When I was planning to start Pharmanews in 1978, I listed the names of the people and pharmaceutical companies that I would approach for help for the editorial contents and, more importantly, advertisements. I was familiar with most of my prospective advertisers and was confident of their support. As expected, I received reasonable support from the companies, considering the fact that it was a new venture and advertisers were understandably cautious. However, none of them responded positively to my request to pay upfront for the maiden edition. The normal procedure was to submit the advert bill with a copy of the journal as evidence. Having just left employment, without adequate time for planning for my private business, I was not financially comfortable.
I thought of solutions to this problem but had no idea of what to do. Borrowing or begging was completely ruled out of my mind. But I was determined to have the maiden edition produced in May 1979, as scheduled. Therefore, I decided to approach a few close marketing and sales managers to go the extra mile by paying for their adverts to enable me take off but the response from all of them was still negative.
One afternoon, I had an inspiration to go to a company at Town Planning Way, Ilupeju. I had seen their signboard with the name, E. Merck, but had not been there before and did not know any soul there. Isaiah 42:16 (NKJV) says, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known…” At the reception, the secretary asked whether I had an appointment and I said no. When I met the MD, one Mr Ufflabaumer, a tall German, he warmly welcomed me as if he had known me before. I presented to him the dummy of Pharmanews with available spaces for adverts and asked for his booking. He listened carefully and then asked me how I would send copies to pharmacists and doctors and I told him I would use brown paper as wrappers. “No” he said, “use white paper and I will advertise on it and pay you.” I never thought of that source of revenue. This tallies with Isaiah 45:3, which says, “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places…”
Thereafter, the German MD flipped through the dummy and pointed at page 2 bottom strip, saying I should prepare him invoice for the space and advert on the wrapper from May to December 1979 for payment in advance. He said he would renew the order every January with full payment and the spaces should be reserved for him, until he decided to discontinue.
That afternoon was one of my greatest and unforgettable days in life. The problem that had given me sleepless nights and which no friend, relation or colleague could solve for me was miraculously resolved instantly. Isaiah 30:21(NKJV) says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
Going to E. Merck, a company not previously known by me, that fateful afternoon was simply a divine strategy. Proverbs 10:24(KJV) says,” The desires of the righteous shall be granted. But at that time God was just demonstrating His mercy on me because He had a good plan for me and not because I was qualified in His sight. It was just the grace of God. He had already planned that Pharmanews would be produced and he had made adequate provisions for the people to help me fulfil my vision.
That brief meeting with Mr Ufflabaumer that afternoon has hitherto remained fresh in my mind. That fund God used him to provide for the takeoff of Pharmanews indeed
became a seed that was planted on a good soil. It grew and produced fruits and more fruits such that the business has to date never had a need to borrow money from any bank or individual.
I believe that whenever God has purposed to establish a service or business, He searches for and commissions specific individuals for the assignment. He also makes adequate provisions for the resources because the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.
In Exodus 35 and 36, when God wanted His tabernacle to be built, He anointed certain artisans for special services. He put wisdom and understanding in Bezaleel and Aholiab for special skills and ability for every kind of artistic work. He also arranged for people to bring all the needed materials for the tabernacle.