THE STORY BEHIND THE GLORY
BY DR. TOYIN BANJO
PUBLISHER, GIANT BULL CONSULTING (2023)
The Story Behind the Glory is the first memoir of the founder of the Abeokuta based Gideon Orphnage and Home for the Elderly, Dr. Oluwatoyin Olayemi Banjo, published in September 2023 to mark her 50th birthday anniversary.
The 92-page mini-autobiography spread across nine chapters could best be described as a testament of appreciation by the author to give her Creator the glory of attaining the golden age; this is evident in her dedication: “This book is dedicated to God Almighty”.
Chapter One, entitled “Relocation”, tells the story of the school days, from nursery school through primary school, to secondary and tertiary institution where she obtained what is called “National Diploma”. She recounts her early life and the adolescent years in which she did what most young teenagers would do; escape from school, change locations without parents knowledge, and what have you. Since these youthful exuberances have implications, she also suffered the consequences, however, the way she escaped some negative occurrences, including accidents, frame-up and kidnapping, was, from benefit of the hindsight, indicative of the eyes of God watching over her as those escapes from escapades were nothing short of God’s. miracles.
Fate made her to meet an immIgration Officer at the airport where she has gone to serve her internship and the meeting and relationship tallied with that of her mother who was already making arrangements to make her travel to the United Kingdom in search of the Golden Fleece. The undiluted and uncommon love of mother infested here as she recounted how her mother sold almost all that she had to support her trip abroad.
“The Odd Jobs”, as chapter two of the book is titled, brought the author to the reality that there is no land where “milk and honey freely flow”; and there is no paradise anywhere on earth. Though accommodated by a relative on arrival, she initially had to do “odd jobs” to find her feet as a new comer into the United Kingdom, even when she constantly looked over her shoulders for immigration officials as her papers were not yet completed. From working as cleaner, attendant and serving food at parties, and so on, this determined young lady just had to survive.
As a determined immigrant, with non-resident status, she was resilient in forging ahead, perhaps afraid of going back to the country she practically ran away from. Yet, she maintained her faith in God even at such a young and pliable period. She confessed holding on the God: “The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. That was all I needed to hold unto, and I surely held on unto this.”
Eventually her faith helped her fate as she got admitted to read Mental Health Nursing at the Middlesex University, despite the initial hurdles and nervousness recounted in chapter three of the interesting and inspirational book.
Chapter Four, “The In-Betweens”, was the story of how she met the love of her life, her husband, where she was working as a cleaner, the initial attractions, the contradictions, marriage, then motherhood, followed by her confirmation as a resident. The much sought-after citizenship is attained!
“Charitable Calling” the title of Chapter Five, underlines the adage that “to whom much is given, much is expected”. Since God has shown mercy to the little hitherto ‘unknown girl’ from Osun State, beyond her desires and expectations, it was not surprising that she got a call to charity; to serve God and humanity through charity.
So she picked the call and Gideon Orphanage was born. This was after she had tried her hands successfully on businesses via a classy boutique named Bubbles. This business made her travelled frequently to Nigeria, China, USA, Dubai and other parts of the world.
She was attending an annual convention of her church when she got the call to charity and the name Gideon. She relayed that she started studying the life of Gideon and realised that the most important thing was that “God wanted to use me to free the abandoned, the orphans, the less privileged children from the oppression of the society. The important thing for me was that Gideon’s life stands to show us that God sees the best in us when when we do not.
Of course, the author has gone from orphanage to care for the elderly, young widows and the physically challenged: in her words: Many years later, I felt the burden to expand and include elderly women in the care of Gideon Orphanage Home. This was a significant undertaking, as I had not yet finished caring for the children. Once again, I struggled with myself, discussed it with my spiritual parents, and they blessed me, saying, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will support you.” That’s how added the elderly to my charitable mission.
The other chapters, “The Great Step”, “The Challenges”, The Pain” and “My Breakthrough”; chapters six, seven, eight and nine respectively, like the previous chapters, also encapsulate Dr. Banjo’s story which she “generously shares the invaluable secrets to her success and her unwavering belief in God’s grand design for each individual. This autobiography offers profound lessons in faith, perseverance, and fulfilling one’s divine purpose, making it an inspiring read for readers of all ages.”
As described, “The Story Behind the Glory” is a captivating autobiography that tells the remarkable tale of her journey from obscurity to prominence, guided by divine providence. Her life embodies the transformation from insignificance to stardom, from zero to hero, and from anonymity to acclaim. Throughout the narrative, the unwavering threads of God’s mercy, favor, faithfulness, and gratitude are interwoven.
“Within its pages, Dr. Banjo generously shares the invaluable secrets to her success and her unwavering belief in God’s grand design for each individual. This autobiography offers profound lessons in faith, perseverance, and fulfilling one’s divine purpose, making it an inspiring read for readers of all ages.
Apostle Lawrence Achudumen, who wrote the foreword to the autobiography, that could be rightly called Book of Testimony, summed it all: “it is a story of a golden girl, a girl who will not quit, the story of a graced girl who not only surprised the people around her, but also surprised herself.”
This book is difficult to put down once you start reading and you will want to start over again when you finished reading. The author narrated her story in simple captivating prose that skillfully holds on to the reader. The chapters are well interconnected, but the pictures, many of which were taken with telephone camera, could be improved upon.
The inspirational autobiography is highly recommended.