three times before my graduation from the medical school; and each time I came back, Sister Toshie Sasada was always there to help, providing me winter with clothes for winter, and summer clothes for Summer; she saw in me a young man struggling to be educated to have a better future, and so she treated me as a mother would treat her own baby. Some time she brought me a home made cake to the Church, and said g I want you to taste this cake because I know you must be missing food cooked by your parentsh.

She also nurtured me spiritually, every Sunday she gave me bible passages to memorize, and supervised me to finish a work-book on discipleship course. She took me out to show me places, encouraged me and prayed for me committedly. She continued to encouraged me, not only while in Japan, but also while studying in the Philippines, and even sent me a gift to use and celebrate my graduation in the medical school. God used her to bless me so much, May God bless and reward her too.
During my junior medical internship training programme in the Hospital in the Philippines, God used me greatly as some of my patients became Christians, then I realized that God was leading me to serve Him with my profession. Hence I began to pray to be a medical missionary.

THE FACTORY ACCIDENT THAT CHANGED ME

After my graduation from the Medical School, I was still indebted to the School. And they would not release my diploma and credentials unless I paid all my tuition fees owed to the School. Then, I decided to come to Japan again to work and pay all my debts so that I could have the school send all my credentials and diploma to me. Hoping that I could find a medical job here. I also got married to a Japanese lady, so that even after the school in the Philippines sent me all my credentials and diploma and I could not find a job with it because I do not have Japanese license to practice medicine, I tried other decent jobs but it was not possible because of language difficulty. Then I decided that it would take a little working in the factory, plan very well to save a little money, and leave Japan.

I was planning that we could leave for America on July 2001, but on January 30th 200I, I sustained a severe accident in which I lost my four fingers from the new job that I had done for only one and a half month. When the accident happened, I cried because I knew how much I had suffered in order to build a better life for the future, and to be useful to God and to man with my profession. As I saw my fingers and my bones crushed underneath the machine, and with my remaining short fingers covered with blood. Then I cried and ask God, you said you would never leave me nor forsake me, now why have you abandoned me? cthis was a cry of agony and desperation.

Then I was taken to the hospital, and while waiting in the Emergency Room, I was still crying because the pain was very severe and excruciation especially when the bones were crushed. Just then I did not know where my strength came from and instead of crying, I began to sing praise songs, one of the nurses there (male) told other nurses that that foreigner is now running crazy; and when I heard him say that I called him to come nearer. And when he came I asked him if he had heard of Jesus Christ . I told him that I am a Christian and that Jesus was crucified on the cross for the sins of the whole world. And during His crucifixion, He was severely beaten and flogged, His back bled, He was tired so much so that He could not walk or even carry His own cross. And for each pound of the nail driven through His flesh on His hands and feet, there was an agonizing pain, and when the sins of the whole world was so heavy upon Him, the son of God cried with a loud voice; gFather, Father why have you forsaken meh and He bled and died . I told the nurse that my pain is nothing to be compared to His pain; and He did that for me. Now I appreciate what He did for me on the cross; how much He loved me, and how much I want to love Him too even now. My Japanese was not good but I cared less except to pass the message. I hope he understood, we became friendly anyway the rest of my stay in the hospital.


GODfS NAME BEING GLORIFIED

Hence I began to rejoice even in my accident. And I began to distribute bible and tracts in the whole hospitalc to the Doctors, Nurses, patients and other staff as they were brought to me by church members. And some patients also prayed to receive Jesus Christ, others expressed interest in Christianity. The church was praying for Me., and many members including those I did not know who heard my story were coming to see me. That was a turning point in my life. The Lord caused me to rejoice because His strength is perfect in our weaknesses. He also reminded me of His past faithfulness so that even in my hopeless, desperate and anxious moments, I had Peace and confidence knowing that somehow, He will make a way out. And how he was going to give me back my crushed fingers and restore me back to the medical profession I did not know but somehow I kept believing and trusting in His faithfulness and unfailing Love.

I underwent many surgeries about seven times both major and minor. During my first toe to finger transplant (in which one of my toes was taken from my leg to be inserted on my hand so that I can use as a finger). Some fluid entered my lungs and caused me Pneumonia, I was taken to another hospital and placed in Intensive care Unit(ICU); in which the doctors pronounced that my chances of living where 50-50, but I told my wife that I was not going to die. Because of this, there was a complication with the transplant , and it nearly would not have survived, but it did, praise God!
Just before my second toe to finger transplant, my wife abandoned the marriage and left. Once again I felt abandoned anxious and hopeless; experiencing not only Physical pain but also emotional pain, so that on the day of the SURGERY (although brother Kenneth Kanu came later), I was alone as I was being taken to the Operation Room. Again, I would be placed under general anesthesia, I was afraid . And psalms 23:4 gEven though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.h However, this surgery became successful, and the healing was fast. My treatment in the hospital lasted for about one year and ten months. Now I have four toes on each leg, and straight and stiff fingers; but I am grateful to God that I can function a little better than I expected with my fingers. God is so good.

RESTORATION TO MEDICAL PRACTICE.

During my accident I tried to learn how to read and write Nihongo, so that I could get a better job; therefore after my healing, I searched for jobs but no success. Then I began to apply to work in Hong Kong University- medical department but the Lord did not want me to go there even after applying and getting the Visa. The Lord knew that I did not want Medical research. All my life I wanted to work in the clinics so that I can have opportunity to share the gospel with the patients. But I lost hope that I will be able to practice Medicine again after my accident, and also after I had not practiced medicine for about 8 years.

The Lord instead lead me to the Philippines, He confirmed my trip right from the start as an Indian sitting next to me from Narita prayed to receive Jesus Christ. Then on my arrival to the Philippines three more Philipinos received Jesus Christ. I was going to the Public Hospital where I trained as an intern before to beg them to accept me because I felt they knew me and would be supportive . But the Lord directed me to a hospital which I did not Know, Itfs a Christian (evangelical) hospital. I was afraid and was not sure they were going to accept me, and so I did not want to go but the Holy Spirit urged me to go and I went. There were 3 of us applying for Internship, and after they saw our diploma and credentials, they told us that three of us were accepted. Then I told my story about my accident and showed them my fingers, wanting to know if that will disqualify me but they said, there is no problem with that; then I told them that I have not practiced medicine for about eight years and have forgotten many things. They encouraged me and assured me that they will help me learn fast.
Then I asked them of the Church behind the hospital, and they told me that the pastor of the Church is also the chaplain of the Hospital. I immediately inquired to see the Pastor and we met. I shared my testimony and he was blessed. Then I asked him if I worked here would I be allowed to share the gospel freely to the patients?. He said gyesh with joy stressing that this hospital was built to advance the GOSPEL. There is also a college of Nursing attached to the Hospital, and he conducts morning devotion to the Nursing students, and he pleaded that I should come so that we can work as a team and win people for Jesus Christ. He is a Southern Baptist Seminary Graduate, He told me that he might go to the United States to undertake more training as a chaplain, and if I come, I can become the Chaplain of the Hospital, as a foreign Doctor under training in the Philippines, I will not be paid anyway but I will be very happy to do it for the Lord.

A STORY TO TELL AND A MESSAGE OF HOPE .
I hope this story brings hope to the hopeless, desperate, abandoned, suffering and sinking in the muddy waters. Psalms 34 is my personal Psalms that speaks about my experiencecVerse 4ch I SOUGHT THE LORD AND HE ANSWERED ME AND DELIVERED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS.Therefore verses 1 & 2 sayschI WILL EXTOL THE LORD AT ALL TIMES AND HIS PRAISES WILL ALWAYS BE ON MY LIPS; MY SOUL WILL BOAST IN THE LORD, LET THE AFFLICTED HEAR AND REJOICEh.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL