In the word of specialists, no profession in the world requires the involvement of the wife more than that of the priesthood. The degree of involvement may vary with situations, people or churches, but nonetheless, the pastor’s wife is looked upon by the congregation as one with her husband in his ministry. Reverend (Dr.) Lizzy Johnson Suleman, the wife of the General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleman, comes up as a perfect companion in handling greater responsibilities toward running the ministry. She is noted for the ability to ignore the unnecessary, placing others in the right perspective and right priority, and enhancing the life of members of the church generally. She studied Mass Communication at Auchi Polytechnic and has Master’s in Public Administration.
Lizzy, who has been running the ministry with her husband since February 1994, is blessed with five children.
The beautiful woman of God added a year last week Sunday and she used the opportunity of the celebration, as usual, to extend spiritual care and share humanitarian gestures among the followers. In this interview, Dr. Lizzy shares her hopes of women in Christ, how through honest support by their women, male clergy can survive in their mission to liberate the world by heavenly means.
Congratulations on your birthday, ma. How do you feel celebrating today?
I feel great, naturally, and I feel honoured marking another milestone in the service of the Lord.
Tell us about your role in the ministry and what should be the unique role of wives of pastors.
I have always been a helper to my husband. I’m also a woman of God, a reverend. So, my roles as a wife, mother at home, and leader in the church have been constant without let or hindrance. And, the role of a wife to husband, especially wives of pastors is, knowing, what God expects of you which will make your role as wife and helpmate to your husband most challenging and fulfilling. This is vital to the success of both of them.
God has made each of them unique individuals, so every marriage, every family, and every clergy family is unique in itself. Remember, Eve was created to be the helpmate to Adam, meaning that this is the purpose for the creation of woman. This is the privilege God gives to every wife. This is the primary function of the wife. All teachings connected with marriage centre around this. All other activities or roles of the woman result from the effectiveness of being the helpmate God so ordained.
Would you have been into other vocations outside sharing the grace with your husband?
Personally, I feel there is no higher calling, no greater task than this. I mean, in working towards helping to win souls for God. And my understanding is that of a woman who is liberated to fulfill the potentials of being a servant of God.
How would you describe Apostle Suleman in simple terms?
My husband is a man that represents simplicity, he redefines modesty. And by prophetic standard, my husband is an apotheosis of prophetic reverence and veneration. He is modest in speech and humbler in his deeds and his dressing. And still far simple in how he addresses serious issues. He is my Papa, a great man of God, a colossus in the ministry of heaven.
He is not just a pastor; he is a life coach to the congregation, the world and his family. I respect and love him. And I thank God for that. I thank him too for making himself available for God to reveal Himself to this generation, with the strongest support from able ministers of God who represent the ministry worldwide.
Did you get any birthday present from your husband?
(Laughs)… Yes. But that should be left outside this interview. I got a wonderful birthday gift from him. But as a way to show appreciation to God for the opportunity of another eventful year, I gave out clothes and food to 75 people, including widows.
Through me, God also blessed people with N2 million. Outside this sum, I paid school fees of indigent students worth N1.2 million. And we also gave out gifts to an orphanage of about 900 kids.
These are just a fraction of the blessing to the people for which God used me on the occasion of the birthday celebration. The climax of the day was the honorary presence of Bishop Koroma and other revered men of God from within and outside Nigeria.
There is the case of a 14 year old girl from Bayelsa who was kidnapped by her Kano lover. What do you take out from there, as a woman, mother and role model?
This case, in the first place, is witchcraft. From a reasonable and moral perspective, children should be allowed to make their decisions. Sexual abuse of children thrives in an atmosphere of secrecy and they are very reluctant to speak up about it.
Parents too, in some cases, are not exempted of the blame. In all, to impose immoral recklessness on teenagers in the name of religion or tradition is morally wrong, totally wrong.
Let’s share your relationship with women in the ministry, aside your role as the head woman.
I enjoy a perfect relationship with our women. Personally, I do not believe that, as pastor’s wife or lead woman, you can’t be friends with the women in your church. I believe you can be accessible, you can be friendly, and you can be kind, you can fellowship and enjoy depths and breadths of sisterhood.
That is the greatest sign of humility for which I admire my husband. And this gets me busy working on our sisters in the ministry because, like the typical today’s woman, one is trying to stretch herself into a number of roles at the same time. We want accomplishments to show at the end of the day. So, like a classic pastor’s wife, I have my hand in more activities in the church.
As a reverend, does Christianity support man-woman equality in the context of today’s belief?
We need to be clear about one thing, first. The value of men and the value of women are perfectly equal in the eyes of God. But the fact that men and women have equal rights and access to salvation does not negate the need for submission to leadership in the home or the church.
Remember that, Jesus Christ and the Father are equal, yet Jesus submits to the authority of the Father. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 11:3, that “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” It is a lesson for we pastors’ wives, that to be in subjection to men, applies to all wives, and the children, for a pastor-husband who has his wife’s respect for his God-given authority and leadership, will have the confidence to lead his family and the church to success.
Women can be more compassionate and more loving. Being a woman adds more of freedom. So, our husbands should not be made to feel that they are alone in the success or otherwise of the mission.
- TADE ASIFAT