Friday, February 6, 2015

Christian Writer Dr. Uduak Afangideh

Christal Cooper 2,257 Words

The Scripted Interview With
Christian Writer Dr. Uduak Afangideh
On Her New Book Sister To Sister

*Dr. Uduak Afangideh is originally from Nigeria, where she graduated form high school.  She moved to America to attend Hardeman College in Henderson, Tennessee where she received her B.Sc in Biology and then to Tennessee State University where she received her Master’s degree in Biology.  Almost twenty years later she received her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from University of Calabar Nigeria.   She presently teaches biology at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, where she also resides with her husband and children and attends the local Church of Christ.

Were you reared in a Christian home?
Yes. My parents were among the first set of Nigerians converted American missionaries of the Church of Christ.  By the time they met and got married, they had both been Christians for a while- my dad was a trained preacher of the Church of Christ by the time any of their children were born.

Can you describe in great detail you finally making a commitment to the Trinity God?
I entered into a relationship with Him when I got baptized at 10 years old.  It was on a Sunday morning after the sermon and there was what is commonly called the altar call.  I had a strong conviction of my sinfulness and how lost I was without The Lord.  I felt an urgency to commit my life to Him and so, with tears streaming down my face I walked down the aisle into my father’s arms (who was the Preacher) and was baptized in a stream in Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria.  My walk with The Lord has only grown and deepened through the years.

What was your childhood like? 
I was born in Nigeria but spent the first 7 years of my life in two continents – Africa and America.  My parents moved to America when I was 4 years old and so I began preschool in Tennessee.  By the time I was 7 years old, we moved back to Nigeria and that is where I started 2nd grade and continued until I finished high school.  I was the 2nd of six children and was expected to do my part in taking care of my younger siblings since both my parents worked outside of the home.

What did you want to be as a child? 
I wanted to be a teacher.  Looking back now, I think it was because both my parents were teachers.  My mom was the first grade teacher of all her children and daddy was our high school principal.

Would you describe yourself as a writer?  And what was your first experience in writing?      
I would.  I enjoy writing and get so much energy from it.  The hours slip by once I begin writing.  My first experience was writing a ladies column for a Christian publication in Nigeria, The Pulpit Watch. 

Can you go into detail about your column The Pulpit Watch and do you have a webpage link for The Pulpit Watch?
The Pulpit Watch was a journal written specifically for preachers and preachers in training in Nigeria.  I approached the editor with the idea that there was a need for something for preachers wives and suggested a column titled “Likewise ye women”.  The idea was approved and I wrote the column for about 4 years.  My family’s move to the United States in 2008 made it harder for me to continue writing the column and it was taken over by another Christian sister in Nigeria.  Unfortunately I have been out of touch with them for the past 6 years.

Can you go into detail of what Today’s Girl:  The Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional Development of the Girl Child is about?
My first book was Today’s Girl, published in 2002.  It was written as my daughter was approaching puberty and I realized that there was not a whole lot of reading material out there on raising African girls.  Most of the material in the market where by American writers and it was hard for the African child and her mother to fully identify with some of the references in the books and to find it relevant to them.  The typical African mother does not talk to her daughter as intimately as I think she should and while part of the reason is cultural, I think a large part is just not knowing what to say and how.  Many of our daughters pick up information about themselves and their emerging sexuality from the wrong sources and so this book was my attempt to provide factual information in a sensitive manner for both mothers and their young daughters.  It was specifically written from the African woman’s point of view but definitely not just for African ladies.

How was the idea for SISTER TO SISTER book first conceived in your brain?
       I was teaching a Quarterly Bible class in my local congregation (Landmark Church of Christ in Montgomery Alabama) on women of the Bible.  Every time I prepared to teach the class, I would hear a whispering in my spirit “We have heard these stories since childhood that they are sounding more like fables”.  Initially, I would just agree with my spirit and move on.  Later I started hearing “living among us today are women who are facing fierce struggles and still standing strong”.  Again I would agree with my spirit, and keep on preparing my lessons.  One day, I heard “I want you to tell these women’s stories”.  I argued with the spirit’s voice in my mind, pointing out so many reasons why this was not a good idea- I was extremely busy at work, my family needed my undivided attention, I hadn’t been in the United States long enough to know these ladies, etc. etc.- but the idea had taken hold of me and it refused to let me go until I obeyed.

Can you give me a step-by-step process of how this book came into being from the moment it was first conceived in your brain until the final form in book form?
After I made the choice to walk in obedience, it was amazing how the Lord led me to the women in this book.  Some of their names were mentioned in totally unrelated conversations with others and some of the names were placed in my heart by the Spirit.  As soon as I felt led to someone, I sent them a letter telling them about the project and asking if they would prayerfully consider being part of it.  After they agreed, I would set up interviews with them.  This often meant travelling all over the place but it was definitely worth it.  After recording the interviews, I would use it to write a chapter and then send it back to the ladies for review and then I would incorporate their corrections/suggestions into the chapters.  Since I was also teaching full time at Faulkner, most of the work was done during the summer months and it took two years to complete writing the manuscript.  This was sent off for editing by an English major friend of mine, and it was only after this initial editing that I sent it off for publishing.  The publishing process took over 6 months as it went through manuscript critique, copy editing, book cover design etc.  Eventually, to the glory of God, the book form was ready by February 2014.

How did you determine what women’s stories to present in this book? 
I felt a strong leading of the Holy Spirit in this area.  I would wake up with names of ladies strongly placed on my heart and I would contact them.  Some of the women’s names were mentioned in conversation and I would feel the Spirit telling me “she has a story”.  The funny thing was that there were two women that I knew and just felt that their stories belonged in the book, but because it was my idea, when I approached them, they were not ready to tell their stories and I would feel a chastisement for trying to make those decisions on my own.

How long did it take for you to complete this book?
It took me about two years to complete the writing of the book and about another six months to get it published.

Can you describe your experience of getting the book published?
It was a great experience.  At one point I was approached by a few publishers and had to trust the Lord that I was making the right decision of who to go with.  At one point I felt that the doors to getting it published were closing and I had to seek the counsel of my preacher and others whom I trust.  I think I learned to depend on the Lord’s guidance and leading a lot during this process.

You describe and use SISTER TO SISTER as a Bible study.  What kinds of books do you personally use as a Bible study that have helped you in your faith?
Oh, I am constantly reading.  I have been through so many great devotional books that it would be hard to recall all of them.  In the past 6 month alone, I have studied from Priscilla Shirer’s One In A Million and Discerning The Voice of God; Joanna Weaver’s Having A Mary Spirit; Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy and I am presently using Tony Evans Kingdom Woman for my personal Bible Study.

You state in the preface, “I believe that every woman today has a story to tell.”  Yet your story is not in this book. What is your story and how would it appear if it were in this book?
My story is one of a lady who has been on a wild ride with her Lord and Savior, one who has enjoyed God’s abundant grace through the trenches of life and has found out that God is faithful. 

What does it mean to be a Christian?  What must one do in order to become a Christian?
A Christian is one who confesses Jesus as their Lord and Savior, not just verbally, but by their actions.  They place Him first above all else and seek to please Him in all they do, think and say.  To become a Christian, one must repent of their sins, confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, put Him on in the water of baptism, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and rise to walk in newness of life. (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3; Gal. 3:27)

What is your daily routine like – especially when it applies to your spiritual growth as a Christian? 
A typical day begins for me at 4:50a.m. when I wake up, jump in the shower (to make sure I am awake) and by 5:00a.m. I am ready for my one hour uninterrupted time with the Lord.  This makes sense if you know that I am not a morning person, but it was impressed upon me about 6 years ago that I needed my time with the Lord (at least an hour in the morning) to be able to make it through my day.  At 6:00 my family wakes up and we have a 30 minute daily devotional.  This has evolved through the years from my husband and I using this time to teach our kids and instill family values to them to what it is now, where each family member is in charge of family devotions one day each week.  The person in charge chooses the songs we sing, leads in an opening prayer, shares a message from God’s word, leads in a discussion of the message and then prays or calls on another family member to pray.  This has become such a special time in our family.  After morning devotions, we disperse and get ready for our day.  At work, I intentionally carve out time to read the word.  Most often I do this as soon as I get into my office (before I turn the computer on) but sometimes, I do it during lunch break or any other break that I get.  Our day always ends with another 30 minutes of family devotional around 8-8:30 and then I have a 30 minute personal devotional time before I go to bed.  I have found out that the only way for me to stay grounded and focused is to intentionally carve out uninterrupted time to spend in God’s presence every day, without fail.

What are your favorite scripture verses and why?
Oh there are so many, depending on what is going on in the present.  Right now, some of them are Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” – I love that reminder that if surrender to Him and hand over all to Him, He will direct my paths.”

An old time favorite is Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the thoughts I think of you, says the Lord, thoughts of good and not of evil, to give you an expected end” – Again the fact that God has great thoughts and plans for me, is enough to wake me up in the morning with joy in my heart.”

Another old time favorite is Romans 8:28:  “For all things work together for good to those that love Him and those who have been called according to His purpose” – This makes it easy for me to accept all circumstances knowing without a doubt, that even what seems bad to me will work out for my good.”

Photograph Description And Copyright Information

Photo 1
Uduak Afangideh
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 2
Jacket cover of Sister To Sister:  Inspiring Stories of How An Extraordinary God Transforms Ordinary Women Today

Photo 3
Uduak and her husband P.T.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 4
Present day map of Nigeria
Public Domain

Photo 5
"Wade In The Water" Postcard of a river baptism in New Bern, North Carolina near the turn of the 20th Century.
Public Domain

Photo 6
A Mother's Prayer 
Attributed to Sidney Carter 
Copyright granted by Sidney Carter 

Photo 7a
Uduak’s mother Affiong Okon Mkpong (Eka Ini)
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 7b
Uduak's father Obong Mkpong
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh 

Photo 8
Uduak Agangideh singing a copy of Sister To Sister
Copyright granted by Uduak Agangideh

Photo 9
People of Nigeria
Attributed to Uduak Afangideh
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 10
Uduak Afangideh in her earlier years;  her daughter Salem today.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 11
Uduak and her children Salm, Isreal, and Elias at the pulpit of their local church.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 12
Photos of Sister-To-Sister launch party
March 16, 2014
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 13
Copy of the invitation to the Sister-To-Sister launch party.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 14
Jacket cover of Sister To Sister amongst other devotional and Bible study books.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 15
Uduak Afangideh
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 16
Jacket cover of One In A Million by Priscilla Shirer

Photo 17
Jacket cover of Discerning The Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer

Photo 18
Jacket cover of Having A Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver

Photo 19
Jacket covert of Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy

Photo 20
Jacket cover of Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans

Photo 21
Uduak and her husband P.T.
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 22
Illustration of Acts 2:38
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 23
Illustration of Romans 6:3
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 24
Illustration of Galatians 3:27
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 25
Afangideh Family Photo
Copyright granted by Uduak Afangideh

Photo 26
Photograph illustrating Proverbs 3:5-6
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 27
Photograph illustrating Jeremiah 29:11
Modeled by Janlyn Diggs
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Janlyn Diggs

Photo 28
Photograph illustrating Romans 8:28
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper 

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