It was precisely 13 years last August 8, 2022 when one of Africa’s foremost global evangelists and revivalists, the late Apostle/Evangelist Timothy Aremu Iyanda passed on. Originally hailed from Afin Oro in Irepodun Local Government of Kwara state, but born on June 1, 1935 at Orile Owu in Osun State, the late Apostle T.A Iyanda breathed his last at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at the age of 74. Until his demise, the founder of GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l sojourned the earth a consummate international evangelist/revivalist reputed as the first African preacher to use helicopter to share tracts during his evangelistic mission on earth.
From a humble beginning as vehicle mechanic and driver, Iyanda became larger than life preaching the gospel of salvation and healing all round the globe as a revivalist with great miracles, signs and wonders following his crusades until his glorious passage to be with the Lord in 2009 as an accomplished global evangelist.
Late Apostle/Evangelist Timothy Aremu Iyanda (1935-2009) reputed as the first African preacher to use helicopter to share tracts.
Apostle Dr. James Iyanda, the amiable first son of the deceased evangelist and Regional Overseer of GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l Headquarters, Alaguntan, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, shares with Christian Benefits the life and times of his late father and his last moments on earth before his transition to glory. He disclosed how his father spoke in tongues non-stop for two weeks before passing on.
“I’m Apostle Dr. James Iyanda, Regional Overseer of GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l headquarters and first son of the 12 children of the late Apostle Timothy Aremu Iyanda, the founder of GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l. My late father lived a covenanted life. His mother gave birth to ten children but none of them lived up to teen except my father; as a product of Apostle Ayodele Babalola’s prophecy. Apostle Babalola prophesied to his mother when she met him that by next year she would give birth to a child that no demon can kill. And that prophecy came to pass. My father grew up and served God in Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C). He served as personal driver of Apostle Babalola, the first general evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church. He was vehicle mechanic before he served as Baba Ayodele Babalola’s personal driver,” James disclosed.
The young Aremu Iyanda grew in service at Christ Apostolic Church from being Apostle Babalola’s driver to becoming a renowned evangelist in the mission. “In his lifetime my father served God at Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C) with total dedication. When he left C.A.C to start his own ministry, GOYE Pentecostal Mission he released all that he acquired under Christ Apostolic Church, including properties, to the church. However, the church authority offered him one of the properties to shelter his family,” James shared.
The apostle continues: “My father didn’t start as a pastor. He started as an itinerant evangelist, preaching from place to place. The now late Archbishop Benson Idahosa used to be my father’s interpreter before starting his own ministry, Church of God Mission (CGM). Apart from Archbishop Benson Idahosa other great servants of God that worked with my father include Evang. Brown and Evang. J.K Solomon among others. The now late Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, the founder of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Baba Agbenike and Baba Olanrewaju Moses are some of my father’s contemporaries in ministry.”
“The now late Archbishop Benson Idahosa used to be my father’s interpreter before starting his own ministry, Church of God Mission (CGM). Apart from Archbishop Benson Idahosa other great servants of God that worked with my father include Evang. Brown and Evang. J.K Solomon among others. The now late Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, the founder of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Baba Agbenike and Baba Olanrewaju Moses are some of my father’s contemporaries.”
Apostle James Iyanda recalls the passage of his late father with emotion, saying he never believed the great African evangelist who preached the gospel with passion could ever die. “The day my father passed at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, I felt my whole world crumbling. He was the last person I thought could ever die. I nearly died when he passed. He was speaking in tongue non-stop for two weeks before his passage. Despite that I was a pastor as at the time he died, I didn’t understand why he spoke in tongue non-stop for two weeks before he passed. It was later a senior minister explained to us that he was speaking in tongue of the things he wanted us to write down before he passed. I ran helter skelter to save his life in the hospital. Unfortunately, my father passed on August 8, 2009.”
However, the younger Apostle Iyanda, who is carrying on his late father’s fire of evangelistic crusade as the current chairman of Alimosho Province of the Lagos state Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) also recalls with nostalgia some fond memories of his growing up with his siblings as children of the late firebrand preacher. He particularly cited how the crutches and wheelchairs of the infirm (the lame, the crippled and the sick) healed at their father’s healing crusades became children toys in their home. “We grew up seeing and playing with all manners of crutches and wheelchairs brought home from our father’s healing crusades. Those crutches were toys to us. We played with them as toys. We also grew up pushing wheelchairs round the house.
“My father took me along with him to his crusades. I went to different schools in different places due to his moving from one place to another. Of all my siblings I was the only child he moved around with. This affected me academically but helped me spiritually. My father covenanted me and that grace is speaking for me. “At a point, I didn’t attend school for four years because he was taking me along from one revival to another in different cities. At another point I became his driver. However, despite not been able to settle down in one school while growing up I was able to study Science & Technology at Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U), Ile Ife, Osun state. My father preached to me and also I heard God myself when I got born again,” Iyanda recalled.
When the Apostle/Evangelist Timothy Aremu Iyanda transited in 2009, despite been the closest child of all his father’s 12 children and whom he often took along to his crusades, James carefully avoided stepping into his late father’s big shoes as his successor. He shared with Christian Benefits the seamless appointment of his father’s successor as the general overseer of GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l after its founder’s burial in October 2009.
“My father told me personally that I would take it up from him but when I found out that it might lead to some chaos because about 16 people in the church wanted the post, we resolved from the church constitution to appoint those claiming rights to the next general overseer of the church to lead the church one after the other for a four-year tenure each. So, Pastor Akinwoye, being the most senior pastor in the church before my father’s demise, was appointed the next general overseer of the church. Currently, Pastor Isaac Ojo is the general overseer of the church while I am currently the Regional Overseer of the church headquarters in Lagos,” he explained.
Apostle James Iyanda remarked that being a regional overseer instead of general overseer of the church does not affect or hinder his capacity in continuing the good works and legacy of his late father in GOYE Pentecostal Mission Int’l. He said, “It’s not about been the general overseer but doing what you can do within your capacity according to the will of God. I’m persuaded to understand that leading a ministry, you don’t have to necessarily be its general overseer. For instance, we had about ten branches as at the time of his transition but have over 20 branches now.”
“In his last words to me before he passed my father told me I would be the one to lead the ministry and the ministry would extend to other corners of the world. Presently, I’m praying to fully enter into his shoes, which for now, I consider too big for me to wear, particularly in the area of soul winning through crusades. Nevertheless, I am aware his calling and grace has rubbed off me. While I was in school God spoke to me to heal a blind& deaf man to confirm His call upon my life. The man got his healing after the prayer but the anointing disappeared.
“A man of God explained to me that it was a pointer and not the real anointing. But right now, I can testify to having the anointing. I’m also praying for the grace for massive evangelism like my late father. I will advise every minister of God to put their children through what is set for their lives and also connect them to their calling. Every calling is generational. Therefore, every minister of God must impact their children for their ministry; not necessarily to succeed them as general overseer but to be able to continue their ministry in any other capacities when they are gone,” Iyanda finally advised fellow ministers.