Soul of Africa

By Jumoke Akinniranye

Biography & memoir, General non-fiction

Paperback, eBook

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553
2 mins

Chapter 1

Introduction

I am Jumoke Akinniranye. I was born to Nigerian parents in the UK in the sixties, but grew up in Nigeria, returning to the UK in 1985 to further my education. As I stepped off the plane at London Heathrow Airport on a sunny Sunday afternoon, over three decades ago, nothing could have prepared me for all that would unfold in my journey. It didn't cross my mind at the time that the Lord had handed me a clean sheet of paper and He would write on it as the years went by.

In this book I will share with you the story of my early years, family history, and my journey upon returning to the UK. It is a story of walking through a personal valley of sickness, my encounter with the best social and health care systems in the world, marriage, and my career as an accountant. I will also share with you the details of my unique encounter with the Lord, which changed the course of my life and opened my eyes to the depth of institutional and community discrimination in the UK.

Whilst all that transpired upon my return to the UK, prior to my encounter with the Lord, was enriching and challenging on many levels, my unprecedented encounter with the Lord opened the door to two very different experiences in my life that co-existed side by side for many years. On one hand, life was filled with hate, atrocities and extreme discrimination by both my NHS colleagues and the community I lived and fellowshipped in. On the other hand, life was filled with mountaintop encounters with the Lord, open visions of heaven and the grace of God's presence on my life.

These two extremes couldn't have been more different. Both became part of my daily living for years, during which time I found myself struggling to reconcile the two sides of this unusual coin. I wrestled with the thought that an encounter with the Lord should never lead to such hatred, violence and deep-rooted discrimination, borne out of the unique gifts upon my life as a result of this encounter. Being of African descent in a predominantly white community provided the unique opportunity for the outpouring of hate and discrimination by those I'd lived and worked amongst peacefully for over two decades prior to my encounter. Being chosen by the Lord in this unique manner gave way to their indignation. Their rejection was clear and public; their discrimination extreme. How could an African woman carry such grace in their midst? I had to come to terms with the fact that nothing, in that first step off the plane at Heathrow, or any information afforded me in those early years, pointed to the fact that 30 years later I would still be wrestling with being accepted into the community where I lived.

Nonetheless, I discovered on this amazing journey that nothing can stop the Lord's visitations in our lives. Nor will anything stem His visions and dreams from heaven as long as we are open, willing and obedient. I found it intriguing that the turbulence I experienced never deterred the Lord. Instead He drew closer during those times with manifestations of His grace, His peace, His power to heal, His Spirit and His provision – all of this in complete contrast to all that was unfolding in the physical realm.

We share so many stories and events with our children, but I have realised that we rarely, if ever, impart the truth that life is one big journey for each of us. Ahead are many chapters in which we will encounter both mountains and valleys. How do we prepare their hearts and minds for what lies ahead? What about if we intentionally and honestly shared our journey's with the next generation to prepare them for their journey?

Therefore, as you read this book, I would encourage you to picture a young African woman getting off a plane in a foreign land with her suitcase in tow, completely unaware of all that will unfold in her journey.



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