Start with Faith: A Treasure Chest of Possibilities Awaits You. - Hidden Treasures and Riches

Start with Faith: A Treasure Chest of Possibilities Awaits You.

Doorway to opportunities-Toun Davidson
Hidden Treasures and Riches
Your Doorway to Opportunities: God's Ways are the Best Ways —Featuring Toun Davidson

You’re not alone. You’re not alone as a Christian. The Bible says that he walks in us. Yes, he’ll be with us. Yes. He’s our God. Yes, and we are not alone. He said he will help us and guide us.

—Toun Davidson

[00:00:34] Tope: Hello. Welcome to Treasures and Truth with Tope. I’m your host at Dr. Tope Keku. Everyone wants to feel happy and alive, but it’s easy to lose hope and feel defeated in this chaotic world that’s so full of problems. Well, this podcast is all about helping you discover the hidden treasures in your trials so you can renew your confidence and live in freedom. You’ll hear inspiring stories from special guests as they sheer treasures and tips discovered in their trials. So if you are going through a difficult season and need encouragement, you’ll find support here to know that you are not alone on this journey called life. So before we begin, I’d like to ask you a favor. If this podcast inspires or encourages you, please subscribe, and leave a rating, and a review to help spread the word.

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Now on to today’s show, we have a special guest. She’s a lawyer. She’s currently the acting legal secretary of the Association of Business Development Professionals in Nigeria and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association. She’s an entrepreneur and a business development coach. She’s the coordinator of the Raise of Light Empowerment Initiative where she teaches entrepreneurs how to start, grow, and market their businesses. She has successfully managed many businesses since 1998. She’s also the author of several books, including Start, Grow, Market, and Fund Your Business. And she currently resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Please join in welcoming Ms. Stone Oishi Davidson to the show.

[00:02:30] Hello Stone, welcome to the show. It’s a pleasure to have you with us on the Treasures and Truth Podcast.

[00:02:36] Toun: Hello Tope. It is definitely great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

[00:02:43] Tope : You are welcome. Just for our listeners who don’t know this, so Tony and I go way back to high school. This, I think it’s been some 44 years since we last saw each other, after high school. Wow. How time flies?

[00:03:00] Toun: Yes, indeed. It has been 44 years.

[00:03:03] Tope : Yeah. To get us started talk, tell us a little bit about yourself or something that you’d like our listeners to know about you.

[00:03:13] Toun: Wow. I think you’ve kind of summed up everything I’d like the listeners to know about me. What else can I, well, most importantly, I am a child of God. His witness. And his voice on the earth. We are all witnesses. And we are all voices. So that’s, well to be quite honest with you, that’s how my family and people that really, really know me, describe me. This is a Jesus person.

[00:03:51] Tope: That’s really, that’s really interesting. Yes. were about Jesus and his love. I’m glad to know that we share that in common, uh, that we are children of, of God. I would like to ask you, I know that you’re a business coach, so how did you become an entrepreneur and a business coach?

[00:04:14] Toun: Thank you for asking that topic. Well, how can I start and where do I start? I’ll tell you how. When I said, this is a Jesus person, I really, really mean it. Even answering that question alone, there’s no way I can separate how I became that from the love of Christ at that time. I first became an entrepreneur around December of 1998 and at that time I was in Bloomington, Minnesota. In the US different things happened. And to make money at that time for me, I had to become self-employed. So I was at home, I was just waiting for the Lord. I was going into Bible history and there were so many of that videos in 1998. You could get videos from the Henne, Hennepin County Library, in Bloomington anyway. So I’ve been watching the videos, you know, just praying, reading the Bible, but the Lord hears. I needed employment. I needed to work.

And at that time, I could not get employment. I needed to be self-employed. So, as I’m doing all of that, I took two weeks out to do that. As I’m doing all of that, the newspaper at that time, they used to publish jobs in the newspaper. So, anyway, I’m flipping through the newspaper as well. And there was this ad in the newspaper that suddenly become like four times the actual size for just one moment. And you know, because that happened, I really paid attention to that ad. And the ad said something about card services. They were training, there was a training going on in Wisconsin, which was about three hours drive from where I was. And, um, Yeah, they were gonna be training us.

So I went for the training and after that, I kind of became their independent contractor for about three months. Within three months I realized, wait a minute, I don’t have to be their independent contractor. I can set up my own business or by myself and you know, and that’s exactly what I did. So I set up my business and God was helping me. You kind of take for granted God’s help. You think that’s normal?

But there was a time a relative of mine came to stay with me and she was interested in what I was doing, and she tried to do it, but it never worked for her. So, I thought, it’s so easy, you know? It’s grace. The grace when it’s needed. I needed it. He provided the grace. I was able to live on that from that December 1998 until almost 10 years, because when I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to go to Rema Bible Training Center it was the residual income from that card services I was living on while I was in a two-year bible school in Oklahoma.

In every situation of our life, make Christ a cornerstone. He wants to be the center of every aspect of your life and in whichever way he will provide. Is it a good husband, he will provide? Is it healing? Oh gosh, I could talk about that forever. I can’t believe that I’m able to be here today. Cause yesterday, around this time, I’m like almost wiped out. Then I went for the Hallelujah challenge and the man was praying and I slept off. I woke up healed.

So I’m just saying in every area of your life. He wants to be front and center, so don’t discard him in one area because, anyway, so please go on. I think I’ve answered your question too.

[00:09:19] Tope: To summarize it, what you just said is, you kinda happened on this by chance because it was a time when you were looking for a job and you couldn’t find employment, and so you were kind of in a difficult place, but then you saw this ad in the paper and it kind of just jumped right out at you, and you followed up on that. And that led to getting this training from this company, and then you realized, Oh, wait a minute. I don’t have to depend on them. I could do this by myself. And that then opened the door for you to do your own business. And I love the way you, tie it into your faith and how you’ve seen God move in, that not only did he provide even when you left that, later on, to go to Bible college, God was there for you. And he saw you through that.

Start with Faith…

[00:10:18] Toun: Yes. But there’s something else I wanna say. Please, if you would allow me still talk about jobs. Being self-employed. So I got back to Nigeria in 2008. Oh my god. You know, I don’t know how to look for a job in Nigeria. So all I’ve done since 1998 was basically self-employed, you know, independent contractor or self-employment in the US. So coming back to Nigeria, I had so many thoughts flying through my head. Should I go into the transport business? Should I go into this? Should I go into that? Should I, but in Tulsa, what’s it happening? In Tulsa, you know, the market for credit card processing was not the same.

So in Tulsa, after I finished Bible school, I was thinking about what to do, and I became a mortgage consultant. So I kind of helped so many different people in my church, Rhema Bible training center, I said, why are you still renting? You must own your home. So, they knew me. They’re like, she’s too pushy. You’re in sales, you have to be a little bit pushy. So I got into property mortgage, and I became very, very interested in that. And then I really enjoyed mortgages. I’m just looking for nice bargains and all of that.

Anyway, I came back to Nigeria in 2008. Now when I came back to Nigeria, still thinking, okay, what business? What business? I’m a business person. I must do business. What business for business? Lo and behold, because I knew very well how to find a great deal. You know, for the US market, I knew how to go on down to the last penny. What would be acceptable if there’s no higher bid? So I was still always in my mind going online, searching for good deals and thinking, oh, Nigerians, they’re used to paying rent. Like they used to pay rent a whole year’s rent two years rent up upfront.

So I’m thinking, unfortunately, there was this property meltdown in the US. Many people could pick up properties free and clear for $25,000. So many of my clients were buying multiple. But I could not determine if that business would work in Nigeria. But nonetheless, I continue doing my search online. What I’m saying is there’s no aspect of my life that you can disconnect from the Lord. In every successful business I’ve done, he’s been right at the front and center. So one night, usual in the middle of the night, I’m just Googling and looking for a good deal. So one night, I saw a property in Kansas city, Missouri, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and no structural damage. The structure was okay, no structural damage or anything. And I calculated, based on what they were asking, I knew if there’s no higher bid than that, that they would accept $2,670, but of course I had that, but I’m like, I still wasn’t that interested in that except for one thing. I heard the word congratulations. I was alone in my room, but I heard the word congratulations. I thought, okay, maybe it’s the Lord. Let me go ahead, and submit an offer. I contacted the real estate person over there. I said, oh yeah, please submit an offer. And he submitted the offer.

He came back to me about two days later. He said, no, they declined the offer. I’m like, well, Lord, I thought it was you. And I submitted a perfectly acceptable offer and I know if there’s no higher bid, they ought to accept that. I said, well, Lord, I tried and that. Then I deleted that from my mind about a week later. The emailed me again. I said, remember that property you bid on about a week ago? I said, yes. He said, they’ve reconsidered, and they’re offering it to you.

What I am saying is that just that word, Congratulations, launched me into a 10-year career in Nigeria. At that time, I didn’t know anybody else that was a property consultant, and helping to facilitate great deals for Nigerians to own US properties. I knew me. So anyway, I did that and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that. I did that for about 10 years until now.

[00:15:56] Tope: You relocated to Nigeria. And you were in from Nigeria helping people to buy properties in the US.

Faith means allowing God to be front and center. Let him guide You…

[00:16:14] Toun: Correct. I want to encourage everybody in everything you do, the Lord wants to be front and center. Just put it out to him. He will guide you. He will lead you. And the provision he provides, it’s never forever. It’s almost like at least 10 years, and then I launched, what is it called an enterprise development institute. You know, during covid, just before Covid, during Covid, after Covid. Each step of the way he has been there.

[00:16:52] Tope: Yeah. And I like what you said, so it’s always a season. There may be many times we think, oh, this is gonna be the way it is forever. No, it’s always a season. He has us in this season for now. And then, when the time, that season’s up, he’ll shift us into another season. And I think that’s where many people struggle. Where many of us struggle is in those transitions, like you said, you were listening for his voice. You were looking to him for guidance, even when you were not sure what the next steps were. And I think that’s the key. When we find ourselves in this transition periods to not get discouraged but lean into the Lord and ask for his guidance, ask for help.

[00:17:40] Toun: Yes, exactly. You’ve nailed this on the head.

[00:17:44] Tope: Let me ask you this then. What was challenging for you during that season? What treasures did you discover in those transitions? Were there any challenges?

[00:17:58] Toun: Yes. There are always challenges, and a lot of times the challenge is listening closely. Walking closely. Mm-hmm. Hearing closely and taking action. And the minute you know you take action, he backs us up. Yes. Just this week and last week, I took definite actions that could open global doors. The Ministry in Nigeria that was responsible for doing the needful, blocked every way, but the Lord showed up. And they were asking me, who do you know in this ministry? I said, I don’t know anybody but the Lord. Different people in that ministry said you must know somebody. You’re a very special person. Who do you know? Just the Lord. And he opens the door. He’s the door opener. He’s the one that said He’s the way, the truth. He opens, and no man can shut. He shuts, and no man can open it. He has said before us and open door and none shall shut it. And that’s the simple truth. It seems like I’m quoting scripture, but I’m quoting the truth. I’m quoting treasures. I’m quoting the truth. Just take him at his word, and he’ll do it.

[00:19:37] Tope: When we go through the, challenging seasons, it’s the Lord and his word. Using his Word, and leaning in helps us to go through those seasons, to weather them well. Yes again, like you said, people will question, you know, why this or why that, but if you lean in, the Lord’s always there to guide us. He didn’t say we won’t have troubles. He said we’ll have troubles. But we can look to him because he will work with us through those troubles. We will come out on the other side and won’t even smell smoke. So true. I’m just adding that. So true.

Toun: You’re so right.

[00:20:25] Tope: So moving us along, what’s one [00:20:30] area as a businesswoman, I’m sure that you’ve mentored and as a business coach, you’ve mentored many women, many business owners, but our audience is primarily women. And so, what’s one area where you see women business owners struggling?

[00:20:48] Toun: There are two key areas I see women business owners struggling. The first one is access to finance, and then the second [00:21:00] one, it relates particularly to women in Africa is that they are a little bit behind. I don’t like to use that word, but they seem to be a little bit behind in Online marketing, and social media marketing, but we can’t be behind in things like that. Because anytime anybody wants to buy anything, one of the first places they go to is social media, and if you’re not active, you might not be giving your business the ultimate exposure. So in that women, business owners struggle a bit, and also they struggle to get the needed finance in Africa.

They also struggle a bit because, number one, if they were to go to the commercial banks, the commercial banks, after a lot of paperwork, after a lot of hoops, they must jump. Even if it’s approved, they now approve it at a 22% interest rate or 25%. So how much profit could they possibly be making? And then when the government tries to intervene and say, fine, we (I’m talking about Nigeria) will help business owners and give them single digits, interest rates. The government might do that for like a year, a year and a half, but don’t bank on them doing it for the long term.

Those are some of the ways in which women business owners struggle because you really, you know you’re talking about transition. Yeah. The whole country right now is in a transition right now. You can just imagine, I don’t know, maybe women are not as cut out as men. I don’t know if they’re seriously talking about it. Just today, myself and my pastor Mrs. we were at the government agency in Abuja to ask for the allocation of land that we had applied for many years ago. I applied for mine more than 12 years ago. I paid and did everything. My pastor Mrs. had applied for her and the church’s many years ago as well.

[00:24:07] Toun: And I’m looking, in that whole government entity, at least in the main office where I’m. You know, 90% of the people there were men. 90% apart from me and my pastor Mrs. I don’t think I saw more than two women in the entire place. So what I’m just saying is that I think the struggle is a bit much can, well, Women might deem the struggle to be a bit much, to be too much, so they can be discouraged when they look at all the hurdles that are placed in front of them.

[00:24:48] Tope: The key things that you talked about, which is the access to finances and then online marketing, not a quick uptake to that. And then they go to get a loan, they put the high interests and sometimes they get at a lower interest to begin with, but then they highjack that up a year later, and they just make it impossible. And those are some barriers. So those are some things that can discourage women business owners from really moving forward. But then, how do we give them hope? So what are some strategies or some ways that you can encourage them to have hope.

[00:25:35] Toun: Yeah. The way to encourage them in such a circumstance is they’ve got to take action, but before taking action, they, they need to put it to the Lord in prayer and then take action because it’s, as we take action, that the door opens, but that action path just cannot be relegated, it’s faith and works. It is the natural plus the supernatural combining together to make an explosive force for God. So for me, the way I would attack it is, to hear the Lord. Pray. Fast if necessary. And then go forward, take action, go forward. That’s how I would attack it.

[00:26:25] Tope: So, so if I hear you, what you’re saying is, Faith Plus action, [00:26:30] uh, is the way forward. That’s where we, we have hope. So it’s our faith. And then God comes and puts his super on our faith, and we see supernatural action. We see supernatural results. So we, as Christian women and Christian business owners, we’re to partner with the Lord knowing that this business belongs to him and we are in partnership with him, and we take action. Whatever we need to do, go forward. I would also add that sometimes the opportunities. We may feel that there are so many obstacles, but we can always reach out for help. I think we try to go alone, but really most times, it’s a team effort. Like you said, today, you and your pastor Mrs. went. Imagine if you went alone or she went alone. Probably they said one thing or another, you might say it’s all right and give up. But now the two of you are there, and you can encourage one another. Oh, let’s hang in there. Let’s stand. Let’s wait. Maybe there’s a question that you are not thinking of, and she’s thinking about or vice versa, and you can be that support. What I’m hearing is don’t go alone. Find others, find a community to belong and get support in that community.

[00:28:02] Toun: Correct. Yeah. God sends helpers even if you don’t have anyone to go with. As you go, God opens doors, and he sends helpers. Today we met someone that is now a critical key in helping us in guiding us along. We don’t know the way to do it. This guy knows the way, and he has agreed to do his utmost to help us. So just like you said, You know, you take one step forward. If you have someone to go with, go with them. Well, even if you don’t, he has his people in there that he can quicken their hearts to favor you, to help you to push you forward. You’re not alone. You’re not alone. As a Christian, the Bible says that he walks in us. Yes. He’ll be with us. Yes. He’s our God. Yes. And we are not alone. He said he would send a helper, to guide us, to lead us to things to come. We’re not alone.

[00:29:07] Tope: Yes. Totally, totally in agreement with you. We’re never alone. God is the God of order. Is the God of destiny. Helpers he sends when we take that step of faith. Yes. Then he begins to, it’s, it’s like the, it’s the step of faith that allows that door to open. There’s a crack in the door. And then we take that step of faith, and that door opens widely, and he positions people along that path to help us.

[00:29:41] Toun: Exactly. He has these people along the path. Yes. But we just have to step up and go forward.

[00:29:49] Tope: So, if you are a business person, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a woman in business, a Christian woman in business, and you are wondering, what’s the way forward? Ms. Toun just shared with us, That one, be anchored in the Lord, take that step of faith. It’s faith and action. Not just faith alone, not just praying alone, but pray. And then, as you hear the word of the Lord, step forward in faith. Take that action, and does will be open.

If there’s anything else you’d like to add, this is your chance.

[00:30:32] Toun: Yes. Just to buttress what you said about faith and action working together, I remember one time we had one of these, uh, business empowerment workshops and we have it, we mentor some, and then we have another one. That’s how we were having this workshop in different states in Nigeria. Anyway, we had one in Abuja. From there, I went to the National Directorate of Employment because we partner with them and some other entities that can help support our business owners. So I went to them to invite the NDE for another empowerment workshop we’re gonna have. And low and behold, in the office of one of the executives, I found two women, but I did not know them.

They said they knew me. They were talking with the executives about a grant in millions in our currency (Naira). And it really just showed me because the women don’t usually come back and say how they are doing. Anyway, the Lord just showed me how what we’re doing is making impact. There were two women, the other one who says she’s working on something, but one definitely said that she’s at the closing stages of a grant. So it really, really helped me. And it’s a buttress to what you’re saying, it’s faith. And action. Working together to make an explosive force for God. Yes.

[00:32:13] Tope: Yeah. Faith and action working together to make an explosive force. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for encouraging our listeners to know that no matter what they may be facing in their businesses, there is hope.

Partner with the Lord. Take action. Have faith but take action.

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