Prophet Olu Ayeni is the senior pastor of the Voice of Salvation Evangelical Ministry International, Ketu, Lagos State. In this interview by SEYI SOKOYA, he speaks on the role of the Church on the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and national issues.
The second wave of the coronavirus is hitting hard, is the Church prepared for this?
If you study the Book of Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 14, this thing is already stated there. Nigeria is a covenant country, if you trust God, no calamity will swallow us in this country. I was surprised, something that has never happened in our ministry happened, during the pandemic. People were building houses when there was no work, people bought cars like never before and God did wonders beyond the ordinary. I was surprised, there was no money, so God is telling us that success is not all about work, it is by mercy. During the pandemic, the Lagos State government, through the representatives of the Ministry of Information came to enquire if we had any challenge during the pandemic, and I told them that there was none.
People that hear from God were already prepared. When you do not have information, you will be caught unawares, but I was not. God had already told me that He wanted to shut down the whole world. I gained a lot of spirituality during the pandemic. So, it has happened and He has renewed my strength. The pandemic did not have a negative effect on the Church rather it helped the growth of the Church, both physically and spiritually. So, we don’t need to panic over the second wave. Rather, we only need to hold tight on to God.
No one can manage coronavirus like the churches and mosques. They will manage and control their people. We are much prepared and we have as well put in place institutional precautionary measures. Did any member of my church contract COVID-19? Even top clerics in the country did not report that any of their members were infected with the virus.
Are you saying the Church can handle COVID-19 spiritually?
God has cured things worse than coronavirus. Are you saying that coronavirus is more powerful than malaria? Do you know how many people malaria kills every second? Do you know how many people stress kills every day? We are just deceiving ourselves. COVID-19 has come to stay. We invited it and we should all learn to live with it.
What role can the Church play in curbing the ills of the society?
There are some things that God will not do. It is not prayer that will solve the problem of insecurity in the country; the right things need to be done. We can only try to talk to the youths. Our own is to preach the genuine Word without compromise, then the government should also support by providing employment opportunities. Let there be platforms for youth empowerment.
How did you receive the calling?
Yes, my father was a prophet in the Christ Apostolic Church and I was born in the year he was ordained as a pastor in the church, but I never liked pastoral work. I only preferred to be a musician. The many challenges of clerics’ encounters discouraged me to join the fold then. People believe that being a pastor is very sweet, but it is not so, if you have been there, you will know that it is not an easy task. But if you are there for an ulterior motive, there is a way you can find your way to the top. But if you take up the assignment for the purpose of the gospel, it is not easy. Now, my father, of blessed memory, Pastor James, Olorunsola Ayeni, died in 1986, and God called me that I was going to take after him, but I rejected it. Then I later fell sick terribly to the extent that my mum was advised to allow me to go.
She took me to different places. In fact, my mother tried so much for my survival. I was later taken to a man called Adifabieniweju, he said he would call my destiny and find out what the problem was. This incident happened over twenty years ago. That day, I went back home after hearing that the sickness would not be the end of me. I lied down and began to hear strange voices, I heard the movement of people, but I couldn’t see them, I said I would not die in Jesus name. Later, I heard the voice of God asking me if I was ready to do His work, and if I was truly ready, He was ready to heal me, and that was how I entered into the ministry.
God promised that He would heal me, then I had no choice but to do it, but when I came back to Lagos, the sickness was still there, but not like before. I was praying from one mountain to the other. Then, one day, I was at the Ede mountain praying, then I slept off. In my sleep, I saw an old man with two nurses, he commanded the nurse to open a lidded pan they brought; one of them dipped her hand in my mouth and pulled out my tongue. My intestines were smelly and after that, they removed another one from the nylon to replace the one they took away from me and that was how I forgot the sickness till today. That was how I started the ministry and I always appreciate God through the annual pastor’s day thanksgiving.
Are you a musician too?
I am not a cleric; I am a well-rounded minister. Aside from music, I am also an author. I wrote my first book in 2011, entitled ‘Power to Reject Failure’. I think I have about seven books now. I got a revelation from God to write a book on ‘Breaking Generational Curses’ in 2013. The book was so powerful that it sold massively. I never knew that I needed a professional touch before release. So, I needed to do a second edition of the book with a professional touch. I draw inspiration mostly at night to write books. The books I recently launched are ‘Breaking Generational Curses’ and ‘Revive the Love’. In my music career, it has been interesting and God has given me a divine grace to excel in all. I have five albums now by the grace of God. My latest music work is ‘Heart of Praise’. God gave me a heart of praise because if you listen to all my songs, my works are replicate of other gospel musicians; all my songs are composed by me. Within a 40-minute sermon, I would have composed at least three meaningful songs. My songs are always based on family issues.
Every cleric must know how to sing; it is a different ministry entirely. I am not a musician; I am a minister of God. Those days, I used to go out to sing at parties, but God took me out of secular music through an iron hand. Also, any cleric that cannot write books is just a noisemaker. I have mentors by the grace of God and they are Prophet Wole Oladiyun and Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo.
Is it true that the Church is not doing enough in preaching genuine love and morals?
I do not want to agree with that. The Church is doing more than enough. Youths and many people are suffering; they are being denied their rights. You can only see the truth in a community where they want to hear the truth. Genuine word is useless in a society where they hate the truth. We can only speak the truth to our members. You cannot imagine how many people we cater for as church; we pay school fees, house rents, and distribute foodstuffs. The Church is making a serious effort to help people in various ways. I can say it categorically that pastors have a more major role to play in the lives of people of the country than the government. We are the one dousing tension in the country. The truth is that, if we have 20 youths now, and we have attended to almost 14, I think we are trying. The Church is setting up businesses for the youths, more than the government is doing.
What you are saying that preaching is not enough to win souls?
No, it is not. If you are preaching to a hungry man, he will not listen to you. If God did not call me, it is hard for me to be a Christian. How can I be telling you that God will do it and the situation remains the same for about three years; one will leave the church to another place. So, we need empowerment now and leadership by example.
What would be your advice for the government?
The economy of the country has always been a problem for many years. I think if we can empower the youths and stop empowering touts, the country will have a focus. That will help in building the nation’s economy. There is no need for prayer in this situation. The country often discourages destinies and suppresses the glory of the glorious. We need to appreciate people more; this will give people more encouragement.
What has God told you about 2021?
There is going to be a shift. God is going to reposition people that trust in Him for the best. God told me that He is going to take money away from some people and give it to people that can use it for the work of God. People that stand on the truth will make it 2021 and it is going to be a year of abundance. The cabal in the government will become sick and bedridden.
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