COLUMBIA — Even though he spent years praying regularly and going to church on Sundays, Wale Aliyu was looking for something more. He loved God, he said, and wanted to know more about the Bible.
When the chance came to study the Bible as an MU student, Aliyu was eager to begin. Several years later, Aliyu decided to make some big changes to his life; on Nov. 11, he was baptized as a Christian.
The baptism part was easy, Aliyu said. His friends, Vince Hawkins and Samuel Martin IV, stepped with him into Brady Fountain at MU. With his church and his family watching, Aliyu declared Jesus Lord and was submerged. Then he stepped out, grabbed a towel and left for a celebration at Applebee’s.
The hard part was the water in the fountain, Aliyu said. The evening temperature was in the low 50s, and the fountain water was much colder. But the dunking was quick, and Aliyu began his new life as a Christian.
Aliyu, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, has lived in Columbia most of his life. He said the biggest changes are how he now applies what he reads and his daily fights for a better relationship with God.
“On the surface, I was doing all the right things ... even going on mission trips,” Aliyu said.
But, below the surface, there were deeper “character sins” like pride and selfishness. By digging deep into the Bible, Aliyu was able to begin to change those things — something he said he believes will be a lifetime process.
And by changing them, Aliyu sees the benefits of his decision. He said that friends and co-workers note how his responses to things have changed for the better. His decision has helped him to tackle his new role as assistant coach of the boys’ basketball team at Oakland Junior High.
“Just about everyone I talk to is very encouraged,” Aliyu said.
The biggest benefit, he said, has been a sense of direction for his life.
“I’ve always had a dream of helping people and of just trying to uplift all humanity,” Aliyu said. “ ... Not just help them to get to the point where I used to be, but help them get to the point where I am now."
"I feel like, if you have your relationship with God, right, it is amazing how all your relationships, how everything you’re doing, just starts to fall into place,” he added.
For Aliyu, this beginning of what Christians call his walk with God has been the best decision he could have made. And it’s one that he intends to continue for the rest of his life.