Ven. Adesoye Stephen Oluwole had a long romance with the teaching profession. But by the time God called him to ministry work he did not hesitate to put in his resignation and embrace the task of the master.
He told Church Times Nigeria that his journey to priesthood began in 1979 when he came to know the Lord through the Scripture Union. A woman had invited her to the SU meeting. It was at the meeting he came to know the Lord. Before then he was a moralist. “But I attended parties and drank. Initially I did not want to follow the woman when she invited me but later I followed her and it was a glorious experience for me. I became born again at the meeting and almost immediately began to participate fully in all the activities of the SU. All my trainings were under the SU. I became evangelism secretary in Oyan, Oyo State.”
A graduate of Physical and health Education from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Adesoye who got married in 1991 said he never planned to become a full time priest. “All I wanted was to support the missions. I was doing well as a teacher and also had a big farm in Oyo State. I was doing well financially. So coming to priesthood full time did not cross my mind. But one of our vicars then now a bishop was the first to tell me that God was calling me to the ministry full time. But I refused to listen to him. He said in five years from that time I would abandon the teaching work for the ministry. I did not take him serious.
“As God would have it “exactly five years from when he gave the word of prophecy I began to have this unusual burden for ministry. I was doing well with farming and my work financially but I was not always happy. I had to seek the face of God and it was clear that God was calling me. I went back to the man who prophesied my calling. He counseled me and I had to seek admission to Emmanuel College. I had my theological training from 2003-2005.”
He was posted to Lagos after his training and worked in All Saints Anglican Church, Oshodi and then to Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral AVMC, St. Theophilus and presently St. Luke the Physician Anglican Church located in the premises of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Working in the Anglican Church has not only brought fulfilment to Adesoye, it has helped him to appreciate people better and be able to cope with the weak and the strong. “Looking back I think it would have been horrible if I did not know God before going to the seminary. The training we had in the scripture union was so intense that I was convinced that I would do well in the Anglican Church. I had made up my mind that I would not go to any other church. I knew we had challenges in the Anglican Church but then they were not enough to dissuade one from working in the church.”
He noted that a few people in the ministry could actually discourage people that are serious about ministry work. “I tried to put side by side the life of the SU and the life I was seeing later in the course of my priesthood. I saw men of God doing what children in faith would not do. That could be discouraging. That is why I am very careful about the kind of advice I take from people and the company I keep. This has helped me to keep my sanity and to remain focus. I am always careful to pursue things that would enhance my ministry. By and large I think we need to covet God’s wisdom. To be faithful to God and obey authority.”
He noted that God has been giving him bosses that are Christians. “All the people I had worked with are like family friends to me and they exhibit the life of Christ. We embrace each other when we meet. But I hear all kinds of stories from some of my colleagues about the people they work with.”
Adesoye who just spent 10 days at the St. Luke’s the Physician Anglican Church, when Church Times interviewed him; said of the new place. “It’s a community chapel. They have been friendly. This chapel was established to assist those who may not be able to foot their medical bills and to also pray for the sick. We have been able to help people who have challenges with their health. It’s more of hospital work than regular church work. The tradition here has been to assist those who have challenges with their medical bill. We pray for healing and God has been intervening in the health of people.
On how they curb activities of fraudsters who may take advantage of the good gesture of the church he said, “for those who need help we ask them to write and we follow up with their case by investigating their claims before we render help. To the glory of God the Lord has been using me in the area of healing. I am evangelist to the core. By his grace I had prayed for a couple of sick folks who have received their healing.
“When I was preferred I said Lord this is a big assignment I needed to be more committed to the service of God. I needed to be more focus. When one loses focus it will be perilous. I am to represent God. We are ambassadors of Christ and I am supposed to also represent the Bishop who has been my mentor. Any church I serve my vision is to ensure that the people know God.”