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Kumuyi, Abiodun (Mrs.)
1952 to 2009
Protestant Pentecostal, Deeper Christian Life Ministry
Nigeria

Abiodun Kumuyi was born to the Olowu family of Epe in Lagos State, Nigeria on January 7, 1952. She received her primary education at Baptist Primary School, Surulere, and her secondary education at the New Era Girls Secondary School, all in Lagos. Thereafter, she proceeded to the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Lagos, where she studied in the field of Business and Secretarial Studies.

She converted to Christianity at some point in 1972. There are two versions of her conversion story. According to the first, when she left school, she taught briefly at Corona Schools in Lagos, where she came in contact with a certain Mrs. Ruth Nzegu (née Ijeh), a fellow teacher, who ministered to her on the subject of salvation and led her to Christ at age twenty. [1] The second version relates that she was converted to Christianity through the effort of a zealous young man who approached her on the streets of Lagos with the gospel message and eventually led her to Christ. [2]

After her conversion, Abiodun had a burning desire to serve the Lord. However, coming from a non-Christian background, she was faced with the challenge of standing against strong pressures to renounce her Christian conviction. She endured much opposition, deprivation, and alienation, but rather than deny her faith, she held on firmly to her savior and became stronger in her commitment to Him.

Through divine providence, Abiodun was introduced to William Kumuyi, then a young lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Lagos. About that time, William Kumuyi started a small Bible study group at his residence on the campus of the university and Abiodun was one of the privileged fifteen people with whom the Bible Study group started in 1973. Later, this Bible Study group metamorphosed into the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, which eventually gave birth to the Deeper Life Bible Church. [3]

Her ministry

Abiodun was a great asset to the Deeper Life work. Long before her marriage to pastor Kumuyi, her zeal for God made her stand out among the other sisters that started the Bible study group in 1973. In the early stage of the ministry, she took it upon herself to transcribe the pastor's messages for use as tracts and books, and the ministry's cassettes were manually labeled by her because of her good handwriting. She also pioneered the first choir of the Monday Bible study.

On September 13, 1980, Abiodun married Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi and the marriage was blessed with two sons, Jeremiah and John. This marriage thrust enormous responsibilities upon her. As the wife of the pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the world, she had before her a wide field in which to promote and practice the teachings of holiness and evangelization which the church stands for. Consequently, Mrs. Kumuyi immersed herself into the women's ministry of the church and this was a turning point in a lifetime of fruitful, successful, and ever-expanding ministry to various groups of women, which included Christian women leaders, married women, widows, younger and older single women, and expectant and needy mothers.

Her principal focus was the development of the total woman. She was an energetic, dynamic, and visionary woman who worked tirelessly to alleviate the sufferings of women. She fortified families by exposing them to the biblical principles of a godly home, and she achieved this in several ways. One of these was the monthly Women's Fellowship of the church which concentrated on both the physical and the spiritual well-being of women. The preoccupation of this fellowship included: encouraging women in relation to the salvation of their souls, righteous living, the evangelization of unreached women, child training, housekeeping, the husband/wife relationship, time management, and prayer. Women were also taught about and trained in small scale business in order to be enabled to be gainfully employed, to be able to contribute to the family income, and to the economy of their society.

Abiodun planned and executed educative programs and health seminars for women. There were village outreaches too, some of which she planned and executed with medical personnel who attended to the health needs of the villagers. Usually they went with medicine and relief materials, penetrating villages with the gospel of Christ. Testimonies received from all over the nation revealed that these programs were very successful.

Another medium through which she disseminated her message to women was through the Christian Women Mirror, which is a magazine for Christian women. Mrs. Kumuyi spear-headed the establishment of this magazine in October of 1992, and was the editor until her demise in 2009. She used the magazine to teach women all they need to know in order to be successful wives and mothers, accomplished and exemplary Christians, and models of excellence. She devoted her time, energy, resources, and talents to the publication and distribution of the magazine. With the support of a team of highly- dedicated and well-motivated staff, she successfully reached out to a growing number of readers within and outside of Nigeria. The impact of the magazine on society was tremendous, and it has become so popular that it is not only read by Christian women, but also by Christian men, and even by men and women of other faiths. Banji Ojewale observed that by the time Abiodun died in 2009, the Christian Women Mirror had become a must-have in almost every Christian home! He stated that although it is a Deeper Life Christian Ministry effort, it has ceased to be a denominational journal. The reason is that its contents are extensive, rooting fundamental biblical teachings into everyday practical use for the woman, her home, church and society. Absolute credit for this success must of course be given to God, but God used Abiodun Kumuyi as a vessel. He considered her a worthy receptacle of the vision. [4]

Mrs. Kumuyi was a generous woman who assisted women who were genuinely struggling with financial problems. She set many women up in small scale businesses through an interest-free loan scheme. Her concern was to ensure that no woman should backslide from the faith as a result of financial or material lack. She reached out to many widows and trained many fatherless children. Testimonies abound of women who were lifted from penury to economic buoyancy, whose children's school fees were paid, and whose broken homes were helped through her counseling and prayers. She was also a great inspiration to young couples. Through her ministry to women, many received salvation for their souls and obtained other Christian experiences of sanctification and baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The conscious development of the potential of Christian women leaders in the church was part of her strategy for reproducing herself in others. She trained and developed other leaders through the many programs of the church and her exemplary lifestyle. Many leadership qualities distinguished her as a unique Christian servant-leader of our time. Though exalted in life, she was exceptionally humble. Her zeal and industry were unparalleled in the service of the Lord, and she was a formidable pillar of strength in Deeper Life, a matchless exponent of all the biblical principles on which the ministry stands, and a legendary woman of faith and virtue who lived by what she preached.

Mrs. Kumuyi was also a help-meet to her husband, Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi. She was an outstanding model of a loving, submissive, and devoted wife. Next to her Savior and Lord (Jesus Christ), she reserved the highest honor and respect for him. She was of great assistance to him in the task of building the ministry to the position it occupies in the world today, was always with him on all his missionary trips around the world, and was a source of encouragement to him in all things. Her husband described her as a wife in a million, a rare gem, beautiful, precious, a true help-meet, someone passionate about the Lord and the things of God, a completely devoted wife - totally supportive, submissive, and forever encouraging and inspiring - a woman of loving heart who maintained a unique ability for nurturing others without seeking undue attention or admiration. He commented that though she did not struggle to write her name in the pantheon of honor, her life's achievements did that for her. She did not yearn to etch herself in the hearts of men, but the grace of God in her did so. She did not have to trumpet her humility, because sincerity of purpose and industry eminently lifted her. As a mother, she was her children's counselor and confidant. She was a simple woman of faith who became a marvelous example of godliness, humility, and of the power of the risen Christ. [5]

Her death

The last few days before her death were quite remarkable. According to a report, she seemed to have had a premonition that the time of her departure was at hand. Usually she would have been at the annual Easter retreat of the church, but she was prevented from attending because of her frail health. However, she participated in the retreat services from home, on the campus of the International Bible Training Centre, Ayobo, Ipaja, Lagos, through satellite transmission. On the morning of Saturday, April 11, 2009, she woke up as usual and joined the Faith Clinic session from the retreat venue. During the program, she sang quite joyfully to the admiration of those around her, then settled down and listened to the message of the day, which was preached by her husband. At the end of the message, she became engrossed in the prayers that followed and as soon as she heard the final "In Jesus' Name," she said "Amen." Then, she turned her face, shut her eyes and died, without struggling or pain. It was indeed a glorious home going, [6] and it confirmed that she had gone to be with her maker and master, whom she had served so well.

Tributes

Tributes were paid to Abiodun Kumuyi by various personalities from within and without the country. Everyone who spoke had kind words for her, the late National Women's Coordinator of the church popularly known as Deeper Life. "When she was alive, she accepted me first as her teacher, then as her husband and then as her pastor, and where she is now, she would rather prefer me as her pastor." These words were spoken by Pastor William Kumuyi of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry during the sermon he gave at his wife's funeral service. The service, held at the International Bible Training Centre, Ayobo, Ipaja, a Lagos suburb, was preceded by a lying-in-state ceremony. The service was attended by two state governors: Babatunde Raji Fashola, of Lagos State, and Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State; by former Nigeria Military Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon, and by representatives of the church from other countries.

Governor Fashola of Lagos State said, "As you grieve, sir, I beseech you to realize that you grieve only in the physical separation [from her]. We will be with you in prayers in Lagos and indeed in the whole country. We wish her eternal rest in the Lord." Retired General Gowon, in his remarks, said that Mrs. Kumuyi was admired for her great faith and had been an example to all mothers. "She was a woman who led by example," said Catherine Nbazima, the Women's Coordinator for the church in the Eastern Province of Zambia. "When she came to Zambia for a conference, I was chosen to moderate the programme," she said. "I was afraid, but she encouraged me to do it. I did that, but of course it was not easy. But the next day, I was called to do it again. She was a mother, who really wanted to mould us up into leadership positions. She encouraged me and the fears were gone." Josephione Nkanu, another member who came from Cross River State, Nigeria, said, "Mama had leadership qualities. She knew how to mobilize and organize things the way they should be. She has taught us the way we should live, even with the Christian Women Mirror. I believe the magazine will not die, because she had prepared us enough that even to pick someone to do the job will not be difficult." [7]

Mrs. Kumuyi is survived by her husband, Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi, two sons, Jerry and John, as well as an aged mother, sisters, and other relations.

Michael Leke Ogunewu


Notes:

1. Deeper Life, "A Woman of Uncommon Purpose" Commemorative Edition, Christian Women Mirror, (July 2009): 3.
2. Deeper Life, Abiodun Kumuyi Goes to Heaven, Biodun Kumuyi Memorial 1952 - 2009, www.dclm.org/AboutUs/SisterAbiodunKumuyi/tabid/226/Default.aspx.
3. For details on Kumuyi and Deeper Life see: M. A. Ojo, "Deeper Christian Life Ministry: A Case Study of the Charismatic Movement in Western Nigeria," Journal of Religion in Africa XVIII, 2 (1988):114; "Deeper Life Bible Church of Nigeria" New Dimensions in African Christianity, ed., Paul Gifford (Ibadan: Sefer Books Ltd, 1992),163; D. Oyewunmi, "Unite! Oh Our People" in Ijeshaland Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, (Ijesa Patriotic Klub, (IPK), Ibadan: TAA Printing & Publishing Company, 1988), 7; Alan Isaacson, Deeper Life: The Extraordinary Growth of the Deeper Life Bible Church, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990), 93; D. O. Ogungbile, "Ijesa Culture and the Growth of Christianity in Nigeria since the 20th Century," Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. xxxviii, (June & Dec., 2006):112-113.
4. "Lessons from Biodun Kumuyi," The Guardian, April, 22, 2010.
5. Deeper Life, "From the General Superintendent - A Rare Gem," Commemorative Edition, Christian Women Mirror, (July 2009): 2.
6. Deeper Life, "A Jewel Goes Home," Commemorative Edition, Christian Women Mirror,(July 2009): 8.
7. Gbenga Olorunpomi,"Deeper Life lays Abiodun Kumuyi to Rest," Christian Women Mirror, (April 27, 2009).



Sources:

Deeper Life, "A Woman of Uncommon Purpose" Commemorative Edition, Christian Women Mirror, July 2009. Deeper Life, "A Jewel Goes to Heaven, Biodun Kumuyi Memorial 1952 - 2009," Internet: www.dclm.org/AboutUs/SisterAbiodunKumuyi/tabid/226/Default.aspx
Deeper Life, "A Jewel Goes Home," Commemorative Edition, Christian Women Mirror, July 2009.
Gbenga Olorunpomi, "Deeper Life lays Abiodun Kumuyi to Rest," Christian Women Mirror, April 27, 2009.
Isaacson, A., Deeper Life: The Extra Ordinary Growth of the Deeper Life Bible Church, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990.
Ogungbile, D. O., "Ijesa Culture and the Growth of Christianity in Nigeria since the 20th Century," Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. xxxviii, June & Dec., 2006, pp.112-113.
Ojewale, B., "Lessons from Biodun Kumuyi," The Guardian, Thursday, April, 22, 2010.
Ojo, M. A. "Deeper Christian Life Ministry: A Case Study of the Charismatic Movement in Western Nigeria," Journal of Religion in Africa XVIII, 2 (1988).
Ojo, M. A. "Deeper Life Bible Church of Nigeria" in Paul Gifford (ed.) New Dimensions in African Christianity, Ibadan: Sefer Books Ltd, 1992.
Oyewunmi, D., "Unite! Oh Our People." Ijeshaland Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. A Publication of Ijesa Patriotic Klub, (IPK), Ibadan: TAA Printing & Publishing Company, 1988.


This article, received in 2012, was researched and written by Dr. Michael Leke Ogunewu under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Deji Ayegboyin, DACB liaison coordinator.