Steven Okereke is a local from Mgbede, Akaeze, a government area in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Steven is 18 years old, and the oldest of three children. He comes from a family who believe in the worship of the village idols. His parents are poor farmers, who have to work on their farm for long hours to plant rice and other crops to make ends meet. Steven’s father used his small income to pay for school fees. All this changed when Steven’s mother surrendered her heart to the Lord.
Steven’s mother fell in love with Jesus after hearing the gospel shared by TETMI in their community. From then on, she openly professed her faith in Jesus. Steven’s father rejected his mother’s newfound faith, and he began to threaten her for converting to Christianity and turning her back on the gods. Despite his father’s disapproval, Steven was intrigued by his mother’s love for Jesus and eventually gave his life to Christ as well. When he did this, Steven began to receive the same treatment from his father, who remained opposed to their belief in Jesus. But together, Steven and his mother withstood the pressure from his father.
Sadly, tragedy struck. Steven’s mother died, and this painful reality brought more hardship on the family, especially for Steven. The opposition from his father intensified.
One day, Steven was summoned by his father, who informed him that he was to participate in a village initiation into the community cult called the Ogo cult. But Steven refused to obey his father, not wanting to compromise his faith. His father tried to persuade him in every way, including starvation, beatings and no longer allowing Steven to attend school. Steven’s father threatened to stop supporting his education indefinitely if he did not submit to his demands. His father even used witchcraft against him. Steven was troubled by the persecution he endured from his father, but he never gave up his faith or lost hope.
With the help of a TETMI missionary in his community, Steven was encouraged and kept growing strong in the Lord. The pastor of Steven’s church connected Steven to the TETMI High School and they invited Steven to attend. The previous secondary school he went to was a government school, with little to no commitment from the teachers. The school did not have proper facilities, and there was also a lack of discipline there. When the opportunity presented itself, Steven transferred from his former school to the TETMI High School.
Steven is now solely supported by his sister, who is an apprentice in a town called Aba, where she is learning to become a fashion stylist. His father held true to his word and no longer provides any support for him or his studies.
Steven shares, “TETMI High School has helped me grow spiritually and is helping me receive a quality education. It is a dream come true and has really helped me to become studious. I look forward to attending university so that I can become a graduate and help my younger siblings who still live with my father. I want to help them through school.”
Steven has just finished taking his secondary final exams at TETMI High School.
The TETMI schools are life-changing institutions, introducing Jesus to students from an early age. Their curriculum teaches Christian values, ethics, and practices, and as a result, Christianity is growing in communities like Steven’s. More than providing students with a good education, our work with TETMI in Nigeria is gaining the trust and respect of the people and transforming communities.