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Saturday, October 12, 2013

INTERVIEW: I Slept Under A Tree For Three Years - Pastor

When I started, my family thought I had gone mad because I slept under a tree for three years – Pastor who predicted calamity during Agagu’s funeral
Prior to Friday, October 4, 2013, not many people knew anything about Pastor John Adewale Adedokun and his Christ Apostolic Church, Cannan Land District, Olowo near Ore, Ondo State. Before that day, the prophet’s fame had not gone beyond Okitipupa and its environs. But after news of the ill-fated plane crash filtered into town, words quickly spread round about the man of God and his warning. One week earlier, Pastor Adedokun had written a letter to the chiefs of Iju-Odo, hometown of late Dr. Segun Agagu, warning them of an impending danger. To ward off the danger, he advised that a three-day revival programme be held in the town before the burial of the former Ondo State governor. The chiefs did not waste time in heeding the advice of the man of God, as the entire town came together to hold a three-day revival, starting from Monday, September 30 through Wednesday October 2, 2013. During the programme, with the theme ‘Forbidding Satan and cohorts in the land created by the God of our fathers’, the man of God urged the indigenes to pray fervently against losing more people to death in Iju-Odo. The impact of the message dawned on the people early Friday when words filtered in that the plane carrying the remains of the former governor had crashed shortly after take-off. No sooner they learnt of the crash and the fact that no relations of Agagu died than they bombarded the prophet with phone calls and thanking God that they heeded his advice. His church is located on a large sparse of land in a non-descript remote settlement along the Ore-Okitipupa road. The settlement, Olowo, is not known to many beyond Okitipupa, Ore and environ. But the church, and indeed Pastor Adedokun’s activities are fast putting the name of the hitherto unknown settlement on the map. When our correspondent visited the church on Tuesday, different kinds of people, many of them allegedly coming from distant places, were seen praying with various degrees of intensity. Not even the absence of the man of God in the auditorium could take away from the seriousness which the people attached to the prayer session. And if you expect the man behind the revelation to appear to you in a well-cut suit or agbada, you sure got it wrong. Dressed in a pair of shorts and a simple shirt, you stopped short of saying ‘Sir, it’s the prophet I came to see, not you’. But you quickly changed your mind when the man standing before you introduced himself as the man you came to see with a smile. Speaking with The Nation in an exclusive interview inside his church in Olowo, near Ore, Prophet Adedokun said: “We went to pray at the Olusooye Hill (Ori Oke Olusooye). It is located between Ifetedo and Garage Olode in Osun State. It was while we were praying that God told me to ask the people to pray fervently. God said they should have a three-day prayer and fasting session to avert an impending doom. He also said it that the programme should be done before the remains of the late Governor Segun Agagu was brought into the town. God specifically said bad people wanted to use the opportunity of the burial to cause more calamity to the people of Iju-Odo. We quickly did a letter to the chiefs, warning them of the danger. I am particularly happy that they heeded God’s warning.” Asked what would have happened if the revival programme had not held, the man of God said: “You can ask anybody who attended the programme, my prayer point during the programme was that the people should pray to God that no other corpse, aside from that of the former governor, would be brought to the town. And God answered our prayers, because that programme aborted the plans of the wicked ones to cause more pain, not only to the Agagu family and the entire town, but to Ondo State and Nigeria in general.” And why did he not pray to avert the crash? Prophet Adedokun said: “What God told me was to tell the people of the town to pray against whatever evil the wicked might have in stock for the people. God specifically said the prayer should be that no other corpse would be brought into the town aside from that of the former governor. And that was what we did.” On what revelation he had, Prophet Adedokun said God asked him to tell the people of the town to ensure that a three-day prayer and fasting was observed before the burial to avert further problems in the town. “We regularly go to pray on the hill in Osun State. On this day, as we were praying, God told me to tell the people to pray to Him to avert further troubles in the town. And as we were descending the hill, I remember vividly that I suddenly turned back and told my people. I said: ‘The wicked people want to cause havoc with this burial’. That was why we quickly wrote a letter to the head of the town to intimate them with the revelation.” The revelation was not the first time the man of God was hearing from God. Though many of the old revelations may not have been of the magnitude of this latest one, Pastor Adedokun insists that he is merely a servant of God, and that he says whatever God directs him to say. “I don’t really know by what title you want to address me. But the truth is that it is the God in me who is working. And like I told you, I simply do what God directs me to do.” The story of his journey into the world of evangelism and prophecy is etched in mystery. Born some 56 years ago in Iragberi, Osun State, Prophet Adedokun spent the early part of his life in faraway Ivory Coast where he lived with an uncle. He returned to Nigeria in 1977, having been trained as an electronics repairer. And for the next few years, life was sweet as young Adedokun made money and enjoyed spending it while it lasted. He said: “Prophet Hezekiah Oluboye Oladeji, founder, CAC Canaan Land, Garage Olode, Osun State, is the one behind this ministry. It was him who God used to bring me into His fold. Prophet Hezekiah and I are like Elijah and Elisha. It was through him that I found God’s favour. I am the first of three children. I was taken away to Ivory Coast in 1967. I came back to Nigeria in 1977. Life was good and I made money. But by 1990, I lost everything because I lived life as a non-believer. ‘’After that, my siblings tried to get me a job. But because I didn’t have any certificate, all they could get for me was security jobs. But I know that I am a strong man, so I opted to go into farming rather than do security job. That was how I started farming and also help people to harvest palm fruit. Between all this, I also served as a house help for some period. It was while I was doing this that I got to a settlement, called Kajola Ojurin. I finally settled there in 1997, and left in 2004. “At that time, I was a member of The Apostolic Church. At a point, the pastor was transferred, and nobody was brought to replace him. One particular Sunday, I just decided that I would lead the congregation. I was doing this until one day when the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) requested for somebody to represent our church. The church decided that I should go. But don’t forget that I said I was a farmer, not a pastor. But I found favour before the leaders of our church, and they sent me. “One day, we decided to hold a revival programme. So, as we debated on who to invite, we all agreed that it should be Prophet Hezekiah. We went to his church to inform him. The first time we met him was November 11, 2004. Meanwhile, I was still doing my farming work alongside the pastoral work. On the day the prophet came for the revival programme, it was like all his messages were directed at me. Though he did not know anything about me at the time, but all he said was about me. When I heard him, I started crying. But at a point, I heard him say that God asked him to shake hands with three people. I was lucky to be one of the three people who shook hands with him that day. Immediately after that, I clearly heard God talking to me about my salvation. God specifically told me not to go back to my house, and that I should leave that town immediately. He said if I obeyed His command, that I would fulfill what He sent me to do on earth. I tell you, from that crusade ground, I didn’t go back home. I left the town that day and came to Olowo, Ore, to meet my friend. That was how I got to this town.” When he arrived at his new abode, he did not waste time to commence a threeday fasting and prayer that God ordered him to observe. “I started almost immediately after I arrived at Olowo town. Interestingly, people started coming to me that I should pray for them. I did that for the next three days when a message came that I should tell the people, irrespective of their religion, to come together and pray to Him. God said if they did that, He would hearken to their cries. I did as ordered by God, and the people turned out in large number for the programme. The town head and the elders later asked me to stay and live with them. As a matter of fact, the first person to ever call me a prophet was the second-in-command of this town. And people started calling me by that name since then.” Having agreed to live with them, the head of the town pledged to donate a piece of land to the prophet to build a church. But he lacked the capacity to start a church at the time. So he was advised to go back to Prophet Hezekiah to explain his experience to him. “I went back to the prophet three months after that encounter with him. And surprisingly, the moment I entered into his presence, the first thing he said was ‘Welcome God’s prophet’. ‘’I later explained to him my experience since he shook hands with me. It was him that advised me to go ahead with the plan. And that is why our church is called CAC Cannan Land. You know that his ministry is called by that name.” With little or no fund available to him, he lived on a bench under a tree for three years after he took possession of the land in 2005. But at this stage, his immediate family became very worried about their man. They feared that he might be suffering from mental disorder, and came to take him away. “But the first day they came to take me away, I was praying with some people. After they observed what was happening, my family decided to leave me alone.” However, one particular thing about this time was that the people observed that whenever the man of God prayed, they got result. And if he told them anything, it came to pass. So, the church began to grow gradually, with the eight people present at the first service held in the church about eight years ago. But the growth did not come on a platter of gold for the church and Pastor Adedokun. For years, the only thing he held on to was his faith in God. “Don’t forget that I told you that when I arrived in this town, I had only a pair of trousers and three shirts. And for years, all we had was the forest. As a matter of fact, I kept warm by making bonfire with logs of wood, which must not be extinguished or else the cold would be too much to endure. It was tough.” Eight years on, the fame of CAC Cannan Land, Olowo District, has grown beyond the little town. Last Tuesday, though not a Sunday, the church was filled with people, all seeking spiritual healings to various challenges. But the crowd does not appeal to the man of God. “I am not fascinated by the crowd. I tell you, whenever a man of God tells you that he is happy to see a large crowd at his programme, he is definitely happy with the amount of offering he is expecting. Our main concern should be whether the people would go back home without receiving the healing they expected to get. That should be the concern of men of God.” The prophet attributed the suffering in the country to lack of selfless leaders. According to him, “At the root of the problems facing us is the lack of leaders who would be selfless and would love their fellow man like themselves. There is too much greed among the people. They forget that whatever you acquire in life would come to an end one day. Mark it, if our people can begin to exhibit a bit of love for others, life would change for the better for us.”
Source: The Nation