She is on a mission, her life today is a sacrifice to humanity and means nothing to her without fulfilling this important mission to women. Having left the banking industry to go into full time ministry, Pastor Chinwe Kalu’s belief that women are endangered species propelled her to start a radio programme titled “Dove eyes” on Ray Power FM.
Her objectives for the programme is to ensure that the 21st Century woman makes a better choice in despite challenges in all areas of her life. In a recent interview with Daily Sun, She points out the virtues missing in today’s women and why she left her job in the bank. Excerpts:
Why the title Dove Eyes for your radio program?
The name Dove Eyes is found in the Bible in the book of Songs of Solomon, Chapter 4, verse 1. He compared his lover’s eyes to that of a dove. The entire book is to bring to life the passionate love that Jesus Christ has for the church. I thought Dove Eyes was a perfect name for the program, since the program was to emphasize the love God has for women. I didn’t want a name that was obviously Christian, I wanted everyone to listen to the program out of curiosity. But I still wanted the Christian touch and Dove Eyes was perfect. Everyone, no matter their religious belief can relate with it.
What are your objectives for the program?
As was growing up, I made several decisions that seemed logical and accepted at the time I was making them, that did not auger well for me. I go through the streets of Lagos and meet younger women who are making even worse choices these days and I realize that they don’t really know any better. Even Christian young women seem not to believe in the tenets of their faith any more. So, we bring on women who have been through all kinds of situations that their faith in God has brought them through just to teach these Bible based principles to empower them for success in life- in their relationships, careers, ministries , health and other areas of their lives.
Why do you have a bias for women on your program, is it that men don’t have touching stories to share too?
I feel that women seem like endangered species. Our lives are very peculiar. We have so many roles to play and have very complicated lives, yet we don’t have enough avenues to ventilate our thoughts and pains. Women need a place to go to strictly for women where we can hear ourselves and encourage ourselves through the Word. We have many programs for women, but Dove eyes gives the place to experience God’s love on a weekly basis. You know wherever women gather, men become curious.
Tell us about a very touching session you have had presenting Dove Eyes?
The most touching session was with Joy Iroha, who told us how the Lord got her off the streets to eventually marry a Christian man. What touched me most was that this lady was in my church, I knew her but had no inkling as to what was going on in her life. I should have been one of the people who should have helped her but I did not. I totally misjudged her. I felt the Lord teaching me a clear lesson that day. Don’t be too harsh in your judgments. I was close to tears. In the end, God raised a fine man who was prepared to marry her and care for her teenage daughter. It was such a beautiful story.
What have you learnt in the cause of your program?
I have learnt that God will always come through, no matter what. We have had trying moments but He always comes through. He has also used the show as a point of contact to release me into the fullness of who I am. I have found true expression of myself in presenting Dove Eyes. I have met people who have challenged my faith in many ways and have helped me hold on.
To what extent can you go to make sure women fully maximize their potentials?
At this moment, my life is now the sacrifice. I have no other mission in life. Women, whole, healed and fulfilling purpose for God is my personal vision statement. I find a lot of young men are also looking for direction, so I am here. No going back. I have burnt all my bridges.
How long have you been running Dove Eyes on air and what are your challenges running the program ?
Dove Eyes has been on since April 2008. At that time, I was twenty years in the Lord. When we started, my intention was to get sponsored by corporate bodies, then I realized that being religious, which is what they call talking about Jesus, was a problem. They asked me to make it motivational and remove the Jesus bit, but I felt that would remove the essence of the program. So my husband and I decided I should go on anyway. Between family resources and support from close friends and a few adverts from some of the organizations that took a chance on us, we have kept the program going.
Are there other projects you work on as an offshoot to Dove Eyes?
Yes, we have the book, the MP3 CD and Dove Eyes Experience, which we hold periodically. We held one for single girls and another one for engaged couples last year. We could not hold it for women only so we pulled in the young men as well. We want to equip them with the tools they need to survive in the world they are being released into. We find that Nigerian graduates come out without the personal skills needed to excel in the market place. So we’re pulling in the best speakers for a one day seminar called Thriving Beyond Campus Walls. The idea is to furnish these soon-to-be-graduates with the information they need to better position themselves in the market place, to provide the much needed direction to raise leaders among them and to better equip them to compete with their peers from around the world.
When you started out in ministry, what challenges did you face and how did you deal with them?
My ministry is a radio ministry which means I need a lot of money to do the studio runs- recording and editing, as well as pay for airtime. That was a major challenge , especially because Dove Eyes is seen as religious, but we have held it together since then. With family resources, my husband has been my biggest donor, support from friends as well as some of the adverts we were able to get, we have been able to hold it all together. In addition, getting women to talk about their personal issues is challenging, but because of the anonymity radio gives, they eventually come on air. I have used all the personal goodwill I have to bring good stories on air.
What was your born again experience like?
I got born again in 1989. I had just been through a major life crisis and needed to decide what to do next. I kept asking myself, maybe I should get born again now, but kept putting it off. Until one public holiday when two of my father’s colleagues came to the house to preach to him. It was very strange because I avoided them when I knew why they came. My father whom they came to preach to did not quite give his life to Jesus then but I did. I had a bit of a shaky start but thank God for His grace I am still here.
Tell us about the ministry where you started out and in what capacity you served before setting out on your own?
I actually started ministry in my local church then, The Household of God. My pastor was Rev. Chris Okotie. I started in the Outreach Department, where we did general evangelism in the streets of Ikeja for some years. Then I began to minister in the hospitals. preach the gospel and pray for healing for sick people. We would just bring hope and peace to people in their sick beds.
After a while, I left the Outreach Department and started to minister in the Christian Parenting Classes, where we taught married couples who were trusting God for children as well as pregnant couples about child care and pregnancy. After that, I began to preach in church. I would stand in for my pastor when he was out of town from time to time. I guess I did not realize I was in ministry, I just felt I was doing the things that needed to get done. But at some point, the Spirit of God made me realize I had been in ministry all along. And so Dove Eyes was simply an extension of the things I had been doing all along.
You were a banker, why did you leave such a lucrative job for full time ministry?
I came out of MBA school wanting to be a Banker, but the Lord led me in other directions. I wanted to be a banker but I was not wired to be one by my Creator. I am an encourager and exhorter. That does not fit into the job description of a banker. I had a brief stint but moved on after the conviction I had to go into beauty services. I ran a beauty shop called Ruthies for a few years before I settled into Dove Eyes. Banking was fun, but I prefer to be where I believe God’s grace covers me. That is where I will fulfill purpose.
As a christian, what is your assessment of Nigerian Christians?
I think that we have made the buildings we worship in the Church and forgotten that we are the Church. The church should be the answer to all the problems of Nigeria, but we have embarrassingly become the problem. We are just as greedy, selfish, wicked and lack compassion as unbelievers. We are careless as long as our households are okay. Once you can buy a jeep and build your own house then we are okay. But I don’t believe that is what God intended. There is more competition among Christians than outside the church. It is no wonder that Nigeria has fallen into the pathetic state it is in now.
What is your greatest motivation in life and ministry?
My greatest motivation in life and ministry is the results we get from the work we do. Ministry is rewarding when you realize that the things you say actually make a difference in someone’s life. They change their minds and aim higher in life because they heard you say something. That, for me, is my motivation. Sometimes, I simply say what I believe the Lord has said to me without really understanding it. Then someone calls and refers to what I said that has become his/her turning point. That is so awesome. It’s the same in my personal life, and marriage - the results are amazing. The fact that God Almighty the creator of everything would bother with ‘only little me’ is a daily miracle to me.
What virtues do you think is missing in today’s women?
Women now run through red lights with children in their cars. What message are we passing unto our children? Young girls seem to be concerned with wearing designer shoes, bags and clothes. They’ll do anything to get them, even in the church. Patience which used to be a virtue our mothers had, is no longer important. Meekness and gentleness are no longer popular. Women hold systems together.
If you want to see a great man, check out the women in his life, first his mother, then his wife. They usually play great roles. If you see a bad man, also check out the women in his life, they would also have played their roles because women have so much power.
Our society is falling apart because women have left their duty spots. We are fast losing our essence as women which is to nurture and bring forth the goodness of God. To help our men be who they ought to be. To help our children grow into God’s plans for their lives. I understand that society evolves, but we must keep holding unto our duty posts so we can affect the evolving society so it does not spin completely out of control.