Seyi Bamgbose looks modest, talks with so much ease and parades the look of a school boy at the mercy of his teacher. But this young man, who just came back from India recently after completing a master’s degree programme at the University of Mysore, India, has great initiatives. Apart from excelling in his academics, his passion for spreading the good news of Jesus is simply incredible.
Born to a Baptist pastor, Bamgbose told our correspondent at a recent mission’s conference in Offa, Kwara that his parents played a major role in shaping his destiny. “My parents are ministers of the gospel. My father is a retired Baptist pastor. But they made us realize early in life that we have to make our own personal decision for Christ.
“They did not force us to live right by giving rules and regulations but they did not relent in praying for us. So when the time came I surrendered my life to Christ at a full gospel business men’s fellowship. I remember I used to get angry but after I gave my life to Christ that spirit of anger disappeared.”
That initial experience helped him all through his academic pursuit. A second class upper graduate of microbiology at Obafemi Awolowo University, Bamgbose said the Lord had told him shortly after his conversion that all he needed to excel in life was to seek Him first. “I have always learnt to trust God and commit every step I take into God’s hands. For me, seeking the will of God is crucial to my success in life”
He had wanted to study medicine but ended up studying microbiology. “I wrote JAMB (Joint Admission Matriculation Board) four times and I got beyond the cut off in one of the sittings but I was not given medicine. I had to settle for microbiology. I soon realised that God had a different plan for me. I got a scholarship in my second year and that helped me through my stay on campus”
While on campus, Bamgbose did not relent in his work for God and his commitment to other campus initiatives. He was president of his department’s association and also was a member of the Student Representatives Council of the university. He excelled as the president of his departmental association, excelled in his academics and did not disappoint God in his commitment to evangelism “I had a way of managing my time. Whenever it was close to exams, I shut down all extra-academic commitments and devoted the last two weeks to exams to my studies. That helped me a lot coupled with God’s favour on my life”
He worked briefly after his youth service and got a scholarship to do a master’s programme in an India University. Bamgbose who made a presentation of his mission activities at the Offa, Kwara State of Nigeria during a mission’s congress said he never thought he would do evangelical work in India. But somehow when I got there, the Lord impressed on me to use every available means to preach the gospel.”
The first thing that he encountered was the religious and multicultural nature of the Indians. “I discovered that they have multiple gods and each of these gods has its functions. Hinduism is the predominant religion but among the Hindus there are millions of gods. Almost every family has a god that they relate with. They also have several languages. Almost every state has an official language that binds the people together. But Hindu is an official language apart from English. That was the first challenge I encountered.”
But that did not stop him from reaching the people with the gospel. “what I did was to first identify with a church called Destiny Centre. A Kenyan Pastor, Philip Onwundi is the pastor of the church. But through the church I was able to reach out to my colleagues in school. It was an exciting time for me sharing the love of God to my colleagues. We started a forum in my accommodation where people of different religions come to share their thoughts and through that I was able to explain the gospel to them.”
Bamgbose who observed that most evangelical churches in India operate underground said many of the converts are often shielded from attack from their family members. “It’s an offence to abandon the hindu religion. There are cases of pastors being beaten and imprisoned in that part of India. But generally the ordinary people are peaceful and perhaps show a lot of respect for holy books. They respect the Bible and will always do obeisance to it. The average Indian wants to connect with an image. That is why the catholic faith is predominant. The image of Mary is the attraction for them. They find it difficult to connect with God without seeing an image.”
For Bamgbose who visited a number of churches in India, there is no barrier for the gospel. “By God’s grace the Lord was able to use me to explain to some of the people I met the freedom in being born of God. I made them to realize that religion is an attempt to reach God through human effort but the message of the good news preaches that God came down to save mankind. With that understanding some of them began to warm up to the gospel. I suggested to the church where I worshiped to use the valentine’s day to share the love of Christ for mankind. A lot of young people came to that meeting and their lives were transformed.”