Reverend Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, popularly known as Iya Adura is a Christian cleric, philanthropist, and founder of Love of Christ Generation C&S Church in London. The preacher, who manages her megachurch in the UK and audience in Nigeria, is one of (if not) the most popular white garment evangelists in Nigeria.
She is most known for her open arms and readiness to give to the needy whenever an opportunity presents itself. Most times, she doesn’t sit and wait for the opportunity to come to find her. She actively looks for people to help from the wealth and goodness God has blessed her with. She is also the founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation, a medium through which she positively affects the life of the underprivileged and those in need of rehabilitation.
Although Reverend Ajayi, today, belongs to the echelon of very rich and influential evangelists in the country, the situation wasn’t always so. In an interview once, she said, ‘I went there [the UK] a poor person and came back rich.’ Her journey wasn’t smooth. It was fraught with disappointments and challenges when she first moved to the UK to start her church. She recalls holding services in her house and slowly building her congregation. Things got so bad they could no longer afford the house and were forced to move around, sometimes staying in cheap hotels and B&Bs, where she continued her church.
People were not willing to believe in a preacher living out of a suitcase, and so she began praying for a church building. During a period with series of visions of her promised church, ceaseless prayers and what she defines as ‘crazy faith,’ which lasted over seven years, the small congregation she had grown slowly dwindled until the only member of her church that remained was her daughter’s best friend.
Her miracle came after a call from an influential Nigerian figure (she was unaware at the time) requesting for prayers. That encounter and the results of the prayer marked a turning point in the life of the evangelist which culminated in the person Reverend Ajayi prayed for buying her a much bigger church than she had dreamed of. The peculiarity of this encounter is the reason Reverend Ajayi says she has ‘Crazy Faith’.
For Esther, this sudden elevation and wealth did not lead to pomp or the kind of arrogance people tend to gain after such a change in fortune. She saw her new status as a position to help more people.
‘It is not nice to be poor. I don’t like it. Nobody should be poor. Money is energy. When you have money, you can make things happen. You walk a different way, talk a different way. I can bless people in a way that can change lives. Giving is so important to me.’
Her foundation has carried out numerous humanitarian projects. Apart from efforts in the alleviation of poverty, it actively engaged in the rehabilitation of Nigerian returnees from Libya and has provided aid to people displaced by the insurgency in some northern parts of Nigeria. In February 2019, news of her 10 million naira donation to veteran Nigerian actor Baba Suwe’s health treatment was rife.
Her work has continued with less attention drawn to it. Her charitable works span continents and countries. She has toured several countries in and outside Africa as part of her efforts to reach and impact more lives. Between 2018 and 2019, she visited over forty-eight cities around the world. In September 2019, her charity work took her to Madagascar where she, again, touched the lives of people.
Reverend Ajayi believes in the power of what can be achieved when we place giving at the centre of our lives and the magnitude of change one individual can make.