75 thumbs up for a mother-in-Israel

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By Gbenga Osinaike

It is not for nothing that Pastor Mrs Folu Adeboye is referred to as mother-in-Israel. Apart from being mother to her biological children, she has over the years played the role of a mother to her husband, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and then to members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God scattered across the globe.

 Indeed, without her commitment, sense of service and the grace of God, running a massive organisation like the RCCG would have been a daunting task for her husband. And her husband knows this. That is why he does not shy away from acknowledging her publicly anytime he has the opportunity

 She and her husband have both shared the pain and pleasure of leading the RCCG, a sort of country with its own peculiar features.

Basis for thanksgiving

Born to the family of Adeyokunnu in Ijeshaland on July 13. 1948, Mummy G. O as she is fondly called is the firstborn of 10 children in the Adeyokunnu Family in Ijeshaland from the lineage of the Owa Obokun Oji.

Apart from the privilege of seeing a new day at 75, the strategic position of Mummy G.O. and the grace of being alive to see the work of God progressing is enough reason to be full of praise. 

 It is in this light that there is a need to roll out the drums and thank God for how He has led this daughter of Zion to a new height in the turbulent sea of church administration.

 Indeed over the years, Mummy G.O. has had to shoulder many responsibilities, from tending to the welfare of the hordes of people that throng their house every now and then, to seeing to the smooth running of some strategic departments in the RCCG.

Her work in RCCG

 Three church departments seem to hang on her neck:  the missions, the children and the maternity arm of the ministry. But then, being an educationist, she has also played a strategic role in seeing to the smooth running of the schools owned by RCCG.

 Her service in the church is a fallout of her personal disposition and love for God. Some of those who have had cause to work with her closely attest to her simplicity and passion for the things of God. They also spoke glowingly of her humility, dexterity and her sense of service

Bishop Olaleye’s remark

 An international evangelist, Bishop Abraham Olaleye who incidentally was a student at St. Timothy’s College, Lagos where Mummy G.O. was a teacher in the 70s attests to her adroitness. “I recall vividly how committed she was to work and her Christian service.

“Then I was the leader of the Christian Union in the school as a student. My first meeting with her was when she invited me and tried to encourage me, being the leader of the students’ Christian body. She encouraged the fellowship and gave us necessary support.”

 Olaleye said that the meeting engendered a more robust relationship with the Adeboyes noting that, “they were living then in Surulere before they later moved Ilorin and then back to the mission’s house in Mushin. We related quite well. I recall we also met in 1983 at the crusade organised by  Robert Schambach in Lagos and several other functions.” 

 Describing mummy G.O. Bishop Olaleye said, “She is a good woman in the true sense of the word. She is generous and quite hospitable. I remember in those days I used to go for a personal prayer programme in camp, if she knew I was going to be around, she would ensure that she prepared food for me to break my fast. She is a very liberal woman and down to earth.”

Gbemi Olaleye’s view

 Bishop Olaleye’s wife, Pastor Gbemi Olaleye corroborates her husband’s view adding that “Mummy G.O. is a mother-in-Israel indeed”

 Pastor Mrs Olaleye, a well-known gospel music minister, recalls when Mummy G.O. started Feast of Esther, a yearly programme that brings together female ministers and pastors’ wives for a three-day retreat at the Redemption Camp.

 She said, “Mummy G. O. is a very loving mother. She has that motherly care that endears her to all. She encourages people a lot and gives a lot. She cares for everyone that comes her way.”

 Recalling the early years of the Feast of Esther, she said, “I  was actively involved in the planning of the Feast of Esther along with Sister Dupe Olulana and several others in the early years of the programme before I travelled out of the country. I remember Mummy G.O. used to tell us to be supportive of our husbands and not be in a haste to grab the microphone.

 “She demonstrated this in her personal life. She was content working in the background. I remember she used to tell the women then to be down to earth. She discouraged the idea of female ministers and pastors wives having people who carry their bags. She encouraged women to be humble. I remember how she used to cook too. She would cook for people that came around and be sure that they were satisfied.”

Pastor Josiah Bolarinwa’s comment

 Former Provost of the Redeemed Christian Bible College, Pastor Josiah Bolarinwa has fond memories of his early encounter with Mummy G.O.

 He said, “What brought me close to her was when I came to do my NYSC on the campground in 1984. Before then, I had known her from a distance. But it was during the service year I became close to the family.  Mummy G.O. took me as a son.

 “Anytime I went out and came back to meet food at my door, I knew it was Mummy G.O. that would have sent someone to bring the food. So, I don’t hesitate before consuming it. There were times she would go to the wardrobe of Daddy G.O. and give me some of his clothes. I have a good number of Baba’s cloth. That gives me a sense of belonging and bonding with the family.”

 On the striking qualities of mummy G.O., Bolarinwa who is now Director, Research and Development Unit of the church says, “She is a manpower hunter. Whenever she discovers a talent in you she goes to any length to tap it by ensuring that the talent is deployed appropriately. She is also somebody who compensates hard work.

 “There were times I led students at the Bible college to do some bush clearing. She would load us with a lot of food after work. She is highly disciplined but not vindictive. She would cook and cook and cook. She may be fasting but she will be feeding people that are not fasting. Whenever my friend and I had no food during our service year she was always ready to give us food.”

 Pastor Bolarinwa believes mummy G.O. fits into the Proverbs 31 woman. “She is like that woman in Proverbs 31. She rears chicken and grows cassava and vegetable not to sell but to give to people and for consumption at home. In those early years of the ministry, she may not give you money because there was a paucity of funds then. But you can be sure that you will get foodstuff from her. She is also not wasteful.”

 While noting that God must have specially prepared her to fit into the life of Pastor  Adeboye, he said, “I wish her long life with good health so that she can continually be a blessing to the church and humanity.”

Olajide Afolabi, former Youth Director

 A one-time National Youth Director of the RCCG, Pastor Olajide Afolabi paints a graphic picture of Mrs Adeboye in the early years of the church. Then, the population of the attendees at the Church headquarters was just about 300.

 Afolabi was a young man then. But he once had the onerous task of leading the youth of the church.

 He said, “Mummy G.O. was our mother when we were youths at the  National headquarters. We spent most of our youth life in the church. It was from school to church and from church to work and then back to church again.

 “In those days, she played the role of a mother watching over us. She was there all the time. She was always in the church. We had the opportunity to relate closely with her. She was there to correct us. She was there to encourage us.”

 He recalled that the youth of the church in the 80s spent almost all the week in the church preparing for crusades, one programme or the other.

 “We had vigils upon vigils. We slept in the church often. We also had love feasts as youths. Mummy would prepare food for us and take care of us.

 “When Daddy  G.O. used to live in the mission house in Mushin the youths would go to clean up the house. Mummy G.O. was always there to receive us. She was a total mother, spiritually and physically.”

 Beyond playing the role of a mother to the youths of the church, Afolabi says, Mummy G.O. had a bonding with his family. “Mummy G.O. was always in touch with my mother because my mother used to sell some kitchen utensils. She was a big businesswoman.  Mummy G. O would come from the campground to my mother’s shop at Ebute Ero and buy all the items she needed for the convention from my mother.

 “That marvelled me. She related with my mother because she knew she was the mother of one of the youths in the church. Mummy G.O. loved the Lord passionately. She has been a great support for Daddy.”

 According to Afolabi, it is not by accident she is put in charge of missions in the church. “Right from the Ebute Meta days, Mummy G.O. demonstrated her love for missions. She loves to plant parishes.”

 He recalled one of the mission’s outings that almost backfired. “There was an attempt to plant a parish of the church in a particular place. We were asked to clear the place. As we were clearing the place, I just saw that my right leg began to swell.

Read also: President Tinubu celebrates Folu Adeboye @ 75: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/tinubu-celebrates-folu-adeboye-75-commends-her-evangelical-work/

 “When I saw that, I laid hands on the legs and took authority and cast out the spell because it was obviously an attack. Within some minutes my legs returned to normal. Mummy G.O. was with us in that scene and her presence and encouragement were great succour”

 Afolabi noted also that Mummy G.O. has a prophetic gift recalling how she gave some prophetic words to people in the mission and how those words came to pass.

 “She is a prayer warrior. She is a mother indeed and a lover of Christ. I have not found anything about her that is not saintly. She lives a life of holiness. She has always been the way she is.

 “There was no way you go to her for anything that you don’t get a solution. She would see somebody like me and stop and greet the person fondly. Mama does not call me pastor. She calls me by name and greets me warmly.”

 Afolabi who was National Youth Pastor until 2009 said one of the greatest headaches he used to have while in that office was how to feed the youths during our conferences. But such a burden according to him was often lifted each time he met with Mummy G.O.

 “The youth ministry of the church was just evolving at that time. But she made my tenure a pleasurable one because it was easy for us to get many things done. I can’t also forget how he counselled and encouraged me after marriage because we had a bit of a delay before we had our first child. Her prayers and support were a treasure.”

 In his concluding thought, Afolabi says, “I want to give glory to the almighty God for blessing us with Mummy G.O. She is not just a gift to RCCG but to this generation. She is the best mother anybody could ask from God.

 “If I will not mince word, the load of being a mother to an organisation like the RCCG is not easy. To have been saddled with those responsibilities, is God’s grace. I pray she will live many more years and will be graced with the wisdom to finish well. I want to bless God for her life. There is no time I reflect on her life that I don’t have this assurance that God really blessed our generation.”

 

 



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