Thursday, March 5, 2015 was another normal day for Bro Seyi Sowemimo, immediate past head of the Ushering Department of The Fountain of Life Church. He woke up and got ready for his usual fellowship with God.
But in the course of his devotion, the Lord, who rejoices over the praises of His people, reminded him what date it was. “Today is March 5,” the Lord whispered to Sowemimo. As he shared his testimony with the people of God at Thursday Showers later that morning, he said he wondered what the reminder was all about since it was neither his birthday nor that of any close family member.
Rather than answer him, the Lord said again: “Today is March 5,” and at that moment, he remembered that this was the day that a gang of armed robbers shot at him, leaving him for dead 19 years ago! With more than a hundred pellets having penetrated into his body, he bled profusely all through the night, without adequate medical attention. But then, he was kept alive by the God of miracles; who obviously has plans for his life.
So when God reminded him penultimate Thursday, Sowemimo quickly rushed to service where he shared the awesome testimony of his preservation with hundreds of congregants.
Recounting the incident in an interview with our team, Bro Sowemimo could only ascribe the glory for surviving that gruesome experience that almost took his life 19 years ago to God.
According to him, after rededicating his life to Christ at The Fountain of Life Church in July 1995, he began his Believers’ Class and had come for his third level class and prayer meeting on that fateful Tuesday, March 5, 1996. After the prayer meeting, Bro Sowemimo, who then lived with his parents in the Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos, was on his way home when the devil struck at just a few minutes past 9pm.
In his words: “It was just a few minutes after 9pm, I didn’t know that there were armed robbers on that road because it was a blind turn. My Volkswagen Beetle made so much noise, plus I was listening to a worship song playing on my car stereo, so I wasn’t aware that anything was going on. Although I wasn’t their target, I drove into them. I just suddenly realised that my headlamps shone on some people and I saw guns, I saw people on the floor. Instinctively, I switched off my headlamps and engaged the reverse gear. But before I could move from there, they had come beside me and fired severally at me. With all the strength I had, I still drove away from the scene, back to the major street but I couldn’t go far, not even up to 50 metres because I was bleeding all over my upper and lower left arm and my chest. I was losing strength and then I realised that there was nobody on the street except me. So I just started declaring that I would not die but live to declare the glory of God. I repeatedly declared that and suddenly, the Spirit told me to get out of the car. I did and removed my shoes because at that time, I was feeling very heavy. Suddenly, I couldn’t walk anymore and I fell on the street.”
No one came near him apparently for fear that the armed robbers might attack them but God sent help! In Bro Sowemimo’s words: “People were peeping from their windows and were saying ‘You will not die in Jesus name,” but nobody could come out to help me. Suddenly, a guy who was in a pair of shorts with a towel round his neck just came out from nowhere. According to him, he just got back from work and was in his room. He didn’t even hear the gun shots because he was listening to music but he came to fetch water on the street and he said he just saw someone walking and the person fell, so he rushed to see the person. So when he came to me, he heard me confessing that I would not die but live and he joined me in declaring that. As he was doing that, he was shouting for help but nobody came out. Suddenly, I guess the people wanted to be sure the armed robbers had left, before they would come out of their houses. By this time, another man had been shot and he died. The crowd gathered round me and I was carried to a nearby hospital.”
But the devil was lurking somewhere again. In Bro Sowemimo’s words, “When we got to the hospital, the doctor said that he couldn’t treat me because all gunshot cases should go to the general hospital. The people brought me back to the street and started asking for anyone with a car to help take me to a general hospital. Thank God, a taxi driver came to drop somebody on that hospital street, so they put me in the taxi and contributed money right there to pay the taxi driver’s huge fare. This Samaritan guy sat with me in the cab and a couple from Winners Chapel followed us in their car.” Apparently, Winners Chapel at Raji Oba Street within the neighbourhood had just finished their service.
By divine providence, Sowemimo still had the strength to plead with this Good Samaritan not to let the taxi take him to the general hospital based on a similar incident that had happened to one of his neighbours, who died as a result of delay in obtaining a police report.
He explained: “Someone in my neighbourhood died as a result of similar incident. When they got to the general hospital, the doctors refused to attend to him, not even administer first aid. They requested that the family obtain a report from the police station but by the time they got the report, the guy had given up. So God just gave me strength, He didn’t let me lose consciousness and I told the guy not to take me to the general hospital. He asked me where I would like to go and I told him our family hospital is Crown Hospital and is not far from that location. I would sleep off and jerk back up repeatedly until we got to Crown Hospital. There was just this will in me not to give up. I am sure it was God. I just refused to give up. I guess if I had given up, I probably would have died. I believe it was just the strength from God and not anything I was able to do by myself. I was just not giving up.”
The devil resurfaced again at the second hospital but the Lord again played His joker. He continued the story: “Immediately we got to Crown Hospital, the driver ran out of the cab to the reception to tell the nurses to come attend to a victim of armed robbery attack and the nurses also said that they were not going to attend to me, that they should take me to the general hospital that they don’t attend to gunshot victims. At this time also, God just gave me unusual strength and I came out of the car with my clothes all torn and blood all over my body, staggered to the reception and said my name is Seyi Sowemimo and this is our family hospital. So when they heard my name, they began to scream and run around attending to me and saying to one another that its Daddy Sowemimo’s son. So they quickly carried me on a stretcher and took me to the emergency ward.”
While this was going on, he had told the couple that came with him to the hospital his house address and they had gone to inform his parents about the incident. On hearing the news of their son’s predicament, daddy, mummy and some neighbours rushed to Crown Hospital. “My dad was in his pyjamas and my mum was in her night gown with wrapper tied around. They came like that to the hospital alongside some neighbours and my dad’s tenants. They all started praying for me that I would not die but live,” said the grateful brother as he shared his story.
But even at the family hospital, there was another challenge: “The medical director was not around to attend to me,” he said. “He had gone out for the night as all efforts to reach him on his home Nitel line was abortive. I was left with a student doctor who couldn’t do anything other than give me pain relief injections. I was in the hospital from that night till morning. But thank God, I pulled through the night but with a lot of pain. I was literarily crying all through the night because the pain was excruciating. At a point, I couldn’t speak anymore, I could only groan in pain but my parents were at my bedside praying. All efforts of the doctor to stop the bleeding were futile as each bandage he put in the wounds got soaked in seconds, so my mum, dad and the nurses were mopping blood all through the night. It was a gory sight. I should just have died but for God. When the medical director came in the morning, he swung into action, took me to the theatre and opened up the wounds and started picking out as many pellets as he could find because the X-ray revealed that I had over a hundred pellets in my body. He picked as many as he could but because some had gone deep into sensitive areas, he couldn’t cut those sections so as not to damage any more tissues in the arm. To the glory of God again, he said I didn’t need any blood transfusion and that I was fine despite the quantum of blood I lost through the night.
I was on admission for almost four weeks. It was then I realised the import of the prayer that my mum prays: “May you not go out and not come back in.” On the morning of March 5, 1999, I went out of my house and I didn’t come back until about four weeks later, yet I didn’t travel.”
This incident made him vow to give his all to God who saved him and since then, he hasn’t looked back in spite of numerous trials. “After that incident, I told the devil that I will not miss any service again in church except I am out of the country. Even my mum, who prior to then had complained about my going to church everyday told me to keep being committed to that my church and never relent. That’s why you will always see me in church. Once a service is called, by the grace of God, I am there to be blessed, to bless people and to really give my best to God. When people ask me in church how come I’m always at every church service, I tell them it’s because I have a covenant with God. That was why immediately I finished my Believers’ Class, I joined two major departments in the church – the choir and ushering department and was functioning in both until 2002 when I had to concentrate fully on the ushering department after God told me to focus on Him more by concentrating on one. Also at that time, I had married my wife and God had given us a set of twins; so I needed to help my wife more.”
Looking back now, Bro Sowemimo, who has held various leadership positions in the church, is sure that God kept him alive to fulfill a divine mandate on earth which is to affect lives. He believes this was what got the devil angry about him.
His words: “I believe that the devil was just mad at my zeal for God and just wanted to truncate my life; but today, I have realised what God intended and that is for my life to affect lives and that my life would be affected by peoples’ lives. I have gained a lot from my pastor, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya; I have learnt a lot from him that has greatly affected my life and I have been able to in turn affect peoples’ lives to the glory of God. I have also been appointed to teach the Believers’ Class and Bible study and I have also led a unit in church, the Ushering Department. I cannot thank God enough for the opportunity of another chance to reproduce after my kind and affect the lives of my beautiful wife and children.”
His advice to every child of God is never to give up no matter how bad and painful the situation may be. “Never give up! I just believe if I had given up that night, I would have died. If I had resigned to the fact that I had been shot and I would not make it, God wouldn’t force His will on me; He probably would have allowed me to come and rest. But because I didn’t let go, He acted on my will which aligned with His. Right from the scene of the incident to the hospital, what everyone met me saying was that I would not die. So never give up. Even if we are going to die, let us die never giving up. Whatever your situation is and no matter how many times you have tried, never give up,” he concluded.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS