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Garlands for Matthew Ashimolowo at 70

By Seye Oyeleye
17 March 2022   |   3:28 am
I don’t normally do this, indeed it is usually a struggle for me to put eulogies on paper particularly when it involves someone who has made an indelible impact on your being as an adult.

I don’t normally do this, indeed it is usually a struggle for me to put eulogies on paper particularly when it involves someone who has made an indelible impact on your being as an adult. I first encountered Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo at a friend’s wedding in 1993. Indeed I think that was the first wedding at the Darnley road church in London Hackney. His message that September Saturday challenged so many of my long held beliefs; whilst I can’t remember the exact title, I recollect that I became very uncomfortable with where I was and what I had achieved up to that point.
 
Here was a young guy driving a beautiful car, with a “very good job” thinking he has arrived and then going to a church for a wedding, you were told by the Pastor that you are still operating at the crumbs level and where you are going is far higher than where I was. For another one year, I stuck to my church, Victory Christian Centre at Finchley under Mike Bassett and Kofi Banfour listening to the Word, but that singular message I heard from Pastor Matthew kept ringing in my head and will just not go away.
 


Fast forward to summer 1994, I attended another major outreach programme of the church KICC and the rest as they say is history. I became a fully fledged member and thus began the next phase of my life, indeed the phase that has determined my trajectory and who I have turned out to be.
 
For the next 14 years, I sat under his tutelage as a teacher, mentor, pastor and spiritual guide. His teachings, because he does not preach, became the template with which I moulded myself based on what the bible says; they were so practical and real that it was effortless to apply them to your daily life. Everything I did or steps I took stemmed out of what I picked and boy!! Did he teach!!!. I can’t rank the messages in any order, but one that really transformed my thinking process was the “Eagle Believer”; if ever there was a seminal message, that was indeed for me and without a doubt, still resonates today even in my activities in public life as if I heard it yesterday. But what about “congratulations you are going to have a baby”, “the 24 hours miracle” “what is wrong with being black” “increasing your capacity” “I’m a Boaz not a Bozo” “the show up God” “the power of the mercy of God” “it’s not over till it’s over” and many more too numerous to put in this short tribute.
 
What about his books, which indeed were a reflection of who he is at the pulpit, that life changing prayer book “ the power of positive prayer” which became my companion at an extremely low period of my life in 1997 when I thought there was no way out of the situation I found myself, “It’s not over till it’s over” “The anointing of the 24hrs miracle, “55 reasons why leaders fail” “Be the best” “12 major steps for perpetuating wealth” “The 10 m’s of money” and the ground breaking seminal work “The power of positive prayer Bible”.
 

Pastor Matthew invested so heavily in raising that champion man/woman and I count myself lucky to have drunk from his fountain for many years particularly from my mid-twenties because it indeed made me who I am today.
 
No words can express my gratitude to you Sir for how you impacted my life as I stand here as a testament to the fact that positive role models do have a major role to play in the leadership of any successful nation. I can say without equivocation that what you sowed into my life in my twenties and thirties turned me around and became my guiding principle in my career and private life.
 

You believed in so many of us and your teachings gave us wings to fly and many of your children are flying high all over the world today. At 70, you will now be charting new territories because if Caleb in his old age was still asking for fresh mountains to climb, I am pretty sure that you are just entering the most exciting phase of your life; be assured that 70 is the new 60. The energy and wherewithal to accomplish all that you desire to do in this new phase, God will supply in his abundance.
 
Pastor Matthew, I for one will be forever grateful to you for giving yourself to us black young men in UK in the 90s as a lot of us might have gone astray or settle for second best, but you ensured that we challenged the status quo that says a black man can only do so much in this environment, you ensured that we altered the statistics and through your voice, we all found our voices in the land. I could go on and on and write for days but on this occasion of your 70th birthday, I just want to say thank you God for giving us Pastor Matthew and thank you God for positioning me to be a part of your journey and it has been a wonderful experience.
 
Seventy garlands to a man of honour, integrity, God fearing, God lover, mentor of mentors, pastor of pastors, and a man who saw tomorrow yesterday. Arise, Matthew Abiodun Ashimolowo!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Oyeleye is director general at DAWN Commission.