By Gbenga Osinaike
By the time he graduated from the University of Lagos, Venerable Gbekeleoluwa Odusanya had a clear direction on where to go. Having been born again as a youth and having served in various capacities in the students’ fellowship groups coupled with a rare encounter with God he had while on campus; he knew his lot was to serve in the Anglican Communion as a priest.
But his parents had other plans for him. “My parents wanted me to take up a job with Coca-Cola and in fact had helped to secure interview appointment. But the interview date for the Coca-Cola job fell on the same day I was to go for an interview for admission to the seminary. I opted for the seminary interview. Unfortunately, I did not get admission to the seminary.”
He lost at both ends. He could not proceed with the seminary that he was convinced God wanted him to go and also had to lose the opportunity of working in the soft drink company. That experience was to later discourage him and made him resign to fate.
He could not go back to his parents to ask for upkeep money. “I felt since I was the one who wanted to be a priest, I should be responsible for my own upkeep. I really did not want to bother my parents again. So I took to some partnership with a colleague doing some work just to keep myself together while hoping to still go to the seminary.”
It however turned out that the Lord deliberately frustrated his admission so he could prepare him for the task ahead. Ironically, it took him about eight months to say yes to God on the option of the seminary while in the university. So when things were not working out Odusanya who studied Science Technology at the University of Lagos was glad to report to God that the fault was not his.
He then gave God an ultimatum that if his admission to the seminary did not come through at a particular time, he would go look for a secular job. Incidentally at the expiration of the ultimatum the vicar of the Anglican Church where he worshiped called him and broke the news of his admission to the Anglican Seminary in Lagos.
Pronto, he got himself together and resumed at the school where he spent two years. By December 1995 he was through with his theological training and was ordained as a deacon. By the following year he was ordained a full priest of the Anglican Communion.
That marked the beginning of the journey of Odusanya in the ecclesiastical world. He says the journey has been full of thorns, thistles and a myriad of miraculous interventions. He told our correspondent if he were to write about his experiences he would take volumes. He however thanked God that all the challenges that came his way have been for the good of the ministry the Lord assigned to him.
“So far I have served in 10 churches. My shortest time in a church was one and half years.” He said.
The highest he has spent in any of the churches is four years. He disclosed that each church came with its own blessings and baggage. “I thank God for the parishioners in all the places I served. But there were a few places that left a sour taste in our mouth. There was a particular parish where I was attacked in mysterious ways by some people after delivering a message. It was clear that I was being spiritually attacked but God spared my life. It was not long after that a mystery dog came to our bedroom where our baby was lying.
“The dog, huge wanted to attack the baby when a young boy who saw the dog from outside raised the alarm to alert my wife who was around the house. She ran to chase the dog along with neighbours. But the shocking thing is that between the room and the gate of the compound, the dog disappeared. We could not kill it. But we took it up spiritually. We prayed the consequence was devastating for the devil’s agents that masterminded the attack. Some people had to come begging a few days later. God fought that battle for us.”
The Ijebu born cleric also had serious health challenges that almost claimed his life. “I was in the church at a particular night. It was a new parish we had just moved to. It was as if the devil did not want us to operate in that church. I began to experience tummy movement. I could not recall what I ate. To cut a long story short between 9 pm and the following morning I went to toilet about 30 times. Yet, God delivered me even before I sought for medical aid.”
Serving as a priest in the Anglican Communion in the last 25 years according to Odusanya could be challenging but the experience is worth it. “There is a joy that envelopes you. There is a peace you can’t explain. There are blessings that God will give you that no man can give you. I have seen a lot of miracles which God has brought our way. The gift of the word of knowledge and word of prophecy have greatly manifest in our ministry” he said.
Quoting Jesus’ statement, he said “Anybody that would serve the Lord will face challenges. We will have victory and success at the end. Leading people from darkness to light is a joy for me. The Bible calls us the light of the world the salt of the earth.”
Read also: My travails: Odinakachi, Anglican priest who served in 17 churches in 20 years…https://churchtimesnigeria.net/travail-anglican-priest/
On the peculiarity of the Anglican Church he explains, “The ministry is a place of service. We are called to serve God. The Anglican Church is peculiar in the sense that you are expected to obey your superior. The meaning of that is that you are serving God while also honouring your bosses and obeying them even as they also obey Christ. God expects us as stewards to be faithful. Man can deceive but God knows our heart. Sincerity and loyalty are needed for success in ministry. When you serve God he will feed you and you will eat well. In other words we are called to work for God and do it whole heartedly. We are not required to be lazy. Our blessings lie in faithful service.”
Now in the 10th church, he had served in Ajegunle Apapa, Ketu, Badagry, Idimu, Ipaja, Agege and Akute, He had served at Maryland Mende and now presently at Ikorodu North. He is the Archdeacon of Ikorodu North Archdeaconry and the Vicar of the Church of Transfiguration, Ikorodu under the Diocese of Lagos West.
He reasoned that the ministry would have been frustrating without the support of his wife whom he described as God sent. “My wife has been quite supportive. God has used her tremendously and we have both gone through the challenges and come out unscathed. I must also thank our Lord Bishop, The Rt. Rev. James Odedeji who has been a blessing to our ministry. He has been encouraging us all through the trying moments. For me the recent preferment as Venerable is a call to higher duty and service in God’s vineyard. My focus now is to serve God with eyes on the goal.”