Former Zonal Superintendent, Rev. VICTOR IWALA
Talks About His 37 Years As A Pastor
Reverend Victor Iwala is one of the famous Foursquarians as they are popularly called. He is one of the most popular pastors in Foursquare Church. Fondly called a youth pastor by his teeming friends in the vineyard, he turned 70 last year and retired from active service of Foursquare, but he is still one of the executive board members of Foursquare Church, who determine what happens there. He started his life in the ministry as a youth leader and rose fast through the ranks to become part of the people who called the shots in the Foursquare worldwide.
He is well loved among the foursquarians and no wonder when he celebrated his 70th birthday a few months back, he pooled many top leaders of the church. Among them was the general overseer of the church, Rev Meduoye whom he shares a close friendship with and who described him as an Agape pastor, who loves and shares with all adding that, he’s a minister who brings people together. He added that he wished Iwala did not retire, but for the church’s constitution, however, he stated that the septuagenarian was “retiring to re-fire”.
He said: “I personally don’t wish to let him go because of his active roles in the church. He has provided focused leadership at various hierarchy within the church. He has represented the church both at National and international levels. He is still agile. But according to the constitution, he has to go. I believe he’s retiring to re-fire. I am sure he will still make himself present in any Foursquare’s related activity.” It takes someone that is very prominent and well-loved within the God’s vine yard for such to be said about him.
Also, the wife of the former General Overseer of the church, Rev. (Mrs) Badejo, described Iwala as a personification of Christ’s love whose good human relations cuts across all and sundry. Dignitaries at the event were wife of the former General Overseer of Foursquare church in Nigeria, Rev. (Mrs) Badejo, the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude, General overseer of Foursquare, Rev. Felix Meduoye, Assistant General overseer of the Redeem Christian Church of God, Pastor Johnson Kalejaiye, among others.
Still full of life at over 70, Rev Victor Iwala, always represents the General Overseer of Foursquare and other men of God at A-list functions. He is one of the National Executive members of Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria. He was the former Senior Pastor/ Zonal Superintendent at the church, he worked at Clergy, studied at LIFE Theological Seminary and had his college Studies at Stella Maris College, Okitipupa, Ondo State. He also studied at Nigerian Advanced School Of Theology, Edo State and attended classes at L.I.F.E THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, IKORODU, LAGOS. He had his tertiary education at Yabatech and Lagos State University (LASU). City People Society Editor, TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI, met with this amiable man of God a few weeks back, where he talked about his life at over 70 and how he became a pastor.
How do you feel attaining 70, though you are 71 now, you celebrated your birthday a few months back?
I feel great and it is by the grace of God. It is not by my power nor by my might, it is God, who has brought about the sustainability. The strength has been from God, many water has passed under the bridge, it is not by me or by my parents, but God that has kept me this far. I thank God that, I have the best of life, so far that I have lived my life for Him. I feel fulfilled.
If you want to reflect over the last 70 years, what can you say?
I just have to thank God because like I said, many water has passed under the bridge, a lot of things have happened, but in all, we give thanks to God. God brought me from grass to grace. I started as a nobody to become somebody at Foursquare. I started as a Sunday school teacher moved to a missionary chairman, then to the youth leader and then to Youth President. From there, I became a pastor after my Bible college education. Everything was arranged by God and thereafter I was ordained and started pastoring churches, being a district overseer, Zonal Superintendent and to have attained the highest peak of the organisation, as a member of the board of directors, that is the highest peak anybody wants to attain, not the general overseer because it is not easy to be the general overseer. But as far as I am concerned, I was able to achieve that through the grace of God.
Can you tell us for how long you have been in the ministry?
By the grace of God, this will be my 47 years in Foursquare Church, but 37 years as a pastor.
What made you go into the ministry?
When I was in secondary school, I went to Stella Maries College in Okiti Pupa, Ondo state, my classmate, who was from Enugu told me that he wanted to be a priest, but for me that would be the last thing I would ever do. Now, that it is actually the last thing I am doing, because I never thought God would honour me to be one of His servants, I never thought of it, but as days unfolded, my father, who said, when he gave birth to me, there was one of his apprentices then, named Igbekeleoluwa, that he named me after that man and he said I would do the work of God by the time he heard about it. He was so happy that I have fulfilled the destiny. Well, I will say I was the first to be a minister in the family. I have my children pastoring churches in the US. I have some siblings, who are pastoring Redeemed churches too. So, that was how I started in the ministry.
Did you actually start off from Foursquare Church?
I ran from the Catholic Church then to Anglican Church because of offering, then I ran to Foursquare to see if it would be different but I realised it is good when you give to God and it was not different there. It was in me to worship God, but I never thought I would end up a Foursquarian. It was one of our people, who brought about it, and it was Reverend Regina Kehinde, she is in the US now, she was the one whom the Lord used to convert me also Rev Felix Olowomuke, who was CP of Police, and as at that time, he was a sergeant major in Police College. God used them to convert me because we were all college classmates. By the time I was converted at Ikeja, I was handed over to Rev (Mrs) Regina Kehinde and we were in the choir together, evangelising and that was how God arrested me and I became a member of the Foursquare in 1975 before I went to the Bible College and then now.
Was there a time you thought of giving up the pastoral job and do something else?
That was when I was pastoring a particular church. Before then, when we were in the Bible College, we went for student and fellowship and we were on our way out expecting 1981, trying to put some things together in the church, all of a sudden ,some men just came and said we have encroached on their land. The next thing that happened was that, we were all arrested, my pastor, the Late Rev AA Osinbanjo, our incumbent GO, Rev Meduoye, Pastor Elewa and the Late Rev Adesanya, 5 of us. So, I thought: Is this how ministry is going to be? So, I said I was not interested in pastoral job again. So, my pastor said, you have not started yet, you would see more and actually, I saw more than what I bargained for and I still stuck to it.
What is your joy and fulfilment in all of this?
My joy is having the grace to have attained the position I have attained now in Foursquare before I retired and the fulfillment is such that I have children here and there, anytime they would call me. They would say have you forgotten us, we are one of your children. So many of them who are pastors. So, those are my joy, then when you see your children doing well. Most of them are General Overseers today like Tony Akinyemi, Dele Abegunde, District Overseer Of Magodo and some others. The joy of it all is that people are being saved.