In 2004, I traveled to Ilesha in Osun State Nigeria, to join the family in the burial ceremony of my Uncle, Chief Edmund Olatunde Ayoola. While I was in Ilesha at my mother’s house (The Late Madam Hope Mobolaji Famuyide-Ajetomobi, nee Ayoola), I was on the balcony overlooking the Temidire Model School. As I watched the school children play around on the school field, I heard the Spirit of the Lord say to me “go to the school and find out what help the pupils need.” I walked to the school and requested to speak with the principal. 


Upon entering the principal’s office, a very small room with a window and a door, but no ceiling, I noticed that the room was steaming hot because the roof was made of tin sheets, since there was no ceiling, the hot sun made the tin sheets very hot, thereby causing extreme high temperature in the room. Before entering the Principal’s office, I noticed that all the classrooms in the school had no windows or doors.’ Just cutouts where the doors and windows should have been. Some of the desks and chairs used for the pupils were broken, so instead of two pupils per bench, there were four children squeezed into one small bench. Most of the children had tattered uniforms and were barefoot. Some looked malnourished.


As I sat in the principal’s office, I introduced myself as a pastor, and asked about the needs of the children in the school. The principal, not knowing my intention, started telling me how bad the children were. According to her, “The pupils are not interested in education. They don’t have books nor school supplies. The parents do not give the children money to buy necessary things needed for their education. The children are inattentive in the class and most of them are drowsy.”


As the principal went on with this report, I thought to myself that those children were not provided with a conducive environment for learning and their parents are living far below the poverty level. A parent may make between NGN 6,000 - NGN30,000 ($16-$79) per month if employed. The cost of living is very high compared to income. Most of the parents are petty traders. Most civil servants’ salaries are not paid monthly, while salaries owed to them to the tune of 6-8 months are never brought current.


Even though the elementary level is free education, the low morale of unpaid teachers, coupled with a very poor learning environment with no water or toilet facilities, was too much to bear. As I listened to the principal’s frustration, I was moved to tears. Looking at the hungry, malnourished, and thirsty children, my heart yearned for them. No wonder the Spirit of God made me go to the school.


The burial ceremony I came for was completed and I returned to the USA, but with a heavy heart. I shared my findings with our Virtuous Women of Faith Fellowship of the church (Christ the Rock World Restoration Church in New York) and the women felt my burden as I shared about the children, the school, teachers, and the state of things in Nigeria.


The women in response to the burden, contributed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00 USD), which was used to purchase school bags, school supplies (notebooks, pencils, pens, rulers, crayons, erasers), and T-shirts with the school name imprinted thereon. Four women were nominated to join me in the next mission trip, which was in October 2005. Four schools with 250 children enrolled in each school (totaling 1000 children), benefited from the items provided. Food and cold drinks were served to the children that day. The children began to sing praise songs to God Almighty for such a divine provision. Every year, school supplies are distributed to the school children, teachers and administrators.  


From distribution of school supplies, in 2015, we advanced into conducting health fairs, engaging in diabetic, prostrate, dental, vision screening, blood pressure monitoring, breast exams, nutrition and health education, through the special invitation of Engineer Ekundayo Longe, pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos. A local Optometrist joined our health team and over 500 pairs of eye glasses were distributed. The following year, the hall of Methodist cathedral Church Ilesha was used for the health fair, while nine local government areas were covered in Lagos State, during which one of the beneficiaries of the breast exam had to undergo lumpectomy at the local hospital, financed by our mission team. Many men had to undergo further treatment for prostate CA detected through the screening provided.


In October 2010, during one of our mission trips, as we were distributing school supplies, it was brought to our attention that some of the children were orphans and some lived on the street. The Lord said to me “Who will be a voice for these children? Who will care for them since they have no one to advocate for them?” It troubled my spirit so much that I began to pray for these orphans. Then the Lord said to me “Build me an orphanage where these children can be raised in the love of God.” At first, I could not see the possibility of building an orphanage. As the Word of God says that with man, it may be impossible but with God all things are possible. I was led to share the vision of building an orphanage with my mother, Hope Mobolaji. Immediately, my mother caught the vision and said “Use my house and start there.” I heard in my spirit “family house” Which meant that God wanted a new building with no attachments. As I began to share the vision with others, an elderly man of God in Ilesha, who had been very involved in all our mission outreaches, Evangelist Abraham Adewale and his wife Mrs Juliana Adewale, offered to us their personal multi-level building, for the use of the orphanage. After seeking God’s direction, it was revealed that God wanted a free-standing building dedicated to the orphans and the under privileged. 


In October 2011, during our missions in Ilesha, my mother woke me up around 2am for prayers after which we began to discuss about various things including the ministry. My mother reminded me of her house at Oke Omiru, Ilesha which was tenant occupied. My mother said “That land and the house on it, I have given it to you and your sister Modupe Oluyemisi. Pull down the house and build the orphanage on it.” I sought the face of God about what she said.

 On February 19, 2012, almost four months after the discussion with my mother, she went home to be with the Lord. My mother passed away but her words were so alive in my spirit, burning in my ears “Build the orphanage on it.”


 In 2014, after discussing with my siblings and having a heart to heart talk with my sister, Modupe, about the land, she said “Go ahead and do whatever the Lord told you to do.” That was It! The guidance of the Osun State Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and Social Services was engaged. Following the rules and regulations as set up by the State, the registration of the orphanage commenced.


 In 2015, the architectural plans were drawn. God actually gave the directive on the design of the orphanage, which is the apartment style (so that the children will feel at home and not institutionalized), the bedrooms en-suite, the school ( for education of the children), the medical center (for their medical care), the chapel (for their spiritual growth and development) the living room (for family interaction), dining room with kitchen in each apartment, the double balconies, the play-ground etc. These were all dictated by God (the work is still unfolding by God’s grace).


As far as the financing was concerned, God told me from the beginning, “People will not give to dreams but when they see the structure, they will join in.” I understood what God was saying so, we engaged the architect, got the plans, people began to come forward and said the Lord told them to financially support the work. 

 After the drawing of the structure, the work looked overwhelming. Fear came in and people withdrew from the vision. At first it was discouraging, but God said “Move forward, I will make a way, it will be done”. To the glory of God, every obstacle was overcome, only by His grace. God sent helpers of destinies, prayer warriors, vision runners and backers, to support the work, I felt like Nehemiah. There were many discouragers and distractors, but God overcame all the challenges. To Him alone be the Glory.


 On October 17, 2018, Hope Emmanuel Orphanage was declared open and dedicated to the glory of God as a home to motherless, disadvantaged, abandoned children. Before the opening day of the Orphanage, the Ministry of Women and Children’s affairs had contacted us to determine the age group we would be caring for at the orphanage and we had agreed on age 2years to 13years old.


Well, on October 17, 2018, as the dedication ceremony of the orphanage was concluded and the ribbon cutting was ended, at 4pm on the same day, a newborn baby was found in a public toilet, fresh from the womb. The baby was picked up by the state social worker, who on her way to the orphanage, she got into an accident with the baby in her arms. The social worker had a fractured wrist while the baby had no scratch on her body. The baby was taken to the hospital for examination and was found to be sound in health. Baby Mercy became our first child admitted to Hope Emmanuel Orphanage. Baby Mercy grew up to be a beautiful, calm, intelligent, chubby baby who was later adopted into a beautiful, Godly, and prosperous home at the age of 5 months. We are grateful for being the foundation of Baby Mercy’s life.


 God continued to expand the age limit of Hope Emmanuel orphanage. In March of 2019, we received a call from an attorney about a pregnant 14year old girl that was just rescued from child trafficking. The attorney informed the orphanage that the child needed a safe place to live, and to be nurtured. Hope Emmanuel Orphanage could not refuse this child who had been in child labor since the age of 5 years, gang raped and now rescued. Hope Emmanuel Orphanage became her home. She received the medical attention she needed (prenatal to postpartum care) and she delivered safely. Today, Lady B, our teenage mother, is no longer plagued by nightmares, mood swings, depression or fear, which were a result of the trauma she had suffered in the past. 


Lady B is the first beneficiary of our Youth Redirection Program. Initially, when she first came to us, she wanted to be a hair dresser, but after the delivery of her child, Lady B changed her mind and decided she wanted to go to school to become a lawyer, even though she had never been in school before nor did she know how to read or write.  Lady B is enrolled in Hope Mobolaji International Academy. Now she is able to read and write, and is very meticulous in her education. Due to her determination and diligence, she is known as a book worm in her school and was promoted twice (skipped some classes) due to her brilliance. Her baby is also enrolled in the Crèche (Daycare) section of the same school. Mother and son are growing up in a love filled, Godly environment, looking forward to a bright future.


The age limit of Hope Emmanuel Orphanage is presently from 0-15years. About 45 children have been through the Hope Emmanuel orphanage since its inception 22 months ago. Some of those children have been adopted into beautiful well-rounded loving homes.  We give God all the praise for the great things He has done.


We want to thank all those who contributed immensely to the construction, furnishing, and continuous provisions of this Orphanage. To all who prayed and are still praying, our families, friends, pastors, ministers of churches, Christ the Rock Int. World Restoration Center, East Gate Church, Virtuous Women of Faith, state ministries, Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs,  police departments, social services, medical facilities, all our physicians, Wesley Guild Hospital, General Hospital, Our lawyers and law enforcement officers, Hope Mobolaji International Academy, teachers and administrators, Ministry of education and all the Board of Directors and staff of Hope Emmanuel Orphanage and the great Ijesha Community and the King, Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland, the Osun state Governor,  thank you for being the Arms of God holding us up. 


We extend our gratitude to our Bishop over this ministry, Bishop Jonathan E. Owhe, our partners, Pastor Sharon Lee Burke and Dr. Bernice Griffith, our God parents from the beginning, Justice Olayinka Ayoola, Dr. Ayobanji E. Ayoola, Engineer Ekundayo Longe, thank you and God bless you all.


 There is still more needed for the vision to be fulfilled. The medical center, the Youth Vocational Program, the Youth Redirection Program, the Entrepreneurship Development Program, the chapel, the Science Project, the Agricultural Project and the Children with Disability Project are yet to advance. But we believe that He who has begun a good thing in us, is able to complete all. 


The vision of God for Hope Emmanuel children, “Giving Hope and Securing Futures for one Child at a Time” will be accomplished by His grace. 


With deep appreciation,

Apostle Olutoyin Owhe RN, MHA D.Div.


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