From the streets to the Worship Altar, Temitope Francis is a man who has experienced hardship in his young life, but is gifted with a voice like velvet. He is now a sought-after worship leader in his native country Nigeria. With his band, Chef Crew, he ushers the congregation into the presence of God with spirit-moving, soul-render praise-and-worship songs. Here, is his story in his own words:
I tell my story the way I live my life—simple.
It was a hard life, and I was always working to survive. I slept under the bridge across from the National Stadium in Surulere; a suburb in Lagos. There were times when I felt so alone out there under that bridge, but I kept hearing a voice saying, “It will be okay.”
My father died when I was eighteen. The pain nearly tore me apart. I could have gone out to get drunk or do drugs, yet I held onto that voice that kept encouraging me. I kept thinking and reminding myself everyday that; I will make it and be okay. Like any other teenager, all I was interested in was being part of the social life in the area.
A singing event was organised one day, and many of the youths I hung around with were signing up to sing, so I signed up, too. The man responsible for the event heard my singing and told me I had talent. He suggested that I should join his choir, so he could work with me and teach me how to use my voice.
It was in this choir that God changed my life. I accepted His son Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and committed myself to the gift he had given me. It was during this time I used all the little money I had saved from my petty street trading to educate myself in music. This was the separation I needed to pull me from the influence of the streets. I watched my former friends do things that were leading them to destruction such as drugs and alcoholism. I know now that the voice I heard all those many years ago was God leading me and guiding me into a better place.
Now from time to time I still find myself selling on the streets, but it is to the glory of God as we distribute our music. I am thankful for my humble beginnings because it taught me to remain faithful and fearless. I do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin (Zechariah 10:1 NLT). I envision a great future for the Chef Crew and me. I lead the group and I continue to grow and develop as a leader. Who could have imagined that God would put me in such a leadership position and bring me to the presence of leaders in my Country?
Someday, I will go back to the streets and find talents and change someone’s life like mine was. We
desire to give the youth in our communities the same opportunities I was offered. I have come to enjoy the many paths of life God has taken me on, and I look forward to what more he has on the buffet!
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. [Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV].
If you would like Temitope Francis and His Chef Crew to minister in your Church or bless your event contact him by phone +234(0)8053027649; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook Url - https://www.facebook.com/haleluya.tope