YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR FAILUREadmin
Testimony of Mr Isaac Hagan.
A Product of God’s Grace
Who could have fathomed that a boy born into a very poor family where what to eat and wear were a huge challenge, sacked from school on several occasions for non-payment of fees and had to rely on divine providence and the benevolence of individuals would turn out as a Chartered Accountant, responsibly married and working in a multinational company? Indeed I associate myself fully with Job 8:7
“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase”
As you read the account of my life, you will come to a firm conclusion that I am a product of God’s grace.
As the fourth child amongst a family of nine siblings, it was a sorry sight to see my sister drop out of Vocational school due to financial difficulties as my father was out of job. My mother had to single-handedly “squeeze water out of stone” as it were to cater for us and I always dreaded if I was going to suffer the fate of my sister in my education as I watched my mother routinely selling some of her clothes to support our upkeep. Things were so difficult that at times, all that my mother could offer was bread and sugar solution. Life was just a sad story!
Today, the script of my life has changed: I am by the grace of God a Chartered Accountant, responsibly married to an industrious lady, Mrs Gifty Hagan. By virtue of where the grace of God has placed me today, I have been able to assist most of my siblings to pursue higher education and my life is still a work in progress.
My parents professed to be Christians but I never saw them go to church. However, as a child, I just loved God and always wanted to learn the Bible and go to church. I followed my older brother to the Church of Pentecost (COP) where I started Sunday school. At age 15, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Personal Saviour and I was baptised into the Christian faith. Later that same year, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as I earnestly yearned for it.
Life Is Not Fair
At the local public school (Cyto), I was sacked from school on several occasions for non-payment of school fees even though I was one of the most brilliant pupils in class who represented the school during quizzes and rose to become the boys’ prefect. My school bag was a 5kg rice bag and I used to wear slippers to school and had to hawk in the scorching sun selling fresh vegetables to supplement my mother’s meagre income. To my class 5 teacher, it was a miracle seeing me carrying a brand new leather bag to school for the first time. She was more than happy for me. Could you imagine that she took my bag, hung it on her shoulder and announced to all the teachers and the whole school to join her thank God for my new bag?
At the Junior High School (JHS), I had to sew the unused pages of my older siblings’ books together, got them bound with old hard covers and there I had my note book. My favourite food at school was sugarcane and roasted groundnut with maize. With my few coins, I could buy enough to get my stomach full.
God being so good, irrespective of the financial challenges, I completed JHS as the Head Prefect and the overall best student. Following the footsteps of my sister, my older brother could not proceed to Senior High School (SHS) even though he had passed with flying colours as result of financial constraints. It therefore came as no surprise to me when a friend sought to find out how I was going to proceed to SHS considering the situation at home. I assured her that my God is able to do far more exceedingly and abundantly beyond that which we could think of or do.
It was a welcome news when my District Assembly announced a Scholarship Scheme for brilliant but needy students and I applied and was subsequently invited for an interview. It was a heart-breaking experience as I turned up for the interview without any escort as no one in the family cared about my future. As though that I was not enough, I turned up at the interview only to be greeted with the shocking news that they had already conducted the interview days earlier. How could this be? When was notice given about the change of date? My checks confirmed that I was indeed there at the advertised time but as it is said in the literal translation of one of our local proverbs, “the trees begin to dodge the monkey when it is in trouble”
The world can sometimes be unfair! Although it was one of my saddest moments in life, I learnt one of life’s lessons: “the world will not always be fair to you but you must move on and not be discouraged; continue to trust God, pray and work hard; for God is alive and will definitely show up!”
The Tables Begin To Turn
By divine wisdom, I was able to convince my mother to take a loan to pay my admission fees to SHS and by so doing, I became the first amongst my siblings to attain this feat. Unfortunately, I could not afford to buy a mattress at that time so my cousin who is a carpenter had to improvise and use appropriate technology to fabricate a home-made mattress for me. I guess you are interested to know what a home-made mattress is. He assembled together pieces of old sofa foams and joined them with glue into a single unit to form my mattress and I was ready to go. I was more interested in what I will be sleeping on in the future than what I was currently confronted with so I was unperturbed. In life, it is good to learn from the past, live the present with optimism and look into the future with great faith in God.
By what I will call “divine compensation”, God was gracious to me and I obtained a scholarship from my Political Constituency, proceeds from which was used to pay off my mother’s loan. By dint of hard work, I obtained a government scholarship in addition which covered my entire stay in SHS. The school then had to refund all fees I had personally paid prior to the scholarship but they could not refund all, so the school became indebted to me at the time of completion. The tables had turned: I started school as a debtor but completed as a creditor; that was incredible!
Once again, I completed SHS as the overall best student from my school and among the top 3 students in Western Region. Government of Ghana recognised my performance and awarded me accordingly on the Independence Day Parade.
God Will Take Care of You
Upon completion of SHS, I had to work as a sales boy and a private part time teacher handling SHS and JHS students. On one occasion, my supervisor who was a white man verbally abused me and referred to me as a useless boy! I was deeply hurt and wept inconsolably but I reassured myself that I was not useless but useful in the hands of my maker.
Although I knew I could not afford tertiary education, I managed to buy admission forms from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) from my meagre savings and duly applied. Like the Psalmist who said that “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence commeth my help?” I had no option but cry out to God to make a way where there seemed to be no way.
God indeed heard my cry and miraculously reconnected me to Madam Genevieve Mensah, a former English tutor of mine at SHS. She asked of my SHS WASSCE exams results and my plans for university education. I responded with a gentle smile and informed her that I had obtained 6 As and 2 Bs and was looking forward to read a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com), Accounting in the University of Cape Coast. I was quick to add that I was looking up to God to provide because my parents could not afford the bill. This lady became my angel as she introduced me to one Mr Joe Ocloo Nyamadi who happened to be an old student of my alma mater, Fijai SHS. He was touched by God and motivated by my excellent results to help me. He gave me money to buy the University of Ghana application forms as well and assured me of his assistance in my tertiary education.
I gained admission to UCC to study BCom-Accounting and true to his word, Mr Ocloo Nyamadi who had promised to finance my education topped up my savings to enable me pay for my admission fees of Gh ₵700.00 and sponsored my entire studies in the University. God bless this man! I will not wait for him to die before I eulogize him.
At the university, I remained focused on my education and was committed to God and His work. By God’s grace, I won the Dean’s award from level 100 to 400. This was a special award given to students who distinguished themselves academically at each level of the academic ladder. I completed UCC with First Class Honours. Glory to God!
While on campus, I served as a leader in the following associations:
- Pentecost Students & Associates (Financial Secretary)
- Leadership Empowerment Consult (Prayer Director)
- UCC Association of Business Students (Finance Committee Member)
Today, by God’s grace, I am an ordained Elder of my church (COP) serving and having served in various capacities some of which include:
- Current Financial Secretary
- Current Missions Committee Chairman
- Former Youth Secretary
- Former Financial Secretary of Pensa-UCC
- Former Prayer Director
- Former Welfare Committee Chairman
In Search of Healing
Growing up as a young boy, it was always a routine nightmarish experience for my parents to look on helpless and hapless as their son experienced recurrent episodes of convulsion which always rendered me unconscious, stiff and partially dead. This is a common condition which according to research affects about 4% of children aged between six months and six years with 3-10% of such children going ahead to develop epilepsy in adult life. The myth associated with this condition has undoubtedly found expression in the phraseology used to describe this disease in our local Fante language: “sor atƆ no do” which literally translated means “the sky has fallen upon him”. Traditionally it is believed that the disease is of demonic origin and the devil uses it as a tool to destroy the lives of children who have a bright future.
It was therefore not surprising that my parents in their perplexity and quest to find a solution to this dreaded condition that was threatening the life of their handsome son would go to any extent to seek a remedy for this puzzle. The hospital was certainly not their first point of call. On the contrary, they usually took me to an old lady who was a traditional healer. She gave me a cut on my left cheek and a herbal concoction was applied into it. It took some time for the wound to heal. The evidence of this cut is the tribal mark on my cheek. I am not sure whether the herbal concoction healed or exposed me to further childhood medical complications. One thing I believe and know is that the Lord God Almighty healed me of the febrile convulsion and its subsequent possible epilepsy. At least, I know that since the age of 3 years, I have never experienced this condition again.
In another twist of the bizarre circumstances that came our way, myself and three other siblings were taken ill at different times in the same year with symptoms ranging from headaches, fever, abdominal distension etc. My youngest brother died after several days in hospital. Since the hospital had failed us, my mother had to resort to hopping from one spiritualist to the other until we were detained for one and a half years at one of these prayer camps. They propounded all sorts of unconvincing reasons for our predicament and gave us a serial cocktail of awful concoctions to drink. At least my little exposure to the scriptures at Sunday school was enough to tell me that these interventions were all fake. Eventually, we were healed but I attribute it to the healing power of our God solely and not from the work of these charlatans.
The Sky Cannot Be A Limit
Like many final year students, my headache was how to get employment after school. I had a blessed assurance that the God who had brought me thus far in life was more than able to see me through this one too.
I was privileged to have done my National Service as a Teaching Assistant at UCC. I taught Accounting in levels 100 and 400. At the tail end of my National Service, I had an opportunity to do an internship with the German Investment and Development Bank (DEG). I worked on short term basis with DEG after my internship. At DEG, I served meritoriously and God crowned my hard work with success. Immediately after my work at DEG, I was employed permanently by the German Development Bank (KfW), the parent company of DEG. Today, if I sit in meetings with colleagues from Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, and top executives of other banks, I look back and give all the glory to Jesus, the author and the finisher of my faith. I’m convinced that even the sky cannot be a limit to what God can do in my life.
The Happiest People On Earth.
At KfW, one of my colleagues, Mr Kofi Atta-Agyapong who was a former President of the Beautiful Gate chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) introduced me to this fellowship. At FGBMFI, I came into contact with successful business men and Christian professionals who were joyfully serving the lord with their gifts and talents. I learnt a lot from the various educative seminars, counselling from mature Christians and the warmth of fellowship and love amongst the brethren. I have drawn many lessons and inspiration to impact my life, friends, relatives and church members.
I joined FGBMFI in April 2016 and by the grace of God, I am the current Secretary and Former Director for Voice & Literature of the Floodgate Chapter. FGBMFI is a place to be! I urge you therefore that if you hear the voice of God calling you now, do not hesitate: accept Him as your Lord & Personal Saviour. What He has done and continues to do for me, He is far more than able to do it for you.
Given the plethora of difficult circumstances that came my way, many would have made a genuine excuse out of it to have resigned themselves to a life of failure and non-achievement, but my story is a clear case in point that YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE for failure. God is faithful and He is ever committed to bring you to an expected end. You have to trust in the lord and lean not on your own understanding. Work hard and do your bit and your story will also turn out to be an all-time best seller.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9, the Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” The word of God is true, sure and Amen! This scripture is demonstrated in my own life.