Because We Are Brothers

Because We Are Brothers

Sometime last year, I resigned my job that took me away from my family for too many hours a day and began searching for a job that would enable me look after the home. After my resignation, I had time for my family, though as a jobless householder. This was a most difficult period for us, considering that I have a young family – my wife and two infants – to take care of. Yet, it was better to quit the 16-hour job that made me a stranger in my own home.

Even though I was at home and jobless, it was fun for everyone, particularly for my five-year old son who enjoys playing football with me. I was able to devote more time to prayer, scripture study, family home evening, home teaching assignments and other spiritual matters. And above all, I gained a stronger testimony of the Gospel. The paradox of my situation revealed to me the power of love and that Heavenly Father knows what things we have need of, before we ask of Him and will grant us the desires of our hearts as we exercise our faith (Matt. 6: 9).

Getting a job in Nigeria is difficult. The labour market is saturated and besides, operates on a “man-know-man” system. Most job vacancies, therefore, are not advertised. When they are, the slots are already filled before the adverts are out which ensures that the most qualified are the most disqualified. So adverts are mere formalities. That is why getting a “job vacancy” information from an insider calls for celebration.

On a particular day, I got a call from Brother Douglas Atebata, informing me that the law firm where he worked had a vacancy for an experienced litigation lawyer to head their Litigation Department.  He felt that I should apply. One thing that surprised me was that I never told Brother Atebata or anyone in my ward, Ojodu Ward, that I was looking for work.

However, I knew Heavenly Father understood the burden of my heart. He loves us and responds to our needs but often gives this love through others. Thus I learned from the experience that Saints are each others’ keepers. Brother Atebata could have settled for others who were, perhaps, better qualified than me. However, he chose to contact me because of the bond of brotherhood and love that exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Each time I think about the event, the inspired and passionate admonition of our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, at the October 2012 General Conference comes alive in my heart.  Said he, 'May we ever watch over one another, assisting in times of need. Let us not be critical and judgmental but let us be tolerant, ever emulating the Savior’s example of loving-kindness. May we pray for the inspiration to know of the needs of those around us, and then go forward and provide assistance.'

Even though I could not attend the interview due to circumstances beyond my control, yet, the brotherly love which a single telephone call expressed continues to bear an indelible testimony of the pure love of Jesus Christ that exists in His Church.  My temporary stay out of work equally enabled me to spend more time with my family. It helped me to better appreciate the role and importance of family in God’s eternal plan and that “no success in business or political endeavours can compensate for failure in the home.” More importantly, I now better appreciate the fact that our Father in heaven loves us, cares for us and answers our prayers of faith, according to His eternal purposes.

After darkness cometh the glorious sunshine: I soon got a job in a law firm with assignments and schedules that allow me to have time for myself, for my family and for Church service.  I have no doubt in my mind, therefore, that this was a time I had to wait for, in the Lord’s eternal plan for me. Thus after getting the job, Ibafo Branch was created out of Ojodu Ward and I was called to serve as Branch President in the new unit. The Lord apparently used the period of adversity to prepare me for His assignment.

I am deeply grateful for the blessings of adversity. My faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is strengthened. My joy that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for the Saints is full. The gospel-powered confidence that all is well, no matter how the tempest rages, has been my testimony thereafter.

Love is the hallmark of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as Brother Atebata demonstrated. It is for this love that full-time missionaries labour faithfully throughout the entire world searching for and saving souls, laying aside their own agendas and wants for a period of time.

Love is more than a noun; it is, indeed, a verb-- an action word.  Because of His love for Heavenly Father and all mankind, and to fulfil His Father’s plan, the Savior gave his life.  We, too, by our actions and participation in the covenants and ordinances of the gospel, can demonstrate our love for our Savior and our Father in Heaven.