“I have experienced God as never before in my life!”
When this young man left Togo, one of the most important things he had in his luggage was a great deal of trust in God. In Germany he not only found a university placement, but also a new home of faith. Following is the story of Yaovi Ayivi.
It all began with a competition: as the best to complete a German course, Yaovi Ayivi received a scholarship from the Goethe Institute in the spring of 2013. He went to Germany for four days. His wish after that was to continue his studies in business computer science in Germany. However, “In order to apply for a student visa, you need proof of financing, for example, a bank account with assets of at least 8,000 Euros. And that was something we did not have.”
“Doing my part and trusting in God”
Yaovi grew up in a village in the southeast of Togo. “My father has three wives and a total of fourteen children. That means I have three siblings and ten half-siblings.” Yaovi relates that polygamy is especially predominant in the villages, and goes on to tell of conflicts: “In other families I often saw how brothers fought with one another over the assets of their father—even going so far as to kill one another to get to the inheritance. Fortunately, my father’s family is not like that.”
Faith in God plays a large role in his parental home, which follows the Catholic faith: “As children we already learned that we cannot steer our lives on our own and that only God can do all things. I must do my part and put my trust in Him.”
Yaovi’s father, a rice and corn farmer, never went to school himself, and cannot read to this day. Nevertheless it was a great concern of his that all his children should receive an education. A few weeks after Yaovi’s return from Germany, the family had to move from their place of residence, and in return received financial compensation. It was from these proceeds that his father opened a bank account for him, thereby making it possible for him to apply for a student visa.
“How new ways open up”
When Yaovi arrived in Germany on 1 November 2013, it turned out that his admission was no longer valid. He would have to register again. He found support from a fellow countryman who lived in Wiesbaden, and thus also secured a placement in the University of Mainz. Nevertheless it was difficult to make a start, he relates, as he tells of entrance exams, administrative paperwork, and money shortages.
His host attended the New Apostolic Church. “I went with him. ‘Church is church,’ I thought to myself. I wanted to experience the nearness of God.” He felt at home right from the start: “It was what I had always been looking for, and I began to go there regularly. Since coming to the New Apostolic Church, I have experienced God as never before in my life.”
After four months in Wiesbaden, Yaovi found himself with nowhere to stay. “I didn’t know where I was going to sleep.” But Yaovi did not despair: “Everything that God does is good for me, and I have experienced again and again how new ways always open up for me. A sister in faith from Gabon helped him find a place to stay and even helped him move. “She still supports me to this day,” he relates.
“For me these are miracles of God”
In the summer of 2015, Yaovi Ayivi expressed the wish to be adopted in the New Apostolic Church. On 30 August 2015 he received the sacrament of Holy Sealing together with another twelve souls. “On the morning of that divine service, I prayed to God and told Him, ‘At some point in the future, I would also like to proclaim Your word.’” Barely three weeks went by before the District Evangelist asked him if he was prepared to accept a ministry.
On 22 October 2015, Apostle Opdenplatz ordained Brother Ayivi into the Deacon ministry. And what does it mean to him to be a Deacon? “I want to thank God. To serve God and to proclaim His word, was and remains my greatest wish. In so doing, I experience Him even more intensively.”
“Without God, I would never have made it so far away from home.” He is often homesick and misses his parents a great deal. An elderly sister in faith offered him a room in her house and took him in like a son. “For me these are miracles of God. I certainly appreciate them and thank God for His help.”
And what are his plans for the future? “My studies are important to me. I do not want to disappoint my father’s trust,” says Deacon Yaovi Ayivi, and goes on to add, “I do not know what will happen tomorrow. I simply trust in God and take everything out of His hand. He will do everything right.”