Strive Masiyiwa | The other day I met some old friends at an airport, Bishop Ezekiel Guti and his wife, Eunor. We had a wonderful time together as you can see. We even had time to fellowship and pray together in the airport lounge. They are family to me, and I cannot describe in words the joy I felt at seeing them.
I left Zimbabwe 17 years ago and had not seen his wife in all those years. I had occasion to see the Bishop himself a year ago, again at an airport.
He is now 94, and still ministers and is able to walk unaided. His mind was as clear as when I first met him 22 years ago.
One morning back then, I got a message that “Bishop Ezekiel Guti wanted to see me alone.” I had never met him even though I knew who he was! I was not even a member of his assembly which was by far the largest in my country and now a global ministry spanning almost every country in the world.
The meeting was in secret and I’m revealing it for the first time here. He knew all about my plight and the persecution I was enduring because of my stance. Then he prayed for me and told me not to give up. And with that I left. Victory was still several years away, but without that moment I probably would have given up.
Fast forward: Nigeria.
“I would like to meet the founder of your company, next time he comes to Nigeria. Tell him to come alone because I have a very important matter I wish to discuss with him.”
This was the message conveyed to Zac Wazara, the CEO of Econet Wireless Nigeria in 2001. The message came from the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian of Nigeria, Pastor Enock Adeboye. I had never heard of him in my life. When I told friends about the request, they were stunned with awe:
“Wow!” They exclaimed. “Even the President of Nigeria would go!”
One of the friends to whom I mentioned this was Professor Yemi Osibanjo, then a Lay Pastor in his church, but also the Attorney General of Lagos State. He is now Nigeria’s Vice President.
We met alone. It will still be many, many years before I’m ready (if ever) to tell people what he said to me.
My life changed forever!
The last time I met the GO was also in an airport.
He told me he had been following my progress and was pleased, then added: “Your victory in this and other matters is assured, you know that, don’t you?”
“Yes sir, I know.”
He is a man of few words outside the pulpit. I thanked him and went my way.
When you face opposition or persecution like I’ve had to endure from time to time, and I expect many of you have, too… Having faith can be the difference, and I would say (personally), “all the difference.”
Within weeks of my meeting with Bishop Guti, the entire church in Zimbabwe began to rally around me. Every day I received messages of encouragement. In September 1998, all the church leaders held a special Thanks Giving Service. It was one of the largest such gatherings ever. These are the people who had my back, and that is why I never walked alone, and never will…
These are just two encounters at an airport. Time and space do not permit me to talk about meetings with many other great men and women of faith. I could spend all day on this… They know who they are.
Let me close by sharing this brilliant video with you. It’s 10 minutes that you and your family will definitely not want to miss, a commencement speech… “The wisest person in my life, a third-grade dropout.”https://www.facebook.com/
Many things will challenge you in your life… “Just keep standing.”