Dr. Adegbola T. Adesogan
PRESENT DAY REALITY (Fall 2015)
The article below was written about 15 years ago and so I feel it is important to emphasize that the lessons I learnt about the meaning of life back then still hold true today. The most important decision I ever made was to surrender my life to God and to receive His son Jesus Christ as my Savior. Over the years, He has been my Lord, my Savior, my guide, my inspiration and my strength. He is the source of any good or admirable quality in me. I enjoy a deep personal relationship with Him that has given true meaning, purpose, joy and fulfilment to all areas of my life.
OUT OF CONTROL IN AFRICA (Fall 2000)
Nigerian-born scientist Gbola Adesogan tells Lindsay Ashlord ('The Angel' Newsletter St. Michael's Church, Aberystwyth Wales, UK) of the death wish that almost ended his career.
The bike was big and powerful. before Gbola had owned it, it had belonged to the Nigerian Police. Now it was his own personal killing machine.
A giant of a man, Gbola was a loner with a reputation for being able to sink a pint of lager faster than any other student on his university campus. If anyone crossed him he would write their name in his little black book, plotting the revenge he would take.
But although he often got into fights and would sometimes have to be pulled off his victim by the other students, the only person he really wanted to kill was himself. “I used to get quite depressed and wonder what the point of life was,” he says. I would get on my bike and ride recklessly and in the back of my mind I would be thinking, well if it happens now, it happens.”
Gbola’s lifestyle brought him into direct conflict with his parents, who were known across Nigeria for their Christianity. As a child he had embraced his family’s faith but when he went away to boarding school he started to rebel. It wasn’t a rebellion against God, he says, but against the way he was brought up. As he progressed through school to university the distance between Gbola and his parents grew. “I still had something in me that told me I should go to church,” he says, “but I would have been to an all-night party and would go into the service stinking of alcohol.”
His parents kept urging him to get more involved in church life but he steadfastly refused. The turning point came when his father tried to talk him into going to a big Christian union weekend which was attracting thousands of young people from all over Nigeria. “I said no way. But one of my godparents eventually bribed me into going by offering me some pocket money and a lift there and back.”
Gbola remembers one of the speakers at the weekend talking about the donkey Jesus took to ride into Jerusalem: “He said that the donkey had been set apart for the master. No-one had ever ridden on it and it was tied and waiting for a special purpose. He said the master was, in the same way, challenging us to be set apart for him.”
When Gbola heard those words it struck him that he had to make a decision. “I don’t like doing things by halves,” he says, “and I knew that I either had to go all-out for God or all-out for the devil. I decided to choose God.”
He was then faced with making some fairly radical changes to his lifestyle. The first thing he did was to cut down on the amount of alcohol he was drinking. “I knew I couldn’t stop completely but I decided to try and drink just a couple lagers instead of the six or seven I’d been downing pretty much every day. But it was really strange because literally overnight God took away my desire for alcohol. It was a complete change for me, and from going out every night and getting drunk I started being totally committed to God.”
“In Nigeria, for example, if you were to travel by bus from one town to another it wouldn’t be unusual for someone to get up and start preaching or invite everyone on the bus to pray. Because people are poorer there than here they turn to God in prayer for absolutely everything. It’s quite common to have all-night prayer meetings every week and church meetings every night of the week.”
The idea of the African Christian Fellowship, he explains, is to try to retain some of the differences in worship while recognizing that there is something to be gained from integrating with the British church.
At the end of July Gbola and his family will be leaving Aberystwyth for America, where he is taking up a new post at the University of Florida. “I believe God is giving us a vision to go and serve in Florida,” he says, “but I will miss Aberystwyth.”
What will he miss most?
“Oh, lots of things,” he smiles. “The sea, the people in the church and especially those at the Friday night prayer meeting.”
When Gbola looks back to his years in Africa he can hardly believe how different his life is now. “I used to pray that I would rather die than go back to my old ways, ” he says. “I genuinely believe now that there is nothing this world has to offer that’s more important than Christianity – I have found the meaning of life.”