A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
The news emboldened several other fetish and idol worshippers to attend the two other days of crusade and the new converts class. One of the paraphernalia burnt at the church was the costume of a dreaded masquerade called “Gbonkuka” brought by its custodian; “Eleku Gbonkuka” to the church. The costume of “Gbonkuka” and other of its paraphernalia were burnt with no repercussions.
All these added to the strength and conviction of the old woman and aided her smooth conversion to Christ. Although, she attended the new converts class the following days, Aarinola became her major post-conversion teacher, explaining the word of God to her step by step.
Her father, Labinjo Oderinde a leader in the local Awo-Opa fraternity was however the hard nut to crack. When news got to him that his younger brother Odewole had carried a load of powerful charms to the church for destruction, he became enraged!!!
Labinjo’s anger was not because Odewole joined the church or accepted to follow the “new Jesus god”. For all he cared, Odewole could even choose to become a Revered Father or a Bishop. As far as he was concerned the whole of Onigba-Iwofa had suddenly become mad and gone nuts with the new fad in town introduced by the Pastor from Ibadan and the Kabiyesi. For him, the senses of everyone will return when epidemics of higher magnitude than the Olomoro scourge descend upon them to do greater damage and havoc.
“It is only then that I will speak!!! For now, silence is the best answer for the folly in everyone including your King who chose to bring disgrace, shame and dishonor to the throne of his forefathers by giving up the worship of our gods for the sake of some strange gods” He shouted at Aarinola who attempted to bring the topic up again for the umpteenth time. Quietly, Aarinola had walked away from the corridor where she had engaged him in another round of discussion about Jesus.
Labinjo greatest worry was the charms his younger brother was reported to have taken to the church to be burnt. One of the charms he inherited from their late father was a waist band that enabled whoever wore it to see into the hearts of his enemies and know their thoughts even before they spoke. He had pleaded severally with Odewole to allow him the use of that waistband to no avail, only to now hear that Odewole had submitted charms to burnt in the church. He reasoned that the magic waistband was one of the burnt charms.
He was right, Odewole had released all the charms without leaving anyone behind. He surrendered all the charms for burning. The particular charm that infuriated his brother Labinjo the most was one of the first set of charms he packed for destruction, although he had not used the charm for a long time, it was one of the charms he feared most amongst the ones he inherited from his father.
The charm was not only capable of making the wearer hear and know unspoken thoughts, it is equally capable of making him hear the voices of gnomes and elves. By implication, whoever uses it will never have peace of mind as he will hear those things he desires and the ones he detests.
The last time Odewole used the charm, he had seen two headless gnomes discussing how they intend to create a new market of gnomes where only the headless ones will be able to buy and sell. They also discussed how to arrange body parts of human beings for consistent and constant sale at the said market. For seven days after the experience, he could not sleep, he kept seeing different scary gnomes, and elves. He never returned to the particular charm afterwards.
As soon as Aarinola returned to Ibadan, she went to see her father in the Lord, Senior Pastor of the Jesus Assembly Pastor Adegoke. As soon as she explained her vision to Pastor Adegoke, the clergymen smiled and simply congratulated Mrs. Paseda.
“Congratulations? Why Sir”
“You saw what many did not see until the twilight of their life…Sister Aarinola, I am glad that you identified what god will have you do in your Jerusalem. We are prepared to support you and ensure that you bring to pass gods desire for your life. Congratulations again”
“Thank you Daddy” Aarinola smiled and courtesied again. She must have done that more than seven times since she arrived to visit Pastor Adegoke. Pastor Adegoke counselled her to be start the work gradually and expect God to speak to her as the work progresses.
Construction works on the new church at Onigba-Iwofa started a few weeks after the drama crusade. The “gift” of #5,000 from the drama team was more than sufficient to commence the work. Although, the money was the honourarium returned by the drama missionaries, Pastor Joju recorded it in the financial books of the church as “gift from the drama team” He explained to Major Labode that since the money was meant for them and the leader had actually received it with thanks, before returning it to the church, it must be seen as donation coming from them and not a returned honourarium anymore.
Moreover, Pastor Dairo and his wife had travelled to Ibadan as planned and returned with over ten thousand naira. Since the issue of the new church building started, they had jettisoned the idea of buying the liteace bus. They visited the Senior Pastor and gave him a report of the drama crusade and the testimonies that followed it. The Pastor had immediately ordered a release of five thousand naira for the Onigba-Iwofa mission towards the construction of the new auditorium. She secured another five thousand naira from her supermarket. Her younger sister whom she put in charge of the place had been very faithful and had kept records of sales and profit at the supermarket most religiously.
As soon as they returned to Onigba-Iwofa, preparations for the construction of the new church started immediately. Major Labode volunteered to supervise the works. He was an engineer in the Nigerian Army before the unfortunate incident. He was in the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army attached to the 3rd Marine Commando under the leadership of Lt. Col. Olusegun Obasanjo during the civil war. He promised to use his experience as a civil engineer in the Army free of charge for the new church. He also promised to raise one thousand naira from his friends and relatives in support of the project.
By the time the construction began, the church had over fifteen thousand naira cash at hand. His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa had aslo supported with two thousand naira and promised to raise another ten thousand naira through the Onigba-Iwofa Descendants Union based in Lagos and Ibadan. Other major donors included Odewole and his wife who gave two hundred and fifty naira each.
When the construction started, members of the church including women and children volunteered to work on site as labourers. A few of them who had minimal experiences as artisans joined to work free of charge under the supervision of Major Labode. This singular action on the part of the church members made the available fund to go a long way. A truck laden with cement had brought in one hundred bags from Iseyin costing a whooping sum of six thousand five hundred naira.
Pastor Joju had agreed with Major Labode to first arrange for the 100 bags of cement and begin to mould blocks with them as that will reduce the cost of the blocks. According to Major, with one hundred bags, the hand moulders will make 3,000 thousand pieces of 9 inches blocks. That, according to him will be enough to complete the construction of the new church which was planned to be 50X100 feet in size.
Life at the Bible School in Ikeji-Arakeji was getting better for Morakinyo. Not only was he selected the President of the Crash Programme Class, he was on daily basis saddled with one responsibility or the other. His colleagues have also come to accept him as their “generalissimo” of some sorts as every issue that has to do with the welfare and well-being of the entire students’ population was referred to Morakinyo. On his part, he was enjoying the training by and by. Every lecture he received at the school was like eye opener. He was getting better understanding of the ministerial work. He wished he had attended the Bible College before going on the mission field at Onigba-Iwofa.
As the course gradually moved to a close, the school began making arrangements for the graduation of the first batch of graduating students for the year 1986. The leadership of the church had announced that a man of God from Lagos was coming to preach and pray for the students. However, the identity of the man of God was kept in secret. According to the tradition of the college, the name of the visiting man of God will be mentioned only twenty-four hours to the graduation and sent forth.
Morakinyo was eager to return to Onigba-Iwofa. He wished that the graduation and send forth will be over quickly so that he could return this base. He had developed a kind of emotional attachment to the Onigba-Iwofa church. He missed Kabiyesi and his wife the most. He had developed a kind of father-son relationship with the King and looked forward to seeing him again. He could not communicate with anyone but Barr. Wole Olaoye visited him once during the course and gave glowing reports about what was going on at Onigba-Iwofa.
Twenty-four hours to the graduation, the Principal of the Bible College made announcement concerning the guest minister from Lagos. The man of God was the new General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God; Ebute Meta, Lagos, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. The Principal announced the reasons for the choice of Adeboye to bless the new set of crash programme missionaries. Adeboye, according to him took over from the founder of the church five years ago and had succeeded in moving the church forward in greater leaps within the five years of his being the General Overseer of the church.
“Adeboye was a Senior Lecturer at The University of Ilorin until four years ago when he became The General Overseer of the RCCG. He had obtained not only a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Mathematics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1967, but also a Masters (MSc.) Degree in Hydrodynamics and a Doctorate Degree (PhD) in Applied Mathematics, both from the University of Lagos in 1969 and 1975 respectively” The Principal addressed the student population as he read from a prepared piece of paper.
“Pastor Adeboye was ordained a Pastor in RCCG in 1977 and received a solid foundation in the scriptures under the tutelage of the late Reverend Josiah Akindayomi. He manifested an incredible passion for the work of the Lord by pioneering Bible study meetings, crusades, revivals, outreaches and the evangelistic programs” A round of applause by the students followed the reading of the citation of the Guest Minister expected in the next 24 hours at the graduation of the Bible College.
“Four years ago, when the founder of RCCG passed to glory, the baton of leadership was handed over to him by divine orchestration. His appointment as General Overseer immediately terminated his academic career, and as a result, he set his heart on taking RCCG to the next level of ministry, where all strata of society could be involved in the ministry without compromising the true worship of God. At the time of his predecessor’s death, there were only 39 parishes in South-west Nigeria. Within four years, it has grown to 105 parishes” Another round of applause followed. The principal read with pride. Adeboye was his classmate at Ilesha Grammar School between 1951 and 1956.
“Last year March, he started the Holy Ghost Services, a programme which featured a night of praise, worship, prayer, soul-winning, deliverance, testimonies and the preaching of God’s Word once a month on the premises of the ministry’s headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos. Over 1,000 people attended the programme”
By the time the Principal finished reading the citation of Pastor Adeboye, Morankinyo was soaked in tears. He was deeply humbled by the life of the expected Guest Minister. He was hearing about Pastor Adeboye for the first time since he became a Christian. The aspect of the citation that humbled him most was the mention of the fact that “his appointment as General Overseer immediately terminated his academic career”
Morakinyo found a resemblance between his life and that of the expected guest minister and got immediately attached in his spirit to the man of God. Adeboye was a Ph.D holder like him and had risen to become a Professor when he pulled out of the academic career to serve God wholeheartedly. He was happy he could have an example to make reference to. That Adeboye was young and highly literate was for him warming and refreshing. He was said to be 39 years only when he became the General Overseer of the RCCG. He made up his mind to attach himself to Adeboye and become a mentee of some sort to him.
When Pastor Adeboye arrived for the graduation ceremony the following day, Morakinyo and all other students were pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of the man. His entourage came in only one Peugeot 504 car and had only his driver with him.
Adeboye’s sermon was short but very deep and got Morakinyo crying again. He sobbed throughout the duration of the sermon titled: INSURANCE IN SERVICE.
Adeboye said “of all the masters a man can serve, serving God is the most rewarding, both now and in eternity. God is the Almighty who alone has knowledge of the past, present and future. He alone understands us inside and out. Serving God faithfully brings several blessings upon you, such as divine healing, long life for you and your family, prevention of untimely death and fruitfulness in every area. It makes you stand out as God’s servant and crowns your days with joy”
He told the story of a young pastor who had an interesting encounter. His wife was a medical doctor. Over the years he had built his faith on and had enjoyed divine healing. One day he took ill and his wife insisted he went for a test. After much resistance, he was confined to a hospital bed, even though the cause of his problem was unknown. He wrestled with that situation and asked God questions without receiving any answer.
“In the same ward was a man. He observed how the man keenly looked at him as he read his Bible. At one point, the young pastor asked if the man was a Christian. He replied and said he used to be. Used to be? What happened? The man revealed that he was an evangelist who was really sold out to God, but fell into sin” Morakinyo adjusted his seat when Pastor Adeboye got to that bit of the story and listened more attentively.
“He could not forgive himself. The devil capitalized on this and kept hammering that he could never be restored to the faith and he was eternally doomed. He believed the lie of the devil, backslid, contracted a terminal illness and was now awaiting death” Pastor Adeboye continued his story.
“The young Pastor immediately swung into action and showed him Scriptures that God would forgive him if only he could confess his sins. He did, and reconciled with God. Then all his guilt and fears suddenly disappeared and were replaced by so much joy… Someone here today will become a source of joy to others!!!”
“Amen!!!” chorused the students.
Pastor Adeboye smiled. He was enjoying the reactions of the Student- Pastors who listened with rapt attention and concentration as he preached. “The following day, the results of a test revealed the young pastor was healthy and free to go. About to take offence over the unnecessary waste of time, he asked after the evangelist and was told he had joyfully passed into glory that night. It was then that he realised God had brought him to restore the backslider, so that he could come home. Your service could be a safeguard for your soul. Don’t joke with it” Adeboye ended the sermon on that note and prayed for the graduating missionaries.
As soon as the short service ended, the graduating missionaries posed for pictures with the principal and Pastor Adeboye. As soon as Pastor Adeboye waved the entire students goodbye and walked to his car, Morakinyo ran after him and fell at his feet just before he opened the door to enter the car.
“Please pray for me Sir…” Morakinyo said as he fell at the feet of the man of God. “I have failed God once…I don’t ever want to fail Him again”
Pastor Adeboye saw the tears in Morakinyo’s eyes and smiled. He saw sincerity in the eyes of the young man and had compassion on him. That morning as he travelled to Ikeji-Arakeji for the programee, he silently meditated on the topic of the sermon. Just as the car entered the compound of the Bible College, he heard the Lord speak to him distinctly. The Lord said “The siege of failure is over”
Although, he said “Amen” and was happy, Adeboye was not sure if the message was for him or someone else. However, when Morakinyo knelt before him and asked to be prayed for, Adeboye looked up and said “Thank you My Daddy” He instantly knew the message was for the young man kneeling before him.
“The siege of failure is over!!! Receive grace to see right and do right in the name of Jesus”
Morakinyo screamed “Amen” as Pastor Adeboye laid hands on him and prayed further for him.