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Finding a brother

Years of rejection by family and hiding in his own shell had cultivated a sense of fear and distaste towards people for Phillip Masango (Zimbabwe), a new crewmember who just joined Logos Hope in September this year. It could be puzzling how someone with a personality like Phillip’s would end up part of the Logos Hope family of around 400 people!

Phillip’s transformation came about when he met Nathan Deeks (Zimbabwe) and his family. Nathan is also a new crewmember who was part of the same pre-ship training group as Phillip. Little known to others, the duo are “brothers” who have gone through thick and thin in the last few years and live under the same roof back home. Their life journey crossed paths when they were both assigned to the ushering team in church. “I really detested being an usher because I didn’t want to meet people and be with people!” laughed Phillip. “I remember hiding in the car after I finished my job and waited for everyone to go home.”

Those were the days when Phillip was still figuring his life out. He admitted he had prayed a prayer of salvation fifty or more times without really meaning it and still ended up lost, desperately trying to find his way in life. “I wasn’t a true believer, and I was going to different churches to find somewhere that would fit me,” explained Phillip. It was not until he came to Nathan’s church, Renewal Fellowship, that Phillip finally felt a sense of acceptance. “I’ve experienced people sitting away from me, or looking at me with judgement because of my low social status in other churches, but not in Nathan’s church.”

Phillip’s transformation didn’t take place immediately after he found his church. He still didn’t like to be with people and always went straight home after church. One particular Sunday, he found himself sitting at the back of the church after service. He couldn’t recall why but it was unusual for him to do so. Nathan’s parents, who are pastors of the church, noticed him and approached him. “The first question they asked me was, ‘how old are you’ and I was sure I was in trouble!” recalled Phillip. Nathan’s parents later invited Phillip into a room with a few other youths and asked more questions about them. At the end of the session, they handed him a document that invited him to be a member of ‘Chosen Generation’ – a two and a half year long discipleship programme started by Nathan’s parents that aims to prepare young people for ministry in churches or overseas ministry. Phillip decided to take up the challenge and accepted it.

In the first month, Phillip struggled in the course due to the language barrier, and the fact that his heart was not fully in it. Transportation was also an issue as he stayed far away from the church. It was costly, in both time and money, to go to church a few times a week. Phillip decided to move out of his parents’ house and stayed wherever he could – a cheap hostel or a friend’s house so that he could travel to church more easily.

Nathan’s family saw this, and in a loving gesture, offered to take Phillip into their family and care for him. For someone who has never been hugged before, Phillip experienced love for the first time. He experienced being able to make mistakes without being condemned or punished, something he was not used to in his biological family. “In our family, he wouldn’t get beaten or shouted at even if he did anything wrong,” said Nathan. “He just became one of us, he’s my brother.”

Phillip and Nathan started to grow close very quickly. They attended the ‘Chosen Generation’ course together, worked together as carpenters, and lived together. To Phillip, Nathan was his only close friend who had become like a brother.

The duo went on to South Africa for a month of missions in their second year of the discipleship course. During that time, they experienced amazing things that God was doing. For Phillip, he crossed his personal barrier and preached to masses while in South Africa, even though he didn’t have much education and didn’t have any experience speaking in front of others. Despite his weaknesses, God led him through it and showed him that nothing is impossible with Him.

In the last few years, Phillip’s life has been completely turned around. He never expected himself to be serving God in full-time ministry cross-culturally. Looking back, he can see God’s hands throughout his life and he understands now why he had to go through rejection. It helped him to learn and seek God. He smiled as he described his life as a ‘fairy tale’ that has somehow led him to the middle of the ocean, travelling to other nations to serve and to love others.  

“Love transformed me,” said Phillip. “People always say God is love, that He not only loves us but He’s the source of love. I found it hard to believe until I witnessed and experienced love. If it wasn’t for Nathan’s family, who knows where or what I would be. I Know I would still be lost in life.” 

Phillip and Nathan have made a decision to dedicate their lives to serve God. Phillip’s calling is to serve rejected people while Nathan feels called to serve the poor. They want to use their time on the ship to see more of the needs of the world and to hear from God about where He wants them to serve in the future.

A question in the application form for Logos Hope had asked them how long they would like to serve on the ship.

Coincidently, both wrote the same answer – “As long as God wants me to”.



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