By Tahav Agerzua
Some major events in the life of Rhoda Mbapuun Atime underscore the fact that she has been a pencil in God’s hand. The Almighty has used her to write as it has pleased Him.
She grew up in a rustic setting without the tutelage of her mother who had separated from her father when she was a kid.
Her father who did not understand the importance of education had vowed that none of his children, especially the female ones, would waste time in school.
Rather than being sent to school, Mbapuun was sent to keep vigil on her father’s millet farm to prevent birds from destroying it.
But as they say, God works in miraculous ways his wonders to perform. It was in the farm that she knew how to read and write and also came to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of her relatives who also kept vigil on a nearby farm used to sing Christian songs and hymns which fascinated the young Mbapuun.
Anytime the birds relented attacks on the millet she would visit the relative and request to be taught.
The neighbor who knew the Lord used to take the Tiv New Testament Bible along with a hymn book and some Christian literature to the farm. At that time the complete Tiv Bible had not been published.
It was this neighbor who led Mbapuun to Christ and also taught her how to read the Tiv Bible and other literature in the language.
When she reached puberty her father compelled her to marry someone who she later discovered to be an occultist.
Her husband took her to Jos and after they had two children abandoned her. It was through God’s intervention that she legally divorced and rejoined her family in Nanev, Kwande local government area of Benue State.
All this while Mbapuun was faithful in growing in the faith and serving God under the NKST Christian denomination.
She was later remarried to Atime Genga, a man from Utange in Ushongo local government area.
Mbapuun stated that the Lord appeared to her in several dramatic visions and commissioned her to serve Him in the music ministry. At first she said she was hesitant but when the Lord insisted she yielded.
Since then she has composed numerous hymns for the NKST Choir and Sunday School. Eight of her hymns appear in the NKST 1926-2019 hymnal.
Perhaps the most popular of her hymns is “Sarem u wuese Tor sha ayange a uma wam” I wish to praise the King all the days of my life.
When she had the privilege of embarking on pilgrimage to Israel in 2017 she gave a brief testimony of her life and also sang that hymn.
How she went on pilgrimage is a story for another day. For this narrative suffice it to state that God put it in someone’s heart to sponsor her for the journey without her ever soliciting.
Mbapuun Atime, now close to her eighties, also used to take care of the less privileged and invest her resources in church building projects when she was younger and more healthy.
Now ailing and feeble, this pencil in God’s hands is waiting for the final strokes from the master artist.