Pastor William F Kumuyi, General Overseer, Deeper Life Bible Church and its Ministries is a man I have come to know and admire for many years now, especially after reading the book DEEPER LIFE a publication detailing the stories and events behind the founding of the organization popularly known as Deeper Life. The book written by a white man from outside the country was a great public relation success for the man of God and his fast growing Christian mission. I read this book in the early 1990s. I came to appreciate this pioneer and mentor in the mould of Bishop Benson Idahosa of the Church of God Mission international Inc. whose story I read also in the book FIRE IN HIS BONES. The closest I came to Deeper Life was attending the Church in locations where I could not find my traditional Baptist Church and the usual attendant follow-up by their pastors and members. The much I know must have come from my classmate at the pharmacy school, University of Benin, Chukwu Oligbu one of the committed leaders of the Deeper Life Campus fellowship, a deputy director at the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) again, a cousin and a family friend who has gone to be with the Lord and General Manager Velberge Hotel Ltd. Port Harcourt – Sister Gloria Okoroafor and then my elder sister’s husband Mazi Joseph Amaneze and his son my nephew Pastor Iheanyi Amaneze. The next in these encounters is this great woman of God: Mrs. Omasiri Asikaro my mother inlaw, mother of six (6) Ladies and three (3) Men of which two, a male and a female has gone to be with the Lord. I came in contact with her as I went to work as a Pioneer Managing Pharmacist, Okeigbo Pharmacy (Ventures Ltd) Arochukwu in Abia State in 1992 at the inspiration of Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and Udo Chijioke my senior colleagues shortly after my National Youth Service at the Nigerian Paper Mill, industrial clinic Jebba Kwara State. My home coming to Arochukwu was a hard decision after working in Lagos for my internship and other cities in Nigeria making up my plan for a great career in marketing and sales promotion in multi-national corporations. However, the ways of God are past finding.
As a prayer band leader and later Prayer Secretary/President, at the Baptist Students Fellowship (BSF) University of Benin/University of Benin Teaching Hospital (Uniben/UBTH), we prayed and fasted asking God to do great things in Nigeria and Africa using us – who says this is not my turn to be used, not after seeing in the spirit the ancient landmarks and devastations of the ages past: Who will go for us? I did accepted to go and work in the ancient town. I recall my past president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Alhaji Yaro Budah wondering how I was able to pioneer that work on hearing my stories in the course of my being investigated and facing Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Disciplinary Committee on the allegation that I broke government seal at my place of practice in Port Harcourt. The committee was meeting in 2001 at Gateway Hotel Ota near Lagos, Ogun State; thank God I was discharged and acquitted honorably.
Serving the Lord as pioneer president of Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International (FGBMFI) Arochukwu Chapter inaugurated by our Charismatic leader Mr. Tony Ewelike a renowned banker and leader. This service brought me in contact with many people and prospects in addition to my Pharmaceutical Care Services in the community meeting with the young, old and children, a fulfilling job for a young healthcare worker. This same service opened doors for me as a pioneer consultant pharmacist to the Arochukwu Local Government Health services in charge of Petroleum Trust Fund Drugs (PTF) and special assistant to the Commissioner of Information, Culture and Sports and later Education, Abia State; Honorable Engr. Isaac Eke-Okoro. Obedience and his presence open all doors at all times. One of my chapter officers and friend at the Full Gospel, in course of my duty of care, Mr. Chinasa Ojinta – Voice Chairman then introduced me to Mrs. Asikaro when her husband passed on. With time, her daughter Sister Olejuru started attending our meetings after her study at the Federal College of Education Panshin, Plateau State Nigeria. Her peculiar qualities of industry and service in contributions drew me closer to her and her family until it became clear to me some years later, that she is to be my wife. In course of the process of our getting marriage, the personality of Mrs. Asikaro became very clear; her prayer life, discipline, courage, the impact on her years of association with Deeper Life and Pastor William F. Kumuyi – a man she is greatly inspired to follow to the end after passing through the earlier Christian groups that guided her faith in the Lord. She stood like a colossus in her belief and desire to please her Lord and master and her church belief not willing to change course as far as she is convinced it’s the will of God, this is in a traditionally ancient town with its ways of life. Her regular subscription to the news letter and magazines on the stable of deeper life publications; Mirror and woman Mirror etc. she became my regular supplier, aware that I enjoyed reading it and also for market place, ministry in my office and public transactions, counseling and follow-up. At her home, she gives time to regular attendance of her fellowship meetings climbing hills and bridges refusing to climb the popular Okada and going to markers; this is the strength of her character and courage. During her visit to her children in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Gboko, Asaba etc, she wakes us up from sleep with her early morning prayers and night devotions one of those things any young man will pray for to have – a praying mother in-law and one that fears and respect the Lord. Her enterprise, industry, testimonies and joy of Christian service is a legacy she has passed on to her children and all she has come in contact with; I can boldly say; she eats no bread of laziness, what a virtue. In the waning hours of her sickness, she will not show signs of pains and regret as if she knows she is due to meet her master and king. On that faithfully week of her passing on; on the 19th of December 2019 when she lapsed into oxygen support, at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, I knew she is up on her way to that desire of the ages, welcome home faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord. This she answered on the 22nd December, 2019 early Sunday Morning. This is a woman who hates lies, deceits and double standards in service of God and business. A virtue I can see clearly in her children.
We shall miss this great Amazon of strong courage and faith, no doubt but her legacies and commitments will remain a landmark for our generations to uphold.
Adieu Mama, Grandmother, Great Grand Mother, Wife, Sister and Mentor – WF Kumuyi’s Friend
To live in the heart of those you love is never to die.
Ngozi Augustine Okoronkwo