Iliya was born in the state of Kaduna, Nigeria, a 2 hour drive from Jos. He was the 9th of 10 children. His father was a tailor as well as a farmer.
One day, the elders of the local church approached Iliya’s father and mother. They asked if they would donate their house and land to the church. After praying and talking about it, they said “yes”, the church could have their property. In exchange, they were given a smaller place to live with a smaller piece of land.
Imagine that…giving your house and land (as a farmer) over to your local church. I wonder what they were thinking?
The day before moving, Iliya was born, the ninth child in this family. 9 mouths to feed and now they had a smaller patch of land to farm!
But rather than feeling regret, they ask the elders to name this latest child. You should name him “Iliya.” “Iliya” means Elijah in English! “We will ‘pass on the mantel’ to this child and he will one day serve God.”
Iliya grew up knowing the story of his name. He went to school. He did well in his exams. He watched God provide money for his university training. He was the first person in his class to finish his thesis. He was determined to finish quickly and he did.
After graduating in 2011 he got his first job. It didn’t pay a lot, but he always had money left over.
In 2012, a pastor approached him and said that his language group, the Jju language, needed a Bible translated. “Would he like to help?”
And like his father before him, he said, “Yes.” Just like that.
He took several workshops learning Bible Translation principles, software and other needed classes.
Never did he imagine he’d be doing this type of work. But the elders did. His parents did. And God did.
Now, Iliya tells people that his name is “Favor” because he believes that God has favored Him so much! He believes that God has made him “fit” for this job.
What job has God made you “fit” for?
I’m blessed for having met “Elijah” who took up the mantel to continue following God in the way that he was created for!