Interview with Pastor Isaac Sunday: The Journey of an African Traveler

Isaac Sunday is a pastor and a very open-minded one who just love to travel. He travels spontaneously without making plans and sometimes with empty pockets and no familiar face on the other side.

He usually don’t talk about Christ on the first day. Isaac has traveled to several African countries, explored about 33 states in Nigeria within the space of 8 years. He’s multilingual and fluent in both Hausa and Yoruba.

As we speak, he could be at the coast of an island watching the birds fly and pick the ground or in the wild taking walks and learning about the people he just met.

Isaac, sitting very calm, was very glad to share his experience with us. 

THE INTERVIEW WITH ISAAC SUNDAY

What sparked your interest to become a traveler?

I hate to be in a place for more than six months. I love new environments and new challenges. Funny I’m a pastor. Most pastors don’t travel the way I do from one place to another. In a worst case scenario, when I can’t travel, I make sure it doesn’t last over a year. I hate staying in one place. I like to learn new things and move forward.

In your travels, do you preach the Word of  God?

Actually, when I meet new people talking about God isn’t the first go to. I try to understand the person. I like to know people’s interest, pain, and then I bring in the Word of God to respond to their pains. I want to be perceived like every other person. I listen to their story and accept people for who they are. Then I believe you’d later accept the things I offer.

One of the things I learnt in my adventures in 2007 at Lome, Togo, is learning people’s culture first and appreciating it. I also ate their food and afterwards they gave me their ears. I think talking to people without giving them your own ears kinda makes you an authoritarian. I always want to listen and follow through their stories because the story is  the message entirely, so I don’t start preaching the Message except I know their story.

What other reasons motivates your traveling?

There’s this urge to move from one place to another naturally for me. I think it’s just innate. As a child, I was told I don’t like staying in one place as my parents would say. My son took after me too. I think it’s genetic. He doesn’t like to stay in one place as well. 

With the knowledge acquired when you sit with people what do you usually share with them about your experience?

I don’t inspire them to be travellers. Those days when I travelled, I took a lot of risk. There was a time I left Nigeria for Ghana with twenty thousand naira to a place I’ve never been to, and that was the first time. I never knew anyone in Ghana. All I did was just travel. It was wonderful. It was by road from Abuja to Lagos then to Ghana.

What happened on this journey?

A lot of people seemed to have arrived at their destination, so the driver asked me? 

“where are you heading to?”

I said “I don’t know”.

“Who did you come to see?”

I said “I don’t know”. 

And then he asked if I was a pastor. His wife was Nigerian, so he took me to his house and interrogated me. He was having issues with his wife and wanted me to talk to her considering that there might be some connection since we are from the same country. He introduced me to her as a pastor. 

On the first day, I kept my quiet. On the second, I did the same. And then he felt I only wanted a roof above my head, to dine and sleep. 

On the third day, I discovered the problem wasn’t from the wife, the problem was from him. We sat and talked it out. His wife truly loves him but they get back and forth arguments because he isn’t a listener. I believe prayer as well isn’t a one way communication. His marriage is great now. They’re at peace. 

For the next four days, I left the place. He had introduced me to the chief of Afolawo who brought me close to the tribe men and the community. And then they would come to give me a land and a house to stay. 

Today, I’m a proud Ghanaian and also a proud Nigerian. I left Afolawo back to Nigeria wanting to set up in Jos, Plateau, but along the line plans changed and I returned to Ghana to a different community called Kasuwa and then Kumasi. Afterwards I returned to Nigeria because I really wanted to marry a Nigerian.

What are your conversations like with the Ghanaians?

They took me as their own. We communicated very well. Part of Kumasi and Ashanti speak Hausa. I’m fluent in Hausa. There are also French and Yoruba speakers at Afolawo. I speak Yoruba as well, so I just blend in. I grew up in Kano which explains my Hausa and going to church, at CAC made me learnt Yoruba.

At what point did you realize your calling,  to becoming a pastor?

I started with the dream of becoming a metrologist. I love the profession with all my heart. But somehow, I found myself studying Mass Communication. I gave it my all but after my National Diploma, I felt I needed something more challenging. 

So, I explored advertising and marketing. That was in Nassarawa, then I moved to Minna. I’ve been to almost the whole northern region. I’ve lived across thirty-three states in Nigeria from 2004 to 2012. Immediately I got married, I had to limit my travel. I spend three to five months in a state or even six. 

While studying Mass Communication, I thought of becoming a journalist but at some point I shifted grounds a little bit. It was during this period I dedicated myself to God. One of our church leaders at Redeem, shared with me that I am meant to be a pastor. I was part of those who brought about the establishment of the chapel back in school. I told my father I wanted to be a pastor but he rejected it. 

There was a girl I was dating then who also wondered why people came to me for counseling, including her friends. She wasn’t comfortable with it, because her friends would discuss their sex life with me. Those who got addicted to hard drugs too needed my counseling. I invited them to the house and we talked. She wasn’t okay with it, but she learnt from the conversations. 

It was in all these I had the call, not a dream but a voice. This happened at Ibadan I think in 2007. It was God. I set out my journey to meeting the youth. I don’t want a crusade just seminars to talk about real life issues and provide biblical ways to dealing with it. Most were open-minded to learn. It was seriously amazing. We had gays coming around and different people. I love it. I don’t judge. I don’t condemn. For now I work with a ministry, as an assistant pastor directly working with the senior pastor.

Thank you for speaking with us, Isaac 🙂

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.

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