(A Tribute to a Great Disciple of Christ!)
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
Victoria Foluke Akerele, was more than just a sister to me; she was a beloved daughter, a faithful friend, a dedicated yokefellow in the gospel of Jesus Christ and a trustworthy companion in my walk with God.
Foluke was not just a child of God; she was an angel. That was the testimony of almost everyone she came in contact with both in Nigeria and in South Africa. Where she was a missionary.
It was in one good evening in 1991 (I cannot remember the precise date), at the entrance of Awo Hall, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, that fate made our paths to cross. I was going towards Awo Hall together with my friend, Brother (Now Pastor) Sola Agboola, while she was going to class and we meet at that spot. As we were about to pass her, she spoke politely, “brothers, eyin o ki nki’yan ni?” meaning brothers, don’t you greet? We both apologised immediately having remembered her to be one of the new members of our fellowship (CAC Student Association). I asked for her name, her room number and her course. I promised to visit her, which I did and from then, we were always together.
She was very young and agile then, about the youngest in the fellowship, always punctual in allfellowship meetings. From that moment, she attached herself to me and called me her daddy. She join the unit which I headed at that time (the Bible Study Group) and later served as my Financial Secretary when I was the fellowship president.
By the mercy of God, I discipled her for Christ under God. She would ask me many questions from the Bible which I was always glad to answer. I taught her and others how to write study outlines, preview studies and review studies. I taught her how to do “biribiri” fasting (marathon fasting without water or food).
Without doubt, Foluke was one of the best disciples of Jesus under my leadership while we were together. She was so friendly, so humble, so obedient, so committed and so loyal. Many of my other children in Christ in those days called her my last born and my Timothy. I was always proud of her.
We lost contact for about two years around year 2000, due to breakdown in communication because of certain challenges, but God brought us together again. She invited me to minister in her church, Redeeming Hope Christian Center, Lagos in 2005 and from then, we took off from where we stopped.
Foluke was a friend to all. On few occasions, I saw her cry. But even in those moments, her faith in God and belief in the efficacy of the word of God was unshaking. She always display the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I never saw her getting angry. She can’t stand against you if you are unserious about the gospel work, but her anger does not last more than just a moment. She was always smiling. She was a friend of all; she loved all and wanted the best for all. Foluke was an encourager per excellence and a great motivator.
Foluke was a born missionary. From her days in Ife, in all our village missions, to her mission outreaches under Alpha Mission International, she was relentless in her passion for the lost. Even in the peak of her infirmity, she was still discussing mission. She told me how she wanted us to go to Ghana this year for mission. She wanted to return to India for mission (she was there before), and she wanted to do the work of God both in Canada and the United States of America. The work of God is always the number one on the list of our discussions.
She was a woman of faith. Her prayer life was worthy of emulation. She prays round the clock and carry burdens of intercession. She was still praying for people, though very weak in the body, the day she was called home. She was more concerned about the good of people than the infirmity in her body.
Foluke was a team player, a bridge builder and an encourager per excellence. She led all her siblings to Christ and ensure that all of them are doing well serving the Lord. She was the link person between me and my beloved brother, her Senior Pastor, Pastor Samuel Abiodun Wright. Although she had no child in the flesh, she gave birth to and nurtured to maturity hundreds of children in Christ. She was a mummy of many children.
She was a woman of many visions. She authored and distributed freely all over the world Daily Prayer Pills, which is a daily devotional prayer manual. She had a mission to young girls on sexual purity. She had a project for old people both in the urban and rural areas. She prays online through every means possible every day for people across the globe. She was never tired when it comes to the work of God.
Foluke was a model of simplicity, integrity and accountability. She was a symbol of Christian holiness within and without. I never heard her using foul or rude language; she kept herself pure for her Master.
I had asked myself in hot tears of deep pains the question, “why Foluke?”
The answer that came to me was, Victoria Foluke Akerele, though born in human flesh was indeed an angel. Her life was unique. She pursued the course of the gospel completely and as a true soldier, she died on her duty post.
Angels do not stay for long on earth. She came, she showed people how to live for God and how to serve Him. Before we knew what was happening, she flew away!
Foluke, as we prayed together in the early hours of Thursday, 3rd of January 2019, you did not tell me that you were flying away. When I said a good bye to you that morning, you did not tell me till we meet at the feet of the Mater. You were so strong in faith and courageous in outlook. I never saw any sign of weakness in you. You always told me you were okay. Even two days before your departure, when we spoke on phone, you were so full of life and radiating faith and courage.
Dear daughter, I am heart broken by your departure. My cry is not an expression of hopelessness or a manifestation of faithlessness. But it is with a sense of a great loss. I still feel like calling you as usual. Our normal time of praying together on phone is now empty. It is difficult for me to come to term with the fact that, you will no longer be there again to tell me “e ku’le o” when I come for retreat and conference in your church. My heart bleeds my daughter. My daughter, o my daughter! My heart yearns for you o my daughter!
My daughter was an angel; she had soared ways to the presence of her Master! She had joined the saints triumphant! She had laid her sword down at the feet of the Master. She had kept the faith and finished her course. My daughter, o my daughter!
But, I rejoice for such huge testimonies I have been hearing about your life. Your life and your departure is igniting a new revival in me. I am not mourning you my sister. I am celebrating and I am proud of your life. Though short, your life was effective, impactful and exceedingly fruitful! So proud of you!
Today is your birthday and I will not be able to put a call through to you to wish you a happy birthday as usual.
Adieu my beloved sister and friend. I am missing you already and it is sure I will miss you. Your visions and missions will not die. Your memory will be kept alive by those who truly love you. Your work will continue to speak.
Have your well-deserved rest sweet angel.
Good night Angel Victoria.
Good night wonderful daughter of Zion.
I loved you and I will always do.
But the Master loves you more.
The angel had taken to the air, soaring to the presence of the Master!