By NBF News

Most people you see enjoying and laughing today, may possibly have had some rough sides in their history.

Today, Pastor James Folorunsho Ajao, the first District Superintendent of Christ Apostolic Church, in Ajeromi area of Lagos may be seen by watchers as one that has seen no problem or someone whose life has been rolling smoothly on the conveyor belt of goodies.

But this man of God, who actually did not start this way, has tasted the bitter side of life. He went through an overdose of it and nearly sank in the mire of trials of life. But a hand stronger than his several plans to take his life kept keeping him till the day the storm was over. In those days of darkness, Pastor Ajao (though not a pastor then) lost almost all that make life worth a living to an extent he never saw the reason to hang on till tomorrow.

But he got rescue from all the tribulations and is today a man of God who stands tall among his contemporaries. His was a very peculiar type of trial any man could face anywhere.

The things that happened to him are indications that it takes tribulations for one to grow.

He was born 53 years ago, at Isoka Local Government Area of Ogun State to an Alfa father in the Muslim religion. 'You know, when one is born in such a household, you will not be allowed to belong to any other religious organization. My parents believed in no other God except Allah. I was brought up in that kind of environment, and I had never considered being a Christian until in 1983, when I was converted, having passed through hell in life.

My beginning was rough. In fact, things were tough. After my secondary school in 1967, I enlisted in the Nigerian Army because there was no money for further education', he recalled.

Chain of calamities
I enlisted as a special candidate in the Army to obtain at least, the position of second lieutenant. Then, we were told that we would be sent to the Nigeria Defence Academy, but that was later aborted. Instead, we were taken to the warfront. When I returned, I got drafted to work in the Army records office at Apapa, Lagos. Thereafter, when another Inspectorate Department was created at Ikorodu, I was made the inward correspondence clerk. I was there till 1979 when I voluntarily disengaged, as a result of frustration due to lack of promotion. It is unfortunate that I became so frustrated I had to resign as a Major.

Then, the Army was dominated by northerners and there was no one to help me in promotion.

After resignation, I applied as a security officer at the Flour Mills, Apapa, and for three months, I could not receive my appointment letter due to the company's inability to locate me. At a stage, I lost hope. I had no money having spent my discharge settlement on drink and fun.

Luckily, I was called to start work at Flour Mills. In fact, within four months, I achieved what I did not achieve in the Army for ten years. I never knew that life remained somewhere after the army. We were so brainwashed that we had high hopes that had no substance at last. It was when I resigned that I realized I wasted the years I spent in the army.

I never had a formal marriage with my first woman. We met while in secondary school and she had a baby for me. I later went home to marry another wife who also had a baby for me in 1981 and died ten days after.

Barely three months after I returned from her burial, my only son died. In fact, it was a chain of tragedies.

When I returned from the warfront in the late 60s, I had married a wife who had three children for me, but unfortunately all died in succession.

The first one died and others followed. Muyideen Olawale, the fourth child I lost, was crushed by a vehicle on his way to school.

Life became so difficult and bitter, as I had not even a place to stay. I lost almost everything I had. So I did not know what next to do.

When the going became so tough and unbearable, I wanted to commit suicide on three occasions. The first time was when my mother was unable to accommodate me, when I had no job.

I had no job in Lagos and was afraid to travel home due to the kind of mother I had. For 30 years, I did not travel home due to frustration and rejection. First, I attempted to plunge into the Lagos Lagoon. Then, I was living at the Onikoyi's Palace.

I decided not to do that purposely. So, what I did was to sleep on the bridge rail and probably as I turn in sleep, I can tumble into the Lagoon. But as God may have it, people around saw me. So as they saw me sleeping on the rail of the bridge, they held me and brought me out and took me to where I was lived. Thereafter, I did not see them again.

The second attempt at suicide was when my wife died ten days after childbirth. I never knew, God would provide another wife for me. I spent all I had then. Her death led to several other hardships and near calamities. It was more or less a taboo in my town for one's wife to die. My case was talk of the town, and I was stigmatized and the challenges were so much on me, so, I decided to leave my residence at Ladega Street, Olodi Apapa to get drowned at a nearby lagoon. But (un)fortunately, a taxi hit me on my way and I was rushed back to my residence.

My third suicide attempt was to drink poison, when I felt completely hopeless. Yet, after drinking the poison, death refused to come, rather, I found myself in the hospital.

Barely three months after I returned from my village and my only son died, my music director, Mr. Joseph Oladapo who was a good Christian prophesied that I would become an instrument of Christ each time he met me drinking. Later, he brought me to Christ Apostolic Church, Imole at Alaba Oro, which is now a District headquarters.

That was the first church I attended, before becoming a planter. In 1983, three years after the death of my son, I saw his picture in dream. I asked him why he did not go to school, but before he could respond, a voice told me to leave the boy and take my Bible. When I Iooked back, the boy had disappeared. Later, my religious mentor took me to the church. From there, I became fully committed in Christian religion because there is nowhere to run to any more.

When my father heard that I had become a Christian, he did not believe it because to him, as a good Muslim, coping with a Christian child would be very difficult. However, I tried to convince him and we coped well with each other. The only area I found difficult cooperating with my father was buying ram for Ileya. I told him that he should expect another thing from me, but not Ileya ram and he accepted it.

At a stage, my father began to identify with Christianity. Even when he was ill and about to die, he called me to pray for him, and I did. In fact, I made my people to know the power of my new faith.

In fact, I do not know what actually took the lives of my children or made me encounter the series of struggles. All I know is that all would have been signs of my salvation. After the death of my four children and last wife who had another child for me, I was helpless. Since my people so much believe in herbs and fetishes, I had no option, than to try God in Christ Apostolic Church. Because of my peculiar situation, after Sunday service I was given part of the offering for my up-keep. I was able to cope very fast, because 99% of the worshippers were Yoruba who did not understand English language. So, due to my knowledge of English, I was made an interpreter.

Thereafter, I was appointed the Ogo Oluwa District Superintendent of CAC, Oke Igbala, Ajegunle Lagos were I am presently.

Blossoming once again
After the death of my former wife during child birth, I married the one I am now living with. The only surviving child of my late wife is now studying at the College of Education, Oyo. My present wife has three children, Bosede, Isaac and Victoria. They are all doing well. So after all I passed through, I am now one of the leaders in Christ Apostolic Church. I also have four children and hope to have more by God's grace, not minding my age at 53.