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IT took us time and patience, to get hold of him. His busy schedule sees him either attending meetings, out of the country, or leading prayer sessions. The patience paid when we finally managed to catch up with him in his office at Nairobi’s industrial area.
The man is Dr David Edward Owuor of the Ministry of Repentance and Holiness He is a scientist by profession, but now turned prophet and televangelist. Seated calmly in his office on any afternoon, he receives hundreds of visitors paying a courtesy call or seeking prayer and consultations. They include lawyers, doctors, politicians and other professionals.
“I am not a preacher from the streets. I can also talk about my profession and academic qualifications,” says the man who previously was professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma, USA— his eyes gleaming with confidence.
As you talk to him, one easily notices his humble, social and down to earth manner. His deep and soft-spoken voice sounds harmless. He does not miss to laugh and cracks jokes whenever something amuses him.
Before the interview he leads us into prayers, and poses: “Who taught the ocean where to stop every morning? It is Almighty God.”
He remains a keen listener during the conversation and responds to questions posed to him cautiously and intelligently. Daktari as he is mostly referred to, is an eloquent and a good public speaker. His mastery of English language, spiced with vocabulary and American accent, doe not escape you. Talking about his profession, he gets absorbed into it and descends into jargon which I request him to explain in layman’s language.
As the interview progresses, he leads us into a cyber-cafe to down-load some information from the internet. “These are some of the publications I authored and the work I did as a scientist,” as he hands over to us some leaflets, before taking us through his life experiences.
Dr Owuor has spent the better part of his life out of the country studying and doing research in scientific and medical fields. “I have been involved in running research, cancer chemotherapy and drug metabolism in the human body. We also introduced drug-induced signal transduction in drug design and discovery,” he says.
He narrates how most of his work hit the media in the US and remembers vividly how such exploits were covered by New Jersey Channel Radio and TV.
While based at Chicago in the US, he worked as a faculty post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois.
He took another position at the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug metabolism at the Earnest Mario School of Pharmacy at the State University of New Jersey-Rutgers at the same time honouring another appointment at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).
He has also served at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) in Division of Surgical Oncology and Department of Surgery of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, teaching as a research specialist. “I got appointed as a specialist consultant in forensic toxicology and aircraft (medicine). That is, to improve aerospace medicine in order to detect fatigue among pilots and develop a molecular signature for detecting performance impairment while flying a plane,” he explains.
Dr Owuor also published works in the Journal for Biological Chemistry, Molecular Pharmacology (JBC) and also worked with American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
When asked how he transformed from medical practice to the pulpit, he is quick to respond, “ I was a born-again Christian, but discovered that God wanted me to be his hand on earth. The earth has turned out to be a filthy place full of sin and fornication,” he pauses, and continues: “right from the time I was doing my doctorate in Israel, the Lord was calling me and asking—do you remember Moses? Initially I tried to run from Him, but he followed me,” he explains.
On insisting to know more about this, he discloses that some “unusual things” would occur to him in a vision. For instance, he says, there would be an earth tremor, a lot of light would appear and God would present himself in an image, talk to him and show him things that would afflict humanity.
He tells of how God asked him: “Do you remember Moses?”
“In 2003, while staying in Chicago, I was in bed sleeping one night when the Lord presented himself in a vision, accompanied by Daniel, Elijah and Moses as witnesses. He touched me with his left hand and lifted me up. I did not understand what that meant and He told me ‘I want you to be my hand on Earth.’ He showed me a highway to drive, showed me a throne and inside there was the Ark of the new covenant,” he narrates.
On April 2, 2004 , he says God appeared to him accompanied by John the Baptist and told him to tell the four corners of the world to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. This was in a vision at 3.29am. “There was an earthquake, the Lord gave me the rod of Moses and asked me to warn all nations of the Earth to repent from sexual sin, lying, witchcraft and preaching of money, in order to restore the altar of the Lord,” he says.
“It was a very difficult moment. Experiencing seven months of argument with the Lord was not easy,” he says, while maintaining that his mission is strictly to preach repentance and holiness as instructed by God.
Like any other professional, he admits that it was a big challenge for him to quit his profession to serve the Lord. “ I started preaching in churches, crusades and many people did not believe me. My friends were shocked and thought I had become insane, but my family remained supportive, understanding and thought that was the best thing I could do,” he narrates.
Interestingly, he says God first sent him to serve in Latin America where he preached and many people there repented. He is grateful to the Kenya government, which he says, helped facilitate his trips. He remembers his message at Puerto Escondido in Mexico on August 6, 2003. “I warned them of severe earthquake if they did not repent, and the following day, there was an earthquake. The same was the case in Monterrey also in Mexico, which experienced an earthquake within 24 hours of my preaching,” he says.
Dr Owuor has been featured in the media worldwide for predicting disasters like earthquakes and floods which have come to pass. In June, October and November 2003, he predicated last December's Asian Tsunami, America’s Hurricane Katrina and Pakistan’s earthquakes—all which have come to pass.
He warns that there are two more impending earthquakes of the magnitude experienced in Pakistan recently and that historic floods will hit Asia and European/western countries i.e. USA, France, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Greece and Germany.
He states that Kenya is not immune to catastrophes, and would face destruction and death unless the country repents.
Dr Owuor is said to possess extra ordinary powers and that whenever he stands on the pulpit to preach, some white doves are reported to fly past him, with the rainbow also appearing in the sky. Asked the reason behind the phenomenon, he says it shows God’s covenant with him. “I have made a covenant with God, to serve him forever. He has empowered me, and that is why he releases doves from heaven and displays the rainbow to show that my powers are real.”
Early this year, Dr Owuor hit the headlines in the local dailies when he predicted that an earthquake would soon hit the country. This caused a mixed reaction within the country. Asked to comment about it he says: “I do not respond to my critics, God answers them. You have seen what has happened in the world, as a result of ignorance and pride.”
Back at home, he will be remembered for his predictions on the fire that gutted the Nairobi’s City Hall, a heavy downpour in Kakamega when he commanded the rains to pour in less than two minutes, and the recent eclipse of the moon.
Like any other person, he faces a number of challenges, and says the main one is failure by Kenya to genuinely repent. As for the future, the main goal is to bring repentance and piety to all nations of the earth.
At one point, he says, he has a reason to smile because peoples' response has been tremendous.
Dr Owuor says various nations among them the Comoros Islands, Rwanda, Burundi, have invited him to go and preach to them, which he pledges to honour.
In regard to his marital status, the preacher is single and does not intend to marry. “I serve the Lord 24 hours. I do not want to share my heart with anybody. I am not interested in this filthy world,” he says.
Unlike many within his ranks who adore earthly belongings, Dr Owuor's lifestyle remains. He says he does not own a home of his own and is currently offered accommodation by one of his followers. “I once enjoyed all these but left the luxury that went with my profession to serve the Lord. I believe in simplicity,” he states.
Born in Goma village, Usenge in Bondo District in 1966, Dr Owuor is the second born in a family of six girls and three boys. His father Helekia Owour was a civil servant who worked with East African Community Prison Service and rose within the ranks to be a Sergeant Major. His mother the late Margaret Achieng’ Owour was a house wife, a peasant farmer but a dedicated Christian.
The young Owuor who was brought up in a humble but spiritual background, went to Wambasa Primary School in Yimbo and to various other primary schools including Jusa, Luzira and Kitalya in Uganda, where his father had been transferred while working for the defunct East Africa Community. He joined Mbale Senior Secondary School while still in Uganda where he sat for his ‘O’ level exams, before proceeding to St. Peters Collage in Tororo for his ‘A’ levels.
He later joined Makerere University for a Bachelor of Science degree, but later moved to University of Nairobi where he was to complete his first degree in 1988. In 1992, he joined Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel for his masters programme.
“I came back to Kenya in 1993, and worked as a volunteer with Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI). The work at the centre was coordinated by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention for Biological Diversity,” he says.
He went back to Israel for his doctorate at the University of Haifa on Mt. Carmel. He was later to proceed to Germany to work on a virus that could not be imported in the laboratory in Israel because of international quarantine on pathogens.
He acknowledges what God has done in his life that has seen him excel in his academic work. “God lifted me from a nobody to a somebody. Put him first before you do anything,” he advises.
Original title: Top scientist turned preacher
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Very few churches have a designated office of prophet. Most congregations have someone who most look to as a prophet even though he may not be officially recognized by the church or denomination. I view the office of a prophet as one which God has called you to, even if it hasn’t been recognized "officially" by the church. Prophets tend to be unpopular with the organized body, especially if the prophet is bringing correction.
There can also be a two edged sword with this office. If the church should establish an official ministry of prophet the person holding the position may cease from operating the gift. It could happen like this; our prophet becomes so mired in his official position that he no longer speaks for God, only the organization. On the other hand he may continue his gift and becomes so unpopular to the extent that he looses his job within the organized church.
As Robert Hall has titled his book, "Anyone can Prophesy". Not many are called to be prophets. We are all called to speak for God from time to time. It may be as simple as instruction to our children, or encouragement to a loved one. It may be a declaration before an entire congregation but that still does not make you a prophet in the sense that you stand in that office, or are called to that ministry. There is a difference in the day to day opportunities for God to use and speak through us and the ministry of a prophet. The difference is the intensity of the call and the frequency of the gift. The prophet is called and cannot help but speak out what God has given him to say. This happens time and time again. It happens so often and with such inspiration that those around him notice and he is accepted as a prophet, sometimes even before the prophet recognizes it. This acceptance is not based on hearing what is always pleasing but on who is perceived as the inspiration. The office or ministry is sometimes entered into reluctantly when the person called can no longer resist or deny what God is doing in their life.
The scripture tells us to seek to prophesy, since the whole church may be edified; 1 Corinthians 14:1. I do not know of anywhere the scripture tells us to seek to be a prophet. Seeking the office of a prophet does not apply anymore than seeking to be a pastor as if it were only a career choice. The offices within the body of believers are callings and not arbitrary choices we make for ourselves. You might want to refer to the first chapter of Jeremiah for this.
by The Rev. Randy Felton
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