Don't worry if you are one of those Doubting Thomases who will only believe when they see it with their own very eyes. I was like you--until late July 2006. In a world where people launch spacecrafts from Cape Canaveral on America's east coast to distant planets and moons, and command them from stations in Pasadena to do their bidding, there are enough incentives around these days not to believe in miracles or divine intervention. They are cloning animals and doing facial transplants, and you are talking about miracles and divine intervention? This is a "we-can-do-anything-by-ourselves-world", man.
I had the same attitude before I met Pastor Kumuyi in mid-July this year and embarked on my recent reporting trip to West Africa to see what his church was made up of. Having been a staunch "born-again" Christian myself for 10 of my growing-up years, and having ceased to have anything to do with church for the past 20 years, I had enough inside information on both sides--the believing and unbelieving worlds--to make an informed judgement.
Therefore, I urge everybody reading what I am about to write here, to spare me long accusations of wool having been pulled over my eyes. My old eyes have seen enough in the last 20 years for no one, including Pastor Kumuyi, to succeed in pulling wool over them. I write here as a witness of truth, about things I saw with my very own eyes on the trip to West Africa--Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
My journey started in Deeper Life's impressive church in East Dulwich, London, where Pastor Kumuyi had flown from Lagos to minister to his flock. The East Dulwich church was formerly owned by the Church of England. A huge place, it was sold by the church when it lost many members. Some night club and pub operators competed keenly with Deeper Life for the purchase. In the end, Deeper Life won because they had a better cause to use the building for.
There, I first came into contact with (or to be precise, was told about) miracles and divine intervention. Three Deeper Life members who had had healing and deliverance through Pastor Kumuyi's prayers, narrated their experiences to me after the Sunday worship service. I put them on tape. They were inspiring testimonies ("good tales", some might say in the secular world), incredible tales, music to the ear, but tales nonetheless.
One brother, Joseph Ashidi (in Deeper Life everybody is a brother or sister) narrated how his pregnant wife had developed complications for which two London hospitals had planned to operate. First, they said the foetus was lying in too much water in the womb (medical term, polyhydraulic), a potentially dangerous situation putting the foetus at risk. Through the prayers of Pastor Kumuyi, Ashidi said, the problem vanished.
Then another London hospital discovered that the baby was now lying on the birth canal or tube, making it impossible for the mother to have a natural birth. The only way out was a Caesarean section. But the mother didn't want an operation.
So they prayed and Pastor Kumuyi prayed with them. They, however, kept the hospital appointment for the operation--in June this year. The wife was duly prepared and wheeled into the theatre. As they waited for the doctors to begin the operation, Brother Ashidi said he told his apprehensive wife: "I can see the baby turn in your stomach". The wife, whose faith was now flagging, retorted: "Excuse me, don't pull my legs." But Brother Ashidi was insistent: "I saw the baby turn just now."
Lo and behold, the doctors came and examined the woman on the operating table. Lo and behold, the baby had indeed turned head down, and the birth tube was free!
The doctors, midwives and nurses were incredulous! "How did it happen?", they asked Brother Ashidi. "We have a doctor called Jesus," he said he told them. His wife had a natural birth, their fourth child.
I put Brother Ashidi on tape, but part of me was saying: "Did it really happen? …