Just recently we hired a new worker amongst the Egbe Hospital maintenance team named Abayomi a.k.a. “Yomi”. Yomi has family from Egbe, but has been living in Lagos, Nigeria for several years. Lagos is located on the south west coast of Nigeria and actually ranks as the fourth most populated city in the world! Yomi works on big ships coming in and out of the Nigerian ports and specializes in large engine work such as generators. Yomi immediately became a great asset to our team. We ourselves have three large generators running our hospital and housing compound from which we rely on heavily day and night. His skills are tremendous, his personality a match with the other guys, and he has even been teaching some of the other mechanics in the work shop many things they did not know! However, when Yomi came to us he wanted to make it clear that his work would only be temporary. He said, ” he was just here to get off the water for awhile.”
Katie and I would joke with Yomi frequently telling him he should just stay here and forget about Lagos. Every day Katie stopped to shout across the fence, “I prayed for you to find your wife today so you will stay!” He would laugh and say, “NO, don’t do that!” Yomi was still anxious to get back to Lagos, he said the “bush life” was not for him. Regardless, Yomi remained joyful in his work but continued to say, “ This is just temporary.”
One Friday morning, Yomi asked permission off work. He needed to travel to Lagos for a “health screening” to remain a Sea Mechanic. We surrounded him in prayer that morning, asking for a safe trip, and good results. He was off! Well, that same afternoon we got a phone call from Yomi’s brother. Yomi had just been in a bad traffic accident halfway between Egbe and Lagos. A tractor trailer jack knifed, and hit his public transport bus. He had dislocated his shoulder and had several lacerations on his arm. He would spend Friday night in the hospital, and return to Egbe Saturday morning. Consequently, missing his “health screening”. When Yomi came back to work the following week we were all happy to see him, and relieved he was okay. He jokingly told Katie and I that we really needed to stop praying that he stay in Egbe!!
A few weeks later we were having a great discussion in morning devotions on 1 Timothy 6. Discussing money and contentment. This triggered Yomi to his feet, and to share his testimony about the accident. Scars still visible and shoulder pain still existing he opened his heart to the entire workshop of thirty men. He wanted to come clean. He confessed to us all that his trip to Lagos was not really for a “health screening.” He instead had been offered a job. A job that would pay him five times the amount he was making here at Egbe Hospital. He had planned that day to accept the job, and he thought leaving Egbe was going to be an easy break. However, it wasn’t and that is what had convicted him to slant the truth. In his heart he wasn’t so sure anymore. He went on to describe his love of money and materials. Telling how that love was pulling him back to Lagos. He was chasing more, to lead to more, to hopefully lead to even MORE. A vicious cycle I myself can relate to well! However, something happened he didn’t make it to Lagos. He was instead brought back to Egbe. He said through his work at Egbe Hospital and especially through our morning devotion time God is really speaking into his life. He hears God telling him to just STOP and listen. To be sensitive His plan. To stop running in the opposite direction. Yomi declared to everyone how he had decided to no longer accept the BIG TIME job in Lagos instead he would remain in Egbe. Staying in the place he has come to realize has much MORE to offer then he originally thought. We embraced Yomi, prayed for Yomi, and celebrated with him!
His story couldn’t help but remind me of Jonah and the Whale. How Jonah bought a ticket and boarded a ship in Joppa. Heading in the opposite direction of where God commanded him to go. Like Jonah, Yomi too set off going the opposite way, and was met by a storm. The storm likewise hurled him overboard, off track, scared, and a little beaten up. Most likely even angry and confused at the time. Although Yomi wasn’t rescued and brought back to Egbe in the belly of a whale God did snatch him up, out of harms way, and guided him home. Bringing Yomi back safely to Egbe where He wanted him, “off the water” but this time on the right boat!