Borkumah, Timothy Kodzo
Timothy Kodzo Borkumah was born in 1929 at Agate in the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). He was the first child born to his father Do-Kwensi and mother Korkorwa.
Borkumah started his early education at Evangelical Presbyterian Primary School, Agate. He dropped out of school with only one year to complete Senior High School due to the death of his father, the primary provider for the family.
A year after his father’s death his uncle, Ataah Bor-Do, a chain-saw operator at Likpe Bakwa, took Borkumah into his home. His uncle later found work for him as a store salesman at John Mensah’s store at Hohoe, also in the Volta region. As a store boy, Borkumah was conscientious and trustworthy and his supervisor, Mr. John Mensah, liked him. On several occasions he sent Borkumah to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, to buy new consignments for his stores on his behalf.
Borkumah worked at John Mensah’s store for more than five years. Then, one day, he abruptly resigned, claiming that he had been asked to do so in a vision. His uncle thought he was joking or going mad–why else would the young man want to leave that lucrative work? However, Timothy was adamant. He left the store in Hohoe to stay with his aunt Elizabeth Afuanor Bor Doh Dowa and her husband Donkor Abotsi at Teikrom Laiti, a farming community near Ve-Golokwati in the Hohoe District. He cultivated food crops such as cocoyam, cassava, and maize, and cash crops such as cocoa and coffee.
His Religious Experience
One day he went to the farm and found that rodents, called grasscutters, had consumed all the crops in the field. This made him very upset and he began to cry. While weeping, he prayed to God to express his grief and sorrow at the incident. Instantly, he had a vision that people were on the farm with him and they were planting a flower that is locally called “Forget-me-not.” The people were speaking different languages. This vision frightened him so he asked his wife, Emma Agbeli, who was affectionately known as Adzonor, to pack their farming tools so that they could go home. The following day, they came to the farm. He heard a voice calling him, saying, “Timothy, Timothy, Timothy, kneel down and pray!” He heard it that day three consecutive times. He asked his wife if she heard the message, but she had not. Fear gripped them so they rushed away from the farm.
This episode occurred for three days. On the third day, he remembered the call of Moses in the wilderness when Moses was commanded to remove his sandals because where he stood was a holy ground. Consequently, Timothy Borkumah went and cut palm branches and plantain leaves. He arranged them, removed his sandals, knelt on it and started meditating on the Lord’s Prayer. When he finished praying he claimed to have the urge to pray more and more.
Establishing a Prayer and Healing Society
After some time, he heard the voice directing him to pray for people every evening and morning in the house. In the evening of that very day he borrowed a bench from his landlady and asked Mama Adzonor to assemble her children for evening service. When they met they sang hymn number one from the Evangelical Presbyterian Hymnal, Azo la mi kata and prayed the Lord’s Prayer several times since he did not know any other prayer. This practice continued for a period of time. He prepared a place in a nearby bush and made that place a sacred or prayer ground (Todzi).
People started gossiping, saying that Timothy Borkumah had gone out of his mind, saying he was a prophet called by God. Others accused him of hiding behind preaching in order to stop farming. They said, “Everybody at Teikrom tills the land and you lazy farmer claim to preach the gospel.” Around the same period, Alice Borkumah, also known as, Da Adzo, Borkuma’s eldest child, felt sick and was on verge of death. Everybody thought she would die. People attempted to take the sick child to a shrine since they thought that Borkumah was out of his mind. However, Borkumah prayed without ceasing until she was healed. News of this miracle made people rush their patients to Borkumah to be healed. He healed them all–people suffering from various ailments, such as madness, leprosy, stroke, blindness, deafness, dumbness, severe headaches, baldness, and different kinds of skin diseases. The good Lord who called Borkumah to this huge task revealed to him that he should not worry or panic, for he would bring him helpers from far and near to assist him in the work of this big vineyard and win wandering souls for Christ. This actually came to pass when people started pouring in from all walks of life to be healed. Some came with their own problems, others brought in their spouses and relatives.
Another incident that drew many people to Timothy Borkumah’s healing ministry was the conversion of Salomey Mati, also known as Patrinor, who was among those who gossiped about Borkumah’s claim to be called by God. Patrino Salomey Mati set off one day from Teikrom to Golokwati market with a bowl full of cocoyam to sell. One the way, she was possessed by a spirit, which she later found to be the Holy Spirit. She ran back to Teikrom without the bowl of cocoyam and started quoting texts from the Bible. She opened to the Psalms, and started reading loudly to the hearing of all who were there. The most amazing thing was that she was completely illiterate and had never set foot in any classroom in her lifetime. She became the first prophetess of Prophet Timothy Borkumah’s healing ministry. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, she named the church Teikrom Gbedododa Haborbor (Teikrom Prayer Group). In 1968, she renamed it Nutifafa Nami Haborbor (Peaceful Healing Society). The Society was an auxiliary group in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, also known as E. P. Church. She was led to direct how and when the prophet should go about healing his patients. Borkumah reportedly brought many dead people back to life. As a result, those who heard about his spiritual powers travelled far and near to visit him.
Some of the very first people he worked with at Teikrom were David Soglo, Doh Dagadu, Prophetess Salomey Mati, Prophetess Emma Borkumah (his wife), Samuel Amedzro, who became the founder and leader of Grace Abundance Church at Peki, and Apostle Brahene.
Moving to Agate
One of Borkumah’s patients brought his cattle to Borkumah and asked him to supervise them for a time. In 1962, when the chief and people of Agate were about to celebrate a festival, Togbui Esieto, also known as Daniel Oye, was sent to purchase a cow from Borkumah at Teikrom. When he arrived he saw the miraculous works that Borkumah was performing. He returned to Agate and told everything he had seen and heard about Borkumah to the chief, Togbui Adom IX. Instantly Togbui Adom IX sent word to Borkumah to return home and practice in Agate.
In 1963, Borkumah and his first disciples landed at Agate for their annual convention, known at that time as Yawodaga (Big Thursday). The chief, sub-chiefs, elders, old and young, and every household of Agate embraced Borkumah and his team and joined his prayer group. After the convention he opened a congregation of the church at Agate. Mr. Lucas Kofi Agboga, another God-fearing man, helped him to establish the Peaceful Prayer and Healing Camp firmly at Agate.
Some of Borkumah’s early disciples at Agate were Apostle Raphael Asong, his brother-in-law, Apostle Eugenheart K. Bey, (Togbui Agorkpe) who became his first secretary, and Flora Tanu Korkunor. Many people helped Borkumah at Agate because the whole town accepted the faith wholeheartedly. Some of the surviving members are Dolanyonu Beatrice Oye, Phidelia Sakoe, Bertha Sakoe, Victoria Bey, Gbedze Kwaminor, Floraa Tsri-Ahasu, Rosina Aduge, Ameyono, Ellen Bedu, and Addor Kosinor, among others.
Borkumah started his work at Agate at a site full of water and mud (Now Adzagli Mensah’s House). The place was muddy so stones were laid down for the pathway. The chapel at Agate was built with bricks. Members and all the townfolks were levied ten bricks each, which they donated happily. Unity prevailed between them so the masons in the town laid the bricks for the chapel with clear conscience.
Early Growth of the Healing Society
A week after the celebration of the 50 year jubilee of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church at Agate, leaders of the church proscribed the White Cross Society, a prayer ministry. This caused a lot of controversy in the church and some people, among whom were Togbui Kositor Lucas Agboga, Mama Kosinor (Agboga’s wife), and Allasani Agbla, left to join the Peaceful Healing Society. While the evangelistic work continued, some agriculturalists of Kpeve, Mr. Tagbor, Mr. Akangla and Mr. Dzasani, heard of the Borkumah’s miracles and started following him at Agate. Gradually these three men requested that a branch of the church be opened for them at Kpeve. The Kpeve branch became the first branch of the Peaceful Healing Church besides the one at Agate. The chiefs and elders of Kpeve accepted the faith wholeheartedly. Many miracles happened every day. Later, the Botoku branch, under the able leadership of Dolanyonu Mansah Yaakesie was opened. Another branch was opened at Apedzoa. Many other branches were also opened. Apostle Keti and Apostle Dzimega, both from Woadze, came onto the scene, full of the Holy Spirit and doing a lot of wonders.
The Holy Spirit manifested itself through Borkumah and his prayer warriors. One day a miracle occurred at Agate when Mr. Atikpo from Anloga brought a white man named Mr. Mepuny who had stroke and a twisted mouth (his mouth turned sideways) to see Borkumah. Borkumah and his team healed him instantly. After been healed, Mr. Mepuny brought his wife who was sick and bedridden to Agate and she too was healed. Mr. Mepuny showed his appreciation by building a ten bedroom house to honor the Lord for the marvelous work done for him through Borkumah. Many cripples were healed. When barren women were brought to him, Borkumah interceded for them and they gave birth to healthy children. Due to these healing powers, the majority of the natives of Agate and their environs do not attend hospitals yet most of them are old and as fit as fiddles. Many miracles occurred which cannot be written in this biography. In 1968, Mr. Ahadzi from Ziavi heard of the spiritual work of the Peaceful Healing Society at Agate so he brought his two friends from Israel to visit the prophet. The two Israelis were moved by the spiritual work he was doing so, in 1977, the two Israelis came back and took Borkumah and Dolanyonu Elizabeth Bone Obube to Israel where he was re-baptized and re-ordained as a prophet and underwent further spiritual training before returning to Ghana. While in Israel, Borkumah visited Jerusalem, Golgotha, Bethlehem, the Nativity Chapel, and Gethsemane.
The Healing Society Becomes a Church
Leaders of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church became uneasy about the popularity of Timothy Borkumah and his Healing Society and they took various measures to stem their popularity. For example they denied the Lord’s Supper to members of the Healing Society and asked members of the Society to surrender their robes to be burnt by the E.P.C. pastors. Some members of the Peaceful Healing Society pressured Borkumah and his elders to break away from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church as the White Cross Society had done earlier. The stress of the decision to break away from the E.P.C. became too much of a burden for Borkumah so at the annual convention of the Healing Society at Peki-Adzokoe in 1980, he decided to grant the request of the masses. Peaceful Healing Society was therefore renamed Peaceful Healing Church. With the declaration of the separation from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, members of Peaceful Healing Church were baptized. The church instituted the Lord’s Supper and the sacrament of marriage, then other religious rites such as the burying of members who are called to eternity. The first group of members was baptized by immersion at Todome.
International Missionary Journey of Prophet Timothy Borkumah
In 1987, Borkumah went to Monrovia, Liberia at the invitation of the People of Africa Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. He affiliated with the Israelite society. As a result, five medical doctors came to Agate to offer free medication to inhabitants of Agate and its environs. During their visit, they experienced frequent power cuts so they provided the church with a 40,000 KV electric generator.
The Spread of the Church
The church now has about fifty-six congregations in Ghana and beyond. As part of the congregational structure, the church has a dynamic Women’s Fellowship Association, youth movement, Israel Groups, Sunday school, choirs, Sounds of Light Band, Prayer Warriors, and Men’s Fellowship. In addition, a full-fledged bishop who holds academic degrees is leading the church. Ordained pastors, many of whom are undergoing theological training, follow him. Workshops and seminars are organized for the various group leaders. The church is putting up a cathedral at Agate (2007), the national headquarters under the auspices of Senior Apostle Christian Morkporkpor Borkumah.
Timothy Borkumah, with little education and practically no knowledge of church administration, was able to prove to the inhabitants of the Volta region of Ghana that God can use simple people to plant churches and perform many miracles. Establishing a church was, for a long time, believed to be possible only with European missionaries. God, however, worked through Borkumah to prove that notion wrong. People no longer look to Europeans to spread the gospel for them.
Timothy Kodzo Borkumah breathed his last at Akoto’s hospital at Kpando on March 7, 2005. He lived for seventy-six years. Twelve children survive him.
“Burial & Thanksgiving Service - Prophet Timothy Kodzo Borkumah.” Ho: Dickwin Printing Press, 2007.
Lucas Agboga, national apostle, interviewed at Agate on January 19, 2007.
David Soglo, district pastor, interviewed at Tehkrom on February 1, 2007.
Jacob Doe Dagadu, senior apostle, interview.
This article, received in 2007, was researched and written by Rt. Rev. Sylvester Borkumah, Bishop of Peaceful Healing Church, Ghana, under the supervision of Dr. Rev. Thomas Oduro, DACB liaison coordinator. Dr. Rev. Thomas Oduro, is the principal of Good News Theological College and Seminary, Accra, Ghana, a DACB participating institution.