Christians in Nigeria, Greece mourn minister who died saving woman
That’s how one Nigerian, Modupe Aladeniyi, described her countryman on The Christian Chronicle’s news blog.
Ajagunna, known as “Debo,” died May 1 from a gunshot wound.
The minister had returned recently from Greece to be with his family and was helping organize a gospel campaign in the southwestern Nigerian city of Ikare-Akoko.
As they made plans for the event, Ajagunna and a group of Christians were assaulted by gunmen, apparently bent on robbery. Ajagunna was shot while attempting to aid a pregnant woman in the line of fire. The woman and her baby were uninjured.
A global community of church members — in Africa, Europe and the U.S. — mourned the loss.
“Debo was a faithful and joyful Christian man,” said Eleni Melirrytos, a member of the Omonia Church of Christ in Athens, Greece. She and her husband, minister Alexander Melirrytos, regularly visited Ajagunna and his congregation on the island of Crete.
The Church of Christ that meets in Crete’s largest city, Heraklion, was launched about five years ago by another Nigerian immigrant, John Adesoye.
Adesoye, a former Pentecostal minister, first encountered Churches of Christ through a search on Google that led him to World English Institute, a U.S.-based ministry that helps people improve their English using the Bible.
After several studies, Adesoye was baptized by Athens minister Dino Roussos.
In Crete, Ajagunna worked alongside Adesoye. The two ministers shepherded a congregation of expatriates — mostly Nigerians — in Heraklion.
In 2010, the Melirrytoses visited the church along with Tom and Cheryl Black, missionaries in nearby Bulgaria.
“We organized a celebratory dinner to share the joy and success of Debo’s graduation with his doctorate degree,” Eleni Melirrytos said.
One Nigerian who knew the minister, Babalola Joseph Oluwadamilola, described him as a vibrant worship leader.
“He really followed the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Oluwadamilola said.
Eleni Melirrytos is collecting funds to care for the minister’s wife and children.
TO CONTRIBUTE, contact Melirrytos through her website, www.cookwitheleni.com.