By Samuel Oyejola
“He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22). There is no doubt that the success of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye in the last 40 years he has been at the helm of affairs of the church is as a result of the support he enjoys from his wife.
For any man to have a successful endeavour, his home front must be peaceful, progressive and full of happiness. For the RCCG that could boast of about 40 parishes across the country by 1980, to have thousands of parishes scattered across the world, even in countries that are hostile to Christianity, it is evidence that the Adeboye’s are happily married and blessed.
Pastor Folu Adeboye got married to Pastor Enoch Adeboye on December 17, 1967, at the age of 19. She was born on 13 July, 1948, to the family of Jacob Adelusi Adeyokunnu, of the royal family of Owa Obokun Oji in Ijeshaland, Osun State. Her father was also a teacher and a catechist in the Methodist mission. Being the eldest child of the Adeyokunnu family, she grew up with virtues that prepared her for the glorious life ahead of her.
As the wife of the general overseer, Adeboye has touched more lives with her motherly care and love. One of her ways of touching the lives of the less privileged is through the Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM). CADAM was founded in 1991 by the Assistant General Overseer of the Mission, Pastor Ezekiel A. Odeyemi, at the Ladipo Oluwole Parish of the First-Born Family of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ikeja. The ministry attends to the needs of drug addicts, both males and females across the nation, through treatment and rehabilitation.
At the graduation of the 49th set of CADAM, Adeboye as a mother, lamented that Nigeria is on the brink of an epidemic as far as substance abuse is concerned. She was concerned that Nigeria’s prevalence rate is 14 per cent which is almost triple the global average of 5.6 per cent. She insisted that the need for youths to desist from drug abuse amongst other vices is important.
Adeboye said, “We are all gathered here today to witness the faithfulness of God in the lives of these 31 men of honour and 5 virtuous ladies as they graduate from here to return to the society fortified by the teachings and guidance they have received here. I am a proud Mother today to these beautiful children of God and a witness to what God is doing in the lives of any beneficiary that steps in here, their families, CADAM itself and the society at large. We all know that substance abuse disorders have ravaged our nation and this unfortunate situation is a clear reminder that all hands must be on deck to save our youths from destruction as well as the soul of our nation.”
In 2005, she started Habitation of Hope with the mission to rescue depressed and destitute boys from the streets, transform and empower them and give them the opportunity to develop into self-reliant and responsible citizens. The establishment of the Habitation of Hope is to reconcile the children back to Christ; improve the quality of life of the lost boys nationwide; to promote the care, wellbeing and development of the boys; to provide accommodation, healthcare and education to children and young people of ages 7-18 years in need, especially the deprived, destitute and the homeless.
With Nigeria having the largest faction of the global record of out-of-school children, Mummy G.O. has the tall dream of totally removing street children from the country by reconciling them back to their families and helping them to settle down in their homes.
Another of her contribution to better humanity is the Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries (CRM). The CRM which was founded in 1977 is a conglomerate of many other ministries affiliated to the RCCG. Since inception, it has organized programmes in different parts of the country and the world in general by planting Churches and bringing believers out of lethargy and complacency. The CRM, although a stand-alone entity from the RCCG, is the fulcrum of the successes recorded in the mission. The ever-achieving and dogged spirit of Mummy G.O. is the secret behind the success of the CRM.
Being a mother of all and knowing fully well that a life well lived is one that has impacted and bequeathed a better world to the younger generation, this Mother-in-Israel is mentoring female ministers and wives of pastors on how to lead a successful mission of soul winning for the kingdom of God. She is doing this through the Feast of Esther programme.
The Feast of Esther is an annual feast that she organizes to host women who are General Overseers and women who are wives of General Overseers to interact for the purpose of fellowship, prayer, renewal, growth and development, and to also stand in the gap for their churches, ministries and the country.
Through the feast, Adeboye provides a platform for these women to share experiences and to learn from each other. It was first held in 2002 and since then, it has become an annual event. This programme that ordinarily was supposed to be a one-off event has not only become an annual event but due to the impact it is having on women in ministries, the Feast of Esther is now held in some African and European countries including Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Togo, Republic of Benin, South Africa, Cameroun, United Kingdom, Germany and Mainland Europe.
At the 2021 edition of the programme, MGO recalled how she prayed for six years before she could have the courage to begin the conference.
Blessed with a passion for planting Christian schools, Adeboye has contributed to the education sector in the country through the Christ the Redeemer’s School Movement. This movement has led to the founding of several Christian Educational institutions caring for the educational welfare of children in Nigeria.
Adeboye is also the President of the Wholistic Outreach, a faith based not-for-profit organization of the RCCG. The outreach was founded in 2002 to offer social services and promote youth and women development both within and outside the church.
The Wholistic Outreach was set up to share the love of Christ with young women in crisis situation; provide help and support to victims of sex trafficking, vulnerable at-risk girls; create awareness on ills of sexual misconduct among youths in the RCCG and the nation at large, among others.
In December 2020, the outreach organized medical outreach to victims of girl-child abuse and protestation, and trafficking, and also provided escape route for them. The outreach was carried out in Molete, Ibadan. The ministry provided free medical services such as: general medical counselling, voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling, Hepatitis B and C tests, malaria test, and other general health issues to commercial sex workers who were major beneficiaries of the outreach.
By the time the programme would wrap up, 174 people benefited from one service or the other, 41 surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ during altar call while 14 out of the new converts were from brothels.
In 2019, Adeboye through the outreach, built a rehabilitation home that is providing emergency safe family atmosphere for unwed mothers. The main focus of the outreach in establishing the rehabilitation home is to rescue young ladies and refocus them towards adding value to the society. The effort of the outreach has resulted in getting over 100 prostitutes to undergo rehabilitation and be reintegrated into the society. In the rehabilitation home, these ladies are restored with capacity building and educational opportunities through rehabilitation programmes aimed at restoring them to useful members of the society.
Celebrating his wife during one of her birthdays, Pastor Enoch Adeboye said, “My wife is my number one fan. She wrote in the book Mathematics Of Marriage, which we co-authored, that as my helpmate, she knows she cannot help me without my instructions, so when they come, her response is “yes, sir.”
“The husband is the head of the wife. No matter how educated or successful you are, your husband is your head and you must regard him as such at all times. It is a terrible thing for a husband to feel his wife is his head.”
“Busy as my wife is, she still cooks my meals and serves me herself. Many young ladies these days leave everything to the house help. My wife still trims my nails for me.”
“Today is my wife’s birthday and there are lessons that women, especially so many young brides can learn from her. She is a powerful woman, I know that. She has many people who take instructions from her, but as powerful as she is, and even though she has seen me in my weakest moments, I have no doubt that I am her head.”
“Just like the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:1-31, I safely rest on my wife. Anything I uphold, she upholds, too. Can your husband rely on you? It does not matter what is on her itinerary, if I say “I would like you to go with me to so and so place”, the best she can do is try to convince me otherwise.”
“If I insist, she would cancel whatever she was to do and come along with me. The Bible in Ephesians 5:23 says: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church,” Papa Adeboye wrote.