Pastor Rapheal Adebayo has been giving back to South Dallas for the past 13 years
By Olajumoke Lawal
Tell us about yourself and background, when did you join RCCG?
I was a Muslim from birth until December 3, 1998, when I met a man of God, who lead me to Jesus Christ. He was a co-passenger sitting beside me in a British Airways flight from London to Lagos. Prior to that, I had left Nigeria for the USA on July 7, 1995, with high hopes for success due to my faith in Islam and other spiritual powers. Reason being that, this faith had helped me overcome joblessness and poverty of many years after graduating from a university in Nigeria with a degree in Chemical Engineering. However, before the decision to fly to Nigeria in December 1998, this faith and its attendant powers seemed to no longer work and I needed a solution.
That conclusion was ignited by an incident in the fall of 1998, while working on my second Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. That day, two ladies walked up to me and were trying to preach to me about Christ. In response to one of the statements made from the Holy Bible while speaking with them, I asked why the name of Prophet Mohammed was not mentioned in the Bible. After all, the names of other prophets like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and many others were mentioned in the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book. One of the ladies responded saying it was because Mohammed was a fake prophet. That statement came as a stab to my soul. I wanted to hit her on the head. I stopped the conversation in anger and walked away. I began to speak to myself, analyzing and questioning my faith. For the first time, wondering whether Mohammed was fake or not. The foundation of my faith had been shattered by one fire-packed conversation.
After my conversion in the plane, I was in Nigeria for three months. It was a divine set up as I spent all the time under the tutelage of a man of God who heard about my conversion and decided to mentor me. During this period, God connected me with a lady who later became my fiancée and eventually my wife after two years. She was a worker in The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). She invited me to Lekki ’98, a Holy Ghost Service organized by RCCG, themed “Divine Visitation.” The LORD visited me and delivered me from every power that had held me captive. I was very attracted to the Bible and the promises therein of power above every other spiritual power. I discarded every token of Islamic or African spiritual power in my possession and every book or audio that used to inspire me prior to my conversion. I separated myself from my old friends and family members. My previous fellow Islamic clerics told me the power that the Bible promises is not real, and that some pastors secretly go to Islamic spiritualists for power. I told them to give me at least six months to try the validity in the powers acclaimed to be in the blood of Jesus.
What has been your most rewarding experience? God is faithful, reliable, and dependable. He never fails on His promises. We started our church on the street, at the corner of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Blvd in Dallas on my 41st birthday, by feeding the homeless and ministering to them. Our firstborn daughter was eleven months’ old then. On that day, twenty-eight people gave their lives to Jesus. Until that day, I had never attended any meeting where so many souls were won at a time. This singular experience stirred up my heart for a ministry to the needy and homeless. On May 30, 2004, we had our first service in the chapel of a funeral home. We began buying chicken dinners to feed the homeless weekly from the little resources we had.