BY ENIAYO AKANDE
It’s not all books that leave a lasting impression but there’s no way a reader can read ‘Stories of Pastor E.A. Adeboye: The Power of Testimony’ without added value.
Reading this page-turner by the seasoned journalist and writer, Bisi Daniels, is a life-changing experience.
Those familiar with the unique style of Pastor Adeboye know that sharing testimonies of miracles are a vital component of his ministry. Like African elders garnish their speech with proverbs, the man fondly called Daddy GO laces his sermons with testimonies to boost people’s faith and reassure them that their cases are not hopeless; and that if God has done it for others, they could not be an exception.
“By now, everybody knows me to be a storyteller. Our Daddy in heaven, Jesus, was the best storyteller you can ever find. I have discovered that some people remember the stories more than the sermons,” the author quotes Pastor Adeboye has explaining of his trademark style of exhorting people when he preaches.
“I tell you these stories because when you hear those in the Bible and hear those happening right now, you appreciate them better,” he explains at a different forum while on another occasion, he notes that: “When these stories or testimonies come to some people, they sometimes mean much more than even the sermon.”
Stories of miracles indeed enhance faith-building and what Daniels has done in this engrossing work of 350 pages and six sections is to painstakingly compile the testimonies of Daddy GO, the spiritual leader and chief missioner of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and present them chronologically, right from his birth to the present (February 2017), to read like an autobiography.
Given the magnitude of Pastor Adeboye’s task and the near impossibility of getting him to sit down for interviews for a real biography, the author’s approach is ingenious. And not only is it creative, it works because Pastor Adeboye narrates the testimonies in his measured, calm voice that reassures.
And what a story it is! It is a riveting tale of stepping out from the suffocating grip of deprivation into relative comfort, all by God’s grace; it is an amazing story of transformation from obscurity to becoming a vessel of God revered by millions of people across the world.
It is a fascinating tale of how the then unprepared ‘outsider’ became the chief missioner of the world’s fastest growing church, with presence in about 196 countries. Most importantly, it is a book which reinforces the power of God and His ability to intervene in perceived hopeless situations when we call on Him in faith.
The starting point of this book Daniels thoughtfully dedicated to Pastor Adeboye, who clocked 75 recently and Mummy GO (Pastor Folu Adeboye), his faithful lieutenant and priceless pearl, is Ifewara, the town in Osun state where he was born in 1942. Pastor Adeboye recalls the unusual incident of the rain falling and the sun shining simultaneously on the afternoon he was born; God’s unseen protection and how his destiny was foretold. He also discloses lessons including hard work, first fruit, opportunity and obedience his parents taught him.
In the first section that also contains chapters including ‘Before the Call’, ‘The Call’, ‘Early Ministry’ and ‘The General Overseer’, Pastor Adeboye reflects on the abject poverty into which he was born and how he walked barefoot until he was 18. In fact, he collected the prize he won at the prize giving day at Ilesa Grammar School in borrowed trousers and sandals. We are also shown the house in which Pastor Adeboye was born and St. Stephens Anglican Primary School he attended and told how he married Mummy GO.
Essentially, section one chronicles Pastor Adeboye’s riveting life story — tertiary education, postgraduate work, lecturing at UNILAG and Ilorin, meeting Christ, early days in the ministry with his father-in-the-Lord, Pastor Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi and becoming the leader of the RCCG, despite doing his best to reject the appointment.
Those wondering about the close relationship between Bishop Francis Wale Oke of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries and Pastor Adeboye needn’t look further as Daddy GO reveals: “Way back in December 24, 1979, around 2.00pm., God spoke to Bishop Francis Wale Oke and gave him a word of prophecy for me. He wrote it down as God told him and he brought it to me. That was in 1979, so you can imagine how young he must have been then- in his 20s.”
The Redemption Camp is today a unique city well recognised on the world map but it used to be a jungle and headquarters of highway robbers. Reading the book will reveal the several mysterious incidents that happened as Daddy GO and others laboured to build it. Going through the section, one also realises that Daddy GO didn’t just become a much sought after spiritual leader, God spent several years forging him in the furnace until he became a beloved vessel of honour.
In section two, Pastor Adeboye relives his experiences while preaching the gospel across the globe and shares stories of miracles that occurred on the trips. We read of his missionary trips to places including the UK, US, Canada, Japan, Cairo, Zambia, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea amongst others. How the popular 31-year-old Holy Ghost Service started is properly documented here while miracles that sceptics will dismiss are also shared. The story of how God provided the RCCG headquarters in the US and South Africa and several miracles even in flights are similarly documented.
The next section Daniels calls ‘The Enhancers’ focuses on subjects including salvation, faith, service, fasting, tithing and sowing that move God for miracles to flow. All these, it should be noted are essential to secure God’s intervention in one’s affairs. The section contains examples of people who exercised their faith to overcome troubles; diligently paid their tithes and sowed – and who God blessed immensely in return. Those curious about why members of the RCCG don’t joke with fasting will discover why in this section. “The moment I quit fasting, you can begin to expect my departure because I have resolved never to relax. As far as I am concerned, the day I cease to be relevant, I go,” he replied when asked if he would stop fasting when he clocked 70. Invariably, the man of God has not stopped fasting even at 75!
In sections four and five, Pastor Adeboye shares more stories of God’s intervention in various issues whilst also touching on marriage and the fruit of the womb. The last section titled ‘The Spoilers’ and containing topics like Unforgiveness, Temptation, Stealing God’s Glory, The Evil Men Do/Curses and Principalities and Powers confirms what the Bible says in Ephesians 6: 12: “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world; against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
It exposes the dark sides of the spiritual realm where parents harm their children and couples hurt themselves.
Indeed, reading the book will be a most rewarding exercise as the Vice President; Professor Yemi Osinbajo rightly agrees in the foreword he wrote shortly before he was sworn in: “This book of some of the testimonies of one of the greatest servants of God in this generation is worth reading and learning from.”
What Daniels, author of several other books, has given us in ‘Stories of Pastor E.A. Adeboye: The Power of Testimonies’, that took him well over three years to complete and which he says “is the most important and most impactful” of all his works – is a very well researched book.
In fact, there is a detailed preface and introduction where he narrates an expedition to Ifewara in search of Pastor Adeboye’s roots and how he encountered the Mount Carmel Prayer Mountain, the man of God had been inspired to build since 1985 and which was opened on May 28, 2015. Daniels also didn’t forget the history of the church, its mission, mode of worship and changes that were recently effected in its structure in Nigeria.
Though not a cleric, the author can be said to have made his own little contribution to gaining souls for God’s kingdom with this inspirational work that also contains a fascinating photo section. It is highly recommended as Professor Osinbajo rightly says.