MEN STARTED WOOING ME FIVE DAYS AFTER I LOST MY HUSBAND
It's a simple church building that may even go unnoticed, but for the signpost that reads: 'Divine Favour Ministry', which further reads; General Overseer/Host: Jesus Christ. And for the passer-by or first timer scanning the board to see when the service holds on Sunday, you're surprised to see that Sunday is not listed among the days any of the programme is held.
Welcome to Divine Favour Ministry, Oke-Aro, Ogun State, where indeed, Jesus Christ is the general overseer, according to the woman who leads worship and prayers there, Prophetess Modupeola Ilupeju.
In this chat with Sunday Sun, she speaks on the journey of her ministry, which started as a teenager, how she was widowed at 37 yet kept faith, and why there are no Sunday services at the place of worship, which she calls Mountain of Prayer.
When the young girl got a call
I was born in Ghana in 1968, my parents came to Nigeria later. I'm from Ejigbo in Osun State. In 1970, my mother returned to Ghana and I lived with my sister, Deaconess Juliana Adebola. I attended Ejigbo Baptist Day School and later AUD High School. I was in Form III there when I got the call from the Lord. I came back from school that day with two of my younger ones, we were in the sitting room and I said we should pray; it was raining that day. As we prayed I heard the voice speak to me. That was all, and I became confused, so I went to see a man of God in Ede, the late Prophet Samson Akande (Baba Abiye), and I was made to understand that it was the call of God. This was in 1972, and since then God began to work through me.
My paternal grandfather was a Muslim; he was the chief imam of our town, so I used that opportunity to gain access to Muslims in our area. I would go to the mosque to preach, and they often told me they would have dealt with me if it wasn't for my grandfather. But, I thank God for that time because some of the powerful men among them gave their lives to Christ. There was one Alhaji Azeez whom God arrested, and today he is Alhaji Azeez Jesu.
I later attended Eruwa Teachers Training College, and I was posted to CAC Primary School, Talafia, Ede. It was close to Baba Abiye's house, so I started my pastoral training there with him in 1980. I was with him while I trained at the Teachers College, and God was using me.
These days, people graduate from the Bible College theoretically. But at that time it was practical examination that we did to qualify for graduation. Then we participated in a ballot, if you picked a mad man, you will not graduate until the madness is healed; if it was palsy, then you won't graduate until it is healed. And if you picked barrenness, you'll only graduate when the woman involved puts to bed safely.
I thank God that when I picked my ballot, it was the case of a couple that had been trusting God for a child for 10 years. The woman is Mrs. Dele Odunlami. When she came, Baba Abiye called me and said, 'This couple is here to see you from Ibadan, so pray for them.' That day, I prayed with the woman and her husband. But as I did, I did not hear anything; neither did I get any revelation from God as usual. And I prayed again to God to speak or show me what He has in store, but I didn't hear anything. However, the spirit told me to round off my prayer and tell them something, and I wondered what I would tell them. So, I just rounded off my prayer that day and told the couple, 'Congratulations, Mama Samuel! Congratulations, Baba Samuel!' And I testify to the power of God that the woman became pregnant.
A day before she put to bed I had a vigil at CAC Church in Ede, Prophet Bepo was the one in charge. That day I carried my first baby, Abimbola, on my back, I went with the woman and after the vigil about 5am we went to our separate homes. But around 9am she came back and woke me up. She said she was feeling uneasy, so I asked her to follow me to the CAC Maternity Centre, But alas, on our way, just before we got to CAC Primary School, we were passing under a tree when the woman just stopped and knelt down, and I took the flannel I used in covering my baby and spread it on the ground. Without any assistance, she just gave birth to a baby boy. So, we carried her and the baby in that cloth inside the maternity.
I congratulated and told her she would have only boys and she said Amen seven times. She eventually had four boys altogether, though she desired a girl. The boys are alive, two of them have graduated; the other two are still in university.
I thank God for His help and support when that incident happened, the news spread like wildfire (that was in 1985), it even reached the king and they were all amazed. So, that was how I graduated in 1985 from the Bible School under the guidance of Baba Abiye, though I had finished in 1984, but the practical prolonged it till 85. And I was given the Excellence Award in Evangelism.
A prophet with honour in 'her' hometown
The ministry started in my town; I was going from house to house, village to village in Ejigbo. And a great crusade started there at CAC, Talafia in Ejigbo, where I ministered. Though it is often said that a prophet has no honour in his hometown, but by the grace of God I had honour. And God told me then that within three days He was going to provide solutions to people's problems. And to confirm His word, during that crusade a woman's husband, who had been sentenced to death, was pardoned and set free. A man with epilepsy got healed; another that was impotent became virile. Those without womb and fallopian tubes got new ones.
The one without tubes at the time was Miss Nike Akinsanya, she later had a girl and a boy. The one without a womb was Fisayo, she was almost running mad because of her situation, but through God's work in the ministry, she got a new womb. She also had a boy and a girl. There were countless people who stood in the gap for others to get answers to their miracles. People looking for breakthroughs got their hearts desire.
I'm really grateful to the Almighty God for His mercy and favour, and how far He has taken me. In 1985, I got married, but my husband didn't allow me to do the ministry work fully.
Married to a non-evangelist
My husband was neither a pastor nor an evangelist. We attended the same primary school and church back then in Ejigbo, though he was my senior in school then. When he was in The Polytechnic, Ibadan, he often came to our house with my cousin and would refer to me as his wife. And I used to blast him that he didn't meet my standard for a husband. In fact, I used to be so nasty to him and I expected him to get angry and not talk back to me. But, one day my mother called and told me that he was my husband. She went ahead to pray with other men of God for confirmation and I also prayed. It was confirmed that he was my husband, so we got married, but he died on June 14, 1985, after a brief illness.
He worked with the defunct Devcom Merchant Bank. We come from the same town, we met there and he brought me to Lagos. He worked for Mike Adenuga as Admin Manager of the bank, at Oko-Awo branch on Victoria Island for about six years before he died after a brief illness.
Coping with a non-church goer
My husband didn't go to church often, but I did, and I served as an evangelist there. However, there were times he would say, 'This is getting too much, you're not going to church tomorrow.' But, I thank God for the wisdom to handle that situation. He was Baptist, but attended church only on the 31st December and 1st of January whenever he went to our hometown. He would give work as excuse for not going to church, so I attended another church with the kids.
Usually, he would tell me on Saturday evening that he would eat pounded yam on Sunday so that I won't be able to go to church, and I would say 'yes sir'. So, on Sunday I would get up early, bathe and dress the kids, and we would gather round the bed to pray. When he sees us doing so, he would ask if I wasn't going to church, and I would remind him that he said I shouldn't go. Then he would take us to church, but he would take his car to a nearby carwash. After service, he would take us home.
Before he died, he set up a business for me, I sold clothes, he didn't allow me to teach (I taught briefly though while in our hometown). In fact, he said I should find out how much a Grade Two teacher was earning at the time and he paid me double every month.
After his death, I looked round and there was nobody but Jesus, who stood by me (sobbing). I was 37 years then. My children were 12 and nine. I looked around but couldn't really find anyone that could take Oyetunji Phillips Ilupeju's place. But I looked up to Jesus of Nazareth, and totally gave him control of my life. So, I just decided to dedicate my life to the work of God.
No marriage again for me
I can tell you that five days after I lost my husband, men started coming, they were coming with big money but I just decided I was not interested. Let me tell you the truth, it is only when I'm broke that I'm dull, when that is sorted out, I don't have a problem again.
And really, from inception, I wasn't really interested in marriage, it was just God that made it happen that I should marry and have children. Many have come but I just warded them off, it's my decision not to remarry. My children are enough for me.