Tributes and Testimonies
LATE MRS JOANNA OMOLOLA OGUNRANTI [MAMA]:
FOUNDER OF CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH, (MT. BETHEL) ABADINA,
UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN, OYO STATE.
A PROPHETESS OF THE MOST HIGH GOD
We received the news of the call to glory of Mrs. Joanna Omolola Ogunranti [Mama], with mixed feelings simply because in spite of her age, many of us would have wished to have her much longer and around on planet earth. However, it is our joy that having worked so tiredlessly for decades in the vineyard of God, she has gone to be forever with the LORD.
I wish one of the many students of the University of Ibadan, who during their sojourn at the University, worshipped at the Christ Apostolic Church, (Mt. Bethel), Abadina, University of Ibadan. The intervening years were undoubtedly critical in the lives of the most, if not all, of us.
My senior brother Christopher Olubunmi Oshun [now Professor of Christian Studies at Lagos State University and Foundation Vice-Chancellor, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji] preceded me to CAC, Abadina and Mama Ogunranti christened him Baba Duru [The Organ Chief].
Mama was a Lead singer extra-ordinary with a fine captivating voice. This chorus must be familiar to Bethelites, especially those who have been privileged to be part of Church Services or Fellowships, during which Mama led Praise Worship or Commencement Prayer:
Worthy, worthy is the lamb
Worthy, worthy is the lamb
Worthy, worthy is the lamb
That was slain
Praise the Lord
On several occasions, praise worship and prayers led by Mama Ogunranti, ended with prophesies marked by: thus saith the Lord, as well as, healing and deliverance.
We learnt from Mama Ogunranti, the need and fundamental reasons why we must be ready and willing to serve God and not to be in a hurry, to close the Church Services on Sundays. Of course, the Bible makes it clear that the Sabbath is the Lord's.
Mama believed in God and resolutely undilutedly in JESUS CHRIST as LORD, SAVIOUR, REDEEMER, ALMIGHTY.
A prophetess of the most high God who was filled with the Holy Spirit. For Prophetess Ogunranti, testimonies – testifying to the power and almightiness of God, should be an integral part of Church Service. Through testimonies, Church Members are able to appreciate great works of God, in the lives of persons who gave testimonies and listeners, get encouraged, and resolved to accept the Lord.
Prophetess Ogunranti [Mama] was a great preacher. I marvelled at Mama’s level of the knowledge of the Bible and ability to preach at length, with high concentration.
We cannot forget, the significant contributions of Prophetess Ogunranti, in mentoring many young men and women in Christ Jesus, who are today, leaders in the Christian world, Academia, Institutions of Learning, as well as, in Public and Private Sectors. Foremost among this group, is Professor Pastor AMA. Imevbore, who for many years was a Professor at the University of Ife [now Obafemi Awolowo University], and currently, a Deputy General Superintendent of Christ Apostolic Church [worldwide], Founder and Senior Pastor, CAC Bethel, Ile-Ife, as well as, Pro-Chancellor & Chairman, Governing Council, Joseph Ayo Babalola University.
You need to listen, to the testimony of Professor Imevbore, on how after coming across Mama Ogunranti, some decades ago, when he was a Catholic and a Lecturer at University of Ife, he later got converted to the Christ Apostolic Church.
Christ Apostolic Church, Abadina under the leadership of Prophetess Ogunranti, served as a base for the launch of the CAC Students’ Association (CACSA).
That Mama was humble, is an understatement. No wonder the Bible says that God reverse the humble and looks at the proud afar off.
Having served the Lord, with her household [husband and children], in a most exemplary manner, we have no doubt in our minds, that God will continue to remember the Ogunranti family for good. [Nehemiah 13 v 31].
Our prayer for Mama’s biological children, is that the goodness and mercy of the Lord, will always be upon them, and their households. The Psalmist says that, the righteous shall not be forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread [Ps. 37 v 25].
For the Church, Christ Apostolic Church – Bethel, we pray that the Church will perpetually march on, in the light and the power of the Lord.
For excellent and great life in Christ Jesus, for thousands of lives Mama Ogunranti touched in Nigeria and other Countries of the world, during her life time, for tremendous accomplishments, and for the call to Glory of Mama Prophetess Joanna Ogunranti, we sing praises unto the Lord:
Ope ye Jesu Oloore
Ope ye Jesu Oloore
Ope ye Jesu Oloore
Baba e se o Oloore
We give all Glory to the Lord
All Glory to the Lord
All Glory to the Lord
We give all Glory to the Lord
All Glory to the Lord
All Glory to the Lord
As we go into the Archives, for her accomplishments, we salute Mama Ogunranti and we give all glory to God, who gave her the grace. Indeed, it was not by her power nor her might but by the spirit of the Lord. Mama Ogunranti was an International Evangelist, a Soul winner, Counselor, Prayer Warrior, Preacher, Charismatic Church Leader, Great Singer and a Prophetess of the most high God.
Oluwatoyin OSHUN is a Pastor of
Christ Apostolic Church [Worldwide]
a Graduate of University of Ibadan
and currently, Registrar & Secretary,
Lagos State University - Nigeria.
A Tribute – Mama Prophetess Joanah Omolola Ogunranti (Oluranti)
It is with gratitude to God for a life well spent. Mama was called to glory at a ripe age of 83 years full of events and hard work in the vineyard of Jesus Christ. Mama as you were never the same the day you had an encounter with Jesus Christ so also many people who had an encounter with you were never the same again at the place of work as a nurse, as an evangelist, teacher of the words of God, a prophetess or a great Apostle of Jesus Christ well known in the Christendom.
As we had women pioneers in Education, Politics, Civil Service, Medicine, Law, Technology, Business and Nursing professions so we are opportuned to have her spearheading and leading women in the Ministry of God. She did not worry or mind the opinions of the Church leaders in the sixties to women’s participation in spreading the gospel. She refused to be silenced in the Church. She studied the words of God and had faith in God. Against all opposition she founded Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Bethel Abadina many years back. Bethel – where God resides – Gen. 28:15- “For I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” She too made a vow like Jacob saying, “If God will be with me and keep me in this way that I go and will …….then shall the Lord be my God.” Surely God never forsook her and the Lord too was her God until she breathes the last.
I was opportuned to come in contact with her in the seventies as a student. As I was pursuing my academic studies, I was with other students under your training in Bethel which was a training ground for us. True to her prophecy today, we have Elders, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastors that passed through her. These great men and women of God are found all over the world spreading the gospel.
Mama’s goal and vision was to spread the Gospel to every part of the world. No wonder she wrote many tracts which she took along while traveling out. She wanted the light of God to shine everywhere she went and she wanted every unbeliever converted to God. Today branches of Bethel are found all over the world. To make heaven was her goal.
She preached the undiluted words of God, she showed everyone who cared to listen the “way”…. that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Her life was full of prayers. She taught everyone that there is no problem greater than the power of Jesus Christ. That, “ I have a God who never fails …” was a popular chorus among students in those days. That the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. She feared God and was very obedient to the laws of God till the end.
She preached against sin, that all Christians should live a life of no sin. “Actually no preacher is true to God and the Bible and his ordination vows, true to his congregation if he does not plainly preach what the Bible says about sin and its inevitable punishment and consequences” Evang John Rice.
Her love to every body was unparalleled. She showed love to the poor, rich, man and women equally. She was also very generous, kind, humble and respectful. There was no amount too much for her to give to the needy. She once gave out six sewing machines to ladies that needed them one after the other. She was very caring and looked after the welfare of her elders and members of her church. She was always happy at the academic achievements of people around her. Mama did not deceive her listeners, she had always put the interest of women and poor people and their welfare above all other considerations.
Instead of milking the members of the Church, she donated generously to the work of the Church. Her gratuity was donated to the building of CAC Bethel Abadina after her retirement. She was a believer in tithes and alms giving. She followed these religiously. Infact Mama was a good example to all her followers. She led by example and practiced what she was teaching and believed in. She did not believe in launching so you taught us how to sow to the work of God.
Mama was very diligent, loyal to the authority. She was a great teacher, administrator, sincere, trust worthy, a prayer warrior and a tireless preacher Prov. 22:29. Mama did the work as she was expected to do it, she used her talent successfully. Mama was a chorister, a choir mistress; she played an accordion in those days. Her attitude to money was not to acquire wealth and riches at the expense of the work of God. Mama had her treasures in heaven. Luke 12:34, above all Mama was a virtuous woman
Prov. 31:10 – 31.
Mama your memory will linger on as you touched the lives of many people that came in contact with you. You stood by people in problems and well cut out to solve their problems. Truly you will be remembered for being a nurse of nurses, matron of matrons, teacher of teachers, and pastor of pastors. To the Glory of God today we have about a hundred pastors that past through you to your credit. The leaders of CAC Student Association (CACSA) were your children to the glory of God. You were a mother in a million.
Let us all rise up as we celebrate the life of this great woman of God who laboured through her life to set up Bethel Churches, to revive Bethel Abadina. I am calling on you as a spiritual child of Mama to contribute to the progress of work of God in Bethel – Neh.2:18. Mama your name is written in Gold. You came, you saw and you conquered and there is laid before you a crown of Gold.
As we celebrate the life of Mama, how are you running your race Heb 12:1- 2
You will surely give account of your stewardship one day.
Adieu Mama Rest In Peace. We pray to meet at the feet of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Bode Ojo (For Christ)
CAC Unity Assembly, Ibadan
TESTIMONY FROM OLUWOLE OGUNRANTI (AUTHOR)
I was born in Jos but grew up in Ibadan. My mother (Joanah) taught me how to pray as follows.
I was in the University. I had just been diagnosed as having peptic ulcer disease and placed on bland diet. I thought I was going to die at the age of 19 years and I prepared myself for this death. I became very depressed and then wondered why God should be so cruel as to take my life from me when I was so young. It was then I noticed my mother praying through out the night. I was using a room next to hers and I could hear her cries in the night very audibly. I could not of course understand what she was saying but it was enough that I knew she was always praying. That had a negative effect on me. Firstly I argued if you must pray like that before God can answer your prayers then it is not worth it. I could realize that despite all her prayers, she still had a lot of problems. She was still in the University service in those years and still practiced nursing. She would come home to complain of all sorts of problems, which included jealousy at work place and overwork. She would complain of pains all over her entire body. I felt that God was not fair to her if indeed he answered prayers. Why would he not answer the prayers of my mother seeing she prays so hard and yet no result?
IT WAS AT THIS TIME, I VOWED NOT to waste my time with religious matters. I was no longer interested in the problems and disagreement between God and the devil. I would stay neutral since to follow God would mean praying all night without sleeping and no results, and to follow Satan was to be wicked and devious. If you were neutral you then had no problem.
It was this state of neutrality that I was when I went to study for PhD at the world famous Reproductive Centre in Cambridge, in January 1986 not realizing that something was going to happen that would change my life forever. I had been earlier born again at the age of 14 year but was so confused as to even the existence of God that I gave up God at the age of 16years.
I wanted to excel very much in the world of academics. I noticed this was the area black people were most deficient in. The black people of the world could excel in sports, football, boxing, music etc. But none (or a tiny few) could excel in academics and I vowed to spend my life reaching the very top of academics. I was however not excited at the prospect going to Cambridge. It would have been a golden opportunity granting my ambition but somehow I smelt rat! I did not want to go. It was my students who persuaded me to go. I had said I did not see any reason why I should study in a hostile country like Britain where all black peoples were hated. I had had a nasty experience with the British immigration in 1977 while I was traveling all over the world and vowed I would never set my foot on Great Britain again. But as God would have it, in January 1986 I was guest to the British Council under the guidance of the Commonwealth Awards Office of Britain and was even received at the airport by officials of the British Council. I had been granted admission to be a research student at Cambridge University which was the best for my field in the world of that time and probably second only to Harvard University in science in the entire world. What other opportunity would you want in the world at that time? It was an irony of fate.
I started my work in Cambridge initially with little enthusiasm, not unconnected with my past, but within a few weeks I had gotten in to the gear. I secured a bicycle to move around as was the practice in those years in Cambridge and got some warm clothing since it was a very bitterly cold winter and that was to be my very first. Before then I had traveled all over the world using rucksack and trains and had seen most of the capitals of the whole wide world, but only during the summer. I kept on telling myself- Britain is not the only developed country in the entire world. There are many others. I had in fact been to Japan in 1976 before my first visit to Britain in 1977.I wanted to disabuse myself from the belief which stems from colonial past that you cannot survive in a wider world without Britain. I also argued with my Professor the late T.A.I Grillo, the very first African anatomist, who recommended me to go to Cambridge that it was not necessary for me to attend Cambridge, since he was my teacher and he had gone there himself. He of course did not agree with me.
I was interested in finding out what were the factors that maximized fecundity found in the uterus (womb) so as to enable me use those factors in the newly reported technique of in vitro fertilization (test tube baby or IVF). This was my valedictory talk to my Vice Chancellor at that time in Port Harcourt- Professor S.J.S Cookey. I had assured him I would come back home once I can get the factors that I wanted! He wished me good luck. I was convinced that the whole world must necessarily go that way for the future so that people could order for their babies the way they make orders for food in a restaurant. So convinced was I about this that I felt it was the only way for the future and I wanted to be part of that future. I could imagine myself, becoming world famous and making discoveries others could not see and therefore becoming the world’s number one. I did not mind spending hours in the laboratory to achieve this. I felt I was in the right place and therefore set out to show what I could do. I started by examining the literature as a good research student. I examined and found that many people before me had studied the uterus very thoroughly. I also discovered that most investigators initially interested in the fallopian tube (oviduct) had abandoned that interest to follow the great mad pursuit of the uterus (womb) which was now considered by most experts to be the organ of the future. When I saw the volumes of work already done on the uterus I was filled with trepidation and there and then had the intuition that the factor I was looking for was not in the uterus. For if it was there some one would have picked it. I decided to look elsewhere. As I was thinking of where to look another idea struck me- look into the oviduct. Animals that have test tube fertilized eggs implanted through the oviduct had 40% or more success rates of pregnancy and birth while animals that did not (and that included the woman) had very little success rate; at the time it was 15% for the woman. I then ventured to see my supervisor. I told him I was shifting emphasis and now wished to work on the oviduct and not the uterus since I did not see any hope that I would ever find any factor that maximized fecundity in the uterus. He said he would give me some time to try out my theory. By June of 1986 I had found the first factor in the oviduct of the rat and I shouted eureka at midnight in the laboratory. By September of that year I had completed my work on the oviduct of the rat having produced over 4000 microscopic slides and had analyzed 2000 of them using the computer. By the end of the year I had written 1,300 pages of work as the report of my studies and was ready to present them to the authorities.
Mysteriously in early October I lost all the microscopic slides due to an incident which remains baffling till today. The slides were found in the dustbin the next day and according to the person responsible for emptying them; my supervisor had instructed him to do so. I had analysed half of the data and the remaining half was lost for ever till today! That was the turning point in my life.
Firstly I could not be convinced that it was not a conspiracy to throw all my research materials into the dustbin by who ever it was
Cambridge volumes produced in December 1986
that was watching me. A week before that incident, I had been warned by a benevolent British man that I should be careful and that I was being watched by some agency. He was not very explicit and hence I put the matter off my mind. But now that I had lost my research materials I was sure some people were watching me. For whatever reason I knew not.
Joanah had come to England to do evangelism in 1986 August and phoned me. I was to meet with her in London for a lunch engagement with Gabriel Oduyemi who later became the flowery, sanguine multimillionaire Pastor of Bethel Assembly at Victoria Island, Lagos. I was impressed with this man and his commitment to God and I told him so. He showed me his Rolls Royce and told me he was one of the few millionaires in that particular building in the middle of London next to the Chinese embassy. We parted ways with a promise from me that I would be attending church. Joanah had actually reported to him that I was not interested in the church. And this was true for the very first church in London which she (Joanah) planted in 1974 by that time, I had not even visited.
I submitted my work to the authorities in February 1987. I was waiting for their response. I did not realize a conspiracy had been hatched against me so that the authority would suspect me a spy, thief, mad man etc. and hence dismiss me from the University of Cambridge and destroy my academic career for ever. This was the trap the devil set up for me and I did not know it. Please note that it was not the University of Cambridge that made this devious plan. I cannot say for sure those involved in it but I can certainly say it was not the University. Before long I heard that the University had been told that I was away in Nigeria on holiday and had not come back. I did not know this was what was to be used to get me out of the University and spoil my reputation for ever or even do me in! I equally did not know of course how to pray. I had rejected the very notion of prayer because of the experience I had with Joanah praying all night as I had mentioned earlier. By March 1987, the Board that was to consider my case had been told that I was in Nigeria and that my name can be conveniently removed from the register since I was not around. As this was going to happen, I immediately thought of God. I decided to go to London to my mother’s church to seek refuge and assistance from one of her first spiritual sons- Pastor Ayo Omideyi who was now the head of that church and is still head till today. I had strange things happening to me. Every where I went, I was trailed. Even if I picked up telephone to talk to any one, it was bugged or diverted. I then realized that my life was in danger and that I had to pray to God or I will die. Ayo Omideyi received me with all joy and gladness. I told him, despite my upbringing I did not believe that God has the time to listen to anybody’s prayer and that every thing was due to chance. He was shocked at my confession, but that did not deter him. He called his people together to begin to pray for me. They prayed non stop from 9.00pm till midnight. I was told to go to bed. The next day I went back to Cambridge.
I knew the London tube station very well and had taken the liberty to shake off my trails and had changed trains a couple of times before reaching my destination. I was sure they would not know I had entered the church at Kingsland Road. I went back to Cambridge only to come back to Kingsland Road again three weeks later. The situation had gotten worse; my trails were no longer hiding and were getting more desperate. This time I vowed not to leave Kingsland Road church and this was my refuge for the next three months under Pastor Ayo Omideyi. I survived!
Joanah heard about my sojourn in Kingsland Road in June 1987. Gabriel Oduyemi had telephoned her and told her about it. Within two weeks, she had secured visa and came to England. It was the mistake of given her a visa which saved my life today. She arrived that fine morning in Kingsland Road and began to pray. She prayed for two hours non stop and prophesied. In her prophesy she said I would become
CAC Bethel Kingsland Road, London
a Professor, my academic career which the devil wishes to destroy will outshine the destruction. Her prophesy has held true today with all my numerous awards, mostly from the same Cambridge, where I could have lost my life.
My mother offered to go with me to Cambridge and get my things- which included all my certificates and my books. She succeeded and we brought back my things to Kingsland Road. What do we do next? As we were thinking of what next to do, my Vice Chancellor sent me a courier letter requesting me to return home immediately. Two of us, Joanah and my self like two frightened children, came to Lagos with my mother running with my luggage (at the age of 66 years) at Gatwick Airport; a sight I will never forget. How can my own mother be the one who will be running about with my luggage as if I was still just a tiny baby? So concerned was she about the problem, as far as she was concerned, she was the one with that problem. She demonstrated so much love in those days that it was her love that kept me alive.
My encounter with death
During the period of my running about to escape my trails in Cambridge, the idea came to me to commit suicide. I was very sure I could no longer make it in the world of academics, with my name and reputation soiled in Cambridge, where was I to go? As I thought about killing myself, it was the thought of Joanah that came to my mind. How can I kill myself? What would happen to my mother who spends all her days and nights praying for herself and for me and her children? If I killed myself what would become of her? It was at this time that I changed my paradigm. I decided I would not kill myself. Perhaps I would try her antidote- which was praying; maybe it will work or at least help me to divert my attention from my failures. That was the point of decision in my life.
When I came home, the problems were insurmountable. So many questions were asked. The general theory was that I had a mental break down in Britain and that necessitated my being followed about by security agents to make sure I was not going to blow up any place or building. No one could buy the conspiratory theory. No one could believe that my research materials were poured away into the dustbin. No one could believe I had a close shave with death. But I had to start my life all over again. Only Jonanah saw it herself. I had now learnt that God can answer prayers. I then never gave up. I continued praying. I had no promotion for 11 years after then, but God in his infinite mercies promoted me when it was his own time. My research went well. I enjoyed all my work. I enjoyed my teaching. I later transferred to Jos where I was born, in 1989 but my reputation followed me there. I never stopped praying. A letter was even written against me in1993 to all Nigerian Universities that I went mad in Cambridge etc by a senior colleague in Jos. But I was not deterred because I believed that God still answers prayer. In 2000, my promotion to Professor was announced to the surprise of many. In 2004 I received my first international award for excellence in research. Since then it has been flowing like a river, even from the doorsteps of Cambridge itself. I now have over 70 international awards, one of the highest in the entire world. God indeed answers prayer. That much I learnt from this great woman of prayer, Joanah, the great church planter. It was her church that became my refuge in England and saved me from death. What went wrong in Cambridge? I may never know, but it has taught me one lesson. There is no where the devil can not reach on earth, no matter how heavenly the place looks or sounds. Only the real heaven is devil free.
Professor of Anatomy, University of Jos
Formerly Dean, (2004-6)
Faculty of Medical Sciences
University of Jos, Nigeria