Four years later, the children are growing, and their parents are grateful for all the grandmas and grandpas who give them hope
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Certain stories are unforgettable.
Like this one, which was first told by the Rev. Mary Kay Collins at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, in 2018. Before baptizing the sextuplets of Adeboye and Ajibola Taiwo, she spoke of the couple’s longing to have children. Introducing their story, she asked, “Is anything too wonderful, too great, too difficult or too tough for God?”
Watch the Taiwos’ story here:
Now, the sextuplets are four years old. Wondering how they were doing, Presbyterian News Service reached out to Collins. She shared a letter that the Taiwos, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria, wrote to the FPC congregation in January.
“We saw in you the family we were scared we might not have in the USA,” they wrote. “You accepted us with open arms, you kept us warm in winter and made us comfortable in all seasons. You gave us hope when we thought all hope was gone.”
Adeboye described how he and Ajibola had lost count of the times church members had driven their cars to the family’s home. “Fitting them in car seats and carefully buckling our children in, you drove us to and from church,” he wrote. “You also got me a job by which I am able to put food on the table and a roof over my family. My children are not left out as you always plan and guide in making good decisions about their education including plans for summer school to ensure they have a better future.”
Adeboye wrote the letter because he and Ajibola felt like expressing their gratitude to God and to the church community for the hospitality, love and concern they have received since joining FPC in 2018.
“We have a lot of grandmas and grandpas,” he said. “The joy derived from our children is answer to longtime prayer. There’s a certain kind of happiness and fulfilment that comes in seeing how God provides for us.”
Calling every day an adventure, Adeboye admits that raising six children is not an easy task. But, he says, the grace of God, exhibited to them by their church family, is sufficient.
During the pandemic, their growing and active sextuplets were invited by members of the FPC congregation to play on playgrounds or in their backyards. The grandmas and grandmas would show up at the Taiwos’ apartment with food and then pray for one another, even as COVID-19 challenged the way they could be together.
Understanding the difficulty of navigating life in a new country, another family in the congregation took it upon themselves to walk alongside the Taiwos, helping them find and work with an immigration attorney. This family also found them find a place to live.
As Collins’ family was going through a medical crisis, Adeboye frequently texted Mary Kay to say he was praying for her, which strengthened her faith.
“The Taiwos make it so easy to be relational. That it is very much a love ministry for our congregation,” she said. “The congregation has really taken it to heart to live out their baptismal vows, which has deepened their faith. It’s been phenomenal to watch.”
Judy Jamison describes herself as one of the “lead grandmas” at FPC. She was one of the first to meet the Taiwos. In his letter to the congregation, Adeboye wrote that he “saw the reflection of God” in Jamison, and credited her for bringing them to the FPC family.
According to Jamison, their relationship goes beyond the Nigerian culture. Adeboye calls her his American mom — “mum.”
“Part of calling me and others ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’ is cultural, and part of it is that we feel like we are part of their family,” Jamison said. “I wish I could capture the joy this family brings to our congregation.”
As First Presbyterian Church prepares to reopen, plans are being made to welcome the 67 adults and 19 children and youth who have joined the church family since the pandemic began in March 2020.
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Categories: Congregational Vitality, Matthew 25
Tags: adeboye and ajibola taiwo, building congregational vitality, congregational vitality, covid-19, dismantling structural racism, first presbyterian church richmond virginia, judy jamison, matthew 25 invitation, rev. mary kay collins, sextuplets
Tags: adeboye, adeboye and ajibola, adeboye and ajibola taiwo, family, first presbyterian church, fourth birthday party, grandmas and grandpas, kay collins, mary kay, mary kay collins, news service, photo by rob, photo by rob collins, presbyterian church, presbyterian news, presbyterian news service, rob collins, sextuplets fourth birthday, sextuplets fourth birthday party, taiwo at the sextuplets
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