By Paul Dada

TITLE: Going Pentecostal

I can’t remember what that seminarian said that was off-putting to me. But whatever he said was serious enough to make me “resign” as an altar boy.

I guess that also sowed in me a seed of disinterest in Catholicism. I was, though I didn’t know at the time, going to later embrace Pentecostalism.

My first ( serious) encounter with Pentecostalism happened when a Foursquare Gospel Church pastor and his wife visited our house.

They didn’t come to see us but a certain Miss Stella. Miss Stella was one of the youths’ corps members, we accommodated in our duplex. The other was Mr Patrick.

Yes, we lived in a duplex. My father, a holder of at least three chieftaincy titles was a retired Inspector of Education in Lagos. He had become the Public Complaints Officer at Epe upon his retirement from the civil service. He, also, was a member of the Lagos State Primary School Management Board, courtesy of his appointment by the then Military Governor of Lagos State, Colonel Raji Rasaki.

We were an upper-middle-class family even if we were not superbly rich. My father, apart from the duplex in our hometown, also owned several properties in the Lagos metropolis, particularly, Oshodi. He was a successful and financially stable man.

My father was an important man. Maybe that was why Miss Stella and Mr Patrick got introduced to him. And he gave them rooms downstairs in the duplex where we lived.

Miss Stella attended Foursquare (I think). This was why the pastor and his wife came to our house to visit her. But she wasn’t around that day, so the couple came upstairs and interacted with us.

They were lucky because my no-nonsense father who was a devout Catholic would probably have thrown them out for preaching or making an attempt to preach to us.

But suffice it to say that whatever the pastor and his wife said and did that day, killed the little interest I had left in Catholicism.

On one or two occasions, I, alongside two other three of my siblings secretly visited the Foursquare Gospel Church which was in another community within Epe.

But my mum who got to know stopped me from continuing for fear of my dad. Well, my dad also learned of my disinterest in Catholicism, and he frowned at it.

My parents in their wisdom, decided I return to one of our houses at Oshodi to live there with one of my elder sisters, Aunty Funmi. I was also enrolled at the Oshodi Comprehensive High School.

My father gave me a direct instruction not to attend any church but the Catholic. But I disobeyed.

Aunty Funmi and I were attending a denomination called the Gospel Pentecostal Assembly located on Oluwani Street, Alasia, Oshodi.

Chief Dada (my father) visited the house once a week (I guess he did this because he had to attend the meeting of the Lagos State Primary School Management Board at Ikeja once a week). And I remember he asked me what church I was attending. I lied that it was Catholic.

My immediate elder brother, Bola, who had also lost interest in Catholicism and my elder half-sister, Ayo who also didn’t care a hoot any more about our father’s cherished denomination, were later “shipped” to Oshodi by my father to join me there.

The three of us had become confirmed ex-Catholics as some of our older siblings like Aunty Funmi, Bro Shola, Bro Kunle and Aunty Toun.

And it was Aunty Toun that introduced me to Deeper Life Bible Church in 1989.

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