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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elewechi Ngozi Okike is an award-winning author, a motivational speaker, a life coach, mentor, wife, mother and grandmother, who has been married for over 41 years. She is an experienced counsellor, who has spent almost four decades in the higher education sector and has supported and mentored hundreds of young adults. Her counsel and guidance have restored positive mental health to students, saved numerous marriages and provided hope in situations that many considered irredeemable.
To find out more, visit www.ngoziokike.com.
We can learn valuable lessons about life from everyday occurrences and from the things and people around us – including animals. This book, which is an updated version of the first edition, presents us with some of those lessons, especially the ones that can be learned from a most unusual and uncelebrated animal, a donkey. As a matter of fact, a donkey is so debased that in the Bible, it was not considered worthy to be used as part of the offerings to be offered to God. It had to be substituted with a lamb, or have its head broken . Yet, as we shall see from this book, there is so much we can learn from this animal that would challenge and empower us.
More importantly, this book is a dedication to, and a celebration of, a very special young lady that some may not have heard about. Her name is Leah Sharibu, one of the 110 schoolgirls abducted from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, North East, Nigeria, by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram. Leah was the only Christian girl amongst the 110 abducted girls. Whilst five of the girls died on the truck that was taking them on their long journey to the Lake Chad region, 104 of the remaining girls were released a month later because they were Muslims. Leah was asked to convert to Islam and be released with the other girls, but she refused to denounce her faith. Her school mates put pressure on her to denounce her faith and be released with them, but she was not willing to succumb to the lure of compromise. What must it feel like for Leah to watch her schoolmates being returned to their families and she remained the only girl amongst the 105 girls that were abducted? The feeling must be unimaginable.
Leah was only 14 years old when she was abducted on the 19th of February 2018. Through her action, she demonstrated extraordinary courage and bravery in the face of intimidation and/or death. In spite of her young age, Leah understands the importance and the significance of her faith. As far as she was concerned, she has a faith worth living for, and dying for, if need be. She has challenged many Christians to stand up and be counted.
Leah had written a letter to her mother through one of her schoolmates who was released saying “My mother you should not be disturbed. I know it is not easy missing me, but I want to assure you that I am fine where I am…I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ”. What a courageous piece to be written by a young teenager! In spite of their pain and anguish of what has befallen their daughter, Leah’s parents are truly proud of her, that she did not deny Jesus Christ.
This is what it says in the Bible, ‘Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels’. I am not a politician, and I do not get involved with political issues. This book is neither political, nor partisan. It is a book about life, the things that we learn from the experiences of others, whether man or beast. I do not know Leah in person, and I do not need to know her in person to celebrate the special person that she is. I am a mother and grandmother, and as a matter of fact, she is the same age as our granddaughter whom I love. I feel the pain of her parents and share in their grief. Moreover, I understand what abduction looks like, having narrowly escaped one myself. I also know what it’s like to be surrounded by gun-wielding fearful looking men in uniform. My own story is covered in my book The Greatest Debtor to His Love and a Trophy of His Grace.
It has been reported recently that Leah was forced to ‘convert’ to Islam and has given birth to the son of the Boko Haram Commander. Whether or not this is true, we know that Leah is safe in God’s hands. Her story will end well. Even the baby boy she is alleged to have is part of the interesting story of her life. She remains a hero of the Christian faith, and God who watches over the sparrow is watching out for her.
I hope that anyone reading this book will find strength and inspiration, not only from the story of Leah, but also from the donkey, that is the focus of this book. The book is invaluable to people of all ages, colours or beliefs.
Elewechi Ngozi Okike
This book is dedicated to Leah Sharibu, the modern day heroine of the Christian faith. Her resolve to stand for the truth she believes in, teaches us some valuable lessons about life.
Leah, like many others, I have never met you, but your courage and bravery in the face of the most extreme case of intimidation and the threat of death has earned the admiration of many of us across the globe. At just the tender age of 14 years, you were prepared to go on a long and lonely journey, which you had no idea of where it would lead and when the journey will end.
You have proved to the world that no matter how old you are, we all have some values built into our human nature – bravery, endurance, courage, resilience, a sense of pride.
You have chosen to tread on the similar path that the Late Nelson Mandela treaded, when he was presented with a choice to compromise and go free, whilst his people remained in bondage, or remain in prison until his people were set free completely. He chose the latter.
Leah, I am even more amazed to discover that one of the reasons you fell into the trap of the militants was because you were caring for a sick roommate and you refused to leave her, when the other Christians in your school beckoned on you to run away. You were running but could not run fast because you were carrying your sick roommate. She eventually ran towards the staff quarters and was safe, whilst you ran into the hands of the insurgents.
Your parents are so proud of you because you did not denounce Christ. Your mum describes you as an obedient and respectful person, who puts others before yourself. These attributes were evident in your refusal to abandon a sick roommate, even when your own life was at risk.
Leah, you might not know this but you symbolise the state of the church today in Nigeria, and perhaps in some other parts of the world, and through your singular action, you have issued a ‘wake-up call’ to the Body of Christ to take a stand and be ready to defend what it believes.
It is not just your parents that are proud of you, the church universal is as well. Most importantly, Jesus Himself, whom you did not deny, is very proud of you. He has stated that, as you did not deny Him before men, He too will not deny you “when he comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels”. You can also be rest assured that not one hair on your head will fall to the ground without the knowledge of God. It is evident from your refusal to denounce your faith in the face of death, that you rightly understand the biblical injunction, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.
Leah, the global church is praying for you. And, if the Bible was to be rewritten, your name will occupy pride of place amongst the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. We celebrate and congratulate you for your noteworthy and exemplary display of Christian character and fortitude.
“After reading this book, my only regret was that I didn’t read it fifty years ago. Perhaps, I could have been spared the many scars on my personal journey of learning the tough ‘lessons of life’ that we all have to learn! Nonetheless, I’m truly delighted to have read it now as it is an inspiring and enabling book.
In an age when we are all constantly rushing around, endeavouring to experience a lot but apparently learning so little, I would recommend that we all [– no matter how young or old, or whatever our cultural background or working environment] browse through or, better still, read this book from cover to cover – and, then, re–read it!
Personally, I am looking forward to passing on the wisdom of these twelve life lessons, that Professor Elewechi Okike weaves into every page in her engaging style, to all my friends and clients, in the many different countries, cultures and communities that I work.
Thankfully, the twelve lessons of life are globally applicable. They will inspire every one of us to meet life’s challenges and, also, enable us to make the most of every opportunity life presents us with.
This is a must–read. Well done, Elewechi, and thank you sincerely.“
Jim Cowan, ChairmanValue the Person International[– an international business psychology consultancy]
“This is one of the few philosophical books that one should find extremely easy to read. The use of a donkey as the main character will endear it to readers of all ages.
Without doubt, the most powerful elements of the book for me were the life lessons embedded in every page. Occasionally in life, we come across a book that speaks directly to us and helps us reflect positively on our past and prepare for our future. This is such a book.
The lessons resonated with my personal experiences and made it a compelling read. It is indeed a thought-provoking guide for those navigating the many complex challenges of daily life.“
Charles Uwakaneme Business and Life Mentor Eastbourne, UK
“This book is dedicated to Leah Sharibu, and rightly so. Leah is a spiritual giant, who cared and, in her virtue, came to the limelight, in spite of her tender age of 14 years. The author is a spiritual giant, too, who has had to deal with life’s challenges like Job, Esther, Daniel and his friends.
The twelve life lessons presented in this book are golden virtues that each reader should desire to possess …
If a donkey can cooperate and get out of trouble, you too can cooperate with the Counsellor to make a glorious eternal life.
The other publications of the author are worth having in the family library.“
Professor Joseph Amupitan Professor of Organic Chemistry Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
“The minute I downloaded this book and started reading the penned pages, I literarily could feel the pages leap up at me, playing a picturesque of my husband’s experience with his employer prior to being forced to retire. These words from the book – “… For some other employees, after years of long service in their companies, they fall ill and are no longer able to work. Rather than support them at their most vulnerable time, they are laid off, or forcibly retired…” are the exact words that I said to my husband when faced with a similar dilemma. I never had this conversation with the Author. But those words hit home. She not only highlighted the problems, but the Author also provided solutions when faced with life’s pickles.
Anyone who picks up this book will find it impossible to put down and I am one of those. The real-life stories used as examples are not only captivating, but they also thrust the reader in the mix and allows him or her to draw lessons from the Twelve Life’s Lessons as outlined in the book. Everyone has a story. There is a lesson for everyone to glean from, whether young or old. If anything, the Author in her wisdom and in many of the examples she used has taught us, ‘don’t count yourself out and don’t let others or circumstances define you’. Dikkee the donkey never did.
I recommend this book for everyone. While the application of these lessons averts future mistakes, it will help to correct past ones. As I was reviewing the book, I got a call from the Founder of Moms & Me, Chioma Ezeocha a Psychologist by discipline. I spoke to her about the book and she can’t wait for the publication. She wants every woman in her Organization to read it.
I thank God for all the work that He is using Dr Elewechi Ngozi Okike to do. I also want to thank her for giving me this great opportunity to review the book.“
Ann Uwakolam (Mrs.) Founder/ Director Ray of Hope Foundation Int’l, Inc USA
“What an interesting read !
‘Life’s Lessons from a Collection of Donkey Stories’ is actually a collection of ‘wisdom tips’ that’s very handy for life navigation. Every little helps.
The journey of life is tough. Jesus meant it when He said life will be full of tribulation and this book offers wise insights in dealing with challenges that come our way. Indeed, our responses to life’s issues will determine where we end up.
I note that the principles of these ‘life lessons’ are rooted in the wisdom of the Word of God. The Master Planner has already given us the blueprint for the way forward. Yes, we can!
Your life is full of colourful and dramatic testimonies Prof. Elewechi OKIKE. Thanks for sharing your story, my amazing mentor.
We pray that God Himself will deliver Leah Sharibu and that she would emerge from captivity with a song of victory. Amen.“
Dr Ibipeju Adeniran Dental Surgeon Lincoln, UK
“Thanking God for your life of service since you were rescued from the likely abduction plan during the Nigerian civil war. Your testimonials of being ‘a Trophy of His Grace’ is part of the new lesson note to be shared worldwide. I have read with keen interest all these stories that vividly capture lessons to learn for improved quality of life for every reader.
Personally, the stories of those who bagged PhDs irrespective of their age, especially the one who got it at age 91 as well as the stories of turning challenges to stepping stones have INSPIRED ME to give a shot at an abandoned project which I thought was impossible at near 70 years of age.
My only prayer is to ask God for more longevity for you and that your TRIBE should increase.
Thank you so much for also adding to the accolades of Leah Sharibu.“
Chief (Mrs) Grace Oluwatoye Founder & CEO Life Builders, Nigeria
“I must have read this book from cover to cover at least 5 times in the last couple weeks. The stories that have been carefully compiled by Dr Elewechi Okike are simply breath-taking and mind blowing. I immediately could relate to most of the stories because not only had I heard of them but was imagining times in my life I had experienced similar. There are life changing lessons to be learned from every chapter.
Dr. Elewechi Okike did an incredible job of depicting the lessons to be learned from the real-life stories and their comparisons to the stories of those we read about in the Bible. I am particularly reminded of the scripture from John 16 v 33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Every single title reminds us that while we may face diverse situations, there is always hope in Christ Jesus. Our attitude in life while doing life sure determines the outcome. It is often not easy while going through tough circumstances to hold on, however, our outlook matters.
With these stories, if ever you doubted that you could make it, it has only further shown that God has a purpose for everyone. Regardless of the challenges we encounter, God knows how to cause all things to work together for our good.
I am thrilled that these stories and the 12 life lessons demonstrated, let us know that there is hope for anyone no matter the age, the creed, religion, physical or mental appearance. There is no such thing as a hopeless case. God is a Master Builder and He often loves to showcase His creativity. He takes ordinary people, allows them to go through diverse trials, then brings them around to extraordinary testimonies that impact many lives throughout the years.
Well written and for that person who feels rejected, unaccomplished, forgotten, made jest of, doubted, abused or simply feeling defeated. Know that there is always a winner in you, God has the final say and He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what you could ever imagine, think or ever ask. It is not according to your power as these stories show, but according to the power that works in you. As He writes the chapters of your life, don’t stop or quit, keep going until He takes you to a victorious end.
Thank you Dr. Elewechi Okike for your exemplary life of servitude, you are not only making a difference, but God is using you to be the difference.“
Dr Chidi M. Kalu Founder & President Women of Distinction, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
“This is a very captivating read! I read it through in an hour and half or thereabouts.
Excellent theme-resilience, self-sufficiency, optimism and never giving up.
Cross referenced throughout with familiar stories from the Bible and real life. It would be brilliant as a teaching tool for those being introduced to reading the Bible. I actually think that Bible reading benefits everybody. The book is inspirational and deals with every aspect of human experience.
I would most certainly buy this book and recommend it.“
Mrs Nwabueze Nwokolo Commonwealth Lawyer, Nigeria, England & Wales Jurisdictions Member, Law Society of England and Wales
“This is an inspirational book dedicated to an exceptional young lady ‘Leah Sharibu’.
When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end. Dr Okike has carefully and eloquently compiled 12 life lessons in a simple but mind-blowing way. The book uses real-life issues combined with biblical messages to highlight human problems across the globe. The thrilling aspect of this book is that it also provides solutions to those problems and all based on the word of God.
This book will touch so many lives and will have uplifting impacts on all its readers. It is my great pleasure and privilege to review this outstanding book.“
Dr Rita Esen Cyberlaw Consultant Newcastle, UK