DAVID A OLAGUNJU
I am blessed and life is wonderful! Born and raised in a polygamous house; pain, struggles, and conflicts have always been the traits of my life. Though my father converted from paganism to Christianity, riots and siblings’ rivalries were part of the core of our day to day family life. We were thirteen children in the family plus another half a dozen of my cousins that co-exist with us in my father’s family house. My father had an equivalence of elementary 2 education, but he could write and read very well. He also spoke English sporadically. He actually read the Holy Bible in our native language to his salvation and became one of the pioneers of the Southern Baptists in our village. He assigned the highest premium to educate his children, nephews, relatives, and even nonrelatives. His vision was to help us financially through elementary school and may be through high school, depending on the circumstances and costs. After high school, we were on our own as far as education was concerned.
I was sent to a parochial Baptist school which prepared mostly married men to teach in elementary schools after graduation with grade II teacher’s certificate. I was about 17 years old when I went to this school and life was not easy. I thought I was in a wrong school at a tender age. But God was there with me. Arithmetic was the closest subject to math that was taught in this school. No pure mathematics, no chemistry, no physics, no biology. Miraculously, I developed some divine interest in mathematics. It was fun for me at the time. Just before graduation (4th year), I decided to branch out and enrolled in the General Certificate of Education, offered by the University of London. I got some correspondent courses from the University of London. If I passed 5 subjects at “Ordinary Level” including math and English, then I would be able to take two of the subjects at “Advanced Level”, thereby propelling my life into University education. I passed 5 subjects (pure math, English, Economics, Geography, and history) at “O level”. Two years later, I was able to pass both pure mathematics and Economics at “Advanced level”, thereby gaining admission to a premier University in northern Nigeria and now the biggest University in Nigeria and 3rd biggest in Africa. I graduated from this university with a B.SC in Math/Education.
Just before I went to the university, I met my beautiful wife at an all-girls’ high school where we were both teaching for about 9 months. She went to another premier University in the southern Nigeria, where she graduated second best in her class, with a bachelor of Pharmacy degree. We dated for about three years before getting married in 1975. We are blessed with four great children and two grandchildren.
After completing our national youth service corps at Anambra state – focus of Nigerian civil war a few years earlier, we moved back to our home state, Kwara state. I lectured mathematics at Advanced Teachers’ College, while my wife was the head pharmacist at the University of Ilorin health center. Frustrated with the erratic electricity power supply at the time, I sought graduate admission to American Universities. On January 2nd, 1979 I landed at JFK as a foreign student. My wife and our two little babies would later join me at the University of Florida in August of that year. Many difficult and challenging years would follow which shook and challenged my Christian faith. Lack of adequate funding, inability to work, the terribly cold weather was just a few of the obstacles to my success. Through it all, we are more than the conqueror! Notwithstanding, I completed a master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.
My work life was rich, eventful and rewarding. I met many lovely people from all over the world and I mentored over two dozen of young people into a rewarding career in corporate America. Over the years, I worked at Northwestern National Life Insurance (Senior Data analyst), University of Minnesota Hospital (Senior Programmer Analyst), Minneapolis Heart Institute (Manager of Biostatistics), United Healthcare (senior Manager of research systems and Biostatistics), G.D. Searle pharmaceutical (Associate Director of Statistical Programming), Genentech biotechnology( Director, Statistical Programming and Electronics Submission), ICOS biotechnology (Director, clinical systems and statistical programming), Novartis Pharmaceutical (Global director, statistical reporting and Standards) and now, at my age, I am taking life easy and focusing on helping others. In addition, I presented and published over 18 professional and technical papers in America and Europe.
Many thanks to my Southern Baptist missionary teachers for providing me with sound biblical and music education. I love to teach Bible, I love to sing and I play both Piano and guitar. I sing in Easter and Christmas concerts. I was the president of Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) for a year at ABU. This was a non-denominational student fellowship from various background and doctrines. I was also president of Inter-varsity at Minnesota State University. Today, by God’s grace I attend the City Church, a truly interdenominational, inter-racial, charismatic church. I love it there! As to my hobbies, garden, garden, garden! I love gardening. I enjoy walking the woods – the cedar, cypress, and pine trees. I enjoy massaging my feet in the sand of Pacific Ocean. I also play tennis when my ankles, elbows and knees permit me to do so.
During my years of corporate life, I founded Christian Bible study groups at United health care, G.D. Searle, Genentech, ICOS and Novartis. This initiative is much more rewarding to me than the crazy corporate rat race that often leads to emptiness and loneliness of soul. I wish I could have done more. A couple of months ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Israel and another 5 days to cruise the Islands of Greece. We visited many sites of great religious and historical significance. Mount Carmel, Mount Olives, Mount of Beatitudes, City of David, Mount of Transfiguration, the city of Canal, Sea of Galilee, River Jordan, Bethlehem, tomb of Jesus, Capernaum, Ephesus, Corinth, Museum of holocaust and much more. The most moving for me and my wife was the Museum of holocaust. I shed tears!
Since I came back from Israel and Greece, each day I wake up and ask God, “what else can I do to help my world and secure Christ’s seal of approval?” No answer can be found from the spread of blue sky over the massive Pacific Ocean or the amazing cascade mountains of glaciers that breathe pure oxygen to all of us in the valleys. Not even the array of roses, peonies, lilies, Dahlias, and Curcumas can sooth my soul to a precise focus on the next direction. But, my soul has always found some succor, dreams and visions through the deep inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Through Care of Love foundation, a public charity that is tax exempt by the US government, I hope to work with great men and women of generous compassion to spread love, care, kindness, joy, to the needy ones in our society and the world beyond.
This is my story, please join me.
David A Olagunjudaolag@careoflove.org 1 (800) 123-4567