The last words of an evangelist who was killed while she was street-preaching here on Saturday (July 9) were, "Blood of Jesus," her husband told Morning Star News.
Eunice Mojisola Olawale, a deaconess in the Redeemed Christian Church of God that her husband pastors in a suburb of Abuja, was stabbed and cut to death by a band of Islamists in the streets of Kubwa in the early morning. Born July 23, 1974, the mother of seven children was killed two weeks before her 42nd birthday.
"My wife loved Jesus so very much," pastor Olawale Elisha of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in the Gbazango area of Kubwa, told Morning Star News. "Some of the people living close to the spot where she was killed told us that they heard her last words as she was being murdered. They said she was shouting, 'Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus!' And that was the end."
A Muslim leader and five other Muslims from a mosque in the Gbazango area of Kubwa have been arrested in connection with the murder, the pastor said. He said he desires the killers to repent and join her in heaven.
"My desire is that our persecutors get to know God - our desire is to see God arresting them one by one to confess Jesus Christ," Pastor Elisha said. "You know when Jesus Christ saves their souls, Satan and hell will lose. If we desire that those who persecute us should die, then we are increasing the population of hell. The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents."
Pastor Elisha, whose church has about 70 members, said God has given Christians a ministry of reconciliation.
"Our persecutors were also created in God's image," he said. "It is because we are weak that we think people that are doing evil are stronger. But if we are committed, God knows how to handle our persecutors and increase people coming to His kingdom."
His wife had a premonition about being in heaven a few weeks before her death, he told Morning Star News.
"There was a day three weeks back when she called out and said, '...my Husband.' I responded thinking she had something to tell me, but then she told me she was not talking to me, but Jesus. I responded by telling her that she is right by saying she was a heavenly bride, but by still living here on earth, I was her husband. And she jokingly asked whether I was jealous of her becoming the bride of Christ. After laughing over things, she began to sing of Christ being the lover of her soul."
The day before she was killed, he asked the family if they would pray together in the living room in advance of her going to Abuja for a women's fellowship conference.
"However, she asked me to kindly allow her have some quiet time with the Lord," he said. "And when she went into our bedroom, she was there praying for three hours. She was in there praising and worshipping God. And when she finally came out of the bedroom, I could sense the peace and brightness of God on her face."
Unspeakable pain accompanies the fond memories and martyr theology. When on Saturday (July 9) some of Pastor Elisha's children overheard neighborhood kids playing soccer say that a woman who preaches regularly had been killed, they rushed home to ask him if she had returned.
"I tried calling her mobile phone but was unable to dial her phone number, as my hands were shaking and my mind unstable at the news," he said. "We then rushed out to the scene."
People playing soccer at the scene of the attack could not tell the pastor, his son and daughter what had happened, he said - they only looked at them. A police officer confirmed that a woman had been killed and told him to go to a police station to find out her identity. He and the two children drove to the police station, parking the car outside the station gates since they were barricaded for security reasons.
"As we were entering the premises of the police station, we saw a police pick-up van driving past us at the gate," he said. "My daughter turned around and looked inside the pick-up truck and saw the corpse of my wife; she screamed, and this attracted my attention to the back of the truck. I saw the corpse of my wife and could not bear what I saw. I collapsed and was on the ground while my children were crying."
A police officer took his cell phone and called two of his associate pastors to come over to the police station. They also called Pastor Elisha's younger brother, since the pastor was too devastated to drive. Police later came to his home to get a statement from him.
Olawale had been preaching Christ on the streets for six years, following in the footsteps of her evangelist mother, the pastor said.
"I was told that my mother in-law would go 'round streets, ringing a bell and urging passersby to receive Jesus into their lives," he said. "Sharing the gospel with others on the street is a lifestyle to my wife's family. Her younger sister also goes out to the streets to preach Christ. Love and compassion is the hallmark of the life of my wife."
Olawale is a martyr whose faith has challenged many people's lives, he said.
"This challenge is that we need to wake up to the task of sharing the gospel," he said. "My joy in this tragedy is that my wife is resting in the bosom of the Lord. That a woman with children, not a girl, could just sacrifice her life for Christ. I am telling you if we are going to the same heaven she is in now, then we need to wake up."
With Christians facing persecution throughout most of Nigeria, especially in the northeast, Pastor Elisha said the more persecution the church experiences, the more growth and glory to God.
"In John 16:1-2, Jesus told us that He would not leave us in ignorance - that a time is coming when people will drag us out of synagogues or churches to kill us and think that they are rendering service to God, because they don't know Him or the Father."
Persecution is not a punishment, but rather enduring persecution faithfully is a way of expressing Christ's love, he said, adding that there is a need to pray for Christians in northern Nigeria and assist those in need. They need to be encouraged in prayers to respond to persecution not with violence, but with Christ's message of peace, love and joy, he said.
"We are sheep, and He is the Shepherd," he said. "A sheep cannot fight for itself."