Oludotun Idowu

Oludotun   I thank President Dr. Cyril Onyemaechi for inviting me to be the Speaker for this month of October; I had been seeking the face of the Lord as I wondered what topic would be appropriate for such a diverse group of people?

   After a couple of days of praying, I received a guideline from Dr. Cyril which says, “The focus is just to tell your testimony - Not necessarily preaching…”So, I was like, “Oh, my testimony? He has made it easy for me!” Our God always answers prayers in His own way, and it is always much better!

   Today October 2nd marks the 24th anniversary of my arrival to the United States. Next month, November 15, I would turn 75 by the grace of God!

   I was born into a polygamous home. My late father was getting frustrated with my mother, for giving him only female children, (only 2 daughters at that time) whereas, dad seriously wanted a male child by all means!

   My father, who was a nominal Christian, (Anglican adherent) obviously did not consult God but went ahead to take another wife, believing that his heart’s desire would be achieved by so doing.

   However, my mother became pregnant again. Amidst fears and anxiety, she kept on praying to God for a baby boy this time. There was no scanning machine at that time, but fortunately, nine months later, I arrived!

   Dad rushed back from work to see his first baby boy! He was excited! His dream was now fulfilled! He and my mother agreed to give me the name, “Oluwa-so-mi-di-otun” (Oludotun for short) meaning, God has turned me into a new person. It was prophetic, not only for him, but for me too. Mum was a deacon in the Baptist Church, and she knew Godhad intervened in her precarious situation.

   I grew up seeing my mother reading only one book – the Bible. When I was a pre-teenager, I was so mischievous, and I tormented her by hiding her Bible, whenever she refused to give me whatever I asked of her. She would then yell “Oluwa-so-mi-di-otun!” “I know you have taken my Bible, where did you hide it? It would then become a matter for negotiation between my mom and me. I always got what I wanted, and she got back her cherished bible! I never knew then that the same book, would later in life become my own “love book” as well!

   Dad did not live long. He died at 64 on an Easter Sunday in Zaria, Kaduna state of Nigeria. I was just 18 years old when he died in 1964. I felt my life and especially my education was shattered!

   My mom was a petty trader and she had a “Singer” sewing machine, and she sewed clothes for some women who brought their cloths for sewing. But with these, she could barely meet up with the financial demands of my two elder sisters and now with me.

   In a miraculous way, however, God continued to bless my mum so much so that she could cope with our financial demands.

   After high school, at St. Paul’s College Zaria, I proceeded to Olivet Baptist High School Oyo, in Southwest of Nigeria in 1967.

   At this time Nigeria was engulfed in a bloody civil war for the next 2 & half years.

   When I was to travel out of Nigeria in 1970 for tertiary education in Accra, Ghana, I remember mom sobbing and saying, “I don’t know anyone in Ghana, but my God will go with you”. She prophesied as she prayed. Mom never failed to keep in contact with me through letters, which usually took a week or two to arrive! Whenever I saw the cursive hand writing on the envelope, I was excited. I assured her that I was doing fine, and that she should stop wasting her meager funds, to buy postage stamps to send letters to me again.

   Upon returning to Nigeria in 1972, I started work as a News Reporter, with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Ikoyi, Lagos. I later crossed over into Advertising in Lagos and later in Ilorin Kwara state. But my love for Journalism found me returning to Radio O-Y-O in Ibadan, in 1978, where I rose from a Reporter to a Senior Correspondent and was sent back to Ilorin Kwara state, by the Radio station.

   After a few years, I returned to Ibadan, where I then produceda Radio program titled, “From Parliament”. This was the days of politics in Nigeria. Politicians and Journalists were then more like quarreling boyfriends and girlfriends.

   Without a doubt, the storms of life assail everyone. I had mine too. I went through a divorce in 1983, and my first two children, remained with her. They are now both married and born again, while my son Tunde is also a Pastor in Ibadan, Nigeria, and his sister Atinuke is on fire for the Lord as well.

   After the 1983 military coup in Nigeria, I was appointed as a Commissioner in Ogun state, at the age of 38! Well-wishers, friends, and relatives all had one counsel (mostly ungodly) for me to survive the onslaught of Satanic agents. Fear for my life therefore drove me into witchcraft! For two years, I was subject to bondage through fear of death.Hebrews 2:15says, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Thank God, however for salvation and my deliverance, a few years later.

   With a change of military Governors, I was one of those whose appointments was dispensed with, by a new State military governor. I became frustrated with the witches who I had relied on for my welfare. But alas, I had been disappointed. I started to think that there must be a better source of power than those of witchcraft!

   I became unemployed for some years, as I was ashamed to return to Journalism (I thought that was now degrading as it was not commensurate with my former status). My wife Ruth, who I had employed into the Local Government Service Commission as a Staff Nurse, now became tired of being the bread winner. She then devised a way to force me out to procure a job. She became less and less romantic! Boy! that was hard for me to bear. I was now, not only ashamed in the public, but also of myself at home.

   I then resorted to driving my beetle car as a taxicab in Sango Otta. If any passenger was staring at me too longand probably thinking, “is this not the former Commissioner Idowu?” I immediately disfigured my face or put on sun glasses and sped off. Surely, God was humbling me I thought.

   Eventually, I became born again May 1st, 1991. My wife had arranged with a family in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International to invite us to their breakfast meeting at Sango Plaza Hotel. The venue sounded quite inviting because I thought there would be alcohol available. I was however disappointed.

   The time for prayers then started, with everyone standing up and praying so loud. For me, it seemed forever! It was the first time I saw people praying that boisterously, with nobody feeling disturbed! My wife also was praying so loud and even gesticulating like she was describing her situation to God! Then came the altar call. Feeling tired and uncomfortable, I wanted to sit down. To my surprise, I felt like someone was holding up my butt, not to sit down! I quickly looked back to see who it was resisting me from sitting down. The lady behind me was busy praying with her eyes closed. She couldn’t possibly be the one resisting me. I tried to sit down again. Again, the resistance persisted! The Speaker repeated the altar call. Before I knew it, I found myself right at the altar with a few other people. I was weeping and didn’t know why, but I felt sorry for myself and joyful at the same time. The Speaker was Dr. Okey Onuzo. He said, “Congratulations, you all are now born again!” What a beautiful transition for me.

   Eventually, my family then joined the Bread of Life Bible Ministries in Sango Ota. I grew spiritually quickly, and my wife and I were ordained as Deacons within a few years.

   My zeal to win souls for Christ provoked me to start preaching as I commuted in public buses to and from work, Monday to Friday. This continued for about 4 years. Some, who had listened to my preaching in the bus would call my attention and say, “Pastor, where is your Church in Otta?” It always amused me when they called me Pastor at that time.

   I later secured a job as the Public Relations Officerfor LASACO in Lagos Island. The PR Department was newly created, and I had the opportunity to employ a helping hand - a young man who was already born again and so was very helpful to me in many ways.

   The Diversity Lottery by the American government was then the talk of the day. This young man advised me to apply for it. I was hesitant, but eventually I did, and I won! It was more because of my children than because of myself. I came first to the USA, and my family was to join me later.

   I was ordained as an Assistant Pastor in 1998, and then became the Parish Pastor of Amazing Grace from then until I retired in 2019. Between those 21 years, over two thousand students went through the School of Disciples under my tutelage by God’s grace.

   Right now, I’m engaged in Prison Ministry, grooming inmates in discipleship. Now going back to 2008, my son, Mayowa was about to go on active duty as a US Army National Guard to Iraq. My wife and I became quite nervous. Amidst sleepless nights, the Holy Spirit however encouraged us and reminded me of 1969 when I also wanted to join the Nigerian Air Force even, during the Nigerian civil war! If not for my mother’s quick intervention, I probably would have become a veteran now, or probably dead. Mayowa went to Iraq and came back safe to the glory of God!

   In 2014, my first book was published. Titled, “What You Behold You Become.” One of the acknowledgments says, “What you don’t see you cannot become. Also, what has not been placed in your heart cannot be place in your hands”. David beheld the beauty of the Lord, and he became a man after God’s own heart. Moses beheld the glory of God and became radiant faced, while Elisha beheld Elijah and he received double portion of his anointing. I pray that you will focus on our Lord Jesus and you and I, will become more like him in Jesus’ name.

In Conclusion:

   I recall when my wife woke me up at midnight to announce that she had just dreamt.She saw me preaching to several people, including whites! That was as far back as 1985! The laughter of unbelief roared for some minutes between both of us! But six years later, I became born again, and seven years after, I became a Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, in Dallas Texas, to the glory of God Almighty. Blacks and whites have been part of the congregation of our Church today as revealed 36 years ago!

   My two books, WHAT YOU BEHOLD YOU BECOME and THINGS UNKNOWN are available on the table behind us over there. They are $10 each. I believe they will bless you in Jesus’ name.

Oludotun's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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