It’s easy to conclude that Pastor Mrs. Faith Oyedepo lives in the shadow of her husband. It’s understandable. Her husband, Bishop David Oyedepo is the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners Chapel. Her husband is always in the news and no doubt one of the front-liners in the Pentecostal charismatic circle in Nigeria.
But then, Faith, whose original name is Florence has had to fight her own battles and has over the years carved a niche for herself. Though quiet and seldom seen in the public, she has proved to be a strong pillar in the ministry. That however did not come on a platter.
Valley of death experience
Her experience in the valley of death several years ago has put her in the hall of faith; a testimony to her name. Many had thought she would go with the sickness which ravaged her for several months. It was indeed a traumatic time for the family. But God kept her through that season of horror.
The consequence of her experience is her unbridled passion to see the sick get well. Her voice cuts through the air whenever she talks about healing. She was right there in the den of sickness and death. Her sickness defied medical science but could not defy the mercy and the healing power of God.
In the book, rescued from destruction, she confessed that it was the mercy of God that pulled her through. Born February 5, 1958, as Florence Abiola Akano, she married her husband in 1982 when things were on ground zero. And they have both gone through the mill to get where they are today.
She talks passionately about the years of her frail health and would always pray passionately for the sick.
She said in one of her messages that she became aware that wellness is what every sick person looks forward to.
He words, “Thank God for medical science but they are facing a lot of challenges today because they can’t catch up with what the devil is releasing to the world.
Sickness is terrible
“Sickness is terrible, it is evil. When I had my ordeal going through the valley of the shadow of death there were many things I could not document in the book.
“At a point in time when those who were helping me out were trying to carry me, my body was peeling off. You could not talk of combing my hair because my hair was pulling off. But I know I am here because God rescued me so I can be an agent of rescue.
“For a long season, different parts of my body were stiff. My neck was stiff, my legs were stiff, my hands were still. One of the medical doctors that were coordinating said I would not regain the use of my left hand anymore again even if I recover from the sickness. But today here I am carrying my hands. That is why when I see the sick, I have a lot of passion. God who changed my story will change the story of somebody.” He declared in the audio message published online.
Trouble began on the missions field
In the 173-page book, she said her ordeal in the hands of the enemy started on the mission field while she and her husband and some ministers in the church were busy holding programmes in the north.
It all began with a pain in her body. She anointed the place where the pain was coming from and prayed. But rather than get a reprieve, things became worse. Her husband began to wage war against the kingdom of darkness while they also sought medical help. But the doctors had no clue as to what was wrong with her. She ran all kinds of test, yet there was no clue. After exhausting all medical examinations, she began to do a self-examination.
She ensured that she had no bitterness, hatred malice, or strife that the enemy could latch on to. Even at that, her condition did not improve.
She was struck with insomnia. She could not sleep. She experienced pain all over her body. It got to a point that things she could do became difficult for her. She however held to God’s word. After suffering from insomnia for several days, she said the first breakthrough she had with sleep was after Pastor Enoch Adeboye prayed for her.
That was however not the end of the battle. She began to have strange experiences thereafter. The night became a nightmare. Confusing thoughts made her heart a habitation. She had a terrible physical condition that she literally became a walking corpse. With time she could not carry out personal hygiene by herself. She could no longer read the Bible. She needed assistance to do almost everything including going to the toilet. She also began to see horrible visions of strange objects.
Doctors said it was spiritual
She wrote in the book, “there was this mysterious ugly black devilish structure that stood continuously at the entrance of any room I was for months and I was the only one seeing it.”
When her ordeal would not abate, she was moved of the country. While abroad she did more medical checks and consulted with many experts. One of the doctors confessed to her that her problem was spiritual, that medicine could not solve it. That was when it dawned on her that she needed to increase her spiritual attention to the ailment.
She used the name of Jesus and ate the holy communion without restrain. She applied the anointed olive oil and embarked on a regular sprinkling of the blood of Jesus (usually the Ribena drink is represented by the blood), she also used the mantle, embarked on feet washing and the prayer of faith. She also deployed the weapon of sacrificial giving. Great men of God like T.L Osborn also prayed for her.
The miraculous happened
The miraculous happened in December 2004 when her son killed a snake that showed up in her room. A big black ugly bird was also found completely dead in their house in Nigeria. The bird was knocked down right in front of their room. The bird was gathered and burnt. As soon as the bird was burnt, she started receiving calls from people who wanted to confirm if she was still alive.
Another manifestation was the appearance of a long, winding poisonous snake in her husband’s office. The snake was killed. After the snake was killed, the first thing she noticed was that the death angel that always stood by her door disappeared. That marked the end of the sickness which according to her dragged for a cumulative of nine months.
Faith Oyedepo: Lessons from my travail
On the lessons she learnt from her experience, she wrote, “the first lesson I learnt as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death was intimacy with God. When tough times knock on your door, don’t run away from God. Run to God. Never let anything separate you from God because it is to Him you will return at the end of your earthly journey.”
She also learnt that it is important to constantly entertain thoughts of victory. She said, “Your life will always move in the realm of your dominant thoughts”
Another lesson she noted in the book is that believers should always believe they will be victorious from any burden or problem.
Her ordeal also made her realise that it is important “to build valuable relationships and also to seek counsel when necessary, cultivate a heart of gratitude and eat good and healthy food.”
Apart from ministering healing to people, Faith Oyedepo is known as a family enthusiast. She has written valuable books on family life, youth, and women empowerment.
Story by Gbenga Osinaike