A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” lives two lives. She’s a trader during the day and a pastor in between/when she’s not trading. For today’s “A Week In The Life”, she talks about her decision not to be a full-time pastor, balancing a 9-5 alongside her divine calling, and the many ways she enjoys herself as a human being.
No matter what time I sleep, my body automatically wakes up at 7 a.m. The first thing I do after waking up is to prepare a light breakfast of tea and yellow crackers biscuit.
Breakfast ends at around 7:15 a.m. and I spend some time replying to WhatsApp messages from the night before. At around 7:30 a.m., I’m back in my bed preparing for round two of sleep.
Because I live two lives, both as a pastor and a trader, my day starts and ends at interesting times. On most days, I’m up till 3 a.m. praying and so I don’t leave for my shop until around 11 a.m. Luckily for me, the business I’m into — buying and selling of children’s bags, water bottles etc — doesn’t pick up until around noon so I’m good. If I was a full-time pastor my schedule would have been way more flexible. Sadly, I love my independence and I’d rather not be at the mercy of my congregation for money for food, clothing or school fees.
That’s why at 7:45 a.m. I turn off my data, put my phone on “do not disturb” and start my second round of sleep. When I wake up from round two of sleep, then my day will fully begin.
I’m feeling nostalgic today and reminiscing about the past. It’s funny that there was a time when I wasn’t ready to serve God. At the time I received my first divine calling, I was running a fairly successful frozen food business in the heart of Lagos, and so the idea of leaving enjoyment for God seemed impossible to me.
God “called” me almost nine times, through people and directly, and I just let that phone ring and ring. At the time, I was certain that I was built for enjoyment alone.
However, calamity struck my perfect life. The abridged version is that the person who gave me capital to set up and run my business collected everything I had built and left me out to dry.
And so, like the prodigal son, I ended up returning to my father’s house. Ever welcoming, I was received with open hands where I enrolled into various schools under the church.
Since that experience, I learnt to put God first in all my dealings. I didn’t complain when I had to stop wearing trousers and weave on. I also accepted to live by the doctrine of the church.
In fact, when I wanted to start my trading business, I put a list of 10 businesses I was interested in with the boutique business at the top of the list. But a spirit kept on telling me that the boutique business wasn’t for me. To be sure, I gave this list to a few pastors to pray for me and a large majority ended up picking my current business.
As a now loyal servant of God, I let his will be done in my life and followed suit. I can say without any doubt that following God has been the best decision I’ve made. I’m not wealthy but he always makes a way for me.
What more can I ask for?
I’ve had an interesting Wednesday. My day started as usual; I slept late, woke up to eat, went back to bed and opened the shop by 11 a.m.
However, today was the first day this month where I made over ₦50,000 revenue in one sale. And to think that minutes before the customer walked in I was flirting with the idea of going to the market because the day was slow. I was in the shop from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. and not a single customer came in. Just as I was about to start packing, the man came to restock new bags, water bottles and socks for his kids. When he paid for the goods, I screamed internally.
Almost immediately after he left, I got another call from someone in my congregation asking me to send my account number. I told the person not to bother but they kept on insisting and blowing up my phone with calls. According to the man, I was the only pastor who prayed for him without collecting money. Instead, I even gave him transport fare after each prayer session.
Reluctantly, I sent my account number to prevent him from blowing up my phone. When I saw the alert, I screamed out and shouted Jesus!
This person who was having challenges at one point sent me ₦150,000 as appreciation. I still couldn’t believe it even when I called to thank him later in the day.
Although the day is ending now, I’m still excited about how much of a good day I’ve had. I hope the rest of my week is also filled with unexpected good tidings.
I don’t go back to sleep when I wake up today. In fact, I wake up at 6 a.m., have a bath and leave my house by 6:30 a.m.
Today is different because I’m going to Idumota market to buy goods for my shop. It takes roughly two to four hours, without traffic, to make the journey from my house at Iyana Ipaja to Idumota.
With traffic, I might as well sleep on the road. Out of the many options available to me, I prefer entering a straight danfo from the park to my house. Although it’s more expensive, it’s the most convenient. The other options drop me way off from my intended destination and usually involve trekking. Me, I no dey for Israelite journey.
At the market today, I received a shock. The goods I last bought from the market at ₦1,800 and sold at ₦2,500 are now being sold for ₦2,500 in the market. This means that I didn’t make a profit from the last batch of goods I sold. I have no option but to still buy a new batch like that.
It seems that nowadays, it takes the grace of God for businesses in Nigeria to thrive. Although I feel a little pessimistic, I’m deciding to trust in God’s plan for me.
I’m tired and overspent both physically and financially, but I’m grateful when I finally buy the last item on my list. The next stop is home sweet home.
People always ask how I deal with the expectations that come with being a pastor. I tell them that as long as I honour God, respect the doctrine of my church and remain a good ambassador of the religion, I’m fine. These requirements don’t stop me in any way from being myself.
I’m not afraid of any man as long as I know that my behaviour is in line with God’s teaching.
Let me tell you something, I’m a minister of enjoyment. On days when I decide not to go to church or attend to customers or my congregation, I’ll run to Godly parties where I can enjoy myself.
Today is one of those days. For a few hours today, I’m closing my business and pastor life to attend a friend’s 50th birthday party. I’ve been looking forward to this party because my friend promised me that the DJ will play old school classics. Personally, I’m looking forward to screaming “Last night, I dreamt of San Pedro,” followed by “Hello, is it me you’re looking for.”
Whether it’s prayer, business or advising people, my guiding philosophy in life is that whatever I lay my hand on shall prosper, even if it’s enjoyment. Whatever I do, I must do it well and enjoy it.