FAMOUS, talented, a hard worker, dedicated…These were just a tip of the adjectives fit for a description of Miss Miso Mmereki. Twelve years as a bubbly television and radio presenter in Botswana had shot her into the limelight. Her face illuminated the pages of magazines and newspapers. She seemed a model of a successful woman. Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth.
Miso was all glitter and no fortune. Behind her facade of stardom, was a hollow reality and a “spirit of stagnation”. She was miserable. Although she didn’t drink, smoke or go to clubs, “a lifestyle that could drain a person’s money,” she wasn’t being paid what she deserved either. Bogged down by debts, she writhed in humiliation, as sheriffs chased her all over the town. Mmereki tipped dangerously over a precipice.
But “if God wants you to come to Him, He can do anything and use anything,” she said. “He wanted me to come to Him. At some point, He realised I was too busy to pay any attention to His way, as long as I lived my TV and radio life. Then He said, ‘Ok, I will take away all these things that are keeping you preoccupied, so that you can know Me’.” Mmereki was slipping into a critical phase; a storm that would shape her life in the years to come.
In 2010, after she “resigned due to some misunderstandings” with her boss, “life started to go down” on her. Two weeks after she quit, she realised she was pregnant with her daughter, Candle. “Friends I ran up and down with when I was still on TV and radio and living the celebrity life, deserted me. I had no job and no money. I stayed at home. It was painful. Debt collectors knocked on my door one after the other. My goods and furniture were repossessed. My name was all over the papers because I owed money.”
Idle, “reeling with pain, frustration, shame and humiliation,” Miso began to nurse thoughts about fleeing Botswana. “I wanted to relocate abroad. I was done with the suffering in my country. I longed to try life elsewhere,” she said. But something else had also begun to happen.
The void in Mmereki’s heart had become unbearable; she thirsted for spiritual refreshing. Searching for gospel channels, she came across Emmanuel TV. She had heard about Prophet T.B. Joshua “but never paid any attention. That day, I watched the channel. Then I watched more of it, and more. I found I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with everything about the Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) and Emmanuel TV. I also fell in love with the Prophet, the Evangelists, the choir, everything. Above all, I fell in love with Jesus Christ! I was amazed at the change that came upon me. My faith began to grow like veld fires.” Praying and worshiping with the Man of God, Mmereki hoped for an opportunity to visit the Church. Sadly, an airfare was way beyond what she could afford.
THE year 2012 knocked with great promise. But no sooner had Miss Mmereki opened the door than disappointment jostled her with a heart-rending embrace. She met a British man on Facebook. Simply friends at first, a relationship eventually bloomed. Soon, the former TV and radio presenter was discussing “marriage and family” with him.
“He invited me to the U.K. with my daughter. When I arrived, things went fine for the first two weeks. Then everything changed. The relationship failed. We argued almost every day. Sometimes, the disagreement became so bad, we stopped speaking to each other. I was hurt and frustrated, and in pain every day. At other times, I asked God, ‘Why did You bring me here when You knew this would happen?’”
While she worried about finding money to return to faraway Botswana, Mmereki made a shocking discovery. “I realised I was pregnant with my little boy, Lium.” With anticipations dashed, self-condemnation tossed her mind like a boat stranded at sea.
“I kept crying to God, telling Him my life was a mess. I kept telling Him that I didn’t want to go back to Botswana. How would I care for my kids? I didn’t have a job. ‘Mess’ was the most appropriate word for my situation. I called the pregnancy a mess. Often, I would say to God, ‘Daddy, my life is a mess. I have messed up. Help me!’ In the midst of all these, He kept saying, ‘You will go back to Botswana’, but I resisted, saying, ‘Please, don’t take me back’. But every night, I dreamt I was back in my country. I knew God was speaking to me.”
ONE day, Mmereki, picked the TV remote from off the sofa and turned up the volume. She always did whenever noise in the neighbourhood threatened to drown out sound from her favourite channel. She had tuned in just in time for the mass prayer. Prophet T.B. Joshua turned to the camera. “Viewers all over the world,” he began. “Wherever you are, listening to me. Whatever you are going through. Whatever your situation. I don’t care what your situation or your circumstance is. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR MESS. YOUR MESS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!”
Mmereki’s mind screeched to a halt. She thought: “MESS!? My God! That word!? I am acquainted with it! I know it so well! That was the same word I used when I prayed about my condition! The exact word! And now, the Man of God has repeated it! There MUST be something in this!”
Baby Candle in her arms and five months pregnant, Botswana beckoned and Mmereki answered. But “back in my country, things didn’t change,” she said. “I still had no job and no money. I started to receive court letters from the people and companies I owed.” Nevertheless, she continued to watch Emmanuel TV, praying with the Prophet and touching the screen as a point of contact; believing that distance is not a barrier to receiving a Divine blessing.
“My faith was growing. I sat down with God and told Him that I would not go anywhere until I heard from Him. I wanted to know what He had to say about my desire to relocate. I told Him I wanted to go back to the U.K. but wouldn’t, until He spoke to me. I told him there is only one place where He could speak to me and I would hear Him clearly. That was at the SCOAN.”
SATURDAY, May 18, 2013. The huge tent hosted thousands. They sat attentively, eyes glued to several television screens scattered across the space. Although Mmereki found a chair, her thoughts wouldn’t sit still. They raced between watching the huge black telly and a deep yearning to enter the main auditorium.
She stood up. Meandering past rows of chairs, she walked away from the tent and stopped before an usher. It was the third time she was repeating the action. The previous instance, she had come close to tears, as she pleaded with the official, who couldn’t grant her wish because the church was already full of teeming worshippers. She had begun to despair when, “one young man, one of the ushers, from nowhere, came over and asked me to follow him. I could not believe my ears. Was I dreaming? I followed him, and he led me into The SCOAN auditorium. I was overjoyed.” Miss Miso Mmereki’s was about to see directly the Prophet she had always loved to watch on TV.
“I said to God, “Daddy, I watch Emmanuel TV back at home. Why should I come all the way from Botswana to Nigeria and still have to watch the Man of God on a screen? I was not satisfied. I told Him that I wanted to go into the main auditorium. I had faith that, once inside, my troubles would be over. And when eventually I stepped in, I knew my life would never be the same again. I didn’t really care if the Prophet never touched me. All I wanted was set my eyes on him, and I would be delivered.”
Before embarking on the journey, Mmereki ensured she packed two most important things. In her bag were three passports: hers, her daughter’s and son’s. The second item was tucked away in her heart: an unshakable faith that God would move the Prophet to answer her question, “whether I should go back to the U.K. with my two kids or stay in my country.”
“Good morning, church,” said Prophet T.B. Joshua, as he walked to the altar. “Good morning, Man of God!” she shouted excitedly, her voice soaring above dozens. The Prophet “started to talk to the church about the Morning Water and how it has been anointed by God to minister deliverance to people.” Mmereki soaked up every word.
As the service came to an end, the Man of God asked the congregation to stand up for prayer. To her “greatest surprise”, he looked across the congregation and said: “If you are travelling to another country…If you have been in that country before and you were returned…If you believe that the country you live in is not yours…If you believe that the house you live in, the job, the business, your relationship, your future, your destiny…If you believe they are in another country, don’t worry. Go! You will get your papers!”
It was all she needed to hear. “That was it! At that moment, I knew God had spoken to me. I knew it was finished! I was ready to return to the hotel, pick my bags and go home.” On Sunday, she received the Morning Water. The following day, she was aboard a plane, bound for Botswana.
Emboldened by what she had heard the Prophet say, Mmereki, two weeks later, bought a one-way ticket. She had no invitation letter. She had no money; just a mere £60. And she had no plan for her accommodation either. She simply picked her bags and carried two-year-old Candle and eight-month-old Lium and left for Britain!
“I have watched my Prophet long enough to believe that when he speaks, it’s done! It’s over!” Mmereki said, explaining her remarkable courage. “Who, in his right mind, gets on a plane with two children and flies across the world to the United Kingdom with a one-way ticket, no money – nothing! But I held on to the Prophet’s words. I knew it wasn’t him; it was God!”
When Mmereki arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport, she reached for the Morning Water she received at the SCOAN. “Weapon of Mass Destruction!” she called it. The mother ministered the same on the children, the passports and on herself. She felt nervous, as she joined the queue at the terminal. Her heart beat faster. She reassured herself, however, saying, “Jesus is with me. I am not alone.”
Soon, it was her turn to be checked. An officer fired a salvo of questions. “Why do you have a one-way ticket? How much money have you? Do you know anyone in the U.K.? Why…Why…Why?” Mmereki had no satisfactory answers. But she spoke all the same. “I knew I wasn’t the one answering,” she said.
The officer wrote on a piece of paper, which he handed to her. She looked at it. One word – DETAINED – stood out unmistakably. It required no interpretation. At once, a child’s voice cried, “Mummy, I want to use the toilet.” Mmereki believed it was her “God springing into action.” She took the girl to the restroom. Once again, she pulled out “the weapon” and prayed: “O God of Prophet T.B. Joshua! Here am I, my Lord. I heard You in the SCOAN. You sent me here. You said I could come here. Manifest yourself, right now! Show your power, Lord!”
Prayer finished, Mmereki sprayed the Morning Water in her mouth, face and underarm and did the same to the children. “Whenever I recall this, tears rush into my eyes,” she said. “I realised how powerful God is, and how much he has anointed my Prophet, T.B. Joshua. It was then I recognised the awesome power in the Morning Water!”
As she left the lavatory, “the gentleman who was helping me at the desk came out and looked around. As he saw me, he shouted, O madam! Where have you been? I have been looking for you! Bring your passports. And PHAA! PHAA! PHAA! (simulating the officer’s action), he stamped our passports and said, ‘WELCOME TO BRITAIN!’”
AT the U.K., Mmereki put up with a friend from her country “who was sent” to her by God. Processing the application for her residency permit wasn’t easy. But she remained calm, “knowing what God said.” The Home Office wanted proof that Lium is a British citizen. She also needed to do some DNA tests but didn’t have money.
“Now, remember that word, ‘M-E-S-S’. Remember what God said when I was in the U.K. the first time, miserable and frustrated. He said, ‘YOUR MESS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!’ The mess He spoke about through the Prophet was the pregnancy of my son! It was through the boy, who is British, that I became eligible for citizenship with my daughter, Candle!
“God provided the money, £600, for the DNA. I then applied for Lium’s passport. Once again, He provided the means for this. While the process was ongoing, the British government put me in a three-bedroom apartment and paid my bills, and also gave money to me every week!”
And so, finally, in March 2016, Miss Miso Mmereki and her daughter, Candle, received their residency permits, according to the word of the Man of God, saying, “YOU WILL GET YOUR PAPERS!”