At just 19 years of age, Ifeoluwa Adeyemi stands as a reminder to us all of the power of love, of faith and of choice. Adamant that every crossroad in life can be reduced to a simple decision to endure or overcome; he is passionate in his desire to help others.
Speaking of life’s many battles, he states: “if we don’t make the decision to be overcomers then, eventually, we will be over-powered”. And he lives by this too. He was working at the Rio 2016 Olympics with the Japanese Olympic team before receiving an unexpected call to come back to London a few days early – his Mother passed away a month later, whilst his Father had passed away three years before this. Yet, rather than his biggest hardship, Ifeoluwa describes this as his biggest decision.
“So on the 21st of September 2016, my brothers and I lost my Mum – that was a Wednesday; by Sunday I had to decide whether or not I’m going to continue”.
Continuing for Ifeoluwa meant commencing his 2nd year of his BSc degree in Economics with Japanese; continuing to pursue a career in Investment Banking; continuing to grow the University of Birmingham Gospel Choir and continuing to execute an innovative event under his company IA Entertainment: The Grand Gospel.
Ifeoluwa does not live by halves. Advice insisted by others to take a year out from university – to grieve, to heal – might make sense when his track record is considered. With a guaranteed place on his course at the University of Birmingham, he was given an unconditional offer – and rightfully so: he overachieved during his first year with an 81% average. “Continuing” for Ifeoluwa meant more than it does for most: it meant making the decision to honour his ambition and to honour his potential. It meant deciding to continue to strive for excellence despite his pain.
“Ifeoluwa’s greatest lesson to us is in his selflessness.”
Believing he would be failing other people by not bringing The Grand Gospel to life was his driving force. He says his mum had already instilled in him the tools necessary for success. And so, he made the decision to continue on in his mission of bringing people closer to God in the most innovative ways possible. He wanted to show students that they could have clean fun –
“I realised how important it is not to be selfish, The Grand Gospel was bigger than me, bigger than any emotion I was going through – anything done in selfishness is short-term whilst everything done for others is long-term and truly important”.
The Grand Gospel was a success with 400 in attendance – many people gave their lives to Christ and several people decided to fellowship at his church, First Love Aston, the following Sunday. Ifeoluwa feels the event served its purpose. His decision to continue on, despite his mother’s passing, had not been in vain. Again, Ifeoluwa does not live by halves: during this period, he also managed to secure himself internships at five top Investment Banks and a placement at one of the top Business & Economics institutions in Tokyo.
He achieved this because he chose to. He wants people to know that it is possible to build yourself up enough to combat any resistance life puts in your way. He builds himself up through his relationship with God: “the closer I get to God the more rooted I feel, with Mum passing, my reliance on God is what held me up. If not, I would have spiralled”. He says this is because “God is love and the more you have God, the more you have love – and the more love you have, the more conviction you have to continue living to use your gifts to serve others”. This is true conviction.