Update #5 from West Africa

Philip Tutu and I made it safely to Lomé Togo for the final stop of my West African training tour. Samuel Eklou and his team graciously received us and tonight I was blessed to preach at the church Samuel pastors. But before we focus on Togo, I need to tell you one more story from Ghana.

One of my favorite points from our Detour course comes in session one about Joseph and His Family. The point says "By trusting God, Joseph refused to be defined by the dysfunction of his family."

After all the mistreatment at the hands of his brothers, we might have expected Joseph to pursue payback when he finally had all the power. But Joseph chose forgiveness rather than revenge, integrity rather than deception, loyalty rather than betrayal.

2016 04 14 image 1When Philip Tutu presented this part of the course, he opened his heart and shared the story of his own childhood. Then God showed up and the rest of us acknowledged our own personal pain and begged God to set us free.

Philip described his parents' divorce when he was four. Then he shared how his alcoholic father went on to "marry" four other women. Each time, he would wake Philip up in the morning and introduce him to his new step-mother with a stern warning that he better obey her every word.

Even though Philip was very compliant, each of his mothers told his father lies about his terrible behavior. Then Philip's dad would take him into his bedroom. On the bed was a belt, a long narrow cane, and a shorter thicker stick. Philip was ordered to choose the tool for his severe beating.

This physical abuse continued day after day for years, but it was the psychological abuse that left the deepest scars. He was constantly told how wicked and worthless he was.

After Philip's father lost his job, Philip supported the family by gathering firewood and carrying into the village to sell it.

One of his mother's sisters recognized his work ethic and strong character. She took him to her home in the city and brought him into her business.

She was right about Philip. Like Joseph, God gave him success in all he did. It was in the safety of his aunt's home that Philip was introduced to the unconditional love of his Heavenly Father.

Philip worked his way through business school and later Bible college. Despite being far behind because of his early years, Philip not only kept up, but finished at the top of his class.

He eventually surrendered to God's call to ministry. After pastoring for a number of years, Philip found his long term home with Walk Thru the Bible and International Christian Ministries about ten years ago.

After decades of estrangement from his father, God brought them back together. But what would Philip do?

Like Joseph, Philip chose forgiveness rather than revenge, integrity rather than deception, loyalty rather than betrayal.

He lovingly supported his father in his final years. He also reconnected with his mother. At her funeral earlier this year, God used Philip to bring his eight siblings from four different fathers together as one family.

Yesterday Philip didn't just share the material. He stepped into the story. We were all overwhelmed by the power and grace of our Lord. It was one of the most inspiring messages I've ever heard. And like most of the pastors who were there, I will never be the same.


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Brian Hewitt 15.08.2016 01:39  
God's plans and purposes Yes No   Thank you for sharing Pastor Philip Tutu's testimony. God's grace and mercy is so amazing and enduring forever, even to those who may have wronged us and abused us. Pastor Tutu's testimony of forgiving and loving his family members gives hope and truth that can set anyone free, if they will be open to hear God's word and believe in it's power. May God's blessings overflow to Pastor Tutu and to all those that he reaches out to in Africa, Amen!!  
 
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