I recommitted my life to Christ when I was in ECWA/SIM secondary school when a very powerful revival broke out during one of our Sunday services. My faith continued to grow and once more I recommitted my life to the Lord when I was about to complete my accountancy studies in London, England. Finally, it reached a point that I felt called to missions/evangelistic work on a full time basis and I answered the call.
Although, I was not thinking of full time ministry then, I had a strong urge to strongly be a witness for the Lord back at home and so eagerly returned home. I informally witnessed to others and, also, in more formal church missions and evangelistic outreaches, the urge for full time evangelistic ministry increased. Yet, I resisted for several reasons, but my chief objection was that I did not feel “holy enough”, and not committed enough and so was not too sure it was really God calling me.
As Nigerians would say, to cut the long story short, at the very peak of my contemplation and serious battle as to whether or not to go full time or not, my own father came to the rescue, when I went to him for advise. He said, “If you are not sure if God is calling go full time because if you are to make a mistake, make it on the side of God and He will know how to correct it”.
That actually settled it and I left to enroll in the seminary.
Before we were called into full time ministry, my wife and me were active lay people on the area of missions and evangelism. When we answered the call, I went to the seminary and did a Masters in Biblical Studies at the ECWA Theological Seminary in Igbaja, Nigeria. Our aim after graduation was to go into Southern Sudan as missionaries, but that option eventually did not work out. So, we were seconded by EMS to go to Abuja (Nigeria’s Federal Capital city) where we planted several churches both within the city center and also in rural areas.
After about twelve years in Abuja we were posted back to Jos. I was the director of EMS until 2016, with over 1,200 missionary couples working cross culturally mainly in Nigeria, but also in other parts of the world.
Rev. Stephen Panya Baba is the former Director of Evangelical Missionary Society.