•To Start Her Church With 18 People
Reverend Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi’s story is an inspiring one. Its a success story of perseverance and faithfulness which would inspire millions of people across Nigeria. A new book titled Exceptionally Outstanding, published by Excel Publications Enterprise, reveals a lot about how God called her and how she was able to hold resolutely on to faith, in the face of untold trials and tribulations.
Many people do not know she started her life in Lagos. The book reveals this.
Many do not know she was born in Mushin, on April 2, 1963. Many do not know that right from childhood, it was apparent that she was a blessed and gifted child. Many don’t also know she went into business at an early age and worked with a furniture company before she became an entrepreneur in 1993.
She received her calling when visions were severally revealed to her that she must work for God and things began to take a turn for bad, business-wise. This is because she seemed reluctant to heed the call. The defunct National Electric Power Authority, (NEPA), later re-named Power Holding Company of Nigeria, was owing her a princely sum of N4.2 million at that time. She had previously taken a loan from the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc and because she did not pay back on time, the bank was charging her N180,000 interest on the loan monthly.
It was apparent that her money was irrevocably going down the drain because she was in a fix, as NEPA did not indicate any interest of paying her what was being owed. She started praying to God for quick intervention. While praying fervently, she was taken to Mother Esther Oguntoyinbo who was in charge of a Sacred Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Abuja, for spiritual prayers.
“When I got to Mother Oguntoyinbo’s place, I was surprised when she greeted me with, ‘Our mother, welcome. Welcome.’ I wondered who she was referring to and she affirmed that it was me,” Abimbola said.
Mother Oguntoyibo insisted that Abimbola must pray for her before stating her mission. She knelt down in front of her, insisting that she would not stand up until Abimbola prayed for her.
Abimbola recollected her childhood experiences when people insisted she must pray for them and decided to oblige.” I said ‘God will have mercy on you. God will answer your prayers.’ She said ‘Amen’ and got up on her feet. She in turn prayed for me. After the prayer, she had a revelation for me. She said ‘You are going to carry the cross of Jesus Christ. This will make you know that Jesus Christ lives and He wants you to carry His cross as a prophetess. Within seven days, NEPA is going to pay you the money.’ I couldn’t believe my ears. How would NEPA pay me within seven days?”
To her, the possibility of the money being paid by NEPA within seven days was slim. Government establishments in Nigeria are very bureaucratic. The paper work usually takes months before payments are effected. So the notion of NEPA paying her within seven days for a contract seemed ludicrous, but Mother Oguntoyinbo insisted that was the message God gave her for Abimbola. Abimbola made a vow to pay her tithe to Mother Oguntoyinbo if she got the payment as stated. She took her leave, still wondering about the feasibility of getting paid in seven days.
After getting home, she suddenly had a fantastic idea that she could use political muscle in recovering the debt. She knew people in the right places after all! What had she been thinking? It was as if a dark wool was suddenly pulled off her face. She swiftly went to see her husband’s first cousin, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya, who was the de facto Vice President of Nigeria under the General Sani Abacha’s military junta then. She explained to him that NEPA was owing her a huge sum of money and she was at a loss on what to do.
She solicited for his support in recovering the debt.
General Diya admonished her on getting involved in government contracts and called one of his aides, Major Abulu to accompany her to NEPA office the following day. Major Abulu and Abimbola went to NEPA office the following day as directed by General Diya and to her utmost surprise, on the fifth day, the total amount of N4.2 million was paid to her!
When the payment was made, she promptly went back to Mother Oguntoyinbo. Mother Oguntoyinbo explained that God did it to convince her that she must carry the cross of Jesus Christ. Once again, she asked Abimbola to pray for her. Abimbola prayed for her and redeemed the vow she earlier made by paying her tithe to Mother Oguntoyinbo. It was a very convincing experience for her which made her to believe everything Mother Oguntoyinbo said and she started preparing herself for the task ahead: to carry the cross of Jesus Christ as a prophetess.
By 2002, Abimbola was having a series of recurring dreams that proved God wanted to use her for His glory. In a recurring dream, she saw a big Bible. In another, she sent people with juju out of a certain “big house.” The dreams were wonders to her. Then things took a turn for worse and her business practically came to a stand-still. To compound her problems, her husband’s computer school also grounded to a halt. Their second son, Adedeji, had finished at the secondary school and was waiting to join his elder brother in the United Kingdom for his A-level. The obvious inhibiting factor was lack of adequate funds. The family’s sources of funds were being snuffed out because she seemed reluctant to heed the call, after being told in clear terms.
She went to pray for improvement in her family’s life at three different reputable mountain churches in Nigeria: Mount Erinmo, Mount Olounkole and Mount Iragbiji. The message from the three different mountains was unanimous: she should go among the white people where God would use her for His glory. She wondered how she would raise the money to relocate abroad when the family’s income had nose-dived. At this time, she was a member of the Christ Church of Mercy, (Cherubim and Seraphim), Lagos.
The pastor of the church had recently graduated from the Bible school and suddenly had a new idea. He told the members of the congregation to start wearing shoes into the church! This was unheard of in the history of Cherubim and Seraphim. When the pastor made this declaration, Abimbola was in Abuja. She had a dream where she saw people entering the church with shoes on their feet and their legs instantly being tied down with chains. The pastor was incessantly calling her on phone to come to the church in Lagos to see him. Having had this revelation, she bluntly told him she was not coming. The pastor insisted she should come and told her about the new practice of wearing shoes into the church. She told him she was not entering the church with her shoes on. Because of this development at the church, Abimbola, her family and about 90 members of the congregation, decided to leave the church. They all left en masse and the Ajayis started worshiping at the Redemption Church of Christ, Lagos where the vision to become a prophetess became more pronounced and her faith in God became reinforced.
A very harrowing experience took place at their first house in Ketu, Lagos, confirming Abimbola’s unshakable faith in God.
Dare-devil armed robbers struck in the dead of night. Ademuyiwa was the first to hear the whispering voices of the robbers in their compound. He went to the balcony of the house to investigate and on sighting him, the robbers shot at him. The bullets only missed him by inches! With bated breath, he ran headlong into the master-bedroom where Abimbola was. Meanwhile, the rest of the family-Abimbola and their four children-had been rudely woken up by the gun shots. Unknown to the robbers, the beautiful house they wanted to rob its occupants had an underground facility. Ademuyiwa was confident the family would be safe, once they moved into the underground apartment. On getting to the bedroom, he explained the situation to Abimbola and informed her of the need to promptly move underground with the children, before the robbers broke their way into the house. “To my consternation, she said, ‘Let us knee down and pray.’ Immediately she uttered these words, she knelt down and started praying. I was transfixed. I stared at her, mouth agape. Instead of escaping underground, all she wanted was for us to kneel down and pray!” Ademuyiwa said.
Soon, the robbers broke into the sitting room while Abimbola was praying and Ademuyiwa realized they could no longer escape underground. Abimbola was praying fervently on her knees when the robbers busted into their bedroom, menacingly brandishing guns and cutlasses. They demanded for money and jewelry. Ademuyiwa brought out the meager sum of money he kept at home and gave it to them. Abimbola had smartly dropped the bag containing her jewellry near the window curtain and the robbers walked past it severally, without seeing it! After a fruitless search of the house, they left without satisfaction and the family heaved a sigh of relief. “I can never forget that experience. I have never seen such faith in God!” Ademuyiwa said.
Abimbola intensified her prayers by going to mountain churches regularly. After a series of prayers, she had a new revelation. “A man specifically informed me that if I did not want God to turn me into ‘something else,’ I should instantly start spreading the gospel and ‘ringing the bell’ without procrastination,” she said. Knowing the import of this message, with immediate effect, she took a bell to different places in Lagos, ringing it and shouting on top of her voice, “Repent, Jesus Christ will soon come!”
Initially, she did not want to go to places where she would be recognized. She therefore devised a plan. She would drive her car to a far distance from home and start evangelizing. She did this severally, thinking the idea was ingenious as no one recognized her as the Furniture Woman. She did not know that God really wanted her to come to terms with the task at hand and make the whole world aware of her calling.
Not long after, at a mountain church, she received a new message: she should start ringing the bell right from her bedroom and walk outside her home, shouting, “Repent, Jesus Christ will soon come!” Once she received this message, she knew it was mandatory. She was however postponing the day she would start evangelizing from home.
Then, one Saturday morning, she grabbed the bell and did as ordered. Her husband covered his ears with a pillow when she started the deafening noise in their bedroom. The children ran into the room, wondering what she was up to. Undeterred, she walked outside the house, shouting, “Repent, Jesus Christ will soon come!” to the amazement of her neighbours who had never seen her in that light. That was how everybody in her neighbourhood knew her as the “preacher” who always rang the bell early in the morning daily, waking up the whole neighbourhood with her shout of “Repent, Jesus Christ will soon come!” But rather than improving, her business became worse. She did not have the resources to relocate abroad and she started wondering, “They told me God will use me among the white people. How will I get there?” However, when God sends a mission, there must be a provision. In early 2004, God told Abimbola to go for three days’ protection-cum-prayer in a church where nobody would recognize her. She went to an Apostolic Church in Lagos in adherence to this.
On returning home from the church early in the morning, she received a phone call from His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the late Ooni of Ife, who summoned her to Ile-Ife in Osun State.
The Governor of Cross River State was to be bestowed with a chieftaincy title and the highly-revered monarch wanted to purchase some chairs from Abimbola for the palace, in preparation for the grand event. She immediately travelled to Ile-Ife to meet him.
Oba Sijuwade paid her for the order and she went back to Lagos.
She went to deliver the furniture at a later date where she met Oba Sijuwade in the palace with a lot of notable personalities. The monarch was full of praises for her. He marveled at her diligence, informing everybody present of his admiration for her. He eulogized her as a unique woman in a man’s business who was doing better than the menfolk. She was overwhelmed by his praises.
He asked after her children and she replied that they were doing fine, adding that the eldest, Adewunmi, was studying in the United Kingdom. “He wanted to know when I visited him last and I said I had never gone to visit him. I didn’t know how to go about it.
Unknown to me, he was about to travel to the United Kingdom with an entourage. He requested for my passport, saying that the entourage was travelling in April and that I would be part of the entourage,” she said.
That was how Oba Sijuwade wrote the letter for visa requests for Abimbola, her husband, Ademuyiwa and their second child, Adedeji. They were instantly issued visas at the British Embassy and they consequently travelled to the United Kingdom in April, 2004.
Before leaving Nigeria, Abimbola and Ademuyiwa sold one of their two exotic cars-Mercedes Benz V-Boat-to raise funds for their relocation abroad. They kept the other one locked up in their Ketu, Lagos home, leaving Nigeria with two thousand pounds and hoping for the best. Their arrival in the United Kingdom marked yet another memorable moment in Abimbola’s life. A revelation came that Abimbola should strictly face God’s ministration and stop working. Ademuyiwa got a job to provide for the family. At a point, he was doing three jobs and soon, they bought a four-bedroom and two sitting-room house on mortgage at 77, Brettenham Road, Upper Edmonton, North London N18 2ES. Abimbola went back to Lagos to take her two daughters, Olawunrni and Sinmisola and once again, the whole family started living together as one. It was a marvel to many that the family could afford a four-bedroom house within the first year of their relocation.
Adewunrni graduated from A-level and gained admission into the University of Brighton. Adedeji was enrolled into school for A-Level, while the two girls-Olawunrni and Sinmisola-were admitted into the secondary and primary schools respectfully.
Abimbola saw a White Garment church in Peckham South East London and the family started worshipping at the church. She was recognized as Iya Adura, (A Woman versed in Prayer) and she contributed immensely to the church’s growth. The family was enjoying their worship at the church until the pastor started ‘derailing’ in 2007. Early that year, Abimbola had a revelation to start her church. She told her husband about it. One of the men of God she has utmost respect for till date in the Cherubim and Seraphim Church is Baba Tobitolase of the Eternal Sacred Order.
He gave her a prediction that God has chosen her for a special purpose and He would establish a church through her. He said by the time the church would be marking its 10th year anniversary, it would be as if the church is celebrating its 100 years anniversary- This has already manifested.
He instructed that all the people that she informed about the church should fast on the Monday of that week and on the Friday, they should have a night vigil. Simultaneously, Mother Oguntoyinbo in Abuja, also gave her a revelation. She informed her that God would establish a church through her (Abimbola) and that any name the church bears must have The Glory of God Shines in it.
Having gotten these revelations, Abimbola went to the pastor of the church where the family was worshipping in Peckham on the day the night vigil was slated for. She did not want it to be perceived as if she was absconding, so she informed him about the church she was establishing and intimated him that they were starting a night vigil on that day. She gave him the programme for the night vigil for his perusal. “He read the programme and said, ‘Iya Adura, it is okay. God will bless you,” she said.
That night vigil marked the birth of Love of Christ Generation Church, (Cherubim and Seraphim) – The Glory of God Shines. The church was founded by Reverend Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi and her amiable husband, Reverend Ademuyiwa Amuwaoluwa Ajayi. 18 people worshipped on that day in the family house in Edmonton, London and prominent among them at that time was the Supreme Head of the Sacred Cherubim and Seraphim Church Worldwide, His Most Eminence, Prophet Dr. Solomon Adegboyega Alao, J.P., who was incidentally in the United Kingdom on a private mission.