College of Biblical Studies Dinner: Honoring Christian Servants and Leaders

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By: Jaime Goff

The Towel Award is given to unassuming people who act as Jesus in the world. As the king of the universe took the towel to show servant hospitality, likewise this person follows Jesus’ command to ‘do as I have done’ by serving the world the love of God (John 13:14-17). I am honored to present the first Towel Award this evening to Eniabitobi Kuyinu (Koo-Yi-Nu). Tobi received her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy from ACU in 2007. Prior to that time, Tobi completed a BA in theology and a BS in microbiology. Her work at ACU was funded entirely by the International Ford Fellows program, which provides advanced study opportunities for social justice leaders worldwide. Since returning to Nigeria after her studies at ACU were completed, Tobi has been continuing her work to transform the lives of disadvantaged women and children in Nigeria through her development and direction of two Non-Government Organizations, The Educator and Wholistic Outreach.

Tobi founded The Educator in 1998 after witnessing a security guard at her home leading a ten-year-old girl into his gatehouse to rape her. Tobi intervened, and through this experience she began a project called Journey to Self Discovery, in which she would bring young street girls into her home each week, feed them, and talk with them. She invited others to talk with these girls about discovering themselves, identifying their talents, excelling academically, and guarding themselves against sexual assault. Thirteen years later, The Educator continues to be dedicated to empowering and developing young people and disadvantaged women in Nigeria. The mission of The Educator is “to ensure that we have a generation of young people who understand how to build and develop healthy relationships and uphold sexual integrity.” The Educator has two arms, one that serves youth and one that serves disadvantaged women.

The Educator’s youth-oriented programs include youth rallies, retreats, and peer education programs. At the Frank Talk Youth Rally, issues relating to sexual integrity and self-development are addressed with adolescents and young adults. Tobi has also developed curriculum called Accelerated Success and Achievement Program, or ASAP. This program includes teaching youth essential learning and success-building skills to promote self-motivation and self-confidence. Peer educators are trained to deliver modules on goal-setting and motivation, career planning, active listening, note taking, health and wellness, time management, relationship skills, and etiquette and social responsibility.

The Educator’s program to help disadvantaged women is called the Purple Lydia Project. In 2007, while Tobi was on a mission trip to the Niger Republic, she encountered young women in prostitution who wanted to escape this lifestyle but lacked meaningful vocational skills.  The Purple Lydia Project was born, consisting of a rehabilitation center for women where they are empowered by learning income-generating and life skills. The services encompassed within the Purple Lydia Project include offering training to help women become nannies, housekeepers, or hairdressers; providing education on etiquettes, social behaviors, and manners so women can secure employment with upper class clients; HIV/AIDS education and sexual decision-making; providing literacy education; and providing housing and childcare so the women in the program can focus on their learning. Tobi has partnered with Eternal Threads to provide products made by women in the Purple Lydia Project, such as silk scarves and the bracelets that I’m wearing.

In addition to her work through The Educator, Tobi serves as Executive Director for another NGO, Wholistic Outreach, a faith-based organization whose goals are (1) to create awareness and mobilize the church to promote abstinence; (2) to eradicate unwanted pregnancy and HIV/AIDS among teens and young adults by providing them with skills and opportunities to make good life choices; (3) to provide rehabilitation programs for victims of moral decadence who desire to change their lives; (4) to conduct outreach in hotels, brothels, bars, and under bridges; and (5) to organize programs and seminars to reach out to families within and outside the church. One woman who was a beneficiary of the work of Wholistic Outreach had this to say about her experience in the program:

Through all the struggles of life after being a victim of sexual molestation and rape at a tender age, I developed a very thick skin and a hardened heart. It was about two years after I left home that I met the father of my child. He was the first and only person that showed me love or so I felt.  This was another turbulent period in my life as his family objected to our being together based on stories heard about my family. When the stress became unbearable, I took my child and left. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I just walked away and slept outside buildings for a while until I met a team of Wholistic Outreach members who sent me to the home for rehabilitation. To God be the glory! It was that day God arrested me, and today I am singing a new song everyday. My daughter and I have a new testimony. I am presently in the University (thanks to the Ministry) and reading Law.  I want to become the best God wants me to be. I also hope and pray my daughter and I are absorbed into a family so we will not have to worry about facing rejection EVER AGAIN.


In addition to her work with The Educator and Wholistic Outreach, Tobi provides counseling to individuals, couples, and families and consults with churches regarding their family-related needs. You might think there isn’t possibly more that Tobi could do, yet she plans to return to the States next fall to begin a Ph.D. program in Counselor Education and Supervision at Mercer University. Her goal with this new venture is to return to Nigeria to train others to provide mental health and relationship counseling.

As you can tell from my description of Tobi’s work, she is a woman whose passion for the kingdom of God compels her to make a significant difference in her community and in the world. Tobi exemplifies what God asks of God’s people in Isaiah 1:17, from the theme scripture of Summit, “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Tobi’s life and work demonstrates the accomplishment of ACU’s mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Our award recipients this evening are receiving the symbols of servant leadership as portrayed by Jesus when he washed his disciples’ feet. These bowls have been hand-sculpted by ACU alum, Brandon Phillips, now a studio potter and instructor at Hardin Simmons University. Brandon specializes in creating usable pieces that are made with local materials. Tobi, please come forward to receive your award.



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