October 28, 2017 – Akin Lewis: I Quit My Banking Job To Become An Evangelist
….I Started A Church In Sierra Leone Before I Left
See excerpts of Nollywood actor Akin Lewis recent interview with Punch NG
In your early days when you wanted to choose a wife, were there girls that schemed to be Mrs. Lewis?
The one I ended up marrying got it right because when the others were always there to go to the clubs and parties, when they were too available, she was not. They were always flocking around me because they wanted to be seen as my girlfriends.
The lady I ended up getting married to never did that and even when she showed up, she would just sit down quietly despite the number of girls she saw around with me. That was how I knew she was the one. We got married eventually and she had children for me before the marriage fell apart.
When we got married, I decided to be a faithful husband and I was always taking my wife everywhere, even to joints and that was a bad move. Some friends had to tell me not to move around like that with my wife.
How did you feel when your first marriage broke up?
I felt very bad, it was such a disappointment. We had all sorts of problems and I felt she did not do well but what can I do? If a woman does not want you, there is nothing you can do about it.
Did you not fight to get your ex-wife back?
We tried everything, ranging from counselling, couples therapy, everything. You should know that before a marriage breaks up, it does not start in a day. The little things that never mattered became big issues. Everyone was brought on board to help us sort our differences out; our church and family also intervened but it just did not work with her because she was the one who quit. We tried reconciling for a year but she called it off.
They say the children bear the brunt during divorce situations…
It is true, it was a very tough period for the children and because of them, I had to make some sacrifices and compromise. They were affected in one way or the other.
For someone who was married for two decades and all of a sudden became single, how were you able to adapt to bachelorhood?
When the marriage failed after so much efforts in trying to patch things up, I advised myself to move on. I got married again; I did not stay in the singles’ market for too long, otherwise I would have become a playboy. I went into another marriage which also did not work out. Then for the third time, I gave marriage a shot and it is working out fine. I am in my third marriage.
Some people would have given up on the institution called marriage, why did you keep attempting it?
I don’t know, my wife actually asked me why I was getting married again to her and honestly, I can’t answer that question because I already have children. Maybe, somehow God wants to use me as an example because I love that sacred union called marriage and I know both parties have to work hard to make it work. If it works, it helps the children and even those involved. I think maybe God just wants people to know that what had happened does not matter.
Was your wife not scared or sceptical about getting married to you after two failed attempts?
I had to prove myself to her and I talked a lot.
How did you meet her not to talk of convincing her to marry you?
My wife was a secretary to a friend and I used to have an office space in that same building. Anytime I was less busy, I was always at that my friend’s office. Besides, we had a jazz bar at the basement of the building, so after work, we always converged on the bar. When I was having all my marital problems, she was there and even heard some of my story while I was discussing with my friend who was her boss. She observed me and according to her, she always said that I am not as bad as people think I am. The day I eventually asked her out, she refused my offer. But honestly, she is the one that has made me smile again.
Don’t you think that your career probably caused your marital crisis back then?
The truth is that if you work too much, they would call you a workaholic and when you decide not to do anything, the same people would call you a jobless idiot. The important thing is that before I met them, I was already doing my work; so they came on board knowing the nature of my job. This is what puts food on my table, so you cannot be eating my food and taking my money only to turn around to say that I work too much. How do I reconcile that? I have always created time for my family and I cherish spending quality time with my family. Most weekends, I am with my family.
When did you encounter the happiest and saddest day of your life?
The happiest day of my life was when I gave up everything I had to become an international evangelist. The saddest was when I discovered some things they do in church that ought not to be, so I quit.
So at a point in your life, you were an evangelist?
Yes, I am a trained and ordained evangelist who went on missions.
What led to your call from God?
I have always been a Christian but at a point, I met with a group of people who really showed me the scripture. I was baptised but I felt it in my heart to do more for God. At that time, I was a controller in a bank.
If you were ordained and even went on missions, why did you quit being an evangelist?
When I saw some things that were being done in church, those we were meant to look up to and learn from, I was amazed. I tried to change the status quo but they refused, so I left. The bible states that God would begin his judgment in the church. I tried to fight the ills that were being done but they fought back and the truth is that it is difficult for one man to fight an institution. I would not want to mention the name of the church.
So you do not minister the word of God to people anymore?
I just let my lifestyle and work speak for me. I also mentor people.
Was it difficult for you to change your lifestyle after your ordination?
I dropped everything negative I was doing then and it was not difficult for me because I felt the call. I really felt the call; I was not assigned by somebody. I was not living a life of lie, I was true to my calling and you would not believe the places they kept sending me to.
Places like were?
They sent me to Muslim nations, war fronts. I was the evangelist in charge of the Mano River areas; places like Conakry and Liberia. I started a church in Sierra Leone and I am talking about the period when they used to chop off people’s arms. I was sent to places like Guinea Bissau. Where I lived in Conakry, you dare not say you are a Christian because they would cut off your hand, so that you would not be able to carry your bible. I lived right in the midst of the fundamentalists, so you can imagine the incredible miracles God has used me for; miracles that I cannot begin to count but when I saw what the ‘big bosses’ were doing in church, I had to pull out.
But was your call by God dramatic?
No it was not and that is part of the problems that we have. The church has become so dramatic that you think that everything that has to do with the spirit must be dramatic, spectacle, screaming, etc. That is not the Holy Spirit because he is so gentle; you would not even know you have him until he uses you for his glory. The Holy Spirit does not make people to fall down like evil spirits do. You see some people performing deliverance and people would be falling but in the bible, the only thing that made people to fall down was evil spirit. I just felt God’s call in my heart and that was in the 90s.
Before the call, I was with the bank and I had a car, a house and a driver, so you can imagine how much I was earning. The bank was paying for everything I was doing.
I was riding a Mercedes Benz at the time and I was not yet 40 years old. I had such a great future in the bank and my boss would not forgive me till date for quitting because he was grooming me for the top.
I just left everything, sold all I had and joined the ministry. I passed through some incredible experiences even with armed soldiers but I was saved by God. After going through all that, I realised that the ‘ogas’ were messing up, so I challenged them.