I join my entire Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo family in Lagos to celebrate the transition of Sir Adeola Olufon, a man of integrity. The Methodist hymn by Charles Wesley, ‘Uphold me Saviour, or I fall, O reach me out thy gracious hand. Only on thee for help I call, Only by faith on thee I stand’ (MHB 478) summarised the physical, professional, marital, and spiritual life of Sir Adeola Olufon, a reputable Real Estate Surveyor and Valuer. Born, almost 70 years ago, Sir Olufon attended and graduated from the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife) Nigeria with Bachelor’s Degree, Estate Management in 1975. Between 1976 -1977, Sir Olufon proceeded to the University of Reading, United Kingdom for Master’s Degree, Real Estate, M.Sc Urban Land Appraisal. He worked for 17 years with the Afribank Estate Company Limited, Nigeria until he retired as the Managing Director in September 2008. He was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Adeola Olufon and Co (2008 -2018), and Executive Chairman, Oaken Realities (2008-2018).

Sir Olufon, did not only surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and service in God’s vineyard, he with his amiable wife, a twin semblance and model of a Christian marriage and home nurtured and registered all their children now grown up to increase the discipleship and workers in the Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo. When I joined Olowogbowo in 1993 and as a student minister in 1994, the Olufons identified with the ministry of Methodist Evangelical Movement (MEM), Olowogbowo. Regardless of their busy professional engagements they do not missed weekly prayers, revival programmes, and Lenten services. Sir Deola Olufon and his wife loves and cares for ministers, especially, Old people and widows. I remember, after leaving Olowogbowo, the Olufons will always come to present Christmas package to my family at Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa. I was very surprised to see Dad Olufon, his brother and some Olowogbowo members at my home town, Osu, in Osun State during my father’s funeral without telling him directly.

Sir Olufon was courteous and submissive and always ready to serve. The qualities of his humility and dedication, even as the pioneer Lagos Diocesan Men’s Fellowship President won his enviable position and respect among the church members and across the Methodist Conference and his professional bodies. Sir Olufon as a Property Adviser to the Conference of Methodist Church Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese, and Wesley Cathedral, used his wealth of professional acumen and experiences to strengthen and recapitalise the church properties, facilities, and economic growth. The last time I discussed with him in London, Dad Olufon was still talking with passion about the new church’s assignment given to him, the construction of the retirement house for the Archbishop of Lagos. He served the church till death with his body, soul, and spirit.

Dad Olufon, the Lord has called you in His appropriate time because He knows better. You are gone but never forgotten. The Methodist family grieves for your loss but we rejoice in the Lord because you accepted the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. The church is grateful to God for your life, services and dedication, and our consolation is that you are resting peacefully in Jesus’ bosom. We Christians really don’t die. We fall asleep. The New Testament is very clear and instructive on this. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Dad Olufon, absence from us is his presence with the Lord Jesus Christ. His body sleep until the last day. Dad Olufon just fell asleep a little bit ahead of us. And he fell asleep with style, with class, with faith, with grace, and with a heart filled with love for others and the church rather than pity for himself. I thank God for having the privilege of knowing him and his family. Dad Olufon was a choice vessel of the Lord especially in the Wesley Cathedral Church Council meetings. And he greatly impacted the life of many people, especially the Cathedral Youth.

While his passing is great gain for him; it’s a huge loss for us who knew him.There will be a gaping hole in our hearts but our hope is in God who is able to strengthen us in times of sorrow. Beloved, there are so many things that we don’t know on this side of the veil. We are finite creatures, tied to space and time, captured to a little speck of human history and experience. God is infinite, He is eternal, and He sees the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning. He knows all things that can be known. He sees the big picture. That which we can’t possibly know or see. It is for this reason that so much of life is a mystery. Our God has chosen to not fully disclose His every plan. He instead beckons us to trust Him. To rest confidently in the fact that He can see further than we can. And what He does is always right and just. Let us take comfort in God who raises the dead. While our God is sovereign and sees and knows all things. We can be assured of this. He suffers with us in our pain. He grieves with us in our loss. He hurts with us in our suffering. So we can cling to Him in our time of grief and mourning.

While the wisest among us do not have any answers as to the question, “why” … and such answers really wouldn’t remove the pain anyway even if we knew them … as children of the Most High God, we can weep with those who weep and suffer with those who suffer. And therein, we can find some comfort. Finally, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of the world, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

Please remember in prayer the wife, children, grandchildren, the entire Olufon families, and Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos.