The annual outreach for widows organised by Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo took place yesterday in Ode-Omu, Osun State.
Widows from the community and neighbouring towns thronged the venue to receive packages that would bring relief to them and their children. According to the cleric, the widow’s events started 12 years ago and it started as a simple desire God laid on his heart.
“I lived in the UK for about 34 years and I became burdened. We started a university in Ode-Omu and I needed to touch lives. The scripture says we should not neglect widows. For the first year, we got 308 responses. We gave them clothes and money and we touched lives. I saw how successful it was and I felt it should be continued.”
Asimolowo added that “by the second year, the number rose to 850 and an excess of one thousand by the third year. Last year, we had 10,000 widows participating and this year, we thought we would have about 12,000 but we got a list with 16,900.”
The man of God, who hails from Ode-Omu and Ile Ife, disclosed how the widows are selected for the yearly event: “We used to ask from 119/120 compounds and they would give us names. But Modakeke, which is 20 miles away, heard about what we were doing. There is a link historically and you find that every compound in Modakeke was replicated in Ode-Omu.
“Interestingly, the other towns also wanted to participate and we insisted that the monarch in each town would accredit the head of the widows. These widows began to bring each other together because of their challenges and, this year, we have about 17,000. The event is being put together by my wife and I; not the church. It is a celebration of these women. Usually, they do not get celebrated; instead they are castigated and set aside.”
He stated the expectations and the fact that eight towns would be involved in the special outreach. “We will have kings from 12 cities, friends, dignitaries, and the deputy governor, who has been there with us over the years at the event. It is our own way of impacting and empowering the women. We wish we could do more.”
The event which would cost the Ashimolowos about 57 million naira will bring succour and help to give the widows a better direction for the year. “Usually, it is the largest money that they would be handling for the year. We hope others would continue this. It is a biblical injunction to visit the fatherless and widows. The need in the nation is high, we are hoping things are different here. In the UK, the system cares for them.”
Credit: The Nation Online