Part 2: From Military to Missionary

*Dotun Modupe is Bright Hope’s Country Director for Kenya. In a series of three blog posts, he’s sharing his incredible testimony of how God called him into missions and brought him to Bright Hope. If you missed part 1, click here.

Last week Dotun shared with us about how he had left the Nigerian military to come live in the U.S. When he was mid-way through completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with plans of becoming a computer sales rep in West Africa for a major American company, God turned his world upside down and started calling him to missions—something he had never considered.  


So while I was doing that summer internship, I took up a job with a fireworks company, but every day when I came into the store, before I opened it, I would go on my knees and pray. I had a lot of preaching messages on cassette tapes that I brought from Nigeria and I would listen to them.

About a week before the end of my internship, I put in one of those cassette tapes, and it was a message I’d heard way back in Nigeria, and it was again all about God’s call. It was about missions. There was a song by a man of God, the preacher who was preaching at the end was talking about, “Have you heard the Master’s call? Have you heard this call on you? Are you willing to respond? Some may go, and some may stay, but for you, your Master calls. Will you say, ‘Here I am, send me’?” 

And out of nowhere I went on my knees inside the store that morning, and I just cried and cried, and said, “Lord, I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I don’t know how I’m going to tell my parents that I’m leaving school again, but I want to obey You. I want to do Your will, and I can see, I’m convinced deep inside me, that You are asking me to take this step of faith.”

So, I finished the internship and went back to my school. I summed up the courage and decided to go to New York to inform my parents that the next semester I wasn’t returning to school. I was going to take a leave of absence and pursue what God was calling me into.

I decided not to fly. I decided not to go by train. I decided to take the Greyhound bus. It was a 12-14-hour ride. And the reason I did that was because I wanted enough time to think about what I was about to do. 

My parents had worked with me through five years of the military academy. I didn’t finish. They didn’t mind that I was starting life all over again in the U.S. So, five years, nothing. Now, three years, just a year more to graduate, and I was going to come and tell them that I was leaving school. 

You see, school was big for my parents. My dad’s a lawyer. My mom’s a nurse. They’re both retired now but school was big for them. Add on top of that the fact that I am their first son. For people from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, that means a lot. That means a lot to my dad. It’s a lot of pride for him to go back home to say, “My son is a computer science major. He works for Dell.” That means a lot. But for him to go back to say that “My son left school and is a missionary,” that was almost a big disgrace. 

I had all these things going through my mind while I was sitting in that bus going to New York. All through that drive, all the stops on the way until we got to the bus terminal in Penn Station, New York, God had a Scripture for me. It was the same Scripture again, again, and again. And it’s “If any man wants to be My disciple he has to lay down his life, take up the cross, and follow Me.” And Luke actually expanded more on that Scripture. He not only even said, “Lay down your life, take up the cross, and follow Me,” he said, “You have to deny your father and your mother, and your own self, to follow Me.” 

So I got to New York. I took the subway, got to my parents’ house in the Bronx. My mother wasn’t home. It was my father that was home, and I told him why I’d come. I said that I was planning to leave school to go and be a missionary, and you could see that he was just confused. I think he was really holding back. He was trying to really figure out, what is this boy saying? but he said, “Let’s wait for your mom.” And so when my mom came home—I must confess that I was ready for my dad, he’s a lawyer, so I think I sort of prepared myself for every argument that could come and how I would answer and respond—but I wasn’t ready for my mom.

See, we love our mom, the five of us kids. We love her to pieces. Mommy left home, was in the U.S. for years. She missed Christmas. She missed our birthdays, and she sacrificed to become a registered nurse to give us a good future. So sitting across from her asking me why was I doing this, was this the way I was going to pay her back for all the things that she’d done to prepare the future for us, that was very difficult. But then I was reminded of that scripture.

At the end of that day, I told my parents I was returning to school the next day. My dad saw me to the train station, and right there in front of my younger brother, Daddy said clearly to me, “Look, no problem if you want to leave school. We can’t force you. You can leave school, but please let’s be clear now, moving forward, that you’re not our son anymore, that we only have two girls and two boys. You can change your last name, and we won’t have to have anything to do with you anymore.” My dad pretty much disowned me.

I took a train and bus back to school in Indiana and just kept praying. “Lord, what do I do? Where do I go?” 

I remember my dad asking me when I was talking to him in New York, telling him I was leaving school. He asked me, “So, what are you going to do, Cadet? Where will you go? Have you discovered that?” He used to call me Cadet because I had been in the military.

I said, “No, Dad. I’m still praying, but I’m very confident that the Lord will guide; He will show me the way,” and I explained that I had to take this first step of faith. Because, you see, prior to this point I had chosen everything my parents wanted me to do over anything the Lord was telling me. But this was the first time that I was clearly saying, “Lord, I’m very sure of how You’re leading me, of what You’re saying.”

It was not easy. This was very painful. It was as if my life was going to end. This was the family I’ve always known. This was my covering. This was my protection, and here I’m suddenly being told, “You’re not one of us anymore.” It was tough. It was a very hard ride back to Indiana. I really didn’t know what the future was going to hold… 


*This is Part 2 of a three-part blog sharing Dotun’s incredible testimony of how the Lord has led him, starting as a teenager, into mission work and then onto becoming Bright Hope’s Director of Kenya. Check back next Tuesday for Part 3.

Dotun Modupe
Dotun Modupe

Dotun Modupe is Bright Hope’s Country Director for Kenya. In a series of three blog posts, he’s sharing his incredible testimony of how God called him into missions and brought him to Bright Hope. After leaving the Nigerian military as a teenager to come live in the U.S., Dotun was pursuing a computer science degree, with plans to work for a major U.S. company in West Africa, when God undeniably called him into missions. Upon sharing this with his family, his father disowned him, and Dotun returned to the Midwest and sought the Lord for the next step.