I first sighted Esther around 2002 on a University of Lagos Registration queue we were both on and instantly, in my gut, I knew there was something about her. She did not do anything special on that queue that day, we did not even speak or become friends until much later but I knew there was something amazing on her inside. I recall that plane crash and knowing that Sokoto was her place of assignment, I called and called her brother to be sure she was fine! Several years later, I wondered when I would really see her take her place of influence. She doesn't know this, lol. Little did I know that God had a plan. Enjoy this interview and discover what I mean and please register for the The Truth Conference!
Tell us a bit about your background
My name is Esther Longe nee Kemmer-Amoda. I was born to two Professors. I am married to Otoiguanmu Longe and we have an 11-month old daughter called Isabelle. I come from a marketing background and have worked with some of the biggest brands in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Academically, I have a first degree from the University of Lagos as well as a Masters in Marketing from the University of Glamorgan (Now University of South Wales) as well as a Masters in Research from the University of Bath, both in the United Kingdom. I also have a PhD in Marketing from the University of Bath.
Tell us about that plane crash from over a decade ago, I recall that incredible episode almost vividly .
I was on NYSC in 2006, posted to Sokoto State. I had travelled to Abuja that weekend and was returning to Sokoto on that Sunday morning of the 29th of October, 2006. Detailed accounts of my plane crash testimony can be found on Youtube, just search for Esther Longe. In summary however, I was in a plane crash, the ADC plane crash that took the lives of 97 people including the Sultan of Sokoto, his son and his grandson. Of the 9 people that survived only one did not have any injury...Me.
The 2006 ADC crash Esther survived.
What were your original plans for yourself? I know you had ambitious career plans hence your education.
I was very ambitious from a young age, I desperately wanted to be financially independent and as such invested a lot of time and effort into building a career. My plan was to become in record time the Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 500 company or the Chief Executive Officer of one. I remember I wrote my first life plan at the age of 19. After the plane crash however, I found that even though I didn't die physically, I experienced a kind of death in the sense that things which used to be so easy for me became super hard. On the surface I was still making progress but underneath I knew that it was taking me much longer and much effort to get things that had hitherto come easy. Ironically, the moment I decided to surrender my life completely to God (I was a born again Christian don't get me wrong) was when everything started to fall to pieces. At one point I went from being a Marketing Manager, to being a Marketing Assistant to being an Administrative Assistant...a string of demotions lol. I call those 7 years my wilderness season. In hindsight, I can say that that season taught be obedience, trust in God, increased my capacity and most importantly humbled me.
How did ministry work start for you? I know it was God arresting you in a way. What’s your ministry’s focus.
In September 2014, I was walking on the streets of my University in Bath (I was studying for a PhD at the time) and I was having a conversation with God. I recalled how my Christian journey had been stunted because of all the 'why' questions I had. If God was so good, why did He allow this to happen and that to happen...we all have those questions and can fill in the blanks. God gave me two friends who became prayer partners and sisters. They allowed me to ask all my questions, vent all my frustrations, they listened to me but at the end of it they directed me to God's word. My relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds because I had them. I started to think of all the people who are in church and struggling with why questions of their own but they have no outlet instead people keep piling more responsibilities on them. Girl (God in Real Life) Talk was started in October 2014 as a safe space for people to share. A place for people who are committed to growing, sharing testimonies, advice, encouragement and building relationships. Shortly after I moved back to Nigeria to get married to my then boyfriend as well as continue my career. A year later I was married but no job. In frustration I cried to my husband who directed me to God. He asked me to do a 3 day retreat, it was in that retreat that God gave me the blueprint for last year's conference as well as made me repent of my vain ambitions lol. We had the conference on the 5th of December 2016. I thought it was a onetime thing and I remember saying to God, 'I've done what You asked can I have my job now?' In January He says to me that He wants me to minister full time. I was not happy. It took me till March before I fully surrendered and it's been a journey of 'deeper still' since then.
Images from last year's conference
Tell us about this year’s God in Real Life Conference
This year's conference is themed 'The Truth Conference' and it was inspired by God, in fact He says that He is the Keynote Speaker. It is going to be an Encounter Meeting with God because nobody can tell you the truth about God more than the Truth Himself. He wants to peel back all the layers, breakdown all the walls that are preventing us from experiencing true freedom in our relationships, courtships and marriages. Heaven is going to invade earth on the 1st of October and it is going to be a supernatural encounter for all. He has promised to speak to each person individually. It is going to be a time of worship, encouragement and healing-the healing here is mostly emotional and attitudinal however the healing of these will lead to physical healing for some. I am supremely excited about what God is going to do because He has complete and utter control of the reins of that day.
How have you been funding all you do?
Haha, It is God that has funded His vision plain and simple. He has a knack for choosing the most expensive venues in Lagos to host His events but then He also provides completely for it. This year I have been blown away by how He has raised people known and unknown who have sown into this vision and I know that He will reward them greatly.
How have you been able to handle family life and other aspects of life with all you do?
Honestly I don't know. These past two years God has confounded me because I have felt at my weakest yet He has shown Himself to be so strong in every area of my life. Some of the most powerful ministrations/encounters I have had have been when I have been physically at my weakest. It hasn't been the easiest handling all the ministry commitments plus being a wife and a mother but thankfully I have a wonderful support system in my husband. I truly would not be able to do all the things I am doing if he did not give me his full support. He is also extremely hands on with our daughter which is a blessing.
So, what’s next for you?
I used to be the typical type A person with a plan for every possible scenario and a back up plan for the backup plans just in case lol. However God has broken that in me. Now I am so flexible and comfortable to have all my eggs in His basket. I have also grown comfortable with not knowing what is next. I move based on instructions from God. I am God's Yes Woman.
Join her for the Alternative Business school meetings where she discusses how to apply kingdom principles while walking on water in your business on her Instagram page Esther Longe and find previous classes on her Youtube channel Alternative Business school
Follow Girl Talk and Esther Longe on Instagram and Click here to register for The Truth conference