Our Days are few: A Tribute to Adeola Abiodun and an Appeal
By: Deji Yesufu
In March 2013, I stopped tithing my income. The implication of that decision for me, financially, was that I had a little more resources at hand to play around with. One Saturday morning that year, Edmund Obilo invited Adeola Abiodun to his radio program where she discussed her work on air. Adeola, at that time would have been a little over 30 years old; yet she had taken up the courageous work of looking after motherless babies here in Ibadan. She named her orphanage: Nazareth Home. I was genuinely impressed by her testimony and I noted the number that Obilo published on air. My family and I will eventually visited Nazareth Home in December 2013 at their location in Egbeda Local Government, off the New Ife Road express way. We went there with the intention of being a blessing to the young people this brave young lady was taking care of but we immediately saw the immense needs all around us. We discussed with Adeola and right there and there, we made the commitment to begin to sponsor one of the children through school. If I was no longer giving churches my tithes, I could as well support orphans with my income. Adeola made me to understand that one or two families were also handling the schooling of some other children but they needed more and more people to render help to them.
Fast forward to 2017, I received a text message from Adeola saying that she was in the United States. Adeola was ill. She had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Some members of her family had affected her travel to US for medical tourism but without insurance, her medical bills were mounting and she needed help. I reached out to a friend in the US and my good friend extended the little help that he could to her. From her sick bed, Adeola was still running the day to day activities of the Nazareth Home. She was able to get a manager to step into her duties there and she continued to make appeals to Nigerians to help her children with their education.
Probably because of my long association with cancer patients, I knew Adeola’s condition was terminal and I tried to help her to put her house in order. Unfortunately I am not sure whether she got the message I was passing across to her. Every time I chatted her, Adeola kept expressing some hope for miraculous and divine healing. I understood her mindset because of my long association with Pentecostals and Charismatics, but I needed to help Adeola see that our days are few and it does not matter whether we live up to 100 or we die at 33 (the year our Lord Jesus himself died), what matters is a life well spent, dying well and putting our businesses in order before we exit. In the three year period Adeola was in the US, she spent most of her days in the hospital. I would chat her up from time to time and the story was the same: no insurance meant mounting medical bills; and then her care for her children at the Nazareth Home here in Ibadan. At some point I requested that I make her situation public. I have close to 7,000 people who see my posts on Facebook; many of them live abroad. Some of these people could extend a hand of help to her. “Let us do Go Fund Me…,” I said to her. Adeola would have none of it. Then I made her to understand this: all your life you have helped people; taking children from under the bridge in Iwo Road, clothing them, feeding them, etc. For once, allow people to help you. After this Adeola said she would think about it. But she never did agree to it. Last week Thursday, I was chatting online with one of her former managers at the Nazareth Home; a lady who still stays close to the home. This person told me that Adeola Abiodun had died. She had finally succumbed to her illness.
Nabeel Qureshi died on the 16th of September, 2017. He was 34 years old. Before his death, Nabeel was a minister of the gospel and a Christian apologist. Nabeel had authored the book “Seeking Allah and Finding Jesus”. His testimony about his conversion from Islam to Christianity is about the most powerful story of conversion that I have ever heard. Nabeel was at the height of his career as a minister of the gospel when he was suddenly diagnosed of stomach cancer in August 2016. He was given 9 months to live. Nabeel died a little after a year following his diagnoses. The blessing of Nabeel’s death is the 43 vlogs he published on YouTube before he died. Because he was no longer travelling and ministering around the world, he took time to record his battle with cancer and how his treatment was progressing. I concluded watching all 43 videos two weeks ago and I came away with this simple message: God has not promised Christians long life; he has instead promised us eternal life. God has given every human being time to live on this earth and how we spend that time matters to him. In fact our time here on earth is a thrust for which we would account for. The longer the time we spend the more accounting we have to do. It matters that we use the little time we have here on earth well because our days are few (Psalm 90).
This week, by the grace of God, I would be visiting Nazareth Home to find out how the children are doing. I also hope to contact the new management and see what plans they have for the running of that place following Adeola’s death. The little information I have is that the Oyo State government is planning on closing Nazareth Home down because the place has not been properly run because of paucity of funds. I want to use this occasion of a tribute to Adeola to appeal to members of the public, who have a heart for humanity, to help keep Adeola’s vision alive. Your donations will go a long way to help take care of these children and see them through school. I am sure the new management of the home will be able to receive your donations and channel the funds to help the children. I also want to use this medium to appeal to the government of Seyi Makinde not to close down Nazareth Home but to help them, along with other orphanages in Ibadan, to stay alive.
I am positive that this is what Adeola Abiodun will want and I know that this is something that pleases God (Hebrew 13:16). Thank you for reading.