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Relationships should be determined by strategy rather than proximity – Pastor Otabil

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Relationships should be determined by strategy rather than proximity - Pastor Otabil

Pastor Mensa Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), has pushed African nations and people to allow strategy, not proximity, to define key partnerships.

He emphasised that your closest friend, national ally, or church does not have to be directly next to you; rather, it may require some travel to discover the appropriate one who fulfils God’s objectives for your life.

“Many of us are living a life of convenience, but proximity should not be the most essential factor in our relationships, but strategic considerations,” he declared.

These pronouncements were made by Pastor Otabil during his sermon on the first night of the 2023 edition of the ICGC’s Greater Works Conference.

The talk titled ‘In the Valley of the Dry Bones’ examined Ezekiel 37, where God speaks to the prophet Ezekiel and tells him to prophesy to the dry bones in the valley to come to life. This was against the backdrop of the country’s dire position.

He outlined the three stages of transformation. The first occurred when the bones were gathered and rendered small in a site of defeat. The second stage occurred when the bones began to strategically cluster, each one attaching to the correct one but remaining dormant. The third and most critical step occurred when God’s breath was unleashed, bringing the dry bones to life and transforming them into a powerful army.

Pastor Otabil contrasted this with the situation in Africa, stating that the continent would rise again despite what appear to be insurmountable circumstances.

He declared: “I believe the dry bones of Africa and the dry bones of the black man will rise again and our nations will be significant again.”

He further declared, “I see a day on this continent of Africa where we will have an army of captains of industry, new inventors and ideas coming up from here.”

He bemoaned the region’s systematic brain drain, in which highly trained Africans travel in large numbers overseas to use their abilities to create other countries rather than employing them on the continent.

“It may be a temporary situation but Africa’s best brains must come back with science, technology and innovations to build our continent”, the theologian stressed.

Pastor Otabil’s sermons have continuously preached and promoted African rebirth over the years. Monday’s speech was consistent with his stated vision of an Africa that can and must improve via its people. “Africa is a big deal to me,” he said.

Pastor Otabil’s lecture was the high point of a night filled with varied praise, worship, dramatic arts performances, and prayer to formally kick off the 2023 Greater Works conference at the ICGC Christ Temple East site in Teshie.

The Greater Works conference will run all week till Friday, August 4th.

The conference host will speak again on day two and will welcome Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo for the morning and evening sessions, which will also include a number of uplifting ministrations.

Relationship

How my husband sex trafficked me for 13 years

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When I was about 14 years old, one of my neighbours came over and invited me to a pool party. "It's going to be fun." She said. "Sure. "I would love to." I didn't have many friends, so it felt good to be part of something for once. I got my bathing suit and followed the girl. Before we arrived at the place, we encountered a small gathering of teens. There was one person who stood out from the crowd. He had everyone's attention, and everyone wanted to speak with him. My companion began heading towards them, and I followed her.

I learned that life was unfair at an early age, and in the worst way conceivable. My stepfather used to sexually assault me, and when I eventually had the bravery to denounce him, he received only three months of treatment as punishment and was allowed to live with me again.

My mother brought him back for financial reasons, but she kept us apart. They slept below, while we slept above. Nevertheless, I was traumatised and lived in terror. As if I hadn’t gone through enough pain, I met a man who I believed loved me and who sex trafficked me.

When I was about 14 years old, one of my neighbours came over and invited me to a pool party.

“It’s going to be fun.” She said.

“Sure. “I would love to.”

I didn’t have many friends, so it felt good to be part of something for once. I got my bathing suit and followed the girl. Before we arrived at the place, we encountered a small gathering of teens. There was one person who stood out from the crowd. He had everyone’s attention, and everyone wanted to speak with him. My companion began heading towards them, and I followed her.

“Hello, Greg. I invite you to meet my buddy Wendy. “Wendy, this is Greg.” She spoke to the guy.

Greg turned to me, smiled, and extended his hand before saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

At that point, my knees were weak. My heart began beating, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

“Can I get your number?” He asked.

“Sure,” I responded and handed it to him.

I didn’t expect him to call, but later that night he did, and we spoke for hours. That was the start of a relationship that led to my being sex trafficked.

Greg understood how to make me feel appreciated, which is all I wanted. We became amorous quickly, and I fell pregnant soon after. I had been under my mother’s care since I was 17 years old when I had my child. Greg demanded that I leave my mother’s house so that we could make our relationship work.

“How am I going to do that?” I asked.

“I’ve got a plan. You may relocate to a shelter, where they will consider you emancipated from your parents, and then you will be eligible for welfare checks, and we will be able to get an apartment and live happily ever after.” He explained.

At the time, it seemed like a fairy tale, and I was all in. I ran away from home, and Greg took me and my kid to a shelter. However, life at the shelter was not as easy as Greg made it appear.

It took long for me to receive my first welfare check, and I was running out of baby goods. So I contacted Greg and told him I needed money to take care of our child.

“Don’t worry, I have a job for us to do.” He said.

I assumed he meant cleaning people’s homes because that’s what he told me he did for money. So I picked up my kid and went to see him.

“What are we going to do?” I asked Greg.

“Well, you’re going to walk up this street, wait on that corner for a man to pick you up and you’ll have sex with that man in his car and he’ll pay you.” He explained without emotion.

I was perplexed and apprehensive, but he kept bringing up my daughter and insisting that if I loved her, I would do it. I felt like I had no option. My knees and hands shook as I proceeded to where he had instructed me to stand. As soon as I arrived, a car stopped in front of me, and the driver requested me to get in. That’s how my spouse started sex trafficking me.

“I know a place we can go in the woods.” He said.

I did not say anything. When we arrived in the woods, we both exited and walked to a private location where he began removing his clothing. I took off mine, we had sex, and he gave me the money before driving me back to where he had picked me up.

When I came out, I went to Greg, who was still standing in the same location and handed him all of the money.

“I love you.” I knew I had made the proper decision in choosing you as my wife. He said.

We went to purchase diapers and formula for the baby and had a little extra. However, a week later, we were out of diapers again.

That time, he encouraged me to take on two or three customers so that I might earn enough money to leave the shelter.

“Do you want your daughter to live in a shelter for the rest of her life?” He asked.

From there, he started one of the greatest prostitution networks in the region. It comprised four to ten females from various states. He sexually trafficked me for 13 years while I was still married to him. It varied from once a week to every other day, depending on how much money he received from the other females. I worked as a street girl, and escort, and made house calls. Not to add that I have two more children with him.

People continually questioned me why I stayed with him for so long, but no matter what I told them, they couldn’t comprehend what I was going through. Greg hooked us to drugs and physically abused us if we attempted to escape. He would also send the other girls to find any girl who had gone and beat her until she returned. I felt bonded to the other females since we weren’t permitted to have outside contact. So, anytime I managed to flee, I felt horrible and returned because I didn’t want them to suffer.

After 13 years, I was finally free of Greg. I had recently given birth and was in the kitchen making supper for us when I noticed police cruisers outside our house. The cops swooped in, arrested Greg, and detained me for interrogation.

However, I refused to talk to them because I was afraid Greg would beat me if he found out. Because I did not comply, they accused me of sex trafficking and sentenced me to 23 months in prison. Greg was also charged with sex trafficking and was sentenced to ten years in jail.

My children were removed while I was in prison, and because the judge in the custody case felt I was a sex trafficker, she promised that I would not be granted custody of my children. When I got out, I returned to school and earned an associate’s degree. In addition, I returned to the same judge who heard my custody case to request custody of my kid. I went with my attorneys, counsellors, and even the police officers who detained me to explain my situation to the court.

She returned my child to me, and I returned home to live with my mother, who sadly died later. Today, I feel comfortable and satisfied, which is a wonderful place to be. I’ve realised that there are individuals eager to help those who have faced the same hardships that I have, and if you’re going through anything similar, you don’t have to suffer alone or in silence.

This narrative is based on the Unfiltered Stories YouTube video.

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Relationship

My parents don’t want me to marry her because she’s a mother of three

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She comes to our house and my parents treat her like royalty, but after she leaves, they gather around me and say, "Don't get it twisted. We will not let you marry a problem." My opinion of her has not altered, but I believe my parents are not being fair to her. Aside from that, they're making it impossible for me to let go of her.

My girlfriend has three children. She’s still stunning for a woman with three children. I adore her. We’ve been together for a year. My folks adored her when I brought her home. They freely conveyed their love and acceptance to her, making her feel welcome.

After she left, my parents began to inquire about her, and I told them everything, including the fact that she has three children. “No, you will not marry her,” my mother yelled. “If you want to take care of children, your brother and sister are still in school,” my father added. We may leave them there for you to continue.” She calls my folks, who are quite polite to her.

She comes to our house and my parents treat her like royalty, but after she leaves, they gather around me and say, “Don’t get it twisted. We will not let you marry a problem.” My opinion of her has not altered, but I believe my parents are not being fair to her. Aside from that, they’re making it impossible for me to let go of her.

What justification do I offer her for not wanting her? What should I say to persuade her that it’s not me but my parents?
She even gives my parents gifts, which they embrace enthusiastically and praise her for, but once she’s out of the picture, they laugh at me and urge me to forget it.

I’m at a loss for words in this circumstance. My girlfriend wants us to start planning our wedding. She is aware that everything is in place. When I tell her to give me some time, she blames me. What should I do to have this problem resolved?

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Relationship

Reconsider settling down with her if she shows these 4 red flags 

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If she is rude to older folks, her peers, or even strangers. If her own parents haven't earned her respect, it begs the issue of what you could do to gain hers. If she treats everyone else with respect except you, it's just a matter of time until she includes you. She never makes concessions; it's either do it her way or don't do it at all. If she refuses to compromise and insists on doing things her way, it indicates an unhealthy interaction. Both members in a partnership should have a say and be prepared to make concessions. A relationship isn't about having a master; it's about working together.

Women aren’t perfect. Some of these are also red signs, and settling with someone who possesses these characteristics can be damaging to your happiness and mental health.

If you want to settle down with a lady who possesses these characteristics, you should think again.

When she is furious, instead of expressing herself, she tosses items at you and even slaps you.

You are fully aware that if you were the one doing this, you would be in big trouble, but she does it to you and expects you to accept it. Don’t put up with it and leave before you become a victim.

If she is rude to older folks, her peers, or even strangers. If her own parents haven’t earned her respect, it begs the issue of what you could do to gain hers.

If she treats everyone else with respect except you, it’s just a matter of time until she includes you.

She never makes concessions; it’s either do it her way or don’t do it at all. If she refuses to compromise and insists on doing things her way, it indicates an unhealthy interaction.

Both members in a partnership should have a say and be prepared to make concessions. A relationship isn’t about having a master; it’s about working together.

It’s a red flag if she continuously blames others for her misfortunes and refuses to accept responsibility for her actions.

Partnerships thrive on shared accountability and responsibility. A person who is constantly the victim will not contribute to personal or social progress.

If you observe these warning signals, it’s critical to have open talks and, if necessary, seek professional help, but if all efforts fail, it’s time to gracefully go.

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