Walking on Water in Ireland

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Walking on Water in Ireland

Post  Fenny West on Sat 30 Aug 2008, 8:38 am

I arrived Dublin, Ireland as a reject, runaway, fugitive and destitute. I felt leprous and feared for my life. I had been told to leave the UK for working without a work-permit and I was far from finishing my Accountancy course. I did not want to go back to Nigeria without completing the course. Although I had a generous sponsor behind me who had been taking care of me in the last three months and had given me a letter of undertaking to pay my fees and provide for my up-keep in Dublin, I still felt insecure. I was in a foreign country where I knew no one. And there were very few foreigners at that time. I stood out like a sore thumb.
Desirous to abide by the law this time, I quickly reported at the Alien’s Office (Irish Immigration Office) to regularize my stay. Despite being dubbed an alien,I was confident that the Letter of Guarantee I had from my sponsor was enough. Unfortunately it was ignored and I was told to leave the country within 7 days. Devastated, I approached a solicitor and an appeal was lodged on my behalf. He however strongly advised me to make sure I don’t work while studying. After about one year, I made considerable progress on my course, now that I was studying almost full time. My sponsorship ceased and I was now to trust God to open another door. Going back to Nigeria was not an option I considered. I had to pray for the heavens to open.

God used different people in Ireland to keep me afloat without working. Some paid money by a standing order to pay money into my account. It was not easy because often I was not sure how much I would get in the month. I lived one day at a time. I remember a young lad contributing £1:00 from his pocket money to help me.
At one time I was an au pair for a free room. At another time I live in a place rent free for doing the dishes. On another occasion when I had to pay rent, a Christian volunteered to pay the rent and faithfully brought the rent every month for one year. Another Christian gave me £50 every month for up to one year. I lived yet in another place rent free as a care-taker. There was a time I set up chairs in a church for their help. I had to stop when my back problem was aggravated in the process.
Within the almost 8 years I lived in Ireland, I lived in ten different addresses. I could identify with Paul when he was constantly on the move or even the Lord when he had no place to lay his head. The Word was made flesh in my experiences.

After five years in the Land and ‘underground’, submerged like a submarine and making progress to the final stages of my accountancy course, I felt it was time to go to the Alien’s office again to remind them of my appeal. I resurfaced because the last stage of the course was very practical in nature and I appealed for a work-permit to complete it. I became a bit bold.

They looked back at their records and were surprised that I was still in the Land.

‘We told you to leave within seven days,five years ago, how come you’re still here?’
I was speechless and craved their indulgece and mercy.
And so the ball began rolling again. I reminded them that I had made an appeal.

Somehow my papers got missing and they were not able to trace my whereabouts until then. God protected me for all I know, enabling me to walk on water, on a tight rope, in the lion’s den.
I solicited representation by MP (made possible by a friend of mine) and the Nigerian ambassador in Ireland at that time, who also appealed on my behalf. Louis also wrote and published an article in the paper criticizing the government for their hard-line stance against immigration.
By the grace of God I was granted a student visa, no longer a persona non granta; I had an official acknowledgement of existing in Ireland. What a sigh of relief that meant to me. I no longer looked over my shoulders as I walked.

After I was granted leave to remain in Ireland as a student, I went back to my solicitors to find out how much I was owing to them for representing me over the five years. To my amazement they told me, ‘You are living from hand to mouth, we would not charge you anything.'

For those who have dealt with solicitors you would realize that God had just written off a debt of thousands of pounds for me by that benevolent act of kindness they demonstrated.

The College I was attending at the time waived its fees when realized that I was not allowed to work and was living by faith. I was also encouraged to sit an Irish alternative of Advanced Taxation, a paper which I had been failing time and time again because I was using outdated textbook for a subject that changed every tax year due to changes in the tax laws. This eased my burden and enabled me to pass that paper.

All along God had blessed me with a musical gift which exploded when I came to know Him in a personal way in 1981. I had written many songs in England, even recorded demos and backing tracts which I used to bless other Christians. I also played the guitar and harmonica and had sung at weddings and other functions before leaving for Ireland. I held on to my gift and God kept giving me songs in my valleys and in my nights which I used to bless other Christians in Ireland. And as I encouraged them, I was also encouraged.

I had favour in one Church in County Wicklow. They liked my songs and invited me to sing again and again. They came to pick me up one week-end to come and sing and on the way they also hinted that apart from singing I would do the preaching. I had never preached in my life before. I thought they were joking but it they were serious.
So on the Sunday I sang and preached on Psalm 23 -The Lord is my Shepherd. I knew I could not go wrong testifying of how God had kept me in Ireland, providing for me miraculously and enabling me to walk on water. Frankly, apart from using Psalm 23, I don’t remember the details of what I preached. All I know is that they were greatly blessed and that opened the door for me to preach and sing in that church (once a month) for five years. And at the end of such ministration they gave me a love offering- part of how I survived in the land for 7 years. God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. When God presides, God provides.

The Wicklow Fellowship started a new chapter in my life. They made be believe that there was a preacher in me waiting to be birthed. And even after leaving Ireland for over 14 years they still remember me and send me some love offering/gifts from time to time. God is good and His mercies endure forever. The vision may tarry for now but at the appointed time it shall burst forth. It shall not delay, a single day. The expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off or disappointed.

In 1994 I returned to England after almost 8 years in the ‘Wilderness.’ I remember the promise of the Lord that he would bring me back and He did. All His promises are ‘Yes and Amen’ in Christ Jesus.

He has continued to give me songs and poems which I publish in various websites to encourage other. I have also self-published two books and three albums. Glory be to God!

In spite of writing 100s of songs and poems, I know I am still work-in-progress; God has not finished with me. I have a long way to go.

(click on the link below to view some of the songs)

It has not been easy to get a job despite persevering to finish the Accountancy which took 15 years of my life! Not having the necessary experience before graduating left me handicap, unable to find a job. In 2000 a former classmate of mine who now had his accountancy firm was compassionate enough to give me one year’s experience. However the pay was paltry and I felt I could earn more by teaching on a supply basis. It seemed was a good decision at that time but I don’t know if it was the right decision looking back. However, whereas full-time job would have taken much of my time but given me financial security, my supply work has left me flexible and enabled me to write to leave a legacy for all time albeit not bringing in money at the moment. Most of the songs and poems I have written have come through my difficult experiences. I cannot imagine writing inspirationals if I had a high-powered accountancy job somewhere with a holiday home in Spain or elsewhere. God will show His wisdom and Time will tell.

He who has begun this good work will continue to work at it until He brings it to a glorious finale. He would not abandon me. He is a faithful God, the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and in truth. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. When I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, because He is with me. His rod and His Spirit will comfort me. He will prepare a banquet for me in the presence of my enemies and anoint my head with oil and my cup will overflow.

When my enemies come against me in one way, they will flee in seven ways. God’s eyes go to and fro through out the earth to make Himself strong on behalf of those who fear Him. When I go through the fire I shall not be burnt or even smell of smoke, rather I will smell like rose. He is my shield and buckler, my fortress, rock of salvation. In Him I live move and have my being. He has gone ahead of me to make every crooked path straight. I shall not go under for going over. Though my beginning may be small, insignificant, my latter end shall be glorious, mammoth to the glory of the Most High. Every deprivation, suffering, humiliation I have encountered over these years will work for my good because His word tells me: ‘All things work together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes. If God be for me, who can be against me? Therefore neither death, nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers threatening, huffing and puffing, nor height nor depth; nothing shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Shall tribulation? No! Shall peril? No! Shall persecution? No! Shall nakedness? No! Shall sword? No! In all these things I am more than a conqueror through Christ

All Things Are Possible

All things are possible,
When you take God at His word.
He’ll help you scale the hurdle,
As you believe what you have heard.

All barriers are penetrable,
When you hear and obey.
The Most High will turn the tables,
To show that He is the way.

All things are conquerable,
When you speak what you believe.
You will do the formidable;
Mammoth breakthroughs you’ll receive.

You must step on water to walk on water;
But when you try, you will surely be tested
With an avalanche of wind, storm and fire.
What matters is focusing on the Master.
©fenny West


Fenny West
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