I have severally talked about how God in His providence brought me into a divine connection with my spiritual father Rev. George Adegboye. An often missed part was how I first met him, to begin with. It was the summer of 1981, and a favourite Uncle of mine (Moji Adeyemi) asked me to accompany him on a visit to a friend. Knocking on the door of a small apartment in Ilorin, Nigeria, a strange voice boomed from behind the door, “Come in if you’re born again!”. As I wondered if my Uncle should enter the strange house, He did without hesitation and exchanged greetings and banters with a dark-looking, clearly animated, and joyful man to whom I was immediately introduced as Brother Moji’s nephew. I would later learn that I had just met ‘Brother George’ who I did not know at the time would become my most significant spiritual influence.
I grew up knowing Uncle Moji as one of our several Uncles and Aunties who regularly visited us and spent holidays at our home. We also met at family reunions mostly in the village and probably because he was the only light-complexioned one among the crowd and good-looking, I admired him lots and always hung around him. As he grew to become a student of veterinary medicine at the University of Ibadan, my admiration for him grew as I asked him many questions about his chosen career which fascinated me and guided me to my first ambition in life which was to become a veterinary doctor like him. His likeable personality made him a favourite of the young women too and I hoped to be such an object of affection when I grew up. Accompanying him in visiting his female friends was one of my favourite things as I grew into puberty.
I was definitely being mentored in a direction I thought was awesome till a sudden change occurred. Uncle came home on this holiday and had transformed into what we deemed a ‘religious fanatic’. He would pray in a strange language for hours, he dumped his girlfriends for regular Christian fellowship gatherings, dumped old friends for fellow fanatics and he immediately began to come after his family members, starting with low-hanging fruits like his nephews to lead us to Christ. I believe I was the first target as he led me to Christ that summer.
I decided to stop my regular responses to altar calls which started in my first year of high school almost three years earlier. Never feeling transformed, my continued sin consciousness, self-condemnation and constant temptations never made me feel saved. With Uncle Moji’s validation, I believed I was finally, truly born again. Before long, he reached out to my brother Sam, who thank goodness had met the Lord in Federal polytechnic Akure(Now Ado Ekiti). Uncle Segun, Ola, Korede, Yomi and subsequently, our sisters and nieces would join us eventually. It took longer, but our parents and several of his siblings would also join the chorus.
Uncle Moji was the first seed sown in the family and while he bowed out of the earth a few weeks ago and was buried yesterday, he has made a mark on our family that can never be erased. Looking back, I remember how he changed the atmosphere of our home with gospel messages and music. He introduced us to the music of oldies like Maranatha music, Jimmy Swaggart, sermons and music of Kenneth Copeland, and many others.
He spent a large part of his allowances on books and his book library was our first major source of spiritual food. We were introduced to the Word of Faith through the resources of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, John Osteen, Charles Capps, Norvel Hayes, Fred Price, Buddy Harrison and others. We also read after old revivalists like Charles G Finney, Oswald J Smith, E M Bounds, RA Torrey, Leonard Ravenhill and others. He would lend us books(two) at a time and we accounted for them before picking new ones. He answered our questions and enlisted us into intercessory prayer for the salvation of other loved ones. Uncle Moji taught us to pray for hours at a time and to spend quality time in the Word of God. He did and we watched, he did it with us and he watched us do it.
Those three steps are the basics of the discipling process. Some of us made our way with time to a fellowship he was part of, meeting in the home of Brother George, called ‘The Holy Ghost Caucus’. On the prodding of Brother George, Brother Moji had ministered the Holy Spirit to me and now I had joined the company our Uncle kept. I became exposed to the influences of Brothers J.K. Saliu, Akintola Oni and Emmanuel Olowodola Sr., who variously taught the Word in our fellowship, lent me resources, sent me on errands and all made their little contributions to my spiritual development.
Brother George(Now known as Rev George) would become the strongest influence on my life and a decision to follow him when he left the Holy Ghost Caucus would cause a drift apart from my Uncle and so while we remained family, not being in the same spiritual house certainly reduced the chances of regular fellowship as our lives took different paths. Several of my cousins and my older brother also felt led by God to join Rhema Chapel. However, we will never forget where we started from and will remain grateful for the part our Uncle played. All the men he influenced in the family are ministers of the gospel today and will all be thankful that he played a part at the start of our spiritual journeys. I choose to share this story to encourage us not to despise our contributions to the lives of young Christians. No one can predict the future of every newborn and so it is with young converts.
The culture of nurturing converts to spiritual maturity is fast fading away in the body of Christ and we need to return to it. While from Acts 6, the Bible began to record the growth of disciples, we are given to emphasizing church attendance today. Without proper discipling culture, churches are capable of only having multitudes of church attendees with few true disciples among them. Pastors, therefore, need to do a review of their church culture and programs to ensure proper and healthy spiritual development in their congregations.
As my Uncle walks golden streets and reminisces on his life on earth, I wish God can sharpen my spiritual vision. Sharpen it so I can view time from eternity, the present from the future, and the earth from the celestial plains. Do our material things matter to them in heaven; is God impressed by our padded pews, LED screens, air-conditioned buildings and a host of what gives us pride as ministers of the gospel? Will I be fulfilled with the way I am living and serving God right now when I see Jesus face to face and look back at the life I now live? If Christ tarries in His coming, like you, my dear reader, I will reunite with my Uncle and other loved ones. I pray God will shine His light on our hearts and guide us through His eternal Word. Like the Psalmist, I pray;