Assalamu alaikum. All thanks be to the Lord of the heavens, the earth and all creation. My name is Garba Adamu. My parents came for Katsina in northern Nigeria. I was born at Miango, near Jos in Plateau State. Writing this in 1982 I am fifty years old, but I cannot be certain for we reckoned by important events, not the calendar.
When I was three years old, before I could talk very well, I entered Koranic school my only formal education. Little by little I learned to read and write the Arabic like script of Hausa, my mother tongue. After thirteen years I finished learning to read the whole Koran and went to look for work at the large missionary compound nearby. I asked the man in charge if he would have a job for me, but he burst out laughing because I was a very small teenager. Thank God, I was given a job sweeping floors and washing dishes. My employer saw that worked well and after a while I learned how to cook European food. I was able to bake bread, cookies and cakes, in fact anything they wanted.
While I was still unmarried , one night I had a dream which was very special yet frightening. I saw the heavens open and an angel from God coming down with a message held tight in both hands. He came before me and said, " God says to you,'Take this message.'" With thanks, I took it in both hands. Right away, the angel ascended into heaven. I watched and saw a beautiful shining light. I was amazed. All this happened very quickly, in about one minute. In the morning, before I started work, I went to the office of my supervisor to tell her what had happened. Instead of telling me what the dream might mean, she did not take me seriously at all. At first I was very unhappy about this, but as time went by I began to forget about the dream.
I was very much involved in my Muslim way of life. I married and after some years I married a second wife from among my own Hausa people. The missionaries did not like to employ a man with two wives and I was dismissed from my job. I began to earn my living as a market trader selling cloth. In my spare time I taught myself to read and write Hausa in the Roman script, which had been introduced by the Europeans who found our own Arabic script too difficult. At that time no-one else among the Hausa of my town could read and write the Roman script. I learnt with the help of the Hausa newspaper.
Some Muslim preachers visited our town with the aim of establishing a branch of their Muslim Mission in our town. Being able to read and write I was made secretary of the Mission in our town. I was a zealous Muslim, so after a while I was made secretary for the Muslim Mission for the whole of our local government area. The state headquarters provided me with a motorbike. I was appointed to assist the local Imam then appointed to the state executive committee of the Muslim Mission. As my responsibilities had grown I was to be provided with a car for my work.
Then one day the local Christian Pastor came and asked if I would help at their mission. They wanted someone to help teach Hausa to Europeans. It was only for six weeks. He asked me in such a way that I could not refuse, though I told the missionary lady in charge of the course that I wanted nothing to do with the Bible. In fact. if I so much as touched a Bible I would wash with soap and water.
But this lady, Miss Oliver was not bothered at all. In fact she even helped me with my religion. On Fridays she would arrange transport for me to go to the mosque. She never criticised my faith or my way of life, except when I failed in my Muslim responsibilities. If I was engrossed in my work she would remind me it was time for prayer. When I said I was too busy she asked if I feared God. That was the strongest possible rebuke to me.
We taught Hausa using the Roman script but one day Miss Oliver showed me a booklet in the Arabic script. It was about Jesus Christ, Isa Almasihu. I read it and kept on reading it again and again.I heard a voice in my heart asking why do I not want to read the Bible? So I went to work the next day and asked Miss Oliver if I could read the Bible for the students at their morning prayers. Language School started with daily prayers. I had refused to take part. Now this lady and all the students were really pleased to have me take part with them. I had never come across a European woman with such a character, so easy to get on with, so kind and calm. Before long I remembered my dream of many years before. I told her and asked what it could meant. She was not angry with me but told me that it seemed that God had an important message for me. This explanation pleased me a great deal.
Miss Oliver was writing a book "Jesus, Son of Mary." She was using the Bible and the Koran, writing in Hausa for Muslims and Christians. She asked me to read and comment on what she had written. I was to check the language. She wanted to know if the book really got her message across. When I read her chapter on the Trinity, she was especially interested to know if I understood what she had written. I said that I understood far more than she thought. I asked to pray, and prayed that God would remove the darkness from my understanding and show me his truth. I told Miss Oliver that I repented from my sin and trusted in Jesus Christ. Straight away I had a joy that I had never before experienced. I stopped my Muslim activities.
When the leaders of the Muslim Mission realised that I was no longer active in their work they sent a letter calling me to attend. I neither went nor replied. My answer was according to our proverb," Keeping silent gives a message." They wanted to know why I had stopped my Muslim work and was helping Christians instead. Using occult ways, they tried to stop me teaching . I would feel as if something was falling on top of me. I would break into a sweat and feel dizzy. The students would hold me, help me lie down, then fan me while they prayed for me.
I would be taken home to rest while the students kept on praying. After a while the evil that was being used against me was stopped. Later I heard that someone gave the Muslim Mission a tape of what I was teaching. Like Miss Oliver I had nothing derogatory to say about Islam, nor any fault to find with the customs my own Hausa people. I believe that most have never heard the Gospel in a way that they can really understand. All too often the life of the messenger has spoilt the reception of the message.
Miss Oliver left Nigeria not long after I became a follower of Jesus Christ. I have continued in the faith, employed by a Nigerian church teaching Hausa to newcomers to the country.
Translated 8 May 1996 from his testimony in the Hausa language by Graham Weeks, who knows Garba well and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Used by permission of Answering Islam